Oh, the pressure of returning from holiday! Not only do I have to get back into the habit of cooking again (instead of just eating wonderful food prepared by others) but I also have to get back into the habit of finding interesting things to write about again, instead of just encountering a parade of them on a daily basis.
It was nice to be back in my own kitchen, though. Admiring the efficiently compact kitchen at ‘ino in Greenwich Village, I returned home with visions of how I could add some stainless steel shelving, fit in a panini grill, and up my production capacity. Tawn probably wouldn’t appreciate my “function over form” remodel, though!
Joanne Choi is a friend of a high school friend’s younger sister. She keeps a wonderful food blog called “Week of Menus” over at Blogger. The subtitle of her blog is “Good cooking for moms who have too much on their plate” and, as you can imagine, the emphasis is on healthy, whole foods combined with simple preparation. There is also a bit of a Korean overtone to many recipes, since that’s her heritage.
A recent recipe that caught my attention was Turkey and Green Beans in Lettuce or Over Rice. Now, as is often my wont, I begin to tinker with recipes before I’ve even cooked them. Ground turkey is an impossibility here in Thailand, but ground pork is readily available and tastier. And since she offered the option of serving the dish either in lettuce cups (ala P.F. Chang) or over rice, I decided to combine the dish with a whole grain rice and serve them together in the lettuce cups.
The results were fantastic. The combination of ground pork, green beans, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and hoisin sauce (with some chopped cilantro on top) is just super-tasty in a massively “umami” sort of way. Combine it with whole grain rice, which is nutty and satisfying, and it really was a whole meal in a leaf.
I’ll have to try these again soon. Another option is to use water chestnuts instead of (or in addition to) the green beans. I couldn’t find them at the market, but I’m sure if I ask Tawn what they are called in Thai, I’d be able to run them down.
One of my purchases in the US was the book “Kneadlessly Simple“, Nancy Baggett’s book of recipes for no-knead breads. I like baking my own bread and find that these kneadless options produce much tastier, “artisanal” style breads. So far I’ve made one loaf that was quite nice, although I botched the shaping and it came out lumpy. I’ll do another loaf today and see how it turns out.