Happy Valentine’s Day! I don’t want to say that I am a huge proponent of Valentine’s Day, but I do appreciate any reason to go out and get a nice meal, and maybe spend a few extra dollars on an additional cocktail. I also really enjoy surprising Kramer, even if it’s not anything huge. Usually, I’ll make breakfast or send a bottle of bourbon to his office or something like that, but this year, I decided to go all out. And by all out, I mean I found a Pizza Hut in Union Square on my way home from work and picked up a cheese pizza and breadsticks for Valentine’s Day brunch the next morning. Does that sound weird to you? It did to me too, at first, but every time we passed a Pizza Hut, Kramer would say how he hasn’t had it in years and years and it makes him think back to being a kid. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’ve certainly got very specific foods that make me feel happy and nostalgic (i.e. Pop Tarts or Twinkies). So, I decided this year that I’d make all of Kramer’s Pizza Hut dreams come true by bringing the good ol’ Hut to him. I picked up my haul after work yesterday, then wrapped the pizza box and the bread stick box in foil and hid them in the back of the fridge, strategically placed under the cheese drawer so that he wouldn’t notice. This morning, while he was in the shower, I warmed everything up and presented it proudly to him with a big “Happy Valentine’s Day!” He was incredibly surprised. We shared the bread sticks and I had a bite of the pizza (as you’ve probably guessed, Pizza Hut is not on my nostalgic-foods list), then he had two “slices” (they look more like wedges, ha) before wrapping the pizza back up to “save” for later. Absolutely adorable. Now if only someone would bring me a giant box of Waffle Crisp.
Can I just have a piña colada for breakfast?
Anyway, I’m returning to Thailand for a bit, so I apologize in advance for the photos if you’re sick of seeing beautiful beaches, tropical drinks and Kramer and I in our bathing suits. These photos are from a day where Kramer, my brothers and I all took a shuttle over to another beach town to check out what it had to offer. We found a great little spot and were able to rent beach chairs for $2 a person for the whole day, which I was happy to discover included nice, clean bathrooms and beachside drink service, both of which I am desperately in need of while on vacation. We got some food from vendors on the beach, drank the beers we packed in our backpacks (because we are professionals) and I even convinced my brother to get a henna tattoo of a spider (or maybe it was a beetle). We ended the day with a big meal, and it also happened to be one of the spicier meals, at that, so I was in heaven. Sizzling seafood in a cast iron pan, really good pad Thai, fried shark (yes, shark!), rice noodles with pork, and of course, a “bucket” of whiskey that we all took part in helping to demolish. By the time we got home, I was ready for a nap before hitting the pool one more time. After showering and grabbing a bite to eat, it was time to go back to town for Muay Thai boxing. The show was intense. These guys were serious. The crowd was loud, people were betting all around us, and I can honestly say it was one of my favorite things that we did while in Thailand. Kramer and the boys hit the pool one last time before bed, but I was happy to crawl in between the sheets and fall asleep to reruns of Hawaii 5-0.
This is yet another one of those big-pot meals that I made for Kramer and I to have for lunch for the week, and it ended up being a new favorite. You really just have to go for the full-fat coconut milk on this one (unless you really need to cut calories), because the richness it adds with the curry paste and chili paste is absolutely delicious. The chickpeas and chicken add a hearty element, perfect for this weather, or just for me in general, as I am always starving come lunch time. You can certainly omit the chicken to make this vegetarian or vegan, though – add more chickpeas, or some different beans, or maybe even potatoes, to retain the stick-to-your-ribs quality of this curry. The Swiss chard was a last minute addition, but a nutritious and colorful one at that. Thick, leafy greens are ~all the rage~ (I hate that I just said that) this season, and I’ve been mixing them into just about everything to add fiber and extra vitamins to almost any meal. Kramer was a little wary of these leafy things in his food at first, but now I think he’s come to appreciate the texture and color first – the flavor has come second, but now he’ll request things like roasted, almost charred broccoli, crispy Brussels sprouts, and even this stewed chard in a warming curry.
Kramer enjoying the water.
My brother Wyatt, soaking it all in.
My brother Dane, studying like a good boy.
Mojito with dark rum.
Dane with a Singapore sling.
Wyatt with his new henna tattoo (that I may have convinced him to get) as the boys all drink their bucket o’ whiskey, which was apparently a thing in Thailand.
I tried to take it easy.
But then I got into the bucket o’ whiskey, too.
Spicy ground pork and rice noodle salad.
Spicy mixed seafood.
Alright – to the curry. Cook your chicken, then add in the shallots and cook until softened.
Add in your curry paste, chili paste, salt, ginger, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, add in the chickpeas and remaining water, then bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add in your chard, stir to combine, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Serve alone or alongside some naan or pita bread.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 tablespoons chili paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
- Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add in your cubed chicken and cook over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes. Add in your shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are softened, about another 5-6 minutes. Add in the curry paste, chili paste, kosher salt, ginger, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Add in the additional cup of water. Bring back up to a boil, then add in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After simmering, add in the trimmed and sliced Swiss chard. When you're trimming the chard, the thicker, whiter parts are generally too tough to eat, but the smaller, more tender colored stalks and all of the leafy greens will soften as they cook. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve alone or with some naan or pita bread.