Monday, February 7, 2011


Since my son was born my wife has taken a hiatus from the daily cooking. That is, other than a pair of meals I've cooked every dinner.

This, of course, means that I've been able to indulge myself in cooking South-East Asian cuisine. There are a couple reasons why I cook this way:

I used to live on 20th and Spruce which meant that for many years I was directly behind the local Vietnamese place - the Thanh Vu. Named for the two owners - that is, Thanh and Vu - the Thanh Vu was and is an amazing experience. At the time I was involved in boxing, Thai kick boxing and kung fu three times a week. When we were finished our classes which were on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we'd head by the Thanh Vu and have whatever they wanted to dish up to us that night. So for a couple years, I ate Vietnamese at least three times a week.

This was also reinforced by a long string of food-related illnesses caused by my lack of common sense in the kitchen. Putting it succinctly, I was a very capable baker when I started living on my own but not so good with cooking protein. When my friend Jon decided to intervene definitively and teach me to cook (he was a newly trained chef himself) he chose to stick to the simple chicken + rice + veg combination. Cubed chicken is pretty much impossible to under cook so my incidence of self-poisoning dramatically decreased.

If you combine these two things with the fact that I'm obsessive compulsive, you can see why I evolved the way that I did.

Looking back over the last couple weeks, I believe I can safely assert than in the last 20 meals I've cooked there have been no repetitions. That is, all adhere to a basic chicken + rice + veg layout but the specifics are pretty drastically different.

For example, for tonight I pan fried chicken with sesame oil, yellow bakers sugar and garam masala. I then took a vindaloo sauce, added a cup of coconut milk and reduced it all down to a rich cream. A great success overall.

Yesterday I pan fried tofu with cashews, deglazed the pan with a citrus 5-alive mix, and then added this to a more traditional yellow curry. Lots of texture and flavors.

We've done chicken madras, thai coconut soup, peanut satays, and so on, over the last month. It's been truly fantastic. Selfishly, I am looking forward to my wife's cooking which is more along the lines of heavy stews, roasts and hearty food like this.

(As an aside, if anyone is aware of a good online recipe application, particularly something that plays nicely with Google Apps, then I'd love to hear about it. I'm not opposed to something that I could run on my Debian box but a web interface is ideal for the smart phones in the house.)

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