Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

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
Thai-Inspired Menu

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.

Chocolate Molleux
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 ;)


  1. omg you're such a good daughter. i gave my mom tulips but SHE insisted that she cook for us. do we suck or what? :(

  2. Wow I just stumbled on this blog and this is such a nice post. Valhrona chocolate.... ranked the worlds best chocolate (4 types) chocolate bar in a cake gosh. lobster, green lipped mussels etc etc.. that is baller. Dude go to a chain market for fish bones, chicken bones, veal bones. They usually toss them out! It's always nine to ten cents per neck,knuckle,body varies! Local fish markets are good to! (I use the one in Long Beach). Oh I remember why I was here, it is cool to see another Young person that loves to cook avidly! (cool beans)

  3. I think you're the only person I know who makes fish stock from scratch. Kudos!

  4. your recipes seem to work out really..looks good and beautiful presentations to boot!

  5. That looks like a fantastic meal! Bravo!!

  6. wow! that meal looked really delicious!! what a great mother's day gift!

  7. Wow! everything looks great. You can add some white wine, fresh lemongrass, and fresh Thai basil in the steamed mussels.

  8. Bravo, what a lovely gift. You shopped with love and care for this meal. Great pics on this blog, too.