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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hats, Pad Thai, Iced Tea

Awww, peeps, I'm a NaBloPoMo failure, already! I missed posting yesterday--'completely spaced it with the slumber party. I guess it takes a bit of pressure off for the rest of the month, although I will still try to get in a daily post (or two; I think it was Mandy who once said that NaBloPoMo is 30 posts in 30 days, and a post a day was really more of a secondary thing).

Anyway, here are those hats that I made. I think I'm going to crochet a flower and stick it onto the front of mine for sort of a flapper thing. My hat has a lot of holes, but the four-ply yarn makes it really heavy, so it's actually pretty warm (although I haven't tried it yet in serious winter weather; we're in the sixties this weekend!).

And as long as I'm uploading photos, let's talk about Friday's adventures in Thai food!

I first discovered that relatively easy and delicious pad thai could be made at home when we threw a surprise birthday party for Hathor this summer, with the theme of Thai Food Extravaganza. Green curry, spring rolls with peanut sauce, and meng khum were also on the menu, but the pad thai was really to be the highlight (I hoped). David had a wok, so we decided to give it a go!

This recipe from Chez Pim was the awesome. It's a little long, but very entertainingly written as well as highly informative. I hadn't actually reread it since we did the party, and reading it again just now I realized the things I'd done wrong or forgotten. Still, I thought it turned out beautifully on Friday, and will probably be different for tonight's mini-party, but hopefully equally delicious.

Here's my take on the recipe (but, seriously, read hers first if you are thinking about making it. You won't be disappointed).

1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup Bragg liquid aminos (I used Bragg's for Heather's, and then soy sauce later, and have decided I much prefer Bragg's!)
~1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
~1/3 cup brown sugar (I'd forgotten this the past couple of times I'd made this, and completely hadn't noticed! I'd suggest starting low and working up)

Simmer it all for a while and adjust to taste (Pim has a great discussion on the flavor balance)

I have no idea whether or not this is proper, but I bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, throw my noodles in, give them a stir, and let them soak until they're quite al dente. Then I drain them and return them to the pot, although they did kind of stick together last time.

-Tofu (I cut a block into thin, bite-sized pieces and sauteed them in a hot skillet with Pam and little curry powder and seasoned salt. She suggests doing this in the wok, but I liked the ease of having them ready to go)
-Garlic (several cloves, roughly minced. Pim says this is optional; I can't really imagine doing without)
-Carrots (shredded in the food processor, although they'd probably be a little nicer julienned)
-Green onions (sliced diagonally into ~1" pieces)
-Bean sprouts ('totally forgot these last time)
-Red cabbage (optional)
-Lime wedges
-Dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
-Cilantro, roughly chopped

Get the wok "smoking hot" and add a splash of oil. I would definitely suggest having an accomplice for the wokking; I generally run the stirring and David throws ingredients in (which is why we lack photos--sorry!). Last time, we did the vegetables first, then the noodles with the sauce, then the garlic, and then two eggs, cracked and scrambled right in the wok (which sounds so much easier than it actually is--sigh). Keep everything moving around as you're cooking, and remember, as I did not last time, to keep the amounts small and well-timed, so that the wok stays smokin'. When hot, fragrant, and delicious-looking, transfer onto a plate and garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Guys, this is so delicious. We just had it on Friday, and already I'm salivating in anticipation of eating it again tonight.

Oh, and hey, since I'm on a roll, here is how I do Thai iced tea:
Place ~8 tablespoons of Thai iced tea into French press; add approximately two cups boiling water and let steep for a minute or two before pressing. You could chill the tea at this point, which would be a great idea. In the past, I've just poured it into two glasses filled with ice (ice which quickly melts down to nearly nothing!). Stir in maybe three tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. I've read that you can use sugar and half and half; I haven't tried that. I have tried thinning the sweetened condensed milk in an attempt to achieve that beautiful layered effect, but haven't been successful. Maybe if I chilled the tea first? Let me know if you have a special trick.


Curly Sue said...

Hee. I saw those glasses in the picture, and thought they were carrot juice!

That sounds amazing, this recipe. I still haven't tried this recipe, and I'll have to think about some mods so I can eat it on The Diet. Definitely no on the sugar, yes on the Bragg's, no on the peanuts, but I wonder what kind of noodles I could use...

strovska said...

yum. do you think that miso concentrate might work instead of bragg's/ soy sauce?

also, very cute hats! i'm impressed by people who can crochet. i hear it's much quicker than knitting, but i find it awkward and difficult.

CëRïSë said...

Leah, I really didn't miss the sugar in the sauce; that mod's an easy one! As far as noodles, I guess even "rice sticks" are out? The sauce is potent enough that it'd still be worth a try with whichever noodles you can eat.

Rachel, I've never used miso concentrate, so I have no idea! The Bragg's/soy sauce is for the salty component of the sauce; in the original version it'd be fish sauce.

Oh, and thanks for the hats comment! I tried knitting when I was very young, but haven't returned to it, and to me it seems way more complicated! I do love about crocheting that even though I'm not very good at it, and can't read patterns or anything, I seem to be able to make things in 3-D.