#79: Laos

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can do is cook for someone close to you. That’s about the nicest Valentine as you can give.” -Julia Child

I really take that one to heart, foodie friends. We are coming up on my second most favorite weekend of my entire year and that is the unofficial holiday of Friendsgiving. I have been blessed, for God only knows how I managed to deserve the most dear and perfect friends. They are truly loved and appreciated. This is our 8th or 9th go at Friendsgiving–and for those not in the know, that’s second Thanksgiving, but with the family you choose which are your friends. I always have the best time and memories with these guys and for over 20 years and countless weddings, parties, events and gatherings we’ve been through together, all of us agree that cooking for one another means love.

My mom has taught me this, because growing up with my family meant always knowing the warm hug that a home-cooked meal will give you. Even now, when I cook for myself on a random Wednesday night, I feel like my mom is there. I can try as I might, but my spaghetti sauce will never taste like hers even if I literally follow her recipe to the T. It’s more than the recipe, it’s the TLC that makes it oh-so-good. Food is more than just something that sustains your body, it really will sustain your soul.

THE DINNER: This week we have been tucking away at our Christmas gifting , but too a detour to visit Laos this Sunday. For us, it’s a great distraction because my mother and I love, love, LOVE Asian food. Particularly we love the light and fresh take the southern Pacific nations seem to bring to their dishes. We choose a spicy recipe (shocker. I know) called yam woonsen which is a Spicy Glass Noodle Salad. For those not aware, and shame on you if you’re not because you are MISSING OUT, “glass noodles” are also called Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, crystal noodles or sometimes cellophane noodles. They’re made from starch (not rice) and are transparent when you cook them. The texture of these babies is just my favorite. It’s al’dente but noodle-y. They are actually the one noodle I profess is just as yummy cold as hot.

As is typical with this area of the world, Laotian food features spice and seafood as the major components– but also lots and lots of fresh veggies like bean sprouts and tomatoes and onions and herbs. It’s usually featured with mint, cilantro or line juice also as accompaniments like their Thai and Vietnamese counterparts. Lovely.

Yam Woonsen Recipe: http://hubpages.com/food/Yum-Woonsen-Thai-spicy-Glass-Noodle-Salad-Recipe

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
As per usual with our Asian based adventures, we have noticed that these recipes are very straightforward, offer lots of room for personalization of taste and also are easy to complete even for novice chefs. All that being said, this one was no different. It was definitely just prep and assembly. Obviously harder than last week’s trip to Africa, but it’s hard not to be 😉

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
I’m reminded of my favorite Bill Hader SNL skit at moments like this— where his character Stefan says, “Spicy!!” in the way only he could pretty much sums up how I feel about good, hot food. I hear Bill Hader in my tastebuds. It was one of those moments on Sunday for this meal.
It wasn’t super intensely spicy, but it was tasty spicy. You’re gonna love this one. Something wonderful about the mint also that couples with the fish sauce and the shrimp/pork of the Yam Woosen. This was quick and easy and really yummy. We have already plotted the variations we would make for this one on the weeknight rotation. Not to mention it’s incredibly healthy as all the meat is steamed and the noodles are made of beans shoots more or less.

To round off our even number on the next country we will be taking a culinary vacation to Azerbaijan for #80!! It’s going to be a fun weekend of birthdays and family crafts…and maybe a little guest appearance by “spring cleaning” even though it’s December next weekend. Should be fun to venture off to some foreign food. 

Cheers!
– L & K

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