Friday, February 28, 2014

Adventures in Thai cooking

On Tuesday night we attended a "cooking" class at Leon Bistro, downtown, on Thai cuisine. We love their restaurant food so we were pretty sure anything we did in class was going to be equally awesome. We went with two of my work friends so we even had some company. The restaurant is normally closed Tuesday night so we, and a group of 20 other people, had the place to ourselves. Their classroom is in the back of the restaurant and turned out to really be just horseshoe shaped seating surrounding one cooking station where the restaurant chef/owner was going to be demonstrating each meal. So really, there wasn't any hands on cooking going on for us "students", we just watched the master at work and ate the results. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
That's Chef Ann Leon in the background. Each attendee got an appetizer plate of fresh sweet potato chips with a garlic aioli dipping sauce when we first walked in. Then the real cooking began...
First up, Thai chicken soup with coconut milk and galanga (young ginger). So good and actually doable since we also got recipes for all of the courses served.
Rice paper rolls served with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce. Super easy, we just need to go to the Asian market and get us some rice papers. It's literally just julienned veggies and herbs rolled up in a soaked rice paper wrapper. Ours also had shrimp in them.
Poached salmon in banana leaves with an herb sauce over it, a side of jasmine rice with pan fried Thai sausage, and a small spicy Thai cucumber salad. The cucumber salad was my favorite of everything.
Green papaya salad. Don't be fooled by the modest name, this salad was mother effin' spicy. The boy wolfed his down and then damn neared died.
The fifth course was us. That's right, drink it in.
Thai beef salad. Thinly sliced rare skirt steak over a salad dressed in a spicy peanut sauce. Very good.
Next was Pad Thai with some sort of side salad I've since forgotten and don't see in my recipe packet. Good, but too saucy for me. I actually like the Pad Thai we make at home with zucchini noodles better.
Dessert was mango sorbet topped with sweetened coconut cream and tapioca balls.
Finally, we had our choice of Thai iced coffee or tea. We of course chose coffee. When I've had it before it's essentially been sweetened condensed milk over iced black coffee, but this was coconut milk over coffee with more tapioca balls. Ok, but I like my regular version better. 

Overall it was a blast and we would totally do it again. Except for the part where the boy woke up with a bad tummy - let's not do that part again. Chef Ann said she's got Greek, Spanish, Northern Italian, Indian, and beer pairing classes coming up this spring. Yes, please!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Make mine memory foam!

After a multi-week effort, we finally got our new bed set up. First we bought the mattress, then two weeks later we bought the box springs and frame and then the sheets finally arrived this week. So, Friday was spent disassembling our old queen bed and installing our new cal king memory foam bed. And the result? An incredibly comfortable night's sleep with miles of wiggle room between us.

Sooooo, funny story about the sheets. We use fleece sheets, just like a fleece sweater, and apparently at this time of year they're damn near impossible to find. None of my usual haunts like QVC and Kmart had any and after an extensive internet search we found ONE set of cal king fleece sheets at Penneys, but they were only in zebra print with hot pink trim. Done! I didn't even care anymore, I just wanted a pair of stupid sheets so we could set up our bed. Plus, doesn't the Canadian look saucy on his new zebra print bed?!?

I spent the majority of my day up in Magalia today for an old co-worker's celebration of life. When I first started working for P-town in 1994 there was an older gal in the Clerk's office, Gloria, that was a true Texas rose. My first two years at the town were her last two years there and during that time she taught me three important lessons. First, have a signature scent. She wore Caesars Woman which was so distinct/strong that you knew if she'd been in a room anytime in the last week. Second, it's totally acceptable, and in fact encouraged, to wear feather boas to work. Lastly, there's nothing better than a bold piece of jewelry. She bought me my first piece of QVC jewelry, and introduced me to online shopping, as a high school graduation gift. It was a three tone gold chevron ring and I guarantee you that I was the only high schooler sporting one. She was a dear, dear, woman and I will miss her greatly.

It was nice to see a group of us townies there to share our stories with Gloria's family. They were touched to hear how important she was to us and I realized how lucky I was to know her.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Who doesn't love Love

Not usually ones for Valentine's Day, we did get ourselves a few tokens of love today. When I woke up at 9:00 am (I took today off so I'd have a 4-day weekend) I found some wonderfully soft new slippers waiting for me on my ottoman.
For the boy, I'd ordered him a joint Valentine's/Anniversary gift that came last week so I let him open and assemble it then.
A globe bar - something he's wanted for years! That's right, who's the best wife ever? And for us both to enjoy today, I picked us up some edible goodies from a local bakery who makes the best gluten free cupcakes;
I picked out two lemon supreme cupcakes (made with lemon curd) and two chocolate covered strawberries. For our romantic evening we bought a Papa Murphy's pizza and got a movie from RedBox. That's right, we know how to live large!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Front yard makeover

Through wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow the boy finished moving rock around the front yard yesterday and unveiled the finished product;

It's actually a lot easier to walk around on than I thought it'd be and obviously will be way less maintenance. Now to figure out how to fancy it up!

Of course we had ourselves glued to the TV today for the Super Bowl, but unfortunately the best part was the food;
Pretzel and beer cupcakes to help choke down the horrible spanking that the Broncos took. That's the last time I bet $5 on the game against my boss! He already texted to remind me to stop at the bank on my way in to work tomorrow. That's alright, I'll earn it back on our Daytona wager coming up in a few weeks!