Wise and Wonderful Cookery Brings Us: Simple Pad Thai

Leighanna Lucas lives in Chicago with her husband and two very personable cats.  A brilliant food-maker and generally sweet, hilarious human being - she’s also the brains behind Wise And Wonderful Cookery.  Big thanks to her for her contributions to Young Mary’s Record - as we would microwave the Thanksgiving turkey if it was an option.

If I have learned anything valuable in my short life, it is the dang truth of this little cliche: variety is the spice of life.

All those things people have uttered over the years, those worn-out sayings about life, they are all so true. There is a point in youth where you believe none of them apply; I’ve found the place now that laughs at the idea of defeating the cliches of life, because I know how futile it is. The sayings wouldn’t be so worn, like an awesome old leather jacket, if they didn’t fit the lives of most people. So friends, if the shoe fits, buy it—fake it till you make it— and then make pad thai at home.

Making a dish that is completely outside your realm of flavor understanding is a good thing. Being comfortable all the time, after all, never makes for anything spectacular. Lewis and Clark could not revel in exploring the west by staying at home. Sometimes we have to stick a toe out, then a whole foot, and by that time we realize how un-scary trying a new thing really is, and we are running for more. This is true for all you home cooks! The usual is great—it is fantastic to have to go recipes and flavors that let you exhale, as you sink into the comfort of your familiar couch. But not all the time! We have to throw some variety into our cooking, something that whacks your tastebuds across the face with awesomeness. (If a tastebud had a face…this could get interesting..)
I found this recipe on another blog, tweaked it a little to what I had available (and I always double the amount of veggies in most recipes) and it is so EASY. Whipped it up in like twenty minutes tops. And it was DELICIOUS. Having the exact ingredients on hand is one thing that I believe stops a lot of us from trying recipes—I must confess that Google has been my best friend sometimes (I search substitutes for things I don’t have all the time.) Don’t have sesame oil? Try peanut! No peanuts? Use slivered almonds (I did, and it was darn tasty!) No rice noodles? Use another noodle, it will be fine! You won’t end up having a perfectly authentic dish, but that is okay. Perfection of authenticity is so much less important than making something that tastes good, and feeds your family.
Today, lets all promise to mix it up a little. Go and start doing one of the things you’ve always dreamed of doing— buy that dress that you love, but looks a little too daring— try something new. Shake it up a little, friends! It will renew your love for life, and at the same time, remind you of why you love what you already have in this world.

Easy Pad Thai:

You will need:

  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (wide, flat noodles are typical of pad thai but I used what I had lying around)
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 2 large eggs, light beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts (I used slivered almonds because I didn’t have peanuts on hand; worked fine.)

Directions:

1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

3. Heat sesame oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and corn cook 1 minute. Add eggs and cook, constantly stirring and scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. Add soaked noodles and prepared sauce to skillet. Cook while frequently tossing until noodles are tender, about 1 minutes. Add eggs to mixture and toss together. Serve, top with cilantro and peanuts.



Get Yer Eat On: A Blog about Hunting

(Be aware this blog will contain a graphic image of a being-gutted deer.)

   

When Thanksgiving dinner was about to start, Darby scooted into the kitchen from his day of hunting.  Dense layers of camo, blood on them.  He washed up and talked to another hunter in the family about the kill: he saw it, trailed it, shot it.  And then, joined us at the table.

The first memory I have of associating meat with anything other than the oscar-meyer packaging was when I was in the elementary school.  My mother was driving us through the trailer park and I saw a friend of mine from school running in front of his parents trailer.  He was cheering.  Jumping up and down.  It wasn’t until we drove all the way past that I could see the dead deer, strung up in the tree behind, a blog of entrails bobbing at the same rhythm that my school friend bobbed up and down in celebration.

Last week, after everyone else left the table, I was still asking Darby questions about hunting.   And learning.  Did you know our unusually warm temperatures this season have an effect on the deer?  Global warming = makes the hunt more difficult.  (Is this the bridge dialogue that would bring conservative hunters around to some of Al Gore’s environmental priorities!?) Did you know that each county in Kentucky is rated a number between 1 and 4 and it determines things like how many deer and how long the season is?

And how about that getting a hunting license in Kentucky (as long as you’re a resident) is really affordable?  Deer-only license is an easy $20, or spring for a sportsman license where you can fish and hunt other things like turkey for $95.   You can buy a license HERE.

I would love to see a break-down ala Extreme Couponing that shows how much a family of 5 (who also has a great sportsman on their side) can save annually by investing in a hunting license, fishing pole, and a reliable gun? I bet they’d save a pretty penny and have alot more hours in nature and out of the fluorescents of the big box stores.

                          

Here’s my deal with this.  Do I want to go out and hunt?  Or even fish, really?  No, I do not.  I like the outdoors and I love my front porch.  I like to lay in the swing and feel the breeze and read and smell different types of weather coming: cold, rain, snow.  I even like the idea of Glamping : be in the outdoor environment with none of the hassle.

I do respect sportsmen, though.  It is the same way I feel about mechanics.  They are brilliant and determined in ways that I have never mastered.  And I trust the meat that came from Darby’s deer (seen below — ) more than most of the meat I buy in the grocery store.  The way of factory farming today isn’t the picturesque family farm that we all associate.  A highly recommended book on this: Eating Animals.

       

Yes. That photo is graphic.  And red.  And raw.  But it is also how things really work.  One of the things I strive for everyday is to better understand what I don’t.  Darby, just by being himself, added extra knowledge for me this Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for that.

(Additionally, Darby is the man behind Safeline Shooting — a high-quality firearms training course in Beaver Dam, KY.  Absolutely worth a look.)