Archive for the ‘Thai / Thai-Inspired’

The Raymond Jennings

April 29, 2012
By Holly Jennings

This cocktail, developed while cooking from the previous DCCC pick, Thai Food, is based on a category of drinks called the Smash, also known as, according to David Wondrich in Imbibe!, the Smasher or Smash-Up, referring to that happens to the herb, traditionally mint, when it is shaken vigorously with ice, not what happens to you if you drink too many of them, though that could happen as well.

Apt descriptions like “whiskey sourish,” “sweet-tart,” “adult lemonade with a peppery kick” give you an idea of what this refreshing drink, served over crushed ice, tastes like, and why it is particularly welcome on a warm day. I was planning on giving this Thai-inspired cocktail a generic but descriptive title, like the Ginger–Thai Basil Smash, until, while searching for a photo prop, I spontaneously grabbed a (more…)

Stir-Fried Pork with Beans and Green Peppercorns

April 10, 2012
By Holly Jennings

David Thompson, author of Thai Food, the most recent DCCC cookbook pick, describes this pungent stir-fry as a “spicy, dry, yet oily curry.” It is all of those things, with a heat level that warms you from the inside out, from top of your head to the ends of your toes, with a double porky goodness that only cooking in lard can provide. Yes, lard. According to Thompson, in the north of Thailand, curries are fried in rendered pork fat rather than in coconut cream, as is typical in the south. The result is a wonderfully rich dish: The lard envelopes everything in a silken (more…)

Thai-Style Eggs, and the Hens That Laid Them

March 24, 2012
By Holly Jennings

The Eggs:

One of the plates of eggs shown above is for Jack Sprat, the other, for his wife. Both preparations—deep-fried eggs and steamed eggs—are found David Thompson’s Thai Cooking, the current DCCC pick, where they are presented more as method than recipe.


The process of making deep-fried and steamed eggs was an interesting novelty; the process of eating Mrs. Sprat’s clear choice opened a door in my egg-eating life. Deep-fried eggs represent a distinct category in the pantheon of egg preparations—scrambled, fried, poached, soft-boiled, and so on. Which means (more…)

Extra-Green Thai Green Curry from Crescent Dragonwagon

March 05, 2012
By Holly Jennings

A couple of weeks ago I offered you a cocktail while waiting for dinner. Well, here it is, though not from Thai Food, the current DCCC pick, but from Bean by Bean, the latest cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon. If that name sounds familiar, and who can forget a name like that?, it’s because she’s the author of another cookbook that was the DCCC pick last Spring. Crescent’s lovely publicist at Workman Publishing, Rebecca Carlysle, my review of that cookbook (click here to read it) and so she decided to send me a copy of Bean by Bean to review, and she has graciously allowed me to include a recipe from the book. Since I know you’re waiting for a Thai meal, and not just Thai-inspired drinking chocolate and cocktails, I picked Crescent’s recipe for green curry with tofu. Read on to get my impression of Crescent’s newest cookbook and for her extra-green curry recipe, shown in the photo above.

More than 175 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans, even Sweet Beans!
By Crescent Dragonwagon
Workman Publishing
370 pp.

Bean by Bean, an essential guide to preparing and enjoying one of the world’s oldest forms of sustenance, is the latest cookbook from Crescent Dragonwagon, who cultivates beans and readers-turned-happy-cooks-and-satisfied-eaters with equal facility.

If I were a bean, I would feel lucky to be planted in Crescent’s garden, and perhaps even luckier when, at just the right moment, I was picked and taken into her kitchen to be handled with care, appreciation, and love and ultimately transformed into an appetizing and sustaining meal—after all, legumes have (more…)

Siamese Cocktail

February 24, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Right now I’m waiting to hear from the publisher of the current DCCC pick about whether my request to post a few Thai food recipes on the DCCC blog will be granted. I don’t post recipes from cookbooks without receiving permission first, unless I’ve adapted a recipe considerably. And there has to be a good reason for me to change something; I won’t just change something for the sake of changing it so that I can say a recipe’s been adapted, thereby skirting the permission issue. If something is perfect as is, why touch it?

I’m especially hesitant to tinker with a recipe when the subject of a cookbook is a foreign cuisine, from a land I’ve never visited, and the cookbook is written by an expert, someone who’s spent years learning that cuisine and steeping themselves in the culture—in this case, chef and cookbook writer David Thompson.

But permission requests are one of the more tedious aspects of publishing. Drinking a cocktail is a lot more fun. So, while you’re waiting for the main course (hey, maybe you could supplicate Random House on my behalf, telling them to speedily process my request because you’re waiting for some delicious Thai recipes to appear on the blog.), I thought I’d offer you a cocktail. (more…)

Drinking Chocolate, Southeast Asian Style

February 13, 2012
By Holly Jennings


This is galangal.

It is not the same as mandrake, the root that Ofelia, the protagonist in Pan’s Labyrinth, placed under her sick mother’s bed.

But it’s nearly as (more…)

Evil Jungle Grilled Chicken with Red Curry, and the Recipe Telephone Game

September 24, 2011
By Holly Jennings

Earlier this month, over Labor Day weekend, I took a rewarding and inspiring writing workshop lead by Crescent Dragonwagon, a warm and nuanced, broadly talented, and gifted writer who has been thinking about, writing about, and teaching about the process of writing for a lifetime.

The workshop, called “Fearless Writing,” takes a holistic view: There is the thing of writing—involving objective realities such as craft, process, and habit—and there is the life of the writer, or simply life, often unpredictable, (more…)