again with the food

i’m not a food blogger, and i don’t really have a desire to be one. which might have you asking, “why another post about food?”  i’m attempting a little bit of psychology (or something like that) in order to get my blogging mojo back.  i figure if what i’m cooking is the most interesting thing i have going on in my life right now, then that’s what i’m gonna write about.  (it’s not just interesting, it’s also unusual.  cooking is not my default.)  so i guess i’ll just keep posting about food until i can find the interesting in the rest of my life.  my hope is that i will add a dash of daily life in with the cooking/food stuff and – eventually – it will become more and more daily life and less and less look what’s in my crockpot, but until then…  let’s go ahead and look what’s in my crockpot!

before i could head to the store to check off my grocery list i needed to make a trip to immigration for sam’s 90 day check-in.  it was due aug. 14, but they allow a grace period and i was within that time period.  except i wasn’t.  turns out the slip of paper that had the stamp that read -14 AUG also had a stamp that read -4 AUG. obviously (to all but me), the second one was the correct one.  i tried to explain it to the officer at the desk.  she agreed it had two stamps, but seemed to think i wasn’t too bright for assuming the one that was in the top corner, that showed without me having to unfold the piece of paper that was stapled in sam’s passport, was the correct stamp.  it’s very possible that they told me when they did this.  i tend to be stressed when i’m at immigration.  what with the waiting and the lots of irritated people and the waiting and the crowded room and the waiting…  not to mention the last time i was there for this purpose i was suffering with a wee bit of hip pain.  anyway, it didn’t appear that the officer was going to come around to my way of seeing things and she handed my passport to the officer next to her.  he opened it, saw it was sam’s, asked me if he was my son, and said, “mai pen rai.” (which is basically hakuna matata).  the first immigration officer agreed with him, but did remind me to be more careful in the future.  i was very, very appreciative.  i get to do it again for myself in just a few weeks.

my next stop was the grocery store and, as an added bonus, there was a downpour.  i still managed to get the shopping done.  i also got an umbrella-d escort to my car. once i was home, the first thing i needed to do was get the chickens ready for the best whole chicken in a crockpot. 


they needed 6 hours to cook, so i got busy making soup.  i might tire of the soup with some protein quick meal eventually, but for now i’m thinking i’m brilliant for coming up with it.  last week it was curried cream of broccoli soup and crockpot sweet potato basil soup.  this week i made a pot of creamy spinach and artichoke soup.


and cream of mushroom soup.

creamofmush  i’ve got some pork from last week and the chicken from this week to mix in with these.

once the chicken was done, i removed the meat and threw the bones and other bits and pieces back into the crockpot.  i added a few vegetables and some water and tonight while i’m sleeping my crockpot will be making overnight chicken stock in the crockpot.


feeding frenzy

it’s mother’s day in thailand and i’m celebrating by fully embracing project firm up (that name probably won’t stick.)  i got up and searched the internet for recipes, made a shopping list, went shopping, and cooked.  it wouldn’t be abnormal for me to get stuck at any of those steps.  usually it’s pretty early in the process, like the “i got up” step.  but not today.

as a mother’s day gift i got a parking spot in the actual grocery store parking lot.  in the states the parking lots at the grocery store are generally two or three times the size of the actual grocery store.  this particular grocery store is two or three times – at least – the size of its parking lot.  not sure who came up with that plan, but it’s frustrating.  once i was home i got my julia child on and cooked up a storm.

i had slow cooker kalua pig in crockpot #1.


this is supposed to be pork butt and it’s supposed to cook for 16 hours.  i purchased pork loin so cut the cooking time back to 9 hours.

and there was crockpot sweet potato basil soup in crockpot #2.


it came out really thick and creamy.  the recipe says you can add more broth to make it soupier, but sam and i both agreed this was nice, we could add meat and it would be great (and i’ve got a lot of kalua pig and not quite as much lemon rosemary lamb in my fridge).  i also think that it would be really good as a gravy at thanksgiving or christmas, but it would be a very thick gravy.   (that would be the immersion blender at work – 2 times in 2 days.  that gift was totally worth it michael!)

i made a batch of sweet potato hash.


this calls for cinnamon.  i don’t like cinnamon in my savory so much.  so i add cumin instead.  i’ve made this before so i know that i also like to soft fry an egg (if i knew how to poach – or wanted to take a minute to learn – that would probably be better) and put it on top.  the runny yolk gravy is awesome.

and i even whipped up some sausage cabbage sauté for today’s lunch.

