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thai spring squash

thai-ish eggplants and summer squashes

So this is a hella modified recipe based on one in Nancie McDermott’s Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking

Original recipe:

Moo Paht Peht
Pork Sauteed in Red Curry Paste

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste (recipe also in book)
1/2 lb pork, thinnly sliced into strips about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 teaspoons sugar
12 green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup diced eggplant (1-inch dice)
a handful of graprao leaves of other fresh basil leaves or mint leaves
12 fresh wild lime leaves
9 long, thin sweet red pepper strips

In a wok or medium skillet, heat the oil over low heat until very warm but not hot. Add the curry paste, which should sizzle gently as soon as it meets the oil, and press and stir it into the oil. Cook the curry paste, mashing it into the oil, until it is well blended, fragrant, and shiny, about 3 minutes. Add the meat and stir-fry to brown it and coat it evenly with the curry paste, about 2 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, water sugar, green beans, and eggplant; mix well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the basil leaves, lime leaves, and red pepper strips, reserving a little for garnish. Transfer to a plate, garnish, and serve warm.

note: omit the wild lime leaves and fresh basil if they are difficult to find

My recipe:

So I started with 1 tsp of olive oil. Into which, I added 2 teaspoons of red curry paste (because this was the third dish I had made from one little can) and an onion, quartered and sliced.

After the onions had started to melt, I added 7 cloves of garlic, coarsely minced, and around 3/4-inch of garlic, finely minced.

Then I added 1/2 cup of concentrated stock (because I thought stock was in the recipe, but I must have been thinking of a different one), 1/2 cup of water, and 2 chinese eggplant (sliced with rolling cut).

When the eggplant started softening, I added 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, and then sliced into half rounds. I also added 2 teaspoons of white sugar I had with lime and grapefuit zest.

Since I was right out of fish sauce, I poured in some worcestershire sauce and some salt. And since I was out of hot basil, I used regular basil, some fennel, and a dash of five spice powder. At the very end, I squeezed half a lime over it all.

Served over rice, it still needed a bit more salt. Other than that, very tasty.

Poached Egg over Tomato and Spinach, Salad with Za’tar salad dressing

I made an amazing breakfast.

The initial plan was to cook down some spinach and tomato and then scramble an egg in it – pretty standard.

And it started out simple enough with about as much fresh spinach by volume as the tomato (so there ended up being a lot more tomato once everything cooked down).

But this was a big, luscious tomato from my mother’s garden, so it released a lot of liquid. So I poured off some of the liquid (into a jar to keep since I could put it in rice or soup or something – and it’d be wasteful otherwise – and don’t judge me because just wait until the depression or the apocalypse hits because then you’ll all want me to be managing your foodstuffs so you won’t get scurvy), and then I poured off some more. And then I realized that it was just willing to cook down into sauce.

I added a bit of 5 spice powder for fun.

So instead of scrambling the egg, I just cracked it in and gave it a lot of channels into the goody and poached it right there, covering the pan occasionally so that the top would steam cook, too.

And I ground some pepper and sprinkled kosher salt on top.

And oh my, it was like pudding – tasty savoury egg, tomato, and spinach pudding. Only sexier.

I have enough spinach to try it again and see if the results are repeatable.


And there was a salad with za’tar

I went home last weekend, and I ended up cleaning out and organizing my mother’s space cabinet. A while back, she had purchased a tiny container of zatar from Penzey’s because it sounded unlike any of the other stuff in her cabinet (we’ve never cooked with sumac much). A few years later, it still hadn’t been used, and it wasn’t sounding like anything my father would enjoy, so it came home with me.

My initial plan was to soak it in lime juice and then taste it and build a salad dressing from there. Luckily, however, I looked it up online before I started, since apparently it has a sour taste that can replace lime/lemon/tamarind in recipes. So once I knew that was how it slotted in, it became easy and I’ll be able to use it regularly.

Cold bits
spring mix
sliced tomato
serrano pepper

Hot bits
roasted zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and bell pepper (rewarmed in the microwave)

3/4 tsp za’tar
1/2 tsp crushed mustard
2 Tbsp white balsamic
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine
3 small scallions, sliced

food list

food I have
buttload of peaches (not yet ripe)
many tomatoes
dozen hot peppers
1 salad’s worth of greens
roasted summer veggies – eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper
small purple/white eggplant
collard greens
1 cucumber

chicken stock
fancy roast beef leftovers
roast pork leftovers

whole wheat & white tortillas
whole grain brown bread
only 3 more bagels in freezer

Monday, August 11
I’ve sorted and soaked half a package of cow beans
starting tonight or tomorrow, I’ll put that together with the pork to make chili.

dinner: salad with roast beef, tomatoes… (and?)

Tuesday, August 12
get more lettuce

my weekend

My weekend was a little busy…

I went to play D&D with friends. Some canceled.

Instead, we went out to dinner. We passed by the Jazz in the Park, which we could have listened to if we had sat outside, but opted for the immediate seating available inside, instead. Food was a bit dubious – I had shrimp that had the texture of steak. Later, I ate my back up salad because it was the blueberry salad I’d been planning for a few days.

And then we watched Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which I had never seen. I caught a whole bunch of references that had been tossed around at nerd camp.

I did not go to Salsa dancing, but I think I shall try to get there on the 22nd, if anyone would like to join me.

