It's getting to the point where things are getting kind of out of hand....like, there has to be an intervention for the organic-veggie-plant growing addict! Man, the inventory gets kind of crazy....we now have have watercress and radishes, planted over carrots because of some timing thing. We bought hibernating ladybugs because it controls aphids. After a couple of days the Missus "fired them" because they weren't working fast enough! Still, there's something therapeutic about releasing, then watching ladybugs do their thing....I call it the "aquarium affect". Though that nirvana is soon broken by the Missus encouraging them to "kuai den....kuai den!" Then of course, we have to deal with "what happens when the novelty is over...." The Missus is on tomato deathwatch.....waiting to plant something in the real estate once the plants die. It's all a learning process for us. And yet, I find myself spending more time in our formerly desolate backyard, unless Sammy takes my seat.
And then, there's the question of "we have this stuff, what am I gonna make?" The Kale and Chard are fine, it's the Missus making "juice". But the other stuff has been, well, kinda fun interesting as a whole. I kid about the Missus a lot. But that's not to say I have no barriers. I tend to think in specific, structured ways. Take for example, that the Missus told me, "we have all this stuff, make a Thai Beef salad!" So immediately, I give two options, Yum Neua, which for me is a minced/chopped beef salad/larb that is cooked with herbs/sauce/flavoring or Nahm Tok, which is grilled, then sliced, and flavored. You know where this going, right? Yep, the Missus told me...."I want it grilled, then chopped, then flavored....then eaten."
Which was kind of good. It made me think...."if I had a a bunch of people to serve a Thai inspired beef salad to, what would I do?" Well make a sauce of course? Which I made the night before.
The Sauce - this is what you start with:
1/4 cup Fish Sauce
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
5 Thai Chilies Chopped, then smashed with a cleaver - I use seeds and all
3 Tb Palm Sugar
2 Tb White Sugar
1 Tb minced/grated garlic
2 Tb minced cilantro stems (save the leaves)
First I microwave (one of the few things I use it for) the palm sugar for 15-20 seconds to soften, then I add to a pot with all the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. This helps to dissolve everything. Once everything is mixed I remove from heat and cool. I then taste and make adjustments. Why? Well, because we all have our own preferences. The one key thing to remember is, it's easy to adjust flavor of the final product when making this ahead of time....you can add fish sauce. more chilies, etc.....except for the sweet component. So I err on the side of making this a tad too sweet. Also, remember, once the flavors come together, it's going to be a bit different.
So finally....we get to the version of Yum Neua, right?
Well....not so fast Kemosabe. It depends on what cut of beef you use...of course. The Missus really likes Hanger Steak, which ain't cheap, but is tender, and I always think in terms of "what I make at home versus cost of eating out". But it really depends. Sirloin might do well marinated in something like pineapple juice for an hours or two......for me, I rubbed the beef, all 1 3/4 pounds of it with 1 Tb of salt, 2 Tb fish sauce, 1 Tb granulated garlic, 2 Tb dark brown sugar, and a dash or two of white pepper.
I let sit for about 20 minutes, while I grilled like 2 pounds of brussel sprouts for the Missus......... Anyway, I grilled the beef until about 150....medium well, and let sit for 10 minutes. The carry-over cooking took it to almost well done. I cut against the grain, then chopped. I then mixed in chopped cilantro leaves, Thai chilies, scallions, and mint from the yard, then added about half the sauce. Had a taste, then added about 2 Tb of roasted rice powder. I tasted and adjusted the flavor.
Served it with lettuce and cucumbers from the garden and garlic from elsewhere....we consume so much garlic that I don't think we'd be able to keep up. Ended up using 10 Thai chilies, so I think we raised wimpy ones.
What's really funny is....same sauce and all.....I used half the beef which the Missus thought was delish. The next day, She just went ahead and made it herself with the remaining beef and sauce, without smelling or tasting and it wasn't quite as good. Go figure.....
And life is about juggling priorities....like Frankie wanting equal time, and letting us know, "in my next life, I'll be a farmer!"