Friday, May 29, 2009

Tantalizingly Thai

You know that restaurant five minutes from where you live, that you've never tried, but always tell yourself you should?

I literally run by this restaurant almost every time I go out. See that sidewalk to the left in the picture? That is the view I have almost every other day. I usually don't look in, since it's too dark to see, but the patrons get a nice view of me all sweaty while they're eating. Yum.

Oddly enough, I was tired of cooking one night and the closest places in the Entertainment book were all fast food. What's more, we had both thought about Tantalizingly Thai that evening, so we took it as kismet and went.

I'm not a big Thai food person, but Pei Wei's is a favorite among my work friends. I know it's what Taco Bell is to Mexican food, but sometimes you want it, you know? Plus, there are usually a lot of curry dishes, and these are not my friend.

It's a little pricey, but I ended up with fried rice noodles with shrimp, and Andy went with green curry beef (and no, it wasn't green). I liked the rice noodles but was only meh on the curry for obvious reasons. Next time, I'd rather split an order of pad thai and an appetizer, because a plate was a lot of food for one person but juuuust not quite enough for two.

As for the reviews, I disagree with it being a horrible pit of a place (/exaggeration). The reviewer who talked about white people discussing the movie Sideways? At least on a Thursday night, that seemed to be the clientele. Except for the nut job yelling at the cars outside the liquor store in the next strip mall over. I'd go back mostly for the convenience factor. But if you're in the neighborhood it might be worth trying. And you should try your local restaurants too. Isn't it more fun to have a nice little place close by?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

Last weekend we were invited to an impromptu barbecue, and signed ourselves up to bring a potato and a dessert.

I forget where I got the idea for twice baked potatoes. I will credit my lovely husband for it.

The thing is, these are painfully easy to make. Sure, the baking takes a while, but have you ever had a bad twice baked potato? Of course not.

I hit up Allrecipes for this one again. It looked the easiest. Plus I got to break out the food processor. Yes, there are other ways, but it is a wonderful luxury to have in your kitchen.

The only problem here was that I thought they were a bit dry. Because I don't like sour cream and I don't like to use a full cup of butter. Even still, I'd say they were a success because our hosts kept the leftovers... and I made a lot.

And I still have about three pounds of potatoes left over. Expect more potato dishes in the future.

Chicken Curry

Having lived in Southern California a while, I've finally worked my way up to the typical medium-spicy salsas. This, with the Indian food at the Stroll & Savor last week, meant I wanted to make curry.

So I googled chicken curry and got a decently rated recipe from It looked promising. As far as I could tell. I mean, before seeing the recipe, I knew of curry spice.

I also made regular Mahatma rice (I wasn't about to go buy jasmine rice all special for this one dish, even though I bought curry spice for this one dish) and spinach. There's some kind of spinach dish served at Indian restaurants, but I was too lazy at this point to try and figure out what it was.

It came out fine; very spicy. It made my stomach hurt, as all curry does, so I must have done something right. Although it was missing something; a warmer, maybe creamier flavor? This is most likely because I couldn't find plain yogurt in something smaller than 36 ounces at the store, and didn't bother with the coconut milk. I just used regular milk.

So, lesson learned: you can't always just substitute something. Especially when it's the first time you've made it and you don't know what you're doing.


I spend probably more time than I should looking up new and fun things to cook. So when our friend living in Italy posted an instructional video for pizzoccheri I was planning on adapting it for my kitchen within the first two minutes.

Essentially, it's noodles, cabbage, potatoes, and cheese; like macaroni and cheese made from scratch and not the electric orange box kind.

I used:

  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 "green cabbage" (yes, this is what our local store called it)
  • 2 giant russet potatoes
  • 8 ounces parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces butter (or margarine, or vegetable spread, or whatever I bought last)
  • some garlic
  • some bay leaves
Obviously I didn't have a lot of the same ingredients. But it seemed like things came out alright.

Mmmm... yummy looking, right? If I were to make this again (and I will), I would leave the cabbage in bigger chunks and not cook the potatoes as long. They sort of ... disintegrated.

Making the whole box of pasta really makes a lot, especially if there's only two of you. So we had it the next night as a side dish to tuna steaks and a white wine.

And there is still some left over. But it reheats like magic. Next time I would (will) add some bacon, but you could really add anything you'd like. Significantly improvised, but successful!