Thursday, March 29, 2012

London Calling

Yes, tonight it was London calling, er, broiling, I should say.  Some of you may recall way back in early May of 2011 the arrival of our CSA beef.  At the time I mentioned that it might last us a whole year and it appears that should not be a problem.  Here it is almost April and we still have a rich assortment to choose from.

Tonight I was in the mood for a steak, not really because I was particularly hungry for steak, but because it's relatively easy to monitor calorie intake with a meal that consists mostly of just a big hunk o' meat.  Anyway, once home from work I went rummaging  through our chest freezer until I found something roughly akin to a steak and it turned out that that was a London Broil.  Nuked it on defrost mode for a bit, then dropped it into an IPA-soy sauce bath to soak while I responded to Leo's urgent pleas for a walk.

Post-walk, back at the ranch, I threw some sweet potatoes in the steamer, CSA mixed greens and arugula in the rinse and spin cycle and fired up the grill.  While the meat grilled, I sauteed up some mushrooms in virgin olive oil (from ugly olives), added a bit of butter, then splashed in some Worcestershire sauce.  A little chipotle powder mashed into the potatoes, some crumbled blue cheese and dressing on the salad and voilĂ , a meal fit for a queen.

The leftovers are already in a steak salad for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Faux Pho

An apparent impending sore throat convinced me that some chicken soup was in order this evening.  Typically in my case that means Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, but tonight I had a boat load of basil, bean sprouts and rice noodles left over from the fresh Thai spring rolls I made on Saturday evening, so I decided to make something along the lines of Pho.  Having neither recipe nor clue, I just decided to fake it.

So, I sauteed some carrots, celery, green onion, chopped lemon grass, grated ginger, diced chicken thighs and about four of those litte green Thai chilies (the really HOT little bastards,) in a little oil with a splash of sesame oil.  Added a bunch of chicken stock, a little each of fish and soy sauce, rice noodles, bean sprouts and basil.  At the last minute I threw in a few leftover frozen shrimp.   Garnished with chopped cilantro, more green onions, bean sprouts and (in my case) some extra Thai chilies soaked in fish sauce.

I may have slightly overdone the Thai chilies; about blew the top of my head off.  But overall, it was pretty delicious.  We'll see if it cures the sore throat.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another New Beverage

Some may remember in the ancient history of this blog, the Pink Taser, a cocktail developed partly as a joke and partly as something unique to bring to a dinner party with friends.

Well, tonight the second of what is supposed to be a series of dinner parties ensues and in keeping with the now long established tradition, I have decided to concoct another new beverage.  Thai cuisine is on tap for this evening, so I started with a little research on Thai cocktails.

I little Googling brought me to Mekhong, the Spirit of Thailand, which seemed promising as a possible starting point of experimentation.  Referred to as whiskey, it looks to me decidedly more like rum.  A moot point, since, sadly, my local BevMo did not carry Mekhong.  I settled instead for a six-pack each of Singha and Chang, two of the top three beers in Thailand, according to some site Google found, so it must be true.

Still, beer seemed a little boring, so I decided to embrace my inner mixicologist.  After browsing a couple recipes for inspiration, I settled on the following, which, like last time, I am creating and testing immediately after breakfast.

As-Yet Unnamed Thai-ish Cocktail

1-1/2 ounce vodka (I'm using Ketel they grow potatoes in Thailand?)
1 ounce lemongrass simple syrup
thin slice fresh ginger
splash of sparkling water (or not, depending on your tastes)

Lightly muddle ginger with ice in a cocktail shaker.  Add vodka and syrup.  Shake.  Pour contents into glass.  Garnish with slice of ginger and a piece of lemongrass stalk.  If you drink it now it tastes a little like a gingery Lemon Drop martini. 

Top off the glass with sparkling water for a lighter, more refreshing beverage.

Lemongrass Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into short pieces and smashed with a mallet

Bring everything to a slow boil until sugar is completely dissolved.  Cover, steep lemongrass overnight.  Strain liquid and discard lemongrass (I squeezed out any leftover juice from the lemongrass to get as much lemongrassy flavor as possible.)

Optional Accessories?

Chilies - I think this would benefit from a few "waffer-thin" slices of fresh green Thai chilies for a little zip, but alas, all my Thai chilies are currently of the dried red variety.

Thai Basil - A tiny bit of basil, muddled with the ginger, would turn this into something more like a Thai Mojito.

Lime Juice - several Thai cocktail recipes called for lime juice, but I was a little afraid of overpowering the lemongrass.  I think all I had to fear was fear itself (and maybe lime juice on a paper cut.)

Will have to try all of the above at some point, but not today...I need to go work with power tools.

Wish me luck.