26 July 2010

What I love in BKK right now

As I write this, I'm eating a bowl of homemade 'fast food' dessert-- freshly sliced mangoes over hot rice and covered with coconut cream and a sprinkle of sugar on top. Several years ago, I never would have made this dish for a late night snack and I'm so thankful to have found this wonderful explosion of flavor combination. Here's a few other things I've discovered, and LOVE, in Bangkok:

A wonderful woman who sells pure essential oils at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Go visit Wassana's selection of oils, starting around 120 baht per bottle. Oils are sold throughout Chatuchak, but many are watered down or not pure. Frankincense, Patchouli Orange, Lemon Lavender, Bergamot, Neroli... all favorites of mine and all sold in the wonderful peace that exists within Section 26, Stall number 208, Soi 1/9 of Chatuchak Market. (Oh, and great all natural fiber bags and yoga mats and other goodies are sold in this stall too!).

Crepes and Company's Moroccan Mint Tea. A well known restaurant in Bangkok, Crepes and Co. isn't off the beaten path. But, a late night visit recently yielded an amazing pot of authentic Moroccan mint tea. Lift the lid on the golden tea pot you are served and you'll see muddled mint leaves, floating pine nuts and sweetly swirled honey. Enjoy a pot in the restaurant's beautiful garden with tropical foliage surrounding and fairy lights floating overhead. 18/1 Sukhumvit Soi 12.

Cicada. If you've never seen the insect up close and personal, consider yourself very lucky. One of the ugliest creatures I've ever run across, the cicada looks like an overgrown fly. However, I find it's excessively loud hum a comforting sound here in the tropics. Throughout the year, the sky grows dark and the cicada begin their electric sounding hum that resonates throughout the cities sois.

Bangkok's Street Side Sewing Men and Women. Turn a Bangkok corner and it's not unusual to find a man or woman sitting behind a huge and heavy sewing table right in the middle of the sidewalk. They are usually busy at work, mending, making products as requested by their customers and not noticing the blazing sun overhead. Come September, I look forward to working with our neighborhood sewing vendor and having several sets of napkins made to order for our dinner table.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 89:
Fast food mangoes over rice
When you want to enjoy the flavors of Thailand and only want to spend a few moments preparing a late night snack, reach for some coconut milk, a mango and some hot rice.

1/4 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of cooked white rice
1 mango, cut into bite-sized pieces

In a small saucepan (or microwave safe bowl), heat the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Stir. Add the rice to a serving bowl, Place the mango on top and cover with the heated coconut milk mixture.

19 July 2010


It's been a busy time in our home. My husband has been traveling in the region for business, my daughter has been finishing up the school year and I'm five and a half months pregnant. My son turned four last month and during the 'growing up' his heart melting adorableness has stayed in tact. Funny how that happens.

Last night I tucked him in and after our nightly bedtime songs, he wrapped his arms around my neck for a hug and a kiss. He didn't let go. "Mama, I need to tell you something. I want all of my family together always. I don't want to be in the bed alone (said with very sleepy eyes) and I want papa to come home and I want the baby to come out and say hi to me and I want my sister to come read to me and I want mama to wrap us all up and keep us together forever."

And, with that, I melted.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 87
Citrus cookies
These look like an exotic slice of citrus fruit and have a wonderfully crisp, thin texture. A wonderfully-- just perfectly--- sweet treat.

1 cup of unsalted butter
6 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
the zest of two limes
the zest of one lemon
green food coloring
yellow food coloring

Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light in color and well mixed. Add the egg, vanilla, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix well. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mixing just until the flour is combined into the dough. Divide the dough in half and place in separate bowls. In one, add the lime zest and a few drops of green food coloring. Mix to achieve a bright green color (add more coloring until desired color is reached). Repeat with the other bowl of dough, adding the lemon zest and the yellow food coloring. Spread a long sheet of parchment or plastic wrap onto a clean counter. Place half of the green dough onto the parchment, spread to create a narrow, long rectangle of even thickness. Place all of the yellow dough on top of the spread, keeping to the middle (so that you still have an edge of green visible). Finally, place the remaining green dough over the yellow and use clean hands to encase the yellow 'center' completely. Roll the parchment around the dough, encasing it completely into a tube. Place overnight in refrigerator. The next day, remove and slice into very thin rounds (revealing a lemon center surrounded by lime). Place onto a silicon lined (or greased) baking sheet. Bake at 350 for approximately 5 minutes (allow cookies to brown just very slightly at the edges and remove quickly-- they will look cake-like in consistency). Cool on baking sheet and allow cookies to harden, loosing their cake-like consistency and turning firm. Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container.

13 July 2010


I love the absolute certainty with which my daughter leads her life. I will miss these days should that certainty diminish. She's full of energy, enthusiasm for learning and humor. And, she is always right. Anyone else have a six year old and relate?

Today, she said, "Mom, I have a reading book ready for us and I read the 'bloob' and it sounds pretty good." After quiet pondering, reading the book with her and more pondering, I realized that she meant to say 'blurb'. Of course, there was no way I was going to convince her of that. So, for now, if your interested in finding out what a book may be about prior to reading it... consult the 'bloob' on the back cover. That's what we'll be doing in our home.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no 88:
Kid's Fave: Pink Pasta Salad
My daughter LOVES this dish. During the school year, I pack it in her lunch box and it's one of the few pieces of her lunch that returns home with a completely empty container!

1/2 cucumber, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
1/2 carrot, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
1 green onion, diced
2 cups of uncooked pasta (choose a fun shape)
1 fresh beet, cut into four pieces (wash, but do not peel)
white vinegar, 1/8 cup
olive oil, 1/8 cup
salt and pepper to taste

Fill a large pot full of water, a pinch of salt and the beet. Bring to a full rolling boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, add the vinegar and olive oil to a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, carrot and green onion and toss to coat. When the pasta is cooked, drain, remove beet pieces and immediately add the pasta to the vegetable mix. Stir well and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

11 July 2010

Dinner Party: Savory Corn Pudding

We love having friends over, enjoying drinks and dinner, as the kids dash in and out of the evening-- often in some sort of outrageous costume. No matter the size of the party, large or small, the days leading up to a dinner party are always enjoyable with menu planning, cooking and everyone in the house getting into the festive spirit. Last weekend we enjoyed having a great kick back opportunity to chat with both new and old friends during a dinner gathering at our home.

One of the dishes I created for the party was a savory corn pudding. The dish takes full advantage of our local markets' ready supply of year-round fresh corn and also caters to the season currently underway in many other parts of the world. So, for our wonderful dinner guests who enjoyed the corn pudding and requested the recipe-- this entry is for you!

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 86
Savory Corn Pudding

6 ears of fresh corn
1 cup of whole milk or cream
6 eggs, separated
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup of your favorite cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into fine strips
1/4 cup of sugar (optional)
1 finely diced chili

Clean the corn and remove the husks and silks. Place into a large pot of boiling water and cook until done (approximately 10 minutes). Remove, cool and cut the corn off of the cob. Place into a blender or food processor* with the milk and puree until smooth. Add the egg yolks, butter, flour, salt and baking powder. Place mixture in a large bowl and stir in the cheese. I prefer not to use any sugar, but if the corn isn't very sweet you can add the sugar at this point. And, if using the chili peppers, add them at this time as well. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the corn mixture taking care not to deflate the whites too much. Lightly grease a souffle dish or other deep baking dish with a bit of veggie oil or butter. Add the mixture to the dish and gently arrange the sliced red pepper on top. Place into an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook until lightly golden on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The cooking time will vary based on the depth of the dish used. But, plan for approximately 45 minutes. This dish can be made several hours in advance and reheated just before serving, if desired.

*If you don't have these appliances, you can proceed with this recipe by finely chopping the corn and placing it into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients as outlined in the recipe above. The texture will be different, but the flavor will be the same.