Tuesday, July 17, 2012

winging it

Funny things happen when you're broke and lazy. And by funny, I mean kind of sad. You force yourself to leave a perfectly awesome happy hour after a few drinks to trek home through the torrential rain so you can eat a free meal. You try to make your own caramel instead of using prepackaged squares because the local grocery didn't have them. You make your own coconut milk.

Last night, I left a particularly stressful class (in which we discussed our final exam, which is a mere six days from today...), and the entire walk home, all I could think about was how badly I wanted Thai food. Specifically some sort of red curry. And how I really, really did not want to cook it myself. But, I've been spending far too much lately, especially on food, so I had settled on making my go-to quick dinner: pasta with peas and corn. Snooze. 

As the water for pasta was boiling, I decided I should at least give curry a shot, but a quick rustling through my pantry turned up exactly zero cans of coconut milk. I did, however, have some rice milk in the fridge and a bag of coconut flakes in the pantry. Worth a shot, I decided. If it failed, I'd already be halfway to my usual dinner. 

Surprisingly, it was a total success! If you also are craving curry, lacking in coconut milk, and happen to have milk and coconut flakes on hand, a quick simmer/steep/strain process will get you a totally curry-worthy ingredient!

Ok, so maybe if you're more skilled in the kitchen, this isn't a super-exciting discovery, but I was thrilled, and yes, a little surprised, it worked. To the freshly minted coconut milk, I added a couple of teaspoons of curry paste, a few drops of oyster sauce, and a couple dashes of brown sugar. I threw in (cooked) vermicelli and spinach. It was no Thai take-out, but, it hit the spot for $0 instead of the $20 the takeout would've taken me. And unlike the caramel fail, it didn't leave me wanting to chuck food across my (tiny) kitchen.      

And now that I've gotten that little burst of enthusiasm out of my system, back to my thrilling day of caffeinating to make it through the sprint to next Monday, when the report I work on goes to press, and I take my final exam. (A week from today will basically be the best day of my summer, is what I'm saying, because I will a)sleep in, b)finally take a deep breath and relax completely) 

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