Friday’s Feast

Courtesy of Friday’s Feast.

How do you usually celebrate on New Year’s Eve?

Some years we stay in, having a quiet family celebration. Some years we go out, usually to a First Night Celebration which are always great fun. First Night Celebrations, in case you’re not familiar with them, are alcohol-free, family oriented celebrations with great food, great music, and lots of other types of entertainment. The one in the city closest to where we live in the Bogs always has fireworks at midnight.

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.

I had to learn to live with chronic pain. On the plus side, it allowed me to quit my job sooner than expected which was stressing me out more than I realized.

Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?

Without a doubt, San Francisco. I want to go back someday, when we have more time to really explore the city and the surrounding area.

Main Course
What resolution is your top priority for 2007?

Taking back my health. I’m the one who gave it away. I have to be the one to take it back.

Using just three words, describe 2006.

Serendipity, discovery, challenge.

Spicy Shrimp with Udon Noodles

(Leftovers. December 2006. Photo by Robin)

Last night I embarked upon another CookingLight adventure: Spicy Shrimp with Udon Noodles. The photo above really doesn’t do it justice. I’ve notice that it’s not easy to get a good shot of food. Perhaps it’s because the smell and taste are missing from the overall picture.

Spicy Shrimp with Udon Noodles is a labor intensive dish. Peeling and deveining two pounds of raw shrimp is just the start. That’s followed by lots of slicing, dicing, chopping, boiling, and sauteeing. It was worth every moment of it.

I am glad, however, that I wasn’t serving this dish to guests. Before I tell you why, you should know that I’m a huge fan of Thai food, especially the curries, so I’m familiar with red curry paste. I’ve used it a lot. I once made red curry shrimp for the folks at work, enough for about 15-20 people, and it was spiced nicely. Not too hot, not too weak in the spice. Just right.

I think someone at CookingLight made a mistake in the Spicy Shrimp with Udon Noodles recipe. I was reading the list of ingredients and was surprised to see that the recipe (which makes 6 servings) calls for 3 tablespoons of red curry paste. 3 tablespoons. That’s a heaping helping of red curry paste!

I couldn’t do it. I reduced it to about half of that. Nonetheless, the Spicy Shrimp was outrageously spicy. Noses were running, eyes were tearing up, and the occasional cough as the heat hit the back of the throat could be heard all throughout the meal. Imagine a tableful of guests all sniffling, watering and coughing. Sounds like something out of comedy. I would guess that M and I looked like something out of comedy by the time we finished.

Still and all, we both enjoyed the dish. It was quite tasty. The good thing about red curry paste is that the heat does not overtake the flavor of the dish, no matter how hot you make it. Capsaicin, it appears, is good for pain. I was feeling none by the time we finished our meal. Even my lips were numb.

I will make this again, and I’d love to serve it to guests, but I’ll lighten up on the red curry paste as I like my guests to be comfortable, not sniffling, watering, and coughing throughout the meal.

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs