Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Papaya Salad

Here is the recipe:

3Cups peeled and shredded green (not ripe) papaya + a carrot for color

6 Cloves of garlic

1 Tbs fish sauce

2-3 dried chilies

3Tbs Palm sugar

2Tbs Tamarind juice

2Tbs Lime juice

2Tbs Roasted peanuts

2 Tomatoes

1/4 C Fresh green beans- cut into 3in. pieces

2 Limes or Lemons - cut into small cubes

Put garlic and chilies in processor or blender and puree. In a bowl, add the sauce and peanuts and beans. Add the chopped tomatoes, fish sauce, tamarind sauce and sugar and stir. Add the lemon juice, then the papaya and lemon/lime cubes and mix again. A carrot or garnish cucumber can be substituted (instead of green papaya) -Recipe from Krabi Cookery School

I did not have most of the ingredients on hand so this is what I did:

1 Cucumber, shredded

1 Carrot, shredded

1 Tomato, chopped

1 Apple, chopped

1/2 Red onion, chopped

2 Large cloves of garlic

1 Dried chili

1Tbs Brown sugar

2Tbs Rice wine vinegar

1Tbs White vinegar

2Tbs lemon juice

2Tbs slivered peanuts (for baking)

Puree the chili and garlic and half the nuts. Pour in a bowl, add the vinegar and lemon juice, and sugar to the processor and spin to get any remnants from it. Add to the bowl with the rest of the nuts. Dump all the vegetables and apple in the bowl, mix and salt to taste. I forget to put in the fish sauce but will add it in before dinner is served. Its fine with or without. I served it with homemade bbq shredded chicken sandwiches and blue Kool-Aid. It took me less than 15 minutes and made about 3C of salad, enough for four people. I am going to throw in some shredded cabbage too and stretch it farther. Enjoy!

"If people take the trouble to cook, you should take the trouble to eat."-Robert Morley


The Everything Thai Cookbook: From Pad Thai to Lemongrass Chicken Skewers--300 Tasty, Tempting Thai Dishes You Can Make at Home (Everything Series)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thai Recipes #1

100_7928Here is a recipe to make your own curry paste. I am substituting for what is available in the States but will include the original( ) just in case you can find it. You can probably find the paste in a jar in the supermarket but if you would like to make it yourself, here's how:

1tbs Ginger-peeled and chopped (galangal)

1tsp Lemongrass powder (2ts fresh lemongrass- lower 1/3rd chopped)

1tsp Orange peel, chopped (Kaffir lime peel, chopped)

1tbs Coriander root chopped. That's cilantro, just not the leaves.

3tbs Shallots- chopped

2tbs Garlic- crushed and chopped

2tsp Salt

1tbs Anchovy paste (shrimp paste)

10 Small dried red Chilies (for the kick! reduce to bring down the heat, but its supposed to be spicy)

3 Large dried Chilies- seeds removed and soaked in water 15min. for color

1tsp each: Pepper, Cumin, Coriander seed, ground.

3-4 Cardamom pods roasted and ground. Just use the powder, 1tsp or so, or asian stores have the pods.

Put all of it in the food processor, add a little water to get it moving. Puree till smooth. This keeps for a long time in the freezer.

If you add 2 tbs crushed peanuts to 2tbs of Red Curry paste, you have made Panaeng Curry. Substitute green chilies (15) for the small red ones and use the leaves from the cilantro instead of the root and you have Green Curry. Add a few dashes of Cinnamon and you have Masaman Curry Paste. A little turmeric powder makes the Red Curry even redder. If you want to mix this in a mortar and pestle the old-fashioned way, DO NOT add water! These curries form the base for many delicious Thai recipes. I will share as many of them with you as I have. They are all from Krabi Cookery School. I take no credit for any of them unless I give suggestions on variations I have made myself. Let me know if you try to make this!!!

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."-Harriet Van Horne



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没有大的问题(mei you da de wenti) It's not a big problem!

