Making every bite count

14 March 2007

Spicy, spicy, and some soy!

Work friend Kristin and I have had trouble getting our schedules aligned lately. First the cabin, then her mom's visit and wisdom-teeth surgery, then meetings at night for me and work for her. We've started a tradition of eating at a different (ethnic) restaurant each Wednesday, but we've skipped a few weeks. Green Papaya was her choice this week, and it was delicious!
I'm always on an unofficial quest to find my heat threshold, and in the U.S., Udipi's chana batura was the only dish to reach it -- and that was just one of a handful of times I ate it!
We arrived after 8:30, both famished: She'd had a couple of whiskey sours on a date, and I'd worked out beforehand. Sushi, curries, pad thai! Decisions, decisions.
I got choochee curry with tofu; Kristin got some basil noodles. We also got some sushi .(salmon skin roll and scallop nigiri for me. Yum!)
The heat scale was 1-4, so I got a 4. Heat aside, the curry was chock full of squash, eggplant, pineapple, tomatoes and red peppers, along with lightly fried tofu. The sauce was spectacular -- rich, coconuty... and spicy! It was perfectly balanced: sweet, sour, creamy, spicy, salty. An orgasm in the mouth.
My eyes welled up, my nose ran a bit, but I kept eating. Every bite made me feel better and better. Spicy food releases endorphins, so after a meal with a kick, it's like that post-sex feeling sometimes... although in a smaller dose. (The heat is pain, which tells your brain that to release the endorphins.) It causes a rush. This is why people like spicy food.
I ate it all.
I want more.
It was good for me.
Another great discovery this weekend: soybean butter.
I've got a little bit of a peanut allergy. (No anaphylactic shock, just gastrointesinal malaise and hives.) Growing up, my mom packed a PB-n-J sandwich in my lunch almost every day. Natural PB, even in the 80s, wheat bread and strawberry jam. By first grade, I'd decided I didn't like grape jam. My sister didn't like strawberry. This made for drama if the sandwiches were ever mixed up.
I haven't had a Reese's cup, a PB-n-J or a buckeye in more than three years. I've tried almond butter, but ce n'est pas pareil, as Colette was fond of saying. I'd given up on PB-n-Js, and then I noticed the soynut butter, which probably has been at Trader Joe's all along.
I fell in love with PB-n-Js once more.
I've eaten them for breakfast every day this week, on Ezekiel bread from TJ. It has no actual flour. It's all sprouted grains. I love it.
Soy and spice. I'm a happy girl!
Oh, and I've been experimenting with TVP. I'm sure everyone's anticipating an entry on the wonders of TVP. Wait for it. It's coming!

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