Friday, August 08, 2003

Thai kitchen disaster!

Disaster strikes. Sometimes things do go terribly wrong in the kitchen. I started out simply looking for a recipe for Thai peanut sauce online. I usually just mix peanut butter and coconut milk and add some soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar to taste. This time, having no peanut butter on hand I thought I'd try making it with dry roasted peanuts in the food processor. Big mistake! Even though I was following a recipe that sounded good, it came out simply horrid. Horrid actually does not do it justice. It was grainy, pale, thin, and tasteless. No amount of doctoring seemed to help. Then as I was piling more things onto the butcher-block island than I should have, I knocked over and smashed into bits my only covered Corningware casserole dish.

I was disheartened but unwilling to admit defeat. Lee generously offered to go the store and get some peanut butter. And I have to say that was the turning point. With enough peanut butter and more flavorings, soy, sugar, etc. the sauce was redeemed and I served it over sliced chicken on a bed of spinach. Lee actually said it was the best peanut sauce he ever had, but he may have just been trying to cheer me up.

I also served what turned out to be a wonderful Thai stir-fried shrimp with cherry tomatoes and basil. The dish also had onions, red chili, red peppers and cilantro. The only flavorings in the sauce were soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic but it was divine and went in my recipe collection pronto. I also served Tom Kha Gai soup, a creamy coconut chicken soup with lemongrass and galangal, which neither of us could eat as we were too stuffed from the other dishes. So all's well that ends well. Sometimes you just have to plow through and not get discouraged by a broken dish or a lackluster peanut sauce.