Sunday, July 15, 2012

We Tried to do Thai

Let's start with what we actually ate for dinner this week. Check out this incredibly beautiful plate of noms:

Spicy peanut Thai noodles, with traditional Thai  garnish

Now that we have all admired the actual dinner, let's discuss the fiasco we had to go through in order to put this on the plate. My original plan for quite different. Taking my inspiration from the local farmers' markets, I found some absolutely beautiful Swiss Chard last week. Not having worked with it before, but immediately being inspired to do a Thai flavored spring roll, I bought a half pound and gleefully returned home. I would pair these with some soba noodles tossed simply in sesame oil and sesame seeds, so the true highlight of the dish were the spring rolls and the spicy peanut dipping sauce I would pair them with. So far, so good right?

Spring rolls, all sprung up and ready to serve the next day.

Here is where I think I went wrong - I made these spring rolls the day before I planned on eating them. By blanching the Swiss chard leaves (in order to make them pliable enough to roll up, and to take away some of their innate bitterness) I am afraid they sat overnight and developed a most unpleasant slimy texture, which is most definitely not good eats. But they were encompassing such beautiful ingredients inside, what was I to do... plus I wanted to use my dynamite spicy peanut sauce.

Spring rolls, before being all sprung together.

And then, genius struck. Why not reconfigure the whole dish? Toss the noodles (whole wheat thin spaghetti because my grocery was out of soba noodles) in the spicy peanut sauce, and then top the noddles with the insides of the spring roll, completely discarding the Swiss chard all together. I was displeased with having to waste the Swiss chard, but at least the rest of the meal was salvaged. As Peter has often said, the best meals are those which are conceptualized on the fly, as this one was.

Our new and improved noodle toppings.

The lesson here? So what is things don't go according to plan? Everything will turn out in the end (and may be even more delicious than first anticipated.)

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
4 TB fresh lime juice
3 TB light sodium soy sauce
3 TB honey or brown sugar
2 TB orange juice (or enough to thin)

Mix everything together with a little elbow grease; this mixture can be quite thick, so thin with orange juice until it is pliable and smooth. 

**Remember that this sauce can be used as a dipping sauce (as I had originally planned) or tossed with noodles, to be served either hot or cold. If this is case, the sauce can be a bit thicker as the heat of the noodles after they are cooked will naturally thin the sauce down for you.

** Spring Roll/Thai Noodle toppings:
julienne carrot
julienne red bell pepper
julienne mango
green onion
poached chicken
sesame seeds
chopped peanuts

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