Friday, February 09, 2018

Flashback Friday - Dinner: An Improvisation

flashback friday graphic
This post originally appeared on on July 1, 2011.

It's fairly unusual that I don't cook something from scratch on the weekend, but every once in a rare while, I take a break. One recent Saturday, Mr Minx whipped up some spaghetti and meatballs, and on the following day I heated up some leftovers. And when I say "heated up some leftovers," I really mean "created a whole new dish with some pre-cooked items." I like to play with my food, and rather than eating leftover baby back ribs as is, I thought I'd gussy them up a bit.

What I really wanted to make was a banh mi sandwich, but I was too lazy and it was too hot to take a stroll to the grocery store for a baguette. Once I had that stuck in my head though, it was hard to shake. In addition to the pork, I had a bulb of fennel in the fridge, which I thought might make an adequate stand-in for the pickled daikon or radishes I would ordinarily put in a banh mi. Particularly if I used some of the plethora of licorice-y tasting Thai basil that was currently growing on our back porch as garnish. It was starting to sound like a plan.

There was just that bread issue to tackle.

In lieu of bread, I decided to make rice flour crepes. I should have just gone with the flour tortillas we had and called the dish "tacos," because the crepes were a disaster. It took about half the batter before a small crepe was successfully produced, and by that time, I was thoroughly discouraged.

Our dinner was supposed to look like this:

Instead, it looked like this:

I ended up slicing all of the crepes into ribbons and stir frying them with the pork, adding fish sauce, sugar, garlic, lemongrass, Sriracha, and ginger to the pan. The "noodles" were then topped with a handful of pickled fennel, some pickled carrots, plus cilantro, mint, and Thai basil. It was good, but not what I wanted.

If you want to try making rice crepes - or rice crepe noodles, here's a recipe:

1 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Scoop out 1/4 cup at a time onto a hot, greased non-stick skillet over high heat, swirling the pan so the batter forms about a 6" circle. Cook about 30 seconds, then loosen the crepe with the edge of a spatula, flip, and cook the other side for 30 seconds longer. That's easier than it sounds! Warning: make sure not to slip the spatula under the crepe more than half an inch or so, because when you remove the spatula, the crepe will tear. Just ease it around the outermost edge until the crepe is loosened, then work the spatula under the whole thing and flip it.

Stack crepes on a plate as you make them. Cursing optional. Roll around fillings, or if broken, use like noodles. Serves 4.

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