Ever since becoming obsessed with the Sidewalk, aka gai pad krapow, I've wanted to learn how to make it. Because it's stupidly overpriced at the Thai place near my office and you could probably make a bucket of it for the same amount of money.
And then in February Michele posted a recipe for gai pad krapow on Serious Eats! IT WAS A SIGN! A sign that said, "BOPPY, MAKE THIS!" Or, "BOPPY, GET SOME FRIENDS TO HELP YOU MAKE THIS!" The latter, more like.
Kathy took most of the responsibility for Moo Pad Krapow Night by buying the ingredients—"moo" instead of "gai" because she bought pork instead of chicken (pork is easier to find in Chinatown)—and donating the use of her kitchen. I mostly..stood there. And ate.
Oh wait, I think I chopped these chilis! Maybe.
And my have have chopped those green beans.
And I may have made the nam pla prik (chili fish sauce), which would explain why it was probably way way off from whatever a Thai grandmother would've made. I just squeezed in as much lime juice would come out of half a lime and then poured in a rough amount of fish sauce—3 or 4 parts fish sauce to one part lime juice, according to Michele. It tasted fine to us. And that's all that matters.
Kathy and her roommate Shann were in charge of the actual cooking part. We added the ground pork to the green beans. After the pork was mostly cooked, Kathy sloshed in an indeterminate amount of fish sauce and dumped in some sugar.
Then we added basil. Probably not the right kind of basil (all I know is that it wasn't your regular sweet basil sort), but Kathy tried to find holy basil—it just didn't find her. DAMN YOU, HOLY BASIL.
Shann was in charge of frying the eggs while Kathy plated the porky mixture. (Their other roommate Stephanie is also in the photo, in case you're wondering why there's another body.)
And voilà, four servings of awesome fried egg-topped moo gai krapow for not much money. Cooking is much more enjoyable when you have other friends to help you do it.
It also helps when a friend donates her extra Milk Bar cake to you for dessert.
And there's this. I won't explain this.
Moffle and Okonomiyaki Night
Moffles, or mochi waffles, have been on my "to do" list for a long time. But making them depended on having a waffle maker.
Oh, Greg has a waffle maker! Okay, problem solved.
Using Erin's moffle how-to for guidance, Kathy and I went to Greg's place for Moffle Night, which ended up being Okonomiyaki Night because on their own, moffles are not quite as interesting as their cutesy name let me to believe. Then again, it's not like plain mochi is all that interesting either. You have to put the right stuff on it. And that's probably where we failed.
But first, moffle birth!
Mochi blocks go in...
...And moffles come out! Very crispy moffles. We probably put the first batch in for too long, thinking it would brown-ify when it actually just stays white. Oops. They tasted like crispy burnt rice bits—think of the dregs at the bottom of a pan or rice cooker post-rice cooking. Not bad.
We tried another batch with red bean mochi and mugwort mochi. Mugwort was kinda..well, mugworty. Vegetal? Not my thing.
Greg tried sticking a butter-topped mochi block in his toaster oven. The resulting mochi tasted like popcorn. A block of chewy toasty starch-ness. Not bad. Not...awesome.
As you can see, we didn't really put condiments on anything (we tried okonomiyaki sauce until it got boring), which probably made eating this mochi about an exciting as eating plain rice, but worse because once the moffles cool down and de-crispify, they enter the territory of suck. Eat these babies fast if you don't want to gnaw into the gummy chewiness that develops as the crispiness decays.
Thank god Greg made a huge ass okonomiyaki as Kathy and I focused on moffle making. He didn't look at a recipe for this—he just used his brain. A brain that at one point had read a recipe for okonomiyaki. He mixed together corn, chopped cabbage, scallions, and probably other chopped things before combining it with okonomiyaki batter and plopping it into the pan.
Thinly sliced pork was added for a meaty crust on one side...
...While the other side crisped to a golden brown. Or a yellow brown. It's not really golden, technically speaking.
After slathering on okonomiyaki sauce, Greg sprinkled bonito flakes on top, which, if you haven't seen it before, do an eerie life-like sway in response to the okonomiyaki's steam.
And then it was time for Kewpie mayo application. Neatly lined up strands of mayo all over the sauced and bonito-ed surface. Oh god, yes.
The finished product was a beautiful crispy wedge of cabbage-y egg-y corn-y pork-y fish-y sweet-tart-y mayo-y goodness, where you can't really distinguish the individual components unless one is missing, at which point it just doesn't taste as good. Greg though he had made too much, but we ate it all. And subsequently groaned with fullness.
Greg will throw more okonomiyaki get-togethers. Kathy and I will make sure of it. With physical force. And a lot of glaring.
Diana and I went to Colin's apartment for a Night of Vegan Stuff. Because Colin is vegan. Which means we left the cooking in his hands.
First, we prepped a dish of brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli stalk seasoned with salt and olive oil.
And it came out all browned and whatnot. The asparagus cooked to a soft, buttery texture, while the brussels sprouts were less delicious and still too bitter for my taste. Not bad (hey, it gave me NUTRIENTS!), just not as good as the asparagus.
And then there was tofu.
Colin browned the tofu before adding the veggies—broccoli and peppers, mostly—and thickened soy sauce.
And then we feasted on bowls of veggie tofu stir fry topped with leftover brown rice and had a long conversation about words that seem to sound more natural if said with a British accent instead of an American accent (such as "brilliant," "fantastic," and "magnificent," along with various synonyms..or maybe we just can't pull them off).