rice crackers with curried shrimp-pork dipping sauce

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Called Khao Tang Na Tang in Thai, these rice crackers and their dipping sauce are a popular appetizer. The crackers are deep fried crisp, puffy as rice krispies, and crunchy as popcorn. The sauce is salty, savory, and sweet; it’s got peanuts in it. Aroy.

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pasta imaginaria

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After the Smetana-Janacek concert at the Music College Music Auditorium (MACM) on Saturday afternoon,  we went to Music Square for dinner. It’s become a tradition to eat at Paolo’s on Saturday night, so in his honor we went Italian.  This is fettucine with black pepper sauce, disconcertingly sweet and tasting more like Chinese noodles than pasta. We loved the music, and we love Czech names–who can top a name like Pavel Sporcl (Sporkel or Shporkel)?

banh mi boy!

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This is the barbecued pork banh mi sandwich. It has a surprise inside it: crunchy pork rinds! The bread is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. De-licious! So if you’re in Bangkok, follow that food truck Banh Mi Boy!  But hey, you can make your own banh mi or Vietnamese submarine sandwiches. I just love to try another cook’s version.

stew beef with red wine and herb garnish

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One of the first dishes I learned to cook in college was a beef burgundy stew. I’ve long forgotten that recipe but over the years, I’ve learned how to cook stews. An invaluable lesson I’ve learned is that using red wine to de-glaze a pan is an essential step in creating a delicious gravy. The success of this dish is to forget it–let it cook on the stove on low heat for hours until the gravy thickens and the meat is tender. So good!

Stew Beef with Red Wine and Herb Garnish

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 hours

1 to 2 pounds beef brisket, most of the fat removed, cut into one inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped Chinese celery stalks (in Thai, kunchai)
4 large cloves garlic, slivered
1/3 cup red wine
6 baby onions
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 cups baby carrots
1 1/2 cups pumpkin, cubed
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
Oil
Salt and pepper, fish sauce, soy sauce to taste

Herb Garnish
2 tablespoons Chinese celery leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons scallion, sliced on the bias
Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Brown the garlic and Chinese celery for a few seconds. Add the meat and brown it. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the red wine and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the vegetables into the pot. Add the water. Add some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let the pot cook about 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings–add some fish sauce or soy sauce or both!

I served the stew beef with red-brown rice. I used one cup red to two cups brown rice and cooked as usual in the rice cooker. I sprinkled the garnish on top of the beef and vegetables. I had a few grape tomatoes so I added them for a pop of bright red color. So simple and so delicious.

the joy of eating

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I’ve been thinking all week about the pohpia, the fresh spring rolls at Coffee Bean by Dao, Paradise Park. They are a mouthful of minced pork, shrimp, noodles, and fresh basil chiffonade all wrapped up in a chewy rice noodle wrap, then sprinkled with a spicy green chili nam jim dipping sauce. Just pop the whole thing in your mouth. The first bite is spicy, and then you chew, chew chew, and your tongue wraps around  the shrimp, the pork, the noodles,  and the sharp fresh taste of basil. It’s comfort food that soothes the senses, and if you feel even the slightest bit guilty, don’t.

quick and easy tonkatsu Japanese breaded cutlets with red-brown rice, broccoli and carrots

I’ve had so much traffic this weekend for the green onion cornbread post two years ago. I hope the people who dropped in to look will come back again!

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Last night, I took a break from grades to revisit an old favorite, tonkatsu, a Japanese breaded pork (or chicken) cutlet served with rice and vegetables. I love it with a special homemade tonkatsu sauce but I had no time to make it this weekend. I took a shortcut and put some fried garlic in a 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce so that made it quick and easy! I used a little oil to coat a nonstick pan but you can use cooking spray instead.

Breaded Cutlets
1 large chicken breast, slice thinly in half then cut each patty in half
1/2 pork tenderloin, silver removed, cut into four pieces and pound flat
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (can substitute ordinary breadcrumbs)
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon water
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
cooking spray

Rice
2 rice cooker cups brown rice
1 rice cooker cup red rice

Veggie Side
3 cup broccoli florets
1 cup broccoli stems, peeled and sliced thin on the bias
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds and halved
boiling water
salt

I only have one induction burner so I started with the rice. I washed it and set it to cook and forgot it so I could attend to the veggies. I peeled them, cut them up, and set them aside. Then I dipped each cutlet in oil, then flour-salt n’peppa, egg mixture, and finally breadcrumbs.

I fried the cutlets in the hot skillet rubbed with a bit of oil, until they were brown on both sides. Slice cutlets into strips then set aside.

I heated a large pan with water. Then I cooked the carrots and broccoli stems for 3 minutes. I added the florets and cooked them for another 2 minutes. Drain the veggies.

By then the rice was cooked. I heaped the rice into a bowl, topped the rice with meat, veggies, and barbecue sauce. Then we ate. I love the mixture of brown and red rice. It’s nutty and al dente.

Dog Island, Phutthamonthon

This puppy in the lower right corner climbed up on my knee when I knelt down to say hello. He had just gotten down when I snapped the picture. I think he was disappointed that I didn’t have any food to offer him. Our Save the World Club visited Dog Island in Phutthamonthon park last week. They have over 300 dogs, say the caretakers but we saw only about 50 in the big cage. Most are semi-wild. It costs about Baht 2000 per day to feed the dogs. We are going to discuss fund-raising in the coming weeks–the students bantered about some ideas, such as having a bake sale. We want it to be fun.