Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recipes Revisited: Kaya Toast and Tofu Bun

Plenty of fresh ingredients to finish off a nice summer night
Fortunately for my fellow chem nerds, I did not base an entire day of cooking around the disaster known as Molecular Gastronomy, which managed to draw the ire of a five year old and caused my parents to question where all that money for my college degree went. To round out our mini-reunion, I picked two fresh and fun dishes to help convince my former classmates that I wasn't just plagiarizing all these blog posts: Kaya Toast and Tofu Bun. My once powerful ego had taken a mighty blow, so if this was going to work, I was going to need all the help I could get out of sous chefs Amanda, Phillip and Dr. Hennessy. 

Kaya Toast
By the beard of Zeus this is glorious!
Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing beats warm Kaya Toast like that which culinary genius Susan Feniger serves up daily at Street. Also, nothing beats this quizzical look that forms on people's faces when you try to convince them they should partake in a dish consisting of toast with coconut custard dipped in a soy sauce glazed fried egg. No one who musters the courage to brave the weird and unknown ever leaves disappointed. Plus, there's the extra added bonus that the coconut custard doubles as a delightful dessert (even new mega-nemesis Joseph agreed). 

Dr. Hennessy invokes her inner scientific skepticism.
Amanda has a much more cheerful approach to the Kaya Toast. Really, she's just waiting for us all to leave so she can eat the coconut custard for breakfast.
Tofu Bun (or that dish that makes me wish I knew how to type those special accent mark characters)
There is one undeniable truth about summer in Houston; it is absurdly hot and disgustingly humid. Life is almost a constant battle to counteract this unfortunate climate, and our main course would be no exception. Bun is simply a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl filled with veggies and meat or tofu. The freshness and crispness of the veggies and vermicelli combined with the fact that they work quite well cold are the perfect refuge from the heat. Top it all off with some lightly fried tofu and fish sauce for a perfect level of saltiness for a complete meal that really only requires you to chop things (making it a clear winner after a long, hard day of cooking). 
Sous chef Phillip shows off the quality domesticated man he has become.
Thanks to a little help from my friends, my culinary career was resurrected from the ashes (or probably some kind of weird foam thing since it was destroyed by molecular gastronomy). Aside from a delicious meal, there were two major achievements that evening: we managed not to blow anything up and Amanda's kitchen was used more than it had been since she bought her house (it may now return to its native dormant state). For our next mini-reunion, I'll play it safe and stick to baking.
Jake surveys the kitchen looking for fallen food and reminding me that I need to get a dog.

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