Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Unplanned Thai fish

It just showed up at my doorstep announcing hi, I'm here for dinner. Really, I said, I was actually expecting a box of farm-fresh produce. Nope, said the Thai fish. That will have to wait until next week. For tonight you're going to cook that dover sole Jasper picked out with some of those tasty Southeast Asian condiments your hosts have stocked in the refrigerator. There's a scant amount of peas and corn in the freezer. While you're there, why not try out that pre-cooked brown rice from Trader Joe's. You might even have enough garlic there in the veggie drawer.

2 T sesame oil squandered on too-high heat (that oil's flavor is delicate)
1 T chopped garlic
1-2 pounds fish of the bland sort that can be used to carry other flavors, like dover sole
2 T kecap mannis
2 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
1/3 cup frozen veggies
Indonesian hot sauce
juice from one lime
chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in pan and soften garlic. Throw in fish and add sauces. Stir around until fish falls apart. Add veggies and cooked until just thawed, a couple minutes. Scoop up as much as you think your kid will eat and set aside in a small bowl to cool. Add hot sauce, lime juice, and cilantro to remainder and remove from heat.

The Trader Joe's frozen rice rocks. You just microwave it for three minutes and it comes out perfectly fluffy, like someone other than you spent half an hour assiduously rinsing rice grains.

As for the missing box of produce, I'll have to save that story for next week.

Meanwhile, I am being seduced by suburban California. Yesterday we went over to the Menlo Park rec center (we're actually closer to that than to the Palo Alto parks) to register Jasper for a summer gymnastics class. The various administrative offices were spread amongst various low-lying buildings that blended into the trees. A series of ponds and streams runs between some of the buildings where ducks and children gather. Playgrounds sit in beds of fragrant wood chips instead of concrete. When I handed in my form for Jasper's class the parks administrator was warm and friendly. Didn't she know that city employees are supposed to be sullen? Apparently they aren't here. Maybe it's all the sunshine.

Suburbia here is working for me because, to a certain degree, I can maintain some aspects of urban living. The cities here originally sprang along the commuter train lines. This means that each city has a sort of town center, even if the rest of the city spirals out into mostly residential areas and vast shopping malls. We're within biking distance of Menlo Park's center, home to Trader Joe's and an ickily-upscale grocery store. We're also close to Kepler's Books and Magazines, a Penninsula institution.

We are not close to Rick's Ice Cream but we were near that part of Palo Alto today and I'd heard it's great. I sampled an amazing lavender lemon before choosing their kulfi, a rose-flavored ice cream with saffron and pistachio. The pistachios actually overwhelmed the rose flavor, but it was still yummy. I loved Lane's choice of "sideways," cabernet with chocolate chips, even more.

Now if only one of us could find a job in the tech industry making a zillion dollars a year. Over the weekend we toured a house on the market just for kicks. It's a mid-century little bungalow with a big picture window. I think students had been renting it and the owner had just made some minor, cosmetic rennovations before putting it on the market. It has three bedrooms, but the third bedroom is at the back of the house along with the second bathroom and a tiny kitchen. The main kitchen has synthetic granite-like countertops and new, brushed steel appliances that are otherwise nothing special. The front and back yards are small. Yours for $1.1 million.

That night I watched an HGTV show featuring a couple who bought a gigantic old house on a few acres of land in Maplewood, New Jersey. For $1.1 million.


Janet M Kincaid said...

Rick's Ice Cream is a total favorite in this household! And what you describe in terms of a nice blend of urban and suburban, visit Walnut Creek. Okay, it isn't exactly 'urban' but they have a lovely, pedestrian friendly downtown. I lived there for three years without a car, that's how accessible amenities were. I finally bought a car, because visiting my grandmother in Fairfield became such a hassle. She lived 30 minutes away and it took me three hours to get to her. Plus, getting to the beach was a bugger. But I digress, as usual.

I'm glad you're enjoying California. And the Peninsula. It's a great place to live and work!

Luisa Perkins said...

I'm jeaaaaaaalouuuuusss. You have no idea how brutal the weather has been here the past few days. So savor it!

shaunamama said...

It's incredible how the housing markets are along coastlines...ick.The icecream store sounds divine. Cabernet icecream...never had the pleasure, but boy would i like to try!

Janet M Kincaid said...

P.S. As an artist, I think Lane could do quite well doing commissioned pieces for high tech firms and bajillionaires in California. I think you'd be surprised! Is there any chance of him lining up a gallery show? Perhaps not while you're out right now, but something down the road? The MOMA in SF is incredibly popular and there are several reputable, smaller galleries in the city that I'm sure would LOVE his work. (Only fools don't love and appreciate his work...) Just curious, as it sounds like you're warming to California....