Spice Up Your Comfort Food

img_2212My blogging has really fallen off a cliff as of late, the real world has become so distracting I find it harder and harder to focus on writing, even though I think any distraction at this point would be an improvement over fretting about the new political reality in America.

Even Thanksgiving this year has been hard to motivate for.  I kept saying to Neil that we should just go out for Chinese or Indian food, but in the end decided to cook and have some friends and relatives over.  Bonding with loved ones seems more important than ever these days.

So what to make?

As much as I like all the traditional foods that we associate with this harvest festival I find more and more I prefer to spice things up.  In the past few years what that means is to make what I like to call: Thai Turkey.  I make a big wok full of vegetarian Pad Thai,this recipe calls for broccoli, lately I’ve swapped it for Chinese broccoli or even sometimes Bok Choy which I serve as a side dish.  I like it when the Pad Thai acts as a canvas and people can add things to it as they like.

I don’t buy a Turkey, but rather 2 or 3  turkey legs and 1 breast. This way you don’t have to over cook the breast because the legs need more time and it can all be done well in advance.

I do this early in the day and when the meat has cooled sufficiently de-bone it and serve it on a platter with the Chili Dipping Sauce: Nam Jeam Jeaw.  Funky, Spicy with just the right kick of heat.  Traditionally served with roast chicken, sticky rice and green papaya salad.

Instead of the papaya salad I make brussels sprouts in a vinaigrette redolent of fish sauce.

Regardless of what you are making for Thanksgiving you will want to have this dipping sauce in your fridge. It keeps for ever and can be refreshed after a couple of weeks with some more mint and scallions. Oh and did I say it goes great with Turkey?

Nam Jeam Jeaw

In a small cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat toast 2 teaspoons of raw Jasmine rice (or any other long grain rice you have on hand).   Roast until the grains turn a deep golden brown.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) to cool, then process until a fine powder and pour into a medium bowl

In the same skillet toast 15 dried red Thai chilies until they are slightly colored and fragrant no more than a minute. Coarsely crush the chilies with the mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) add the ground chilies to the rice powder. Stir into the dry ingredients: 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce, the Juice of 2 limes, 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves, 1 scallion finely chopped mix to incorporate.

Trust me once you make this it will become your favorite condiment.  It keeps in the refrigerator for ever, as it ages the heat mellows.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and to every one else have a great week, and remember you don’t need a special occasion to make dinner and share it with friends and loved ones.

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Pumpkin Goat Cheese

img_2098Can’t imagine why it’s on sale 😉

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Krung Gaeng Deng: Red Curry Paste

img_2110This is an update of a post I made in 2010 at the request of friends and readers Chris and Skip.  One of my regular favorites these days is: Duck and Lychee Red Curry. An easy dish that can be whipped up in 20 minutes. However, the key to making it next level is using homemade curry paste.

The paste itself is not hard to make,  what can be hard is finding all the ingredients!img_1956Here in New York we are very lucky Continue reading

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Game Changer: Food Deserts Explained

I believe this is the first time the Perennial Plate folks have done animation and to great effect too I think!

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Tecate Beer is My New Favorite

Apparently this ad is going to be shown during tonights debates 😉

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Concord Grape Pie in 13 Pictures

img_1584Make the dough, it’s enough for one pie with a bit left over for some small turn overs.

Every year since 2008 I have made a Concord Grape post.  My favorite thing to do with Concord Grapes (other than eat them fresh as I walk away from the farm stand I just bought them at) is make a pie. Continue reading

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I Tell My Children: A New Video From Perennial Plate

While watching this really beautifully shot new video from the Perennial Plate folks I kept trying to imagine what it must be like for kids to grow up in a place and with parents who did not give them every new thing as it came out onto the market.  How do these kids live without an iPhone or more to the point: How do the parents babysit and get their kids to shut up without shoving a phone in their face so they can watch Frozen for the umpteenth time?

The answer is quite simple and I think very inspiring.  Although I don’t imagine most New Yorker’s are going to give up their creature comforts to move to a remote rural area anytime soon, I have the utmost admiration for this family, their way of life and the hard work they do daily to make it work.  I also really liked the mom’s message of how in this family the kids get to see their mom every day and be with them because she hasn’t taken work outside of the home.  I wish this video had been longer I would like to know more.  Do they sell at a market or to a restaurant?  Is the dad around and does he work outside of the farm?

Mostly thought what I thought was: damn doesn’t that meal look delicious?

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