Tag Archives: curry

Pusadee’s Garden


Right now, we’re experiencing some of the most beautiful weather one could ask for, so I ask you all this: Where have you been dining outdoors this season? At home? By the waterside? On the top of a mountain? At an upper Lawrenceville Thai restaurant dominated by its pastoral picture book of a garden?

If you answered the last option, than you have most likely made a recent visit to Pusadee’s Garden, a family owned Thai restaurant boasting an outdoor seating area as beautiful as its food is delicious. Time and time again, talk of Pusadee’s comes back to the garden – how lovely it is, how big, how lush – and it’s true that the restaurant’s major asset lies in its backyard (or, rather, side-yard). That’s not to say it’s not exceptional in other ways, however, especially considering how well it fares against its competition just up the hill in Bloomfield…

But oh, that garden. That garden!


There’s a special feeling when eating amidst such verdant beauty. You’re outside, but you feel tucked away in your own private garden. There are diners all around, yet somehow it feels sublimely intimate. All around you there is distraction – a cluster of interesting flowers, an imposing thrust of green leaves as thick as the napkins on the table, a scattering of herbs all around, and of course, the frame and trellis providing a modest barrier with only the barest of woodwork. It’s rustic, elegant, sophisticated gardening gone just wild enough on the edges to make one feel like you could get lost without the tables to guide your way.

To put it another way, although you’re seconds away from Butler Street, you feel as if you could be dining in a garden in the middle of nowhere. It’s a pastoral entrancement that translates into the meal itself.

More than uplifting the normal dining experience, the garden setting somehow accentuates the flavors of the meal. The psychic effect of so much fresh-grown flora is a heightened concentration on the fresh flavors of the food. When not distracted by the scenery, me and my dining companion, Jackie, focused in on the menu, a straightforward mix of Thai classics, including soups, curries, noodle and rice dishes, and “garden” specialties.

Pusadee's Garden on Urbanspoon

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Brrr…. Must…. Make…. SOUP!!!

From the Post-Gazette.com

I love the snow, but commuting in this weather is a bitch. Commuting via public transportation sucks enough in the winter: Walking in the cold, waiting in the cold, sitting on the bus or trolley still feeling cold, then getting off into the cold once more. But add a layer of snow on the ground and things get exponentially worse. Slogging through the snow, trying not to slip and fall, feeling colder, waiting longer, and once you’re on, dreading that eventual plunge back into the winter weather even more.

Curried Lentil Soup from Vegetarian Mama

Commuting back and forth in this kind of weather, it’s no wonder that what I most want to eat is soup. Bowls and bowls and bowls of soup. Warm, hearty, creamy, tantalizing soups. I want to make a giant tank of soup and submerge entirely within it. If I had my way, my crockpot would be going 24/7, always filled with some delicious soup or another. I would eat miso soup as part of my breakfast, some kind of creamy bisque for lunch, and end the day with a giant helping of vegetable soup. You’d look in my fridge and all you would see is Tupperware containers filled with the week’s soups. Then you’d open the freezer and find enough frozen soup for a month. Then you’d probably try to get me some kind of psychiatric help.

 Anyway, because I’m suffering a mild (okay, maybe not so mild) soup fixation, I’ve pulled a couple of tempting recipes for perusal. And if you happen to be strolling down the street with a boiling pot of soup, I happily take soup submissions.
 
– I don’t know what looks better from this post on Marci Gilbert’s Blog: The Vegetable Tortellini Soup or homemade Parmesan Rosemary Crackers to go along with it. Why has it not occurred to me to make homemade crackers? The prep and cooking process seem simple enough, yet I always opt for store-bought. More importantly, why don’t more restaurants offer homemade crackers? It seems like a special feature that would offer that oh-so-important something extra to a dining experience. Anyway, you’ve got me thinking about something beyond soup, Marci, and that’s an achievement in of itself.
 
– Ah, lentils. Delicious, nutritious, cheap, and a favorite of poor Neil on The Young Ones . Neil would probably love the Curried Lentil Soup over at Vegetarian Mama, provided it didn’t end up on the floor. I used to have a problem with lentil soup, because I disliked how the texture made the dish very lumpy and oatmeal-y, but I later learned it all depends on how much stock is used. This recipe seems rather dry, but I don’t think a cup of vegetable stock would ruin the taste. It looks too good to pass up a trial run.
 
– Naomi, I don’t know what it is about your soup, but it’s so… cute. Lovely Little Life serves up a Parsnip Soup with Coconut and Ginger that is both dainty and appetizing. Never had parsnip soup before? Definitely give this recipe a try, as it seems to be a bit more flavorful than the average recipe. Plus, if you use vegan margarine instead of butter, it’s vegan.
 
– Roasted squash, sweet potatoes, shallots, and garlic… Being Suzy Homemaker offers winter refuge in the form of a bowl of creamy soup. The worn out winter commuter couldn’t ask for an easier soup – just roast the veggies, throw in with the other ingredients, blend a bit, and serve hot. Yet another reason to buy an immersion blender.
 
– Okay, so maybe this recipe for Vegan Pho from Kitchen M isn’t something you’re just going to throw together from stuff you already have in your kitchen. Maybe you have no interest in pho that didn’t come from a Vietnamese restaurant. Maybe the thought of toiling for an hour plus over just a soup is enough for you to reach for the nearest take-out menu. But the beautiful photographs alone are worth looking at, and who knows, you might someday have a desire to try something different and a little challenging.

Stew! Stew! Stew! Part Two! Two! Two!

 

Andalusian Stew with Polenta from 30 Bucks a Week

I woke up and there was freaking snow on the ground. Seriously! On the ground, on the cars, on the rooftops. Snow! A fairly thin dusting, but still! That means only one thing: Time for more stew!

– The great 30 Bucks a Week blog linked to this New York Times recipe for Andalusian Cabbage Stew w/Polenta. The picture alone makes the article/recipe worth investigating, but it also further proves my theory that I don’t cook/eat cabbage nearly enough. Plus, this recipe gives me a good excuse to continue my experiments with polenta. Win/win!

– Kerry at Click and Cook has piqued both my stew and spice interest with her Indian Meatball Stew with Curried Cucumber Yogurt. A vibrantly colorful stew, I love how this mixes hot and cool flavors. Hmm, I wonder if it would work with lentil-balls…

– There are many dishes that I can’t really imagine as vegetarian or vegan, and Brunswick Stew is one of them. If you’re a meat-eater and are feeling like a ton of protein, check out a version of the recipe on Tales From Twisty Lane. Make sure to add the okra!

– Rock your roots! Dreamin’ It Vegan celebrates the last day of Vegan MoFo with the root vegetable extravaganza, Frosty Stew, a recipe borrowed from From Animal Crackers to Wild West Beans, a vegetarian cookbook focusing on recipes for the whole family, babies and children included. Ooh, and vegan peanut butter cookies too! These look especially delicious.

– Finally, thanks to Forever, Matryoshka because she reminded me of the terrific chopotle stew from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vegeance. The Matryoshka blog version is Buccaroo Stew, and it’s definitely worth a hoot and a holler.