Go Gators! myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics 2007 National Champs x 2

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it's only human nature."

"Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put into this world to rise above."

The African Queen, 1951.


We celebrated New Years at Thai Villa Restaurant in Winter Park. Don't get confused. We didn't celebrate Thai New Year, Songkran,(that's back in April), but New Years with some wonderful Thais. You know. You've been there.

Dad had the duck. He said it was delicious.

Marsh had the 'Seafood Volcano Special'. He didn't like it. He claims everytime he goes to Thai Villa, he tries something new and hates it. Thank goodness for all those appetizers he ate.

Daron ate the squid and scallops out of Marsh's 'Volcano'. That child will try anything.

Jim had the satay. Surprise, surprise. Oh, and white rice.

Chicken satay, "satay gai"

1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 pound chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and cut into bite sized pieces.
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch turmeric powder (as only a colorant, so very little!)
8 tablespoons coconut milk
3 tablespoons palm sugar

The chicken is beaten flat, using the flat of the blade of a heavy cleaver or using a meat tenderizing mallet. You can also use a rolling pin. I know Tami has a rolling pin.

The coriander and cumin are toasted and then crushed in a mortar and pestle. The ingredients are then combined to form a marinade, and the chicken is marinated overnight. The pieces of chicken are then threaded on the 8" satay sticks, lossely folding them in half and piercing through the folded meat to form a loose gather.

The completed sticks are then grilled on high heat with one of those little hitachis they bring to the table and you could burn the entire place down with if you aren't careful. Oh, wait, hibachi, Hitachi makes televisions. It's probably not one of those either, as 'hibachi' is Japanese, not Thai. Turn them regularly.

I had the Thai Noodle Soup with Shrimp. Here is the recipe, minus the shrimp.

Thai Noodle Soup

6 ounces Thai rice noodles
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass
1 strip of lime peel
2 quarts chicken stock
1 finely chopped, seeded red chile
1 ounce fresh spinach, well-rinsed, finely shredded
1 bunch cilantro sprigs

Boil about 1 quart water in a medium saucepan; place a large, heat-proof mixing bowl on wire rack. Place rice noodles into bowl; when water boils pour water over noodles. Allow noodles to soak 4-5 minutes; drain and return noodles to bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a large, deep heavy-bottomed skillet. Add chopped garlic, sauté for 1 minute; remove from heat. Crush lemongrass; add to skillet. Add lime peel and stock; cook 10 minutes. Strain stock into a large bowl, return strained stock to saucepan, add chili, cook 3 minutes. Add noodles and shredded spinach; cook 1 additional minute. Ladle into bowl and top with sprigs of cilantro.

I think these are Thai Rice Noodles. Whatever they are called, it's what was in my soup. Daron told me, much later, they looked like tapeworms to her, but I think she has her invertebrates mixed up.

Marsh, Daron and Jamie share a light moment together, happy their Christmas money isn't being used to pay the bill.

Jamie traditionally orders the Thai Chicken Soup called 'tom kha kai'.

As Tami explains it, Jimmy orders it for her every time and traditionally, she never eats it.


2 cups coconut milk
6 thin slices young galangal
2 stalks lemon grass, lower portion, cut into 1-in lengths and crushed
5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
8 oz boned chicken breast, sliced
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon black chilli paste
1/4 cup cilanto / coriander leaves, torn
5 green Thai chilli peppers, crushed

Combine half the coconut milk with the galangal, lemon grass, and lime leaves in a large saucepan and heat to boiling. Add the chicken, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, and then add the remaining coconut milk. Heat just to boiling. Place the lime juice and chilli paste in a serving bowl and pour the soup over them. Garnish with cilantro leaves and crushed chilli peppers.

It was good to see Charlotte. I am not sure what she had.

Or Papa. Both had some form of chicken.

Essential Thai Ingredients

Lemon Grass is a plant that looks like grass, smells minty and tastes similar to lemon hence the English name Lemongrass.

Kaffir lime leaves. There is nothing like kaffir lime leaves in the world, as these leaves are just packed with a wonderful strong citrus fragrance. Kaffir lime leaves are used in a wide range of Thai cuisine, notably soups.

If there's any one key ingredient that is critical to cooking Thai cuisine, it is fish sauce--for that reason alone, it's difficult to find vegetarian recipes that actually taste like Thai cuisine. Fish sauce provides the salty dimension in Thai cuisine, and it's high in protein as well as minerals and vitamins. It's made from small fish, salt-fermented for a long time, then the juice is extracted and boiled. Good fish sauce should be clear and brownish in color.

Most Thai recipes start with sliced garlic frying in oil, and go from there. It would be hard to eat a Thai meal without having garlic in one form or another.

Thai chile peppers. Thais cannot imagine food without chile--they sometimes eat them as a snack.

Coconut milk is the rich base for many Thai curries and sweet dishes. Coconut milk or 'ga-ti' is traditionally made by mixing the grated meat of a ripe coconut with warm water and then squeezing out the juice.

Galanga is a type of ginger, but it's milder and looks different than the usual form of ginger found in supermarkets. Galanga interacts well and gives a distinctive, lightly acid taste and helps reduce the smell of meat. Slices of galangal are added to many kinds of curry and soup. Some people crush the bulb and boil it in water as a preparation to cure indigestion or stomach upsets.

Sweet is a key taste in Thai food, and many recipes use palm sugar. The sugar is harvested from a sugar palm tree, produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds. The sap is collected each morning and boiled in huge woks on the plantations until a sticky sugar remains. This is whipped and dropped in lumps on cellophane, or filled into containers.

Jasmine rice. Also known as "fragrant rice", Thailand produces rice that's considered the very highest quality in the world. Indeed, much of the rice exported around the world is from Thailand.

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