Wednesday, March 31

Fad Pie. Er something.

Yes. It was decided last night that their dinner was going to be called Fad Thai after repeated attempts to tell the boys it was "Paaaaaad Thai, not Fad Pie." Another battle lost.

This is the second time I've cooked this recipe from scratch and it continues to improve. Pad Thai is one of the most recognized Thai dishes in the US, and I happen to love it. If you ever find yourself ordering it when dining in an Asian bistro, it's just as worth it to make it at home.

My recipe is based on a few different variations I've found. Two months ago our family jumped on the vegetarian band wagon and admittedly LOVE it. This spin off is obviously as such, but any meat could easily be substituted for the tofu.

Pad Thai
Serves: 2-4
8 oz. Pad Thai noodles [rice stick]
1/4 c. vegetable oil [or peanut]
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3-4 scallions, sliced [divided]
12-16 oz. extra firm tofu [drained & pressed]
2 T. fish sauce [vegetarian or splurge for regular]
1/4 c. hot water
1 T. tamarind paste
1 t. brown sugar [packed]
1 t. crushed chili pepper sauce
1/8 c. tamari
1/8 c. lime juice
1 t. peanut butter
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1 c. steamed vegetable [snow peas, broccoli, etc.]
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

To begin with, place uncooked noodles in large pot and cover them with cold water. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. As they sit, I occasionally swish [very technical I know] them through the water to separate the noodles. Drain pasta when complete and return to the pot.

While noodles soak, take your drained & pressed tofu and cube into desired size. I usually opt for a 1/2" cube myself but whatever floats your boat. Season the tofu with salt & pepper. Heat a large skillet with 1-2 teaspoons of oil and when hot add the tofu and cook until golden on all sides.

As the tofu cooks, in a small bowl combine the hot water with the tamarind paste. Once it dissolves, push it through a sieve and add the brown sugar, peanut butter, lime juice, tamari, fish sauce and remaining oil. Stir to combine and set aside.

When the tofu is just about finished, add 1/3 of the scallions to the pan and all of the garlic. Saute for another minute or two and remove from the heat. Place the pot containing the drained noodles back onto the stove top at medium high heat. Add the sauce to the noodles and the tofu mixture, and cook for another two minutes. Add bean sprouts and steamed vegetables, the crushed chili peppers and remaining scallions to the pot, and toss to combine. Remove noodles from the heat and place into a serving dish. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts if desired.

I know there are a ridiculous amount of ingredients, but I'm finding the more often I make it the easier it becomes. And the big payoff is the amazing flavor of this dish. I honestly could eat it three days a week indefinitely and not get sick of it. There are many "instant" Pad Thai boxed up meals in the grocery stores, but there are so many added preservatives that I find the stuff made from scratch cannot be beat.

Friday, March 12

A Tale of Twigs

Although the content of the whispers and giggles was uncertain from down the hall, CurlyLocks could hear the quiet hum drum of a conversation flowing out of TweedleDee and TweedleDo's room. The two boys settled into bed about a half an hour earlier and yet still they continued with their banter late into the evening.

CurlyLocks entered her bedroom which was adjacent to the TweedleBoys' room. She set her alarm for the early gym wake up call at 4:55am, and paused when she heard something perplexing coming from the conversation in the room next to hers. The wee little boys are toddlers and so the content was a bit surprising to say the least, but at the same time she shook her head remembering who their father was, and acknowledged also they are a species to which she cannot fully understand: they are boys.

"TweedleDee, you know your twig and berries?" shouted TweedleDo from his crib.

"My twig and berries, TweedleDo? Yes I know."

"Oh. Ok-aaaaaay." Long pause. "Can I see?"

"You want to see my twig and berries, TweedleDo?"

"Ummm... yes please!"

"See that TweedleDo. See my twig and berries?"

"Ummm... no. Where TweedleDee?"

"It's right there, TweedleDo! See it?"

"Oh, ok-aaaaaay! Thank you, TweedleDee! I not show you my twig and berries. I keep my jammies on." Long pause, again. This must have been a moment of intrigue for them both, but a moment of utter shock for CurlyLocks. "TweedleDee, you see Daddy's twig and berries?"


"Mommy's twig and berries?" CurlyLocks held her breath ever so gently and quietly gasped. In fact, it was most certain that the entire session of eavesdropping was accompanied by a long, progressive gasp.

"TweedleDo, Mommies don't have twig and berries. They have... they have... sumpin'."

"Yea. Sumpeeen awright... um, TweedleDee?"

"Yes, TweedleDo?"

"You like red trucks?" And so the conversation drifted away from the gutter banter and continued toward discussion of innocent topics like firetrucks, rain puddles, and marshmallows. And within a few moments CurlyLocks lifted her jaw that dropped to the floor, planted a smile upon her face, a giggle under her breath ready to share the story with her hubby, Mr. Clean, who would undoubtedly feel a sense of pride for his young brutes.

Mr. Clean did not disappoint, and they all fell to sleep peacefully ever after.