So we had this pineapple. At first, I didn't notice it, nestled deep in the shredded-paper grass in the Easter basket my mother sent last week. But sure enough, a second glance revealed its thorny crown protruding on one side.
DPaul doesn't really care for pineapple. Truth be told, I'm not really nuts about it either, at least not raw. However, I do have a penchant for pineapple when it's cooked, particularly when used in a savory application. My first instinct was to grill it, develop some caramel goodness on the surface, but as the week wore on and I continued to ignore the thing, it lured me with its strengthening perfume.
Curry beckoned. It was just a tickle at first, an unformed idea knocking around my olfactory centers. As my mind chewed on it further, the picture became clearer. Green curry. Prawns. Herbs. Chili pepper. Yum.
I wasn't exactly shocked to find that Bell Market didn't have Thai green curry paste. I was, however, a little nonplussed that they had no curry paste of any color or national provenance whatsoever. Maybe I'm being a little San Francisco snobby here, but in this day and age, curry paste is hardly exotic.
Okay, time to improvise. How to make a respectable Thai-inflected curry with supermarket ingredients. Ginger, check. Cilantro, no problem. Hey, lemongrass! We're getting somewhere.
I am certainly no expert when it comes to Thai food, and I surely cannot pretend I was aiming for any particular traditional dish. But I had a clear vision of where I was heading, a sense of what I wanted the final dish to taste like, and that was my culinary compass.
My only other imperative: Easy. I really didn't want to spend hours pounding herbs in a mortar and pestle, toasting spices, what have you. This was going to be a Cuisinart meal.
Right. Ingredients in and set the food processor to obliterate. Get a pot of rice going. Whip up a simple salad of red onion and cucumber (thanks to a little inspiration from Anita). And there you have it: A tip of the hat to Thailand in practically no time. Not bad for a white guy.