Friday, November 23, 2007

Erawan Thai Cuisine

Erawan Thai restaurant has a new and improved menu!
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Their old menu was pretty much two pages of thai staples, while the new menu has so much variety, I don't know I've actually read through it all.
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Liz is a an avid sausage lover, so we decided to try this new appetizer. It was spicy and sweet and studded with cilantro.
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We wanted to try both the steamed and fried versions of the vegetable dumplings, and the kitchen was kind enough to give us half and half on one plate. In both taste and texture I prefer the fried dumplings. The contrast between the crunchy outside and the soft stuffing was lost when the dumplings were steamed.
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Tempura vegetables were simply prepared and fried perfectly so that the batter didn't absorb any of the oil. We wished the dipping sauce were a bit more interesting, so we added a little chili sauce and found it more suitable.
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Fresh summer rolls are available with chicken, shrimp or just vegetables. We've tried them all and my favorite are the vegetable, mainly because I think the addition of meat distracts me from all the flavor and crunch of the veggies and tofu.
While not new to the menu, I'm a big fan of all the various Thai curries available at Erawan. The Penang curry is delicious, just the right amount of spicy and laden with red peppers and onions. Any curry at Erawan can be made with Chicken, Beef,
Shrimp or Seafood. Chicken is pictured above.
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I'm also fond of the Massaman Curry, pictured here with huge tail-on shrimp. Potatoes and peanuts are simmered in a mild coconut curry and served with steamed white rice.
Holy Basil Supreme Vegetables
An entire vegetarian entree section of the new menu was exciting to many of my vegetarian friends. The Holy Basil Supreme was very well receieved. Broccoli, red peppers, onions, and tofu are sauteed in a basil chili sauce. Erawan also makes a version of this with chicken or beef.
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Unfortunately, I suggest avoiding the coconut rice pudding. While we liked the presentation of four individual little bowls, the pudding was salty and tasted nothing of coconut.
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I would suggest the banana rolls. Banana slices are wrapped in wontons, fried to perfection and served with honey and condensed milk to use as dipping sauces.
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The fried ice cream was okay. It looked a bit better than it tasted, as the fried shell was a bit soggy.
Coconut Ice Cream
The one thing not to miss on the dessert menu is the Coconut Ice Cream. Rich and creamy with real coconut flakes, this stuff is marvelous. Since trying it for the first time months ago, I haven't been able to not order it every time I've been back.

Check out Erawan, especially if you haven't been in a while, stop by to check out their menu and sample a few new dishes.

Erawan Thai
123 South 23rd Steet
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Erawan Thai Cuisine in Philadelphia

Monday, November 05, 2007

This past Friday night I had the awesome pleasure to attend a potluck for Philadelphia Food Bloggers. It was hosted by Marisa of Fork You! I'll get to the food in a second, but first I have to say, it was incredibly fun meeting in real life the personalities I already enjoy from behind this screen. About 20 bloggers showed their faces, drank a little wine, ate some delicious dishes, and got to know each other a little bit better. I already hear Taylor planning the next potluck at her house in January. I can't wait.

I didn't take a single picture of any of the wonderful food or drink I enjoyed that night. I have no good excuse, but I'll blame the wine. And Philafoodie for bringing all that wine. A few other bloggers did take pictures and you can check them out here:
Straight from the Farm
Apartment 2024
Messy & Picky
Mac & Cheese was also camera shy, but she wrote up a great post about the night.

I brought one of my favorite cookies of all time. I know I had inspiration from some cookie I saw someone make on TV years ago.
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It's evolved over time into a cookie that combines chewy, crunchy, sweet, salty, and buttery.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 - 10oz bag toffee candy bits (see picture below)
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/3 cups sliced almonds

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and mix until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture. I like to mix the toffee bits, oatmeal, coconut and almonds together in a bowl before adding them to the cookie dough and if you use the bowl you just mixed the dry ingredients in, you'll save yourself washing a dish. Add the toffee, oatmeal, coconut, almond mixture to the dough and mix by hand. The dough is very stiff, but you want to mix it well so the cookies stay together.
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I like a nice big cookie, so I drop about 2 tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheets. Because of the sticky toffee involved in this cookie, you won't want to skip lining your cookies sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire racks and try not to eat all of them in one sitting.

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These are the kind of toffee bits you need to use for this cookie. HEATH brand makes one called "Bits o' Brickle" and looks like this. And, actually, if anyone knows where in the city of Philadelphia I can find these to purchase, please let me know. Right now I'm having them sent to me and would really like to be able to get them without paying shipping and handling.

See all of you bloggers soon, I hope. Enjoy the recipe!