Saturday, April 16, 2011

tom kha gai

you know those dishes you must try at every restaurant? is it the creme brulee? the pad thai? FROG LEGS? what is it for you?

i named a few of mine above, i'll let you guess which. but a definite one for G and i at every thai restaurant is tom kha gai, a delicious soup with the perfect blend of sweet and sour asian goodness. i just love it.

maybe it's the lime.

maybe it's the lemongrass.

but it's probably just the fact that many of my favorite asian foods combine this perfect blend of sweet and sour with that subtle background heat. that's what i'm talkin' about, people!

tom kha gai
six servings/about 30 minutes

2 cups chicken stock
3 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut cream
3 stalks lemongrass
4 slices galangal (or ginger)
5 thai chillies, halved
2 limes
3 tbs fish sauce
1 package mushrooms of your choice

- first, take the lemon grass and cut off the bottom six inches, we only want the white part for this soup. wash it, cut it into two-inch bits and bruise it with your cleaver and the palm of your hand for optimum flavor.
- combine chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal in a pot to simmer for five minutes.
- add coconut milk, cream, chillies, juice of one lime and fish sauce to simmer for another five.
- add mushrooms and simmer until cooked ( you could also asked sliced raw chicken at this point.)
- stir in remaining lime juice. test for sweet/sour balance and adjust according to your taste.

*i'm sure this would be better with kaffir lime leaves but i could not find any! time to just buy the tree instead!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

thank you part two

i have good news and i have bad news.

good : monica is working closely with PBS this entire week at new world symphony which is AWESOME.

bad : due to her work schedule, 30x30x30 is being put on hold until saturday at least! oh dear me! what ever will we do!!?!?! the busy bachelorette's schedule is getting the best of us!

i'll wrap up recital weekend. that's what i'll do.

and if that's not enough. i'll tell you what i have been eating locally in austin - in case you're jonesin' for some good eats.

first things first. i kept my recital reception pretty small but wanted to use recipes i have created as reminders of the staples in my family from all of the many teas and luncheons my sweet Mom has thrown over the last few decades. she's a fantastic lady and an amazing cook and luckily, she passed on the skills to both of my sisters, so i've been watching the ultimate homemakers in their kitchens my whole life. i could explode with the pride i feel for the women in my family. we're passionate, fierce, opinionated, a little bit ridiculous, mostly a hoot and always up for throwing the sweetest little southern party you ever did see! and now, for the second time (the wedding being the first) my dear Mother in law has been thrown into the Parks women madness. she's becoming one of us! look out!

you know what makes these little gatherings special? the small touches. most of mine came from good friends. a porcelain owl pitcher (katelyn) cute little peacock calling cards for recipe names (bekah) a little lace, and a bit of bird confetti! you'd be surprised how often people notice the little things and make the time to comment on them.

the menu

whole wheat banana cupcakes with chocolate buttercream
strawberry-basil scones with lime glaze
whole wheat mini pies with cran-pear compote
traditional lemon bars
mama's mint tea punch

and after this little party? we started stuffing ourselves, in this order and with these dish recommendations :

FINO : mediterranean roasted vegetable cazuela, chicken paella
Salt Lick : ribs n' BRISKET!
Round Rock Donuts : go with the GLAZED!
Torchy's Tacos : the democrat and fried avocado
Mi Tierra in San Antonio
Iron Cactus : happy hour for lobster tacos and tableside guac <3
County Line BBQ : TBD

*none of the above restaurants are in any way associated with my blog - just favorites around town!

before i blow up from all of the food intake, i'm getting out of here. thanks again to the special ladies who helped me this week and of course to the ultimate husband and fathers, too! and once more, liz love for these pictures!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

thank you!!

thank you for all of the well wishes for a great recital day! it was such a wonderful experience, truly the best recital i have ever given. and i just really let luce (haha) and played the music i love so much!

and i am happy to report that the food was a great success as well. my friend liz snapped pictures of it all, so i will hopefully be able to show you very soon! for now, enjoy the two preview photos of the scone bites and the tiniest little pies i have ever made. boy, were they time consuming!!

in the meantime, monica and i are still on our small hiatus, hopefully to return tomorrow (or maybe the day after... the 30x30 turning into 30x90!) and i would like to take this opportunity to revise a recipe i posted a while ago; the strawberry basil scones. the whole wheat flour was good but impossibly sticky with the addition of fresh strawberries. i decided to remake them with white flour for the reception and found that whenever adding fresh strawberries, it is best to lightly roll out the dough and scoop it up into little bite sized scones! i am not a trained professional here, so this is what i have come up with!

Strawberry Basil Scones Revised
scone base adapted from the one, the only alton brown

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 tbs butter, chilled
2 tbs shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine

-combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. cut in butter and shortening.
-whisk buttermilk and egg. slowly pour into dry ingredients and combine.
-lightly fold in strawberries and basil.
-plop dough onto a lightly floured piece of wax paper. cover with another piece of wax paper and a little flour. roll out just a little bit. scoop with tablespoon onto tray into bite sizes. they fluff up quite a bit so don't be afraid to make them small!
-bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. top with lime glaze (lime juice and zest with powdered sugar) when cooled if desired.