After 3 weeks of suffering through a cold and a severe cough, I finally relented and let Frank take me to the hospital. That is like going to the clinic here. I picked a terrible day for it. It was raining and freezing. This week, the weather changed overnight, from upper 70's to sleet and snow! I bundled up and climbed on the back of Frank's scooter. Everyone else had the same idea so the place was packed. Imagine a packed American waiting room, times 10! First, I went to the ticket booth to get a waiting list number. After crossing the massive lobby three times because one window sent me to another desk on the opposite side, only to be told there that I should go to the window I just came from, I was about to call the whole thing off. Then Frank came in from parking the bike and guided me to the help desk. When the girl told me I should go to the window on the other side of the lobby, I politely but firmly explained how I was NOT going to be run around again and she offered to take us where we needed to go. She walked us through all the admission procedures, took my money and walked us right into the doctor's office. No wait! I don't know if I have explained Chinese doctor's offices yet, but there is NO privacy. The door is open and the room often filled with waiting patients, besides the one being seen. Whatever is wrong with you is instant public property. People watched as the doctor listened to my heart and chest and looked down my throat. I was feeling so bad, I didn't even care. He ordered an X-ray since my cough had lasted several weeks and told us how to get there, outside to another building. On the way, I felt a new appreciation for the American system with its safety, slip-proof stairs and covered walkways. We made it down the wet, slick, deathtrap stairs across the wet, slick, tile floor, passing patients on gurneys covered with plastic tarps. To keep the rain off as they waited for the elevator. Outside. Once I figured out how to pay for the x-ray, I got in line in front of a large steel door. When my turn came, I reminded those pushing me that I was there first and was ushered in with a mother and child to the x-ray room. The doctor set the child up for his pics, walked into another room, closed a massive protective steel door behind him, leaving the three of us in with the radiation. I was exposed to three x-rays. Only one was mine. I was told to come back at 3:00 to pick up the results so we went in search of the E.N.T (Ears, Nose and Throat) department. The doctor looked at my ears with a metal funnel that had been used on everyone else that day and said, "没有大的问题。"(meiyou dade wenti, It's not a big problem.) "Then why do they hurt so bad ?" "I'll give you some meds" 3x's a day, 3-4 drops each ear and lay on your side for 30min each ear. (Frank told me later that's 3 hours just laying down for one medicine. Not gonna happen!) (I know mom! I'm getting to that part!) I was so pleased that I understood what she told me that I agreed with everything. The other patients standing over me smiled in gratitude for not taking more time with translation issues. I went downstairs and paid for the medicine right away. It was too late when I suddenly remembered that I have been allergic to ALL eardrops since I was a child! (see, mom!) I had told the doctor I had no allergies to medication. Maybe Chinese medicines are different, without all the chemicals. I will try it for a few days. If my ears turn red, swell and burn like fire, at least I will be educated.
Four hours later, we came back for the x-ray and saw the doctor again. "没有大的问题"(meiyou dade wenti), he told me. It's not a big problem. "Then why do I hurt so bad?" "You just have a cold." "For 3 weeks???" "Yep." “我怎么办!?” (Wo zenme ban? What do I do about it?) "I'll give you some meds." The whole process took about 1 1/2 hours with a 4 hour wait for the x-ray results. I saw two specialists, got an x-ray and five different types of medicine for less than $50. It may be a crazy madhouse of lines and people with no privacy, but at least its cheap! One of the meds looked like a syringe vial and I couldn't get it open. After Frank sliced his finger breaking the top off and I sucked the liquid through cheesecloth to avoid any glass particles, I discovered that taped to the inside of the box are little straws that you poke through the rubber and drink the vile vial. Sorry babe.
So, here I lay, on my side, writing this blog. Hope this 不大的问题(bu dade wenti, not a big problem) turns into a 没有问题(meiyou wenti, there is no problem) very soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome To China!

IMG_1071 Those are the words I say every time something doesn't go the way we think it should. Now, Ralph has started saying it too. But, a visit to any of the parks or restored "ancient towns" gives you another meaning to the phrase. The people here are very welcoming. Terribly curious, but welcoming. At least they stare with a smile. You can talk to just about anyone and expect to get a positive reaction. Even if they have no clue what you are saying, they will smile and grab their friends so they can look at you too. I am fond of the old men. I admire their silent strength. They lack the desolate look that many elderly in Western countries have.  One day, I hope to be able to understand the stories they tell.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

War Diary by Sun Yi (Joe)

This is an essay that one of our English students wrote for Frank's Writing class (I have corrected most of the grammar):
"War Diary
May 24th 19xx
Our squad has stayed on this island for 2 months. We almost ran out of supplies. If we use up either the ammo or food, we all have to die.
Today we ran into a team of enemies. Our captain ordered us to kill them, even though they didn't return fire. I didn't pull the trigger, so after that captain shout at me, he said, "To be kind to the enemy is to be cruel to the people." When I search their bodies, I realize they don't have any weapons and ammo, but they have some food.
I found a family photo which was stained with blood. I wiped the blood carefully and I saw a father holding a baby stood next to his wife. I took out my old family photo and compared the two photos. God! It's almost the same. I couldn't remember how many family have I ruined. I only know I want to go home.
Tomorrow will be the last war, I'm not sure if I can keep alive. If you see this note, I must be dead, please bury the note with me. I don't want anybody to read this, especially my children. I don't want them to know their father was a murderer, not a hero."
-Yes, I know! Wow! The young people in China are fascinated by violence in all its forms. They spend hours playing war games and other violent video games we couldn't bear to see from the corner of our eye. Walking down the street, you see military uniforms and fatigues everywhere, even worn by everyday workers and guards at apartment complexes. But out of this war craze comes a voice, a voice of peace, a voice of realization, a voice of pittance. Great job Joe! How many other young people here have these feelings tucked away inside?
Blue Embossed Dragonfly Leather Journal - Lined

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Thai Pics 2


Day Dream


Spring has arrived! The Azaleas and cherry trees are blooming, the sun is shining and there is a breeze. Ok, its more of a gust that can blow off your bike. But, if I close my eyes at this moment, I smell flowers. There is a wind chime tinkling and a squeaky porch is swaying in the wind, or is it that old rocking chair? There are even strands of banjo music floating in from far away. If I open my eyes, the flowers are in vases all around the house, the wind chime is actually the crystals hanging from the wierd Chinese light in the living room blowing in the breeze from the open windows. The creaky rocking chair is a cabinet door I left open and the banjo is a Ukulele that Ralph is plunking away at in his room. Let me close my eyes again. Hold on.