Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thai Friday

First things first. My baby is broken. Not Midget or Peanut, but my beloved DSLR. For some reason, it just pooped out in the middle of our vacation in Montana. I guess it just couldn't handle the utter gorgeousness of my home state. But I prefer to blame it on the hubby, since he was taking pictures of me being a total bad*ss on a jetski when the camera died. Yeah. I'm awesome like that...

So, not like you're used to super awesome pictures on this blog, but you can expect some super crummy pictures for at least the next few weeks. I'm just praying that my camera is back before the turdlets' birthday party, which is in less than a month.

Anyway, remember my little bitty Thai Container Garden? Well, this is what it looks like now!

Thanks to our lovely plant-sitting neighbors, the container didn't die while I was gone for almost two months. As a thank you, I planted them their own Thai container. I ended up removing two pepper plants from this one, so one went into the garden and one went into their pot, I separated one of the Thai basil, and then transplanted the lemongrass that I propagated. Their container looks lovely as well, and I am a bit surprised that all of their plants thrived after such a brutal transplanting and the fact that I rooted out their lemongrass!

First order of business was to snip all the basil flowers. The flowers smell lovely and I'm thinking it will make fabulous Thai Basil Flower Vinegar. I'm steeping most of the flowers in plain white vinegar for a few weeks and will report back to you whether or not it was a successful endeavor. I'm thinking it will make a neat gift for friends.

I'd like to take a quick second to brag about my first garden harvest of the season.

Isn't it gorgeous?? Grape tomatoes (the orange ones were an awesome surprise), cubanelle peppers, banana peppers, red bell pepper, crookneck squash, a better boy tomato, and some OBSCENELY large cucumbers. I've since pulled gobs more tomatoes, but the cucumbers are slow to grow after supporting those giants!

Next, it was time to put that gorgeous Thai pot to good use! For dinner on Friday, it was Gai Pad Prik Khing (Chicken and Vegetables in a Chili Ginger Curry) and Som Tam-inspired salad (Green Papaya Salad) made with zucchini instead of green papaya. Just so you know, I'm not attesting to the authenticity of these Thai dishes, but they are DELICIOUS!

The curry recipe is all my own--a mishmash of many recipes I found online and using what I had on hand. The Zucchini Ribbon Salad is from Aarti Party on foodnetwork. I would highly suggest you start with only ONE tablespoon of fish sauce in the salad and then add more to your liking. I really love cooked fish sauce, but raw fish sauce is, well, fishy. Just take a piece of zucchini and dip it in the sauce (before you dump it on all the zucchini) and then add more fish sauce if you want it.

Here's my curry recipe. Have lots of beverage nearby and reserve a bit of chicken and veggies before you add the curry if you have kids. Midget took a bite, said "YUM!" and then spit it out on her plate once the heat hit. Peanut kept shoving it in his mouth, chewing, then crying, then gulping his water. I'm not a two-meal sort of family, but they both got some ham to eat after the hubby pointed out that there are some adults that wouldn't eat my spicey curry.


Gai Pad Prik Khing

2 Tbs Vegetable Oil, divided
1 small Onion
1 Thai Dragon Chili (VERY optional, as the curry paste is quite hot anyway) cut into very fine mince
1 cup diced Zucchini
1 cup diced Eggplant
2 Tbs Fish Sauce
10 oz boneless skinless Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips
2 Tbs Prik Khing Curry Paste (recommended brand Mae Sri)
1 can Light Coconut Milk
Cooked Jasmine Rice

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet with high sides (at least 4 inches tall) over high heat. Add vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add fish sauce and then chicken and saute for another 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken and veggies to a plate and turn heat down to medium-high.

Heat remaining oil in skillet and add curry. Fry curry until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and veggies back in and stir until coated with curry paste. Stir in can of coconut milk, reduce heat to medium-low and heat through.

Serve over Jasmine Rice.