Got up and made the one reliable thing I have that’s good for a pot luck where I’ll have a few hours without refrigeration before serving: asian pickle (as taught to me by Meghan – thinly sliced onion, carrots, and cucumber, tossed together with some rice vinegar and sugar).

Went to exercise. I missed yoga but caught pilates.

Picked up [redacted], headed up to GeeksDoItBetter, and had an awesome papermaking workshop. I kept trying to make thinner paper, but it wasn’t as well behaved as the thicker ones. Others were disappointed, however, by how much thickness they lost as they drained the water from the pulp on the screen. Despite how new we were, our paper turned out as well as most amateur paper I have seen.

Dragged my ass out of bed at 9am and went to my parents’. Had sticky rice, mango, melon, and blackberried for breakfast.

I sewed a couple pamphlets my mother wants to attach to the (now) framed maps they accompany.

Took home some peaches and some tomatoes & hot peppers from my parents’ garden.

Came home. Unloaded.

Met up with [redacted] for Indian buffet (I ordered off the menu).

There was amazing weather. We were getting torrential rain, but in bands with beautiful sunny skies in between. Oddly, it was dry everytime I needed to walk somewhere (but the drive home from my parents’ was a bit treacherous).

While we were at dinner, we got a call telling us to look outside at the double rainbow. By the time we left, however, it was gone. But the sky was just amazing – clear and sunny with late evening’s dying rays lighting up the threatening green half of the sky in iridescent shades of gold. [redacted] rightly said that the tall buildings in the skyline all looked like mica.

Then we went to World Cafe Live to see Bitter:Sweet with and because they had raved about this group. And rightly so. I bought a CD. Go have a look – they have good music *and* awesome stylish performances. They’ll be in Boston tonight (sorry – short notice!) and DC tomorrow, but other than that most of you will probably miss this tour. They were talking about trying for another tour in April. Their soups are always good, so I had that. [redacted] had the eggplant fries, now that the knows that anything (even eggplant) is good if it is sliced thinly and fried – but, really, these are lovely – the eggplant is all mellow, like butter, inside a thick, crispy batter.

And it was so lovely by the time we left (clear and cool – for once in August), that I decided to walk home. A third of the way there, I was distracted by and sucked into a random dance party in the street. So I went in and danced until a little after midnight.

This morning was pretty amazing, too. I had quit the dancing early because I was worried that my thighs would be sore in the morning and that my knee would get swollen – but no ill effects at all.

We worked extra hard in pilates this morning, and I managed to do an exercise I hadn’t been able to do before (on of the ones where you roll your self up from a completely flat starting position).

And then I sat out on my porch enjoying the unusual cool weather and eating fruit. The property was getting its lawn mowed, too, so I ended up drinking water and attempting to chat with the guy mowing it while he took a break. We were doing really well with the smiling and nodding pleasantries, but he ended up saying he wished I spoke Spanish instead. But I did get him to talk a little bit about Guatemala and could understand his pidgin pretty well – just not so much with producing my own.

And then I went to work, and the world reverted to Monday.

3 salads in 36 hours!

I’ve been thinking about BLTs ever since I ran across this BLT on a food blog.

And while I did stop by the supermarket and feel up the avocados, none of them were ripe enough to use tonight.

BLT inspired.

hot bit (part 1)
made bacon (I only had one slice thawed, so that’s all of the bacon. Just set it off to drain on paper towels for a bit)

cold bits
spring mix
2 scallions
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion, sliced very thinly
2 small tomatoes (from my mother’s garden), quartered and sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre

hot bit (part 2)
2 ounces leftover chicken breast, sliced (I ended up heating this under the broiler since I was also roasting veggies, but it could be cooked in residual bacon fat, if some were drained and wiped out)

Grey Poupon
balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Manischewitz
1/4 tsp soy sauce


So there was bacon in that salad. And there are breakfast burritos. And so I was thinking, “Hey – there could be a breakfast salad.”

Breakfast Salad

hot bit (part 1)
boil 1 potato and 1 egg

hot bit (part 2)
make bacon (1.5 slices)

cold bit
spring mix
finely sliced onion
finely sliced tomato
finely sliced hot pepper

hot bit (unification)
slice potato & toss with 1 tsp olive oil and some salt
slice hard boiled egg
crumble bacon over top right before eating

leftover from the BLT salad

verdict – both the potato and the egg was a bit much. Either one could have been left off with no ill effect. But, hey, I’ve never made a breakfast salad before. 🙂


I’d been cobbling together odds and ends of my mismatched collection of condiments, and I spied my jar of blueberry jelly – as yet unmolested in my salad making adventures. So I started planning a blueberry salad. Now this one is weird, but trust me, it was tasty. I wasn’t even starving when I ate it, and it was still tasty.

Blueberry Salas

I started with the
3 Tablespoons of blueberry preserves
1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp chinese mustard
3/4 tsp coriander chutney
1/2″ finely minced fresh ginger
a generous amount of ground cinnamon

and then I sliced
1 bosc pear into the dressing because I figured that blueberries wouldn’t provide enough body on their own, but I was worried about them softening/discoloring, so I let them sit in the vinegary dressing for a bit before adding them to the salad

cold bits
spring mix
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, and then into thin slices
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre
about 1/2 a cup of blueberries

Add dressing

hot bit
dry toasted 1/3 cup of walnut pieces on the stove
Once they were all warm and toasty, I tossed them in a jar with some cinnamon
And then sprinkled most of them on the salad

All in all, it was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped.