Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pad Thai

Eat this Pad Thai and love it!

Yum, yum, yum! This Pad Thai is delicious and fancy and not too difficult to make.  I urge you to read the recipe a few times because once you get started you want to move pretty quickly.  I think Thai people must be a bit quicker than people in every other culture, because every Thai dish I've ever recreated has about 600 components.

I made such a fancy recipe in honor of my older sister, who is the fanciest lady I know. In honor of my older sister's birthday, I present to you a five paragraph essay in which I wax poetic about all the things I love about Emily.

Sisters and cousins at the Hot Springs this Christmas.

My older sister has a very toothy grin, but you wouldn't know this from her first through third grade school pictures.  Instead, you would see a goofy half grin; teeth hidden, and the bright striped sweater that defined early nineties elementary school style.  Emily hid her real smile because she had a front tooth gap long past the age when most of her peers had lost and regained their teeth.  The tooth gap is about fifty percent my fault.  When we were just toddlers, we raced around a table in our parent's dining room.  Around and around we would race.  As an adult, I cannot tell you why we loved this game so much, but every time I see siblings together, I know that they play it, and they love it too.

Even as a first grader, my older sister had developed one of the important philosophies that would guide her life and mine - everybody likes to be fancy sometimes.  In the mind's eye of a first grade girl, like Emily, the school picture wasn't just something to slap in the yearbook. It represented the opportunity to indulge a passion for elegance, for the upscale and for beauty. Practically speaking, my sister looked goofy, but childhood is the time for testing philosophies, even if you fail to live them out, and my sister lived her philosophy to the fullest.

A few years later, I remember that my cousin and I were creating "News Coverage" using my grandpa's camcorder.  We invited Emily to be the meteorologist, and she put on my Aunt Maggie's lipstick and spoke in a Southern accent since that was pretty fancy to her.  I thought she was very elegant and hilarious.  In retrospect, she had a horrible accent and looked ridiculous.

Even though so many of my older sister's decisions have turned out to be ridiculous, I still look up to her, and I still admire her.  Emily is a faithful friend; she's one who will go out of her way to make her friend's lives a little fancier, which is something we all need.  Passion and zeal for loving God and loving people exude from her spirit, and she has the ability to draw people in.  I do not know whether those characteristics are totally connected but in my heart they are.

I just realized that I completely failed on the five paragraph essay format.  I was supposed to include a thesis statement, three supporting points and a conclusion; instead I included a lengthy introduction, two unrelated stories, and a gush about how great Emily is.  In conclusion, Emily, this is your lesson plan plan next time you ask your eighth graders to write a five paragraph essay; they can just make this essay much better.  And remember kids, never write using the second person in formal writing.

And onto the recipe:

Fairly Easy Pad Thai

The Key to this dish is ensuring that all ingredients are prepped before you heat the oil.  Once you get moving, you want to cook everything very quickly.

3 Pods of Rehydrated Tamarind 
-(Dried Tamarind can be found in the Mexican section of your grocery store or in an Asian/Indian grocery store)
-To rehydrate, throw entire pod in 3-4 ounces of simmer water, allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove outer pod, weird veiny things, and seeds
-Closet Cooking suggests this can be replaced with Lime Juice and I'm inclined to believe him
4T Fish Sauce (yes fish sauce, please don't sub Soy Sauce or you will be sad)
2T Sugar
3T Sriracha Sauce (or more)
2 Chicken Thighs
4 oz Thick Rice Noodles (1/3 package Taste of Thai) 
1/4 Red Onion Diced
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Egg
Lime, Cilantro and chopped peanuts for serving

1. Prepare rice noodles exactly according to package.  Don't try to outsmart the package, the directions are there for a reason.
2. Whisk or use a food processor to combine tamarind, Sugar, Fish Sauce and Sriracha
3. Heat oil to very hot
4. Add onion, garlic and chicken and cook chicken through.
5. Push to the side then add noodles and sauce
6. Make a circular nest of noodles and crack egg into the pan
7. Scramble the egg
8. Once egg is cooked, combine all ingredients as well as garnishes

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