I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Make-do Meals and other Culinary Adventures,lol

Hi everyone! The weekend is almost over, we have to think about meals for the coming week, right?

This past week we travelled far and wide on an unplanned international food adventure. Our itinerary, in reverse, begins:
last night! Oh yes, yes. Fantastic Mexican dinner, a treat for me to eat out. Guacamole made fresh right at our table, sizzling beef and shrimp fajitas served with paper thin artisan corn tortillas. But the best? Peach Margaritas! As pastel-y pretty at as a summer sunset cloud, and unbelievably delicious.

I'll be back, Don Juan's! With more of my friends!

A few days previous, at home, we had a belated St Patrick's Day dinner  inspired by my blog friend Sue, who mentioned a meal of Irish shepherd's pie. I was inspired, but lazy:  browned a pound or so of ground beef [dislike lamb] and onions, added a bag of fancy frozen mixed veggies which included tiny carrots and asparagus. More tiny carrots from the bin. A jar of Heinz brown gravy.  Stir, heat gently. Season with parsley, black pepper, horseradish, dill, tarragon, caraway. Dump it into a casserole dish [9" x 13" Pyrex]; heat a container of store bought mashed potatoes then spread on top to make a crust. Bake 350 * for 1/2 hour-ish until bubbly and the mashed are browned a bit. I served it with steamed cabbage on the side and sauteed spinach.

It was pretty good, and very easy. But it would have been better as a ''pot pie'' with a buttery, flaky pie crust on the top instead. Bob Evans mashed potatoes are, um [sorry!] not so great.

But then! The best meal of the past week was ''homemade''--apologetically from a kit,
Pad Thai.

Pad Thai is the most common epitome of Thai food, like chop suey or pizza, or---shepherd's pie? But I *love* it. It's a wonderful combination of rice noodles, crispy veg, and chopped peanuts. It isn't hot-spicy. So one day a few months ago while probably hunting for sesame cooking oil or soy sauce in the ''Asian'' aisle, I spied this fun red box. To experiment with?

I brought it home! Then I set it aside because I never had all the makings at the the same time. Kinda forgot about the box, but when I was spring cleaning the fridge I saw it again and set it on the front row so I'd remember it. The other day I actually had leftover rare steak to slice for the minimal amount of meat needed. I had a bunch of green spring onions, or scallions.

The noodles are almost transparent rice noodles. If you ever use them be very sure to undercook them, as they turn into nasty mush if left to soak too long in their hot water. I actually time them at 6 minutes.

Fine. I opened the little pouch and made the sauce, got the big skillet going....uh oh.
I finally read the directions. No seasame oil. And did I have limes? No. [lemons!]. Did I have peanuts? No. [toasted sunflower seeds okay?] Did I have fresh raw [or any, let's be honest here] bean sprouts?* Well no. But I had lots of beautiful green cabbage, a head sells for 18 cents a pound right now.

*Bean Sprouts! I just have to add my little OT rant here. I was reading about ''healthy'' food substitutions the other night. And the article sugested subbing bean sprouts for spaghetti/ pasta. You know, with your meatballs and marinara? Now I love veggies, I like bean sprouts fine, but the last place I wanna find a bean sprout is in my freakin' spaghetti dish! Yeesh. Get real, Delish or whoever.
 Okay, back at the stove at the beach..... 

Yum! I forged on with my prep. The noodles and sauce get stir fried for about 2 minutes, add the veg, just heat through, add the thinly sliced beef or chicken. Stir it around. I added a leftover cup of Trader Joe's lemon pepper pappardelli noodles, which added dimension and extra flavor.

I stirred in the green onions at the end.

Serve with the chopped peanuts on top , garnish with the green ends of the scallions. My children like their Thai food spicy and added red pepper flakes. And chopsticks.

This was...not like Cha Ba's in town---but pretty fantastic on a cold rainy night.
Another winner! Yay.




gone to the beach....

brave tiny daffodil shoots

lol, prob'ly do not need to say that this was NOT a review paid for or solicited by Thai Kitchens.


  1. LOL, liked your 'rant' about bean sprouts in your spaghetti. I feel the same way about 'spaghetti' squash! It does NOT taste the same!

    Your version of Pad Thai looks a lot like my favorite Japanese noodle stir-fry (whose name momentarily escapes me). I'll have to tell you about it later.

    I was wrong about the snow. I got up about 1pm and looked outside - BIG fat fluffy flakes falling, so wet they sort of splat. At least the temp is high enough that they aren't really sticking, just leaving wet spots. LOL, that sounded bad...

  2. Hello from your "Food Inspirator"
    your version of the Shep's pie sounds great. My husband said he would prefer the beef gravy over the tomato soup I used for a version this past Sat. I went the easy route with canned (OMG) carrots and prepared mashed potatoes from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The guests enjoyed or at least they were gracious enough to say it was wonderful. Gotta try the Pad Thai - yum! Til the next dish turns or the bowl spins...
    Sue McQ in IL

  3. You crack me up!...LOL That looks incredibly tasty. I love all your substitutions. You are one clever cook. :) Kit

  4. Wow, you were a busy girl! The Pad Thai looks especially good. It's fun to dress up store bought meals and turn them into something better.

    Daffodil shoots!!! Exciting!



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