Two weekends ago, I went home to surprise my mom for Mother's Day. It's difficult shopping for a present for your mom, so I figured the best thing I could do for her was cook her a nice meal. My mom requested food with Thai flavors so I drew some inspiration from Thai food that I've had recently in LA. I can't claim that these are authentic Thai dishes--in fact, they may be far from it--so I will just call them "Thai-Inspired."
I started planning the menu two days before Mother's Day and it only took me an afternoon of prep work to put out this "four-course" dinner on Sunday for my mom, my brother, and myself. Thankfully, everything worked out and as far as I could tell, my mom enjoyed everything. Although she is my mom so she might be a little biased ;) I will say one thing though--it's nearly impossibly to cook and sit down to eat at the same time.
Mother's Day 2010
Red Curry Mussels
New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussels, Red Curry, Coconut
Our local Whole Foods always has beautiful mussels, and if my mom and I see them when we go grocery shopping, we have to buy some. Usually I do them in a simple lemongrass broth, but this time I wanted to do something different and a little spicy. I added some red curry paste to the fish stock I made earlier that day, and it created the perfect broth for the mussels. It was definitely a nice spicy appetizer.
Thai Beef Salad
Grilled Flank Steak, Cucumber, Carrot, Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes, Cabbage, Cilantro, Chili Lime Garlic Dressing
I drew inspiration from Jitlada for this salad. I remembered seeing a Jitlada recipe online for a Thai Beef Salad and I adapted the recipe for this dish. I marinated the flank steak in a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper before grilling it to medium rare. A salad of fresh vegetables dressed in a spicy dressing of mortar-and-pestled garlic and chili, fish sauce, lime and honey provided the perfect complement to the slices of steak. I soaked the raw red onions in cold water to make them milder, created strips of carrot with a peeler, and cut half-moons of a seeded cucumber. It was nice and light--a salad that would be perfect for summer.
Seafood Tom Yum
Lobster, Shrimp, Halibut, Oyster Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, with Lemongrass, Lime, Ginger, Cilantro, Roasted Red Chili Paste
For this soup, I drew inspiration from a recent trip to Nakkara. I decided to pour the soup into the bowl tableside just like they did at the restaurant. I cooked each protein individually in the broth because of their different cooking times. I made a fish stock earlier in the day out of halibut bones I got from Whole Foods for $0.99/lb. I flavored the stock with some Thai flavors, and I think it turned out pretty well for my first try at Tom Yum soup although next time, I might add a little more acidity.
Valhrona Guanaja Chocolate, Coconut Chantilly
Finally, a chocolate dessert. My mom's favorite desserts always involve chocolate so this was perfect. It really doesn't get any more chocolate-y than this. Using high quality Valhrona chocolate made this molten chocolate cake even more indulgent. It was my first time using this Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe, and it worked pretty well. However, next time I would bake them just a little while longer--they were still a little too unset. Not a problem though--it just made them more "molten."
Minnie wanted a bite too ;)