Monday, June 27, 2011

Going Out, and Cooking In

Usually The Fisherman and I celebrate the weekend by going out to eat. After a long crazy day for both of us at the office, I offered to treat him to a local Thai place, Boon Chu on Broadway, in Elmhurst. He's walked past it a few times and wanted to check it out, and I can't say no to Thai iced tea, so we went to check it out.
First off, if you're claustrophobic, maybe you need to try someplace else. It's small, really small, as in six tables small.

 Naturally I had to have Thai iced tea. Not as strong as I would have liked, but pretty good.

We lucked out and were able to squeeze (and I meant this literally), into a booth. We ordered an appetizer of Hoy Jor (ground pork, shrimp and crab wrapped in crispy tofu skin).  If you like fish cakes, this is right up your alley. Chewy, almost springy, definitely seafoody.

The Fisherman was insistent on ordering pad thai despite my best efforts to convince him to try something less "textbook." I am sorry I tried to steer him away from pad thai. It was very, very good. The portion was a bit small but other than that it was quite good.

I've made pad thai before, in college, for a good friend of mine, in a dorm kitchen, when the lights were having issues. Of course homemade stuff is better, I just might have to dust off/look for the recipe I used in the past, and figure my cats "helping" me will approximate working with the lights flickering.

I agreed to check out the Tom yum soup. I really liked it overall, but we both agreed that the imitation crab meat was a no-no. I didn't like the texture, and The Fisherman just didn't like the idea of fake crab in this. The lemongrass was also too hard to chew, a little dangerous to eat...

So, on Fatty Friday, The Fisherman made a special request for this pasta dish we came up with before, but we ate it before I could photograph it. I think I will dubb it The Fisherman's Fav, perhaps you'll find it quick and delicious as well.

First get some pasta started. The Fisherman is partial to noodles, so I used fettucini. Lots of salt in water, on the stove to boil. Then in a pan (the bigger the better!) I have some olive oil, maybe 1/4 cup and a two tablespoons of butter (for one pound of pasta, don't freak out.) Besides, olive oil is good for you :) Heat it on medium so the butter melts and the fats combine gloriously.

As that's heating up, chop one onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic (I never like to cut half an onion, it's wasteful. Use a smaller one if you're onion squeamish. Same for garlic. Those go in the pan with the butter/oil, and some red pepper flake (2 tablespoons, use more or less as you like), and two tablespoons of pesto (yes, homemade is better, but when I can find pignolis where I live, I'll consider it). Stir and let everything melt, the onions softening and sweetening, the garlic becoming more mellow.

Test the pasta for doneness, and when it's ready, drain. Toss the pasta to make sure it's hot but dry. Then bring the pasta to the pan with the onion garlic yumminess and dump into the pan, carefully. Toss the pasta and the sauce. I tossed it back into the pot because my pot was a little smaller than I'd like. Add some cheese if you're inclined (cheese for me, please!), maybe even a splash of lemon juice to brighten things up.

Talk about being an alchemist! We literally threw this together, and now The Fisherman loves it!

Eating out, and staying in. I don't know which I prefer sometimes. Something delicious you didn't have to slave over, or something made just the way you like it, made with love. Quite the toss up. When in doubt, mangia!

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