you’re supposed to use chicken apple sausage, but since that’s not readily available to me i just used ground chicken breast and added sausage seasoning.  i also snuck in some ghost chili salt.  this was quick & easy and very tasty.  i was a little doubtful, i was worried that maybe the cabbage would be over powering.

now for the last step in today’s master plan, the step that involves everyone’s commitment.  eat all the food up.  not all of it today.  we’ve got the rest of the week for that.

and then this evening i lost the plot – project firm up took a major derail.  i’d cooked all day and was hungry.  aly and i chatted about the first day of her last year of high school.  to celebrate this transition i had chocolate and wine.  red wine – which is okay in another 28 days.  but maybe the reeses peanut butter cups, the butterfingers (minis) and the baby ruths (minis) were too much.  and maybe it wasn’t celebration eating.  maybe it was stress eating (it’s aly’s senior year!).  sometimes i think they can be the same thing, right?

here’s to a better day tomorrow.  this is tomorrow’s lunch.


it’s the crockpot sweet potato basil soup with some kalua pig thrown in for fun.

a new leaf

i don’t think anyone would ever call me a softy, but i’ve definitely gotten pretty fluffy the past three months.  plus i’ve been eating a lot of good food.  (i have now been called a softy, by our mae baan.  actually she called me a fatty.  same same.)  the scale says i’ve only gained 2 pounds, but the way my clothes fit says i’ve traded some muscle for fat, possibly lots of muscle for fat.  i’m not complaining or regretting, but it is time i get a handle on these love handles.  enter paleo.  i’m not a recent convert.  i’ve toyed with eating paleo for years.  i admit to being way off the paleo track right now, but i’m no where near where i was before i started it and it seems a wise decision to turn back since i know it works.

so it started today.  (except for today’s morning coffee.  there were 2 iced lattes sitting in my fridge that i drank this morning.  i’m not feeling guilty because i can’t think of a reason to waste good coffee.)  the good news is that eating smart doesn’t have to mean eating not good food.  (that came of very public service announcement-y, didn’t it?) which is nice because i don’t want to make my family miserable, since they’re getting drug along on this journey with me.  breakfast and lunch will be my biggest challenges.  mainly because i have a tendency to skip breakfast so i’ll need convenience foods or pre-prepped food for this meal.  i tend to eat lunch out.  lunch out here frequently comes with rice.  you can order without rice, but i like rice – my struggles are great.  also there’s the no dairy thing.  it’s really only an issue because i like milk in my coffee.  but i’m gonna try for 30 29 days – no rice, no dairy.  the family will do what the family does during breakfast and lunch.  fend for themselves.  for the kids it means grabbing what’s at home for breakfast (normally cereal and milk) and then lunch at school.  i’m hoping to make use of my brand new, fancy-schmancy, american sized crock pot.  since it’s american sized i’m thinking it will provide me with leftovers that i can call breakfast.  or family members at home can call lunch.  that might be overly optimistic on my part, but a girl can dream.

so in an effort to get off to a good start i made lemon rosemary lamb and curried cream of broccoli soup (hey michael – this called for me to use that immersion blender) for dinner. i do not want to discuss how expensive leg of lamb is here.  and it wasn’t until i got home and reread the recipe that i noticed it could possibly be done with beef – also expensive, but less expensive than lamb.  i’ve never cooked lamb before so i was okay giving it a go and hoping for the best.  both of these were easy, i like easy.  and as a bonus they both turned out well.  we loaded our soup bowls with lamb and covered it with the soup.  that was a good idea and we’ve ended up with leftovers!!



plan b

the family returns tomorrow morning (aly and michael) so tonight is the last night for our scheduled food blog.  we decided on italian and made our way to boutique della pasta.  it had good reviews on trip advisor so i thought we should give it a try.  i checked out their facebook page, found their hours (we weren’t going to make the mistake of arriving early again) and we made our way there.  when we arrived we discovered they were closed today.  this was not disclosed on their facebook page.  i found that slightly annoying because it seems to me that a quick status update letting folks know you are closed seems sort of an easy thing to do.  but what do i know other than they aren’t the only italian restaurant in the game.  so we headed to pulcinella da stefano.


we went ahead with the appetizer to share routine that we’ve gotten so good at.  we ordered the panzerotti.


it was puff pastry, stuffed with cheese and mushrooms and fried.  not sure you could mess that one up.  we both agreed it was good and that it was a pretty substantial appetizer, even when shared.  sam thought it would make a great entree.

for my meal i ordered the gnocchi alla crema di asparagi e ricotta (gnocchi with asparagus mousse and ricotta cheese).


it was a nice dish.  very much what was described.  it would probably fall in the comfort food category.

sam had the calzone.


he said it was good, but it was a little heavy on the spinach and mushroom for his liking.  we probably could have made two perfect calzones out of this one.  i would have taken all the spinach and mushroom and he could have had the meats.

i think we would both say this was a good meal from a restaurant that is probably pretty reliable when it comes to serving good food.

i think it’s possible we will continue our food blogging, but we’ll have to see where our commitment levels fall before we know that for sure.

a lazy saturday lunch

butternut was recommended to me more than once when folks heard i was looking for new places to eat.  i figured it was a good option for a lazy saturday lunch – since it’s not too far from our house.

it’s a cute little restaurant located on a soi on the outside of the east side of the moat.  (just like having a map, i know.)

i went with the mediterranean plate – hummus, falafel, two kinds of tahini, and a tomato salad served along with some soft pita bread.  all the flavors were fresh and bright.  i’d definitely go back just for this.


sam had the grilled cheese.  it was a panini with cheese, bacon, and tomato salsa.  it was as good as it sounds.


we’d also ordered an appetizer.  it came out last, but that’s not uncommon here.  potato croquette.  fried balls of mashed potatoes?  nothing wrong with that.


pizza pie, oh me oh my!

i have a long haul drive to get to my physical therapist’s office.  it’s way on the other side of town.  i mean it’s a serious commitment.  but it comes with some perks.  there’s the massage, the heat packs, the rehabilitation, and there’s also being on the same side of town as pizza n pasta.  so pizza it was for dinner.


sam wanted hawaiian pizza and i wanted sausage and mushroom.  the pizzas here come in big, bigger, biggest, and most biggest ever – all of them are too big for one person.  i’m not sure what size i ordered, i just know it wasn’t the most biggest ever.  went 1/2 and 1/2 with new york crust and new york sauce.  other choices are thick or thin crust and there were two other sauce choices.


we haven’t sampled all the pizza in chiang mai, but we’ve had a lot of it and both of us agreed this was the best we’ve had here.  and, bonus, we had leftovers.

i’ve also discovered that not being able to burn the calories while increasing the intake of calories is not good math.  the rest of the family (or at least the rest of the family who is returning to chiang mai) are home in the next week and a half, how much more damage can be done in that amount of time?  it’s think i might need to reinvent myself as a health and fitness blogger.





fancy food

saturday night sam and i headed out to the restaurant that is currently ranked the #1 restaurant in chiang mai – according to trip advisor.  dk david’s kitchen at 909.  i had been warned that it was pricey and it was, sort of.   it was special occasion, excellent meal, great ambiance,  wonderful service pricey.  which i think translates to it was totally worth it.


i called ahead and made a reservation for 2.  they asked if it was a special occasion and i made sure to tell them it would be my son and me.  i didn’t want to embarrass him any more than a 14 year old might already be embarrassed to be out for a fancy meal with his mother.

they had a set menu, which looked wonderful, but we went ahead and ordered a la carte.  we started with the crab bisque soup and the pomelo salad.

IMG_1491 IMG_1492

the soup was sweet and creamy, but not at all heavy and the salad was a great balance of tart and sweet, with just a hint of heat.  both dishes were a very nice start to our meal.

after our soup and salad we were served a lovely little lime sorbet palate cleanser.


for our mains sam had the lamb shank.


it was extremely tender – it fell right off the bone – and the mashed potatoes were perfect.  i don’t have a quote from sam for this dish, but when he took his first bite of the lamb his face lit up like he’d just witnessed the most amazing magic trick.  i don’t believe he’s ever had food of this caliber before, at least i know i’ve never prepared anything this good.

i had the beef cheeks.


i confess to not being 100% certain of just what part of the cow the beef cheek comes from and i wasn’t too embarrassed to ask.  turns out it is the actual cheek.  i had no idea there was that much meat on a cow’s cheek.  or that it would be that tasty.  again the potatoes were perfect and the sauce (i think it was a red wine sauce) was such a great complement to the whole dish.

by this point we were full.  but when dessert was offered we both agreed that we might regret not having it since everything else had been so wonderful.

sam ordered the chocolate soufflé and i had the banana flambé.

IMG_1496 IMG_1497

and we were right.  they were divine.  so much better than the pictures.

the only thing that would keep me from ordering any of the dishes we had during this meal would be my desire to try everything else on the menu.  i cannot imagine there is anything on offer that would be less than amazing.

i would definitely categorize this as a special occasion restaurant and i’ve already started looking for excuses to celebrate more special occasions.  isn’t there a saying that every day is a special occasion?