Friday, July 3, 2009

Homecooking for the 4th of July

Today was a full of vegan delights-all but one(Vegan guava and cheese pastry from Honeytree-will blog about the spot on a later day) were from my(many thanks to my sous chef/dish washer) kitchen. Haha suckas! can't get this shit anywhere else!

The highlight grocery shopping trip was the kaffir lime leaves found at the Vinh Anh-I had my face buried in the grocery bag of heavenly herbs and spices(thai basil, viet mint, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass) for the entire car ride. Clearly kaffir limes is my new favorite taste sensation. They are more fragrant than regular limes, not more citrusy just more fragrant.

(sidenote, highlight of the entire day was a trip to the most gangsta body shop in Miami. I'm pretty sure the guy does not file 1099s for his employees)

Anyhoo, I would say I was cooking up a storm, but in reality, I was chopping, slicing, and dicing alot more than I was cooking.

First on the menu was Vegan Tom Yum soup (lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger, chili-garlic sauce, limes, tamari, cilantro, scallions). Went off a basic recipe(no prepackaged soup bases and stuff), only snag was that we got home and realized there was no veggie broth in the pantry. So we had to improvise a ghetto broth-like in that fable about the Rock Soup. In the end it came out pretty good considering it is my first time making Tom Yum Soup, although it may not have been worth all the trouble since a pint is only a few bucks at Panya Thai(but its not vegan)...

Salad course- Moroccan Carrot Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette(carrots, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, lemon, allspice)
*Note--I thought this recipe would be so easy to make, you just gotta mixed the grated carrots with the spices and marinate. Sweet! that should take 10 min! Uh no. Grating carrots is sweat-inducing hard labor. My biceps hurt and I got grated carrot pieces stuck in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. Great recipe- if you buy pre-grated carrots.

The lemons are pan-roasted(makes a big difference as cooked lemon juice tastes totally different + you get all the yummy caramelized scrapings) and really cuts through the sweet carrots and heavy allspice(yum reminds me of xmas). You get a bit of heat from the pepper and I guess the parsley makes it look pretty. Okay, the parsley adds some flavor but in the same way that a watch makes an outfit come together- its there and its nice, unless you add too much....)

Main Course -Malaysian Tropical Curry with Lemongrass and Shallots (jicama, red bell pepper, papaya, pineapple, shallots, lemongrass, cumin, lime, cilantro)
Jicama aka Mexican turnip[quick fact: outside of the root, the jicama plant is poisonous and used to kill insects and fish] is the star of this curry. Its crisp, crunchy, and stands up very well to stir fry. The dish is sweet(fruits) and savory(shallots), spicy(peppers) and tart(lime), fragrant(lemongrass) and smokey(cumin)- I guess what I'm trying to say is that the curry has many layers of flavors. The element that surpised me was the ripe papaya. I find it to be like the marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms-dug around and picked out a few pieces. The papaya really took on the flavor of the curry and is such a nice change from the crunch jicama and sweet juicy pineapples.

Oh and for good measure, I had some durian today too(so good....). Probably was not very pleasant to be around considering "it tastes like fruit salad piled on some rotten onions" and probably made my breath smell the same way.


  1. this was all incredibly delicious!!!

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm