A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thai shrimp and noodles

   Here’s an ostensibly Thai preparation that I put together one night because I didn’t want to go the grocery store and because I had all the ingredients on hand. This kind of Thai recipe is very commonplace, but I did two things that make it ever so slightly different. I used a can of mango nectar which I reduced by about half to intensify its fruitiness, and I tossed in some corn. 
   The green curry paste can be found in many grocery stores in small jars, along with red and yellow. One tablespoon is enough to give this just a bit of a kick, but it’s by no means incendiary. Do not confuse Thai curry paste with Indian curry powder. Big difference, not that the latter would make a terrible dish here by any means.
   The lemongrass is best found in Asian markets. I’ve seen it available in ordinary grocery stores in those little clear plastic containers alongside fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, and sage. The typical price for all of these things is about $3, which is absurd for the two sticks of lemongrass that you get. Pay it if you like. An alternative is to simply squeeze a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon or lime juice into the finished dish.
   I used dried Japanese spinach noodles because they’re a pale green, and they appealed to my sense of aesthetics. Any spinach taste is quite subtle. Use another noodle if you like, and, of course, jasmine rice would be good, too.
Canola oil, 1 Tbs
Garlic, 1 or 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, 2 tsp, minced
Green curry paste, 1 Tbs, more or less depending on your heat tolerance
Coconut milk, 1 13.6 oz can
Mango nectar, 1 11.3 oz can
White pepper, several grinds
Salt, 1 tsp
Lemongrass, 1 4” or 5” inch length, split
Bamboo shoots, sliced, half of one small can
Corn, 1 cup
Basil, several leaves
Shrimp, 8 oz, shelled and deveined
Scallions, 3 or 4, sliced
Noodles, 4 or 5 oz
Reduce the mango nectar over high heat until it’s about half its original amount.
Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté the garlic and ginger for a minute or so, taking care not to burn the garlic. Now put in the curry paste and continue sautéeing for another minute. Pour in the coconut milk and reduced mango nectar. Add the white pepper and salt, the lemongrass, the bamboo shoots, the corn, and a few torn basil leaves. Turn down the heat and simmer for five or ten minutes. Now add the shrimp and cook for ten minutes. Add the sliced scallions and serve atop the noodles.

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