Auros (auros) wrote,

Weekend, Whale Rider, Tom Kha

The weekend was fun, if not particularly exotic.

Friday night took Tom-Kha (recipe below) to ef2p and cortneyofeden's party. Chatted with various cool people, including some folks I hadn't met before (notably kikipopo and aargnzarf, who seemed pretty cool, and B-with-gorgeous-hair, who is apparently not an LJ person, but hopefully we'll run into her again). I realized when we were leaving the party that, because several different people had been interested in hearing about what sort of job one gets as a linguist, I never really got around to asking questions. I hate when that happens -- I get talking about things I'm interested in, and I'll just keep going. It's really not because I'm not interested in what other people might have to say. In some cases I even have questions all formulated, but I never get around to them. *sigh* I think this makes me come of as much more arrogant and self-absorbed than I actually am. (I'm not exactly humble, and I don't think I'm boring... but I'm not a caricaturesque egotist. Honest!)

Spent pretty much all of Saturday doing Stats homework and the problem-set part of the final, and laundering my sheets in parallel. apollolee came by Xta's place, responding to the Craig's List ad; he recognized me, and we eventually figured out that we know each other through emmett_the_sane; considering that the other person who has moved in, aliza250, is also somebody in my extended network, this was fairly amusing. I have this feeling that we did something in the evening, but I can't for the life of me remember what. On Sunday, we went to the city to have brunch at Ti Couz with danyelf and his gf; we discussed various geeky things. Then we went over to Berkeley to get hair dye from The Dark Entry for Xta, and take a walk up Telegraph. And then we went to a party in Rengstorff Park, near where I used to live in Mountain View; saw zhaneel69 and her boy, whose LJ name, if he has one, I've forgotten.

At some point over the weekend, I was talking with somebody about the Z-Pinch nuclear fusion device, which is a rare example of something that both is cool and futuristic, and actually looks it. (Most futuristic-looking things are consumer devices where the functionality has matured, and then people went back to add clever bells and whistles. Most cellphones fall into this category -- though, in a moment of blatant corporate shilling, I'll plug Motorola's RAZR V3 here: its touch-sensitve electrostatic buttons are an important step up over moving-part buttons, because you can potentially divide the keypad up into smaller units til you have something like a touchscreen and then do finger writing and gesture recognition.) I guess it must've been Danyel and K~; I think I mentioned the Viridian list, because K~ is an environmental engineering consultant. And of course the notion that if you want to get people -- including congresscritters who provide research funds -- enthusiastic about clean power, you should make it look cool, is a major Viridian meme.

Sunday and Monday nights I just had no ability to focus, so I still haven't finished my Stats final and project, both of which are due Saturday. Meep. :-/

Yesterday evening I watched Whale Rider. It's a good film -- pretty scenery, good acting, and absolutely nothing blowing up or flashing or blinking at you. I wonder, though, whether CAP-Alert has reviewed it? It's surely even more insidious than Harry Potter; instead of being obvious fantasy, it's magical realism; you can't quite tell whether the improbable events at the end really are due to magic, or just happened on their own. And of course it encourages the ideas that a) women have the right to challenge being confined by gender roles, and b) religious/mythological beliefs other than Xianity are valid. (Also, incidentally, two of the men portrayed as admirable are "living in sin" with their girlfriends.)

For four quarts of Tom-Kha (divide as appropriate), I used:

  • sesame oil, plus a splash of garlic oil and a good dose of chili oil I was using Trader Joe's garlic oil and House of Tsang chili oil, because they happened to be around; I'm not sure how much oil it was total, but it was only enough to keep the veggies from charring, maybe a third to half a cup tops; I ended up with just a little char on some bits anyways, which was especially visible on the white cauliflower)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (fast onion-chopping tip: slice off the non-root end, peel, slice in half down its axis, then place each half on the board, make three longitudinal cuts to divide the half into eighths, and dice it from the top cut back down towards the root)
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into roughly half-centimeter disks
  • 1.5 bell peppers (half each from red/orange/yellow peppers) (used mainly because I had them leftover from the Moroccan Chicken; I might drop them, and add some chopped bokchoy or cabbage, if I do this again)
  • 1 to 1.5 cup each of broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 1 package Wildwood* Royal Thai baked tofu (with each of the two squares sliced in half along the plane, then diced into a 4x4 grid)
  • a roughly 2-cup package of baby corn (I get baby corn from the salad bar at Mollie Stone's; I probably shouldve cut/broken them into halves, to bring them down to bite-size)
  • 1 box (quart) Imagine No-Chicken broth
  • 2 cans Trader Joe's light coconut milk
  • about 0.5 cups of lime juice if you can get fresh kaffir limes, they obviously would be more authentic
  • spice mix; the stuff I'm using is slices of ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, and lemongrass; it's a blend that came with my spice grinder, but Oxo seems to have discontinued it
  • 3 packages of Thai Kitchen Lemongrass Chili noodle soup mix yes, I'm cheating. :-P
  • about 2 cups of water

The process should be reasonably obvious. Put a wok over medium-high to high heat til it's good and hot, toss in the oil, and start adding veggies (onions and carrots for a bit, then bell peppers and broccoli/cauliflower [and cabbage/bokchoy and un-precooked tofu], then pre-cooked tofu, and lastly baby corn right at the end for a minute or so). Pour over the broth and coconut milk. Add the spices from the soup mix packages, as well as a large dose of whatever other spice you have. Leave on heat, stirring occasionally, until you just reach a boil; at this point, you can either add the noodles and water, and serve, or remove from the heat, cool, pour into a container, and stash in the fridge. When you want to serve it, just heat it back up to a boil, stir in the noodles and water, let it get barely up to a boil again, and cut the heat. The main thing is, you can't really store it with the noodles in it; they get mushy and gross after an hour or so.

If I wanted this to come out really authentic, I would've separately boiled the broth and coconut milk with sliced galanga, sliced and pounded lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf, letting it simmer to draw out the flavor for the whole time I was stir-frying the rest of the ingredients.

* Looking for a link for Wildwood, I discovered that apparently the tofuburger I like at Barney's is from that brand. Cool! That means I can buy them for goer_org's BBQs!


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