I've been sick after way, way over-extending myself at my discipline's major conference in portland last week. My most prominent symptom: unrelenting sinus pressure. Fortunately, my most memorable dining experience in portland was a painfully, brutally, hot green papaya salad at a local thai restaurant near the PSU campus called baan thai, so when I was able to go to the grocery store yesterday, I stocked up on ginger, chilis, and sambal to try to make a soup that would clear my sinus the old fashioned way:
This was a relatively quick preparation: the recipe would have had it finished in about 30 min but I wanted to simmer the soup longer to let the flavors meld more. This was partly because I heated up the ingredients considerably: I did about 1/3 cup of fresh ginger instead of 2 tblspns, 2.5 tblspns of sambal instead of 2, added garlic, shallot, and an extra serrano chili (2 instead of 1). Also, I marinated the chicken in soy sauce and yet ANOTHER tblspn of sambal while the broth was simmering.
Before my experience at baan thai last week, I would have said this was hot-- as it did make my eyes water and nose run, and my mouth was still burning while I did the dishes. But that green papaya salad has made me a man when it comes to spice, and now I fear it will be hard for me to actually put enough spice in my dishes to live up to that level! Especially if I ever want anyone else to eat any of the food hahaha. I found a recipe for green papaya salad in the NYT, and I'm going to try it out... conservatively, at first.
Other notable dining from portland has to include my Five Meat dinner at Jake's Famous Crawfish, which might have been the best seafood restaurant I've ever been to: all 5 of the sea-meats I tasted were among the most flavorful I've ever had! The 5 were: snail, shrimp, crab, salmon, and rock fish. Actually, now that I think of it, TWO of those five I was having for the first time EVER-- snails and rockfish. I think I would be more likely to order rock fish again.
Also, of course, we hit voodoo donut, and got a 24 donut sampler... I personally tried cotton candy, maple, oreo, m&m's, and some others that I can't remember because of what we sampled them with: a bottle of macallan 12 year and a bottle of laphroaig 18 yr!
It felt good to eat something besides pizza tonight, and I had been craving thai soup ever since the sickness set in. Ultimate Success!