So, how’s this for irony. I write a huge blog post on how I’m going to gear this blog to be more about my life and my stories and less about food, and the first post after said declaration is a recipe. So, there’s that. In all honesty though, I’ve been staring at my computer screen for a week, a blank post glaring back at me, trying desperately to find the right words to sum up my time with The Giving Lens in Thailand. Writing about such a life-changing trip is harder than you think it would be, because no matter what I say, it won’t do any of it justice. No matter what I say, I feel like I’ll never be able to tell you how much every second with the girls in COSA, every photograph I took of the sad, lonely girls in the Hill Tribes, completely changed my entire outlook on the world. But I promise I will, if not for you guys, for those girls who deserve to have their stories change more lives than just mine.
And they will. I know I’ll find the words. I just need to give myself the chance to. I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and just write. That’s one of the hardest things about being a writer when you have a real story to tell, you are so scared it won’t be enough that you sometimes forget to write it.That’s what happened when I tried to write about the Philippines, and I won’t let that happen here. So, friends, just be patient with me while I find my words.
I haven’t really been in a huge cooking mood lately, but yesterday it just hit me like a sack of flour. It was 9am, I was sipping my coffee and an insatiable craving for Thai food hit me. It was so powerful, I could actually taste the spicy thai peppers and soft rice noodles in my mouth. I’ve been going through such strong withdrawal from my trip and this was the only way I could actually pretend like I’m still there. When I closed my eyes and took a bite, I could feel like I was still sitting in a bustling Chiang Mai restaurant with my 8 amazing travel companions, laughing about something Anna said.
Even though this was exactly what I wanted and was insanely delicious, it didn’t taste quite like Thailand. Which, makes sense, since I don’t have access to all of the amazing ingredients they do. But that’s not really it. The best meals we had were made by Thai matriarchs, women who held their families and their groups together through the power of their cooking. There was so much love in every meal I could actually feel myself closer to them with each bite. I’m not saying I don’t have the same passion for cooking that they do, because I do. It’s just different. Maybe it’s because food is my job now, and I don’t have the same drive that they do. I don’t cook just to feed my family, and maybe that’s my problem.
Another sort of goal for myself is to cook more for US and less for work. The meals I make for work are fun, trendy, very pinterest-worthy. But they never taste quite like the ones I make for this blog or the ones I make when there’s no promise of photographs or a blog post. One of the best meals I made for El and I was in early January. It was 7:30pm and was completely pitch-black outside. Instead of pizza or a frozen dinner, I made three-cheese homemade gnocchi mac n’ cheese. It was so incredibly cheesy and decadent we actually ate the entire casserole dish in one sitting. I think I need to make more meals like that because they always taste even better than you can imagine.
Who said this can’t be one of those dishes for your family? This pasta has everything you could want in a dish, spice, creaminess, incredible flavor and crunch. Maybe this will be the one dish your kids will tell their friends about for months to come?
Spicy Thai Peanut Butter Pasta
Serves about 8.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 20 minutes
- About 10 ounces thin Thai rice noodles
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped leek
- About 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add in the rice noodles. Using a spatula, break them apart and let sit for about 4 – 5 minutes. Pour into a colander and set aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and leeks, heat another 2 -3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 – 8 minutes. Mix in the noodles.
- In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, lime juice, chili paste, crushed red pepper, vinegar and salt and pepper together. Pour the sauce over the chicken and noodles and whisk to combine.
- Remove from heat and cover with chopped cilantro and peanuts.
Nutritional information per serving:
Fat: 13 grams
Carbohydrates: 40 grams
Fiber: 6.2 grams
Protein: 22.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 9