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don't fear the fish sauce

For housemate's belated birthday, we had a proper gaming weekend:  housemate and I and head-injury D held down the fort, beginning Saturday afternoon, gaming late into the night/morning, then continuing Sunday afternoon.  'Ski and his dad turned up Saturday night and hung around for a game of Cinque Terre and a proper 5-player Amun Re.  Z. and K. stopped by Sunday evening; they're not gamers so we chatted, ate, and watched Pinky and the Brain.

I used the weekend as an excuse to play with the concept of Thai food.  Well, mock-Thai:  the person who's incapable of sticking to a recipe for buttered toast will not be able to make authentic pad Thai.  But it was all very educational, and I got some good online pointers for getting the noodles to come out right.

The experiments:  chicken cauliflower coconut curry, tofu vegetable green curry, grassfed beef larb (okay so I think larb is Laotian), tom yum coleslaw, and beef pad thai.  There was also rice, and cucumber-yogurt sauce.  The chicken curry turned out especially well, but I was pretty satisfied with all of it.  The tom yum coleslaw is very promising.

I ended up with Three Crabs fish sauce, and I'm satisfied with it.  In order to understand what it would do to the food, I needed to try it straight:  it tastes like a cross between Marmite and low tide.  It does nice things to the food, though.  Based on online reviews, I would like to try Red Boat 40 brand. I found out Friday that the store in town that might have carried it is out of business (bummer).  It can be ordered online.

Thai basil, in Wisconsin in early June, was nowhere to be found (unless I wanted to go to the nursery and buy live plants).  There is no substitute for Thai basil.  Likewise holy basil.  So, Sunday morning I roused myself early enough to get one more 3' x 18' garden bed prepped and planted.  I planted two kinds of Thai basil, two kinