So my friend Karen came over tonight to play dinner party, and we (I) made a truly triumphant meal. The food was really good, so I figured I'd share the recipes with you folks. We started with a Thai coconut chicken soup, and I pretty much followed the recipe except that I substituted a green chili for the jalapeno (mmm...spicy!), and it seems like there are cellophane noodles in there and I didn't put any in (and I only made a half recipe). I'd probably use a bit less fish sauce next time, too. Then we had roasted tofu with shiitake, soy, and ginger over baby spinach, and again I pretty much followed the recipe, except I used rice vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar.
I tried to find ginger ice cream for desert, but they didn't have any at the supermarket. They did have this really cool coconut sesame ice cream, though, and I definitely recommend it; it was delicious. I also wanted to make gingered gin and tonics to drink, but again I was met with failure. First, I rediscovered Connecticut Blue Laws, which prohibit alcohol sales on Sundays -- no gin. I decided to substitute vodka, and while the end result tasted good, it didn't taste like ginger at all (who would have guessed that vodka, lime juice, sugar, and tonic water would be good?!). The only thing I can think of to explain it was that I halved the recipe, and that meant halving the amount of ginger. But given that there was half of everything else, I really don't think that would explain it. Maybe the recipe sucks? This drink is so awesome in concept that I will have to figure out a way to fix it, dammit.
In any case, all things considered, it was a really successful meal. There was probably enough food for three people (if they weren't all big eaters), and even though there wasn't any meat or starch, it's 3:00 AM and I'm not particularly famished. It requires some ingredients that are pretty distinct to Asian cooking (fish sauce, coconut milk, and rice/rice wine vinegar), and a fair bit of time and effort (but nothing too complicated; most of the work is in prep). I already had some of the ingredients I used (particularly the booze), but I ended up spending about $40. I do have a meal's worth of food left though, so I'd say it was definitely worth it. If you're down for a solid semi-light Asian meal, this is a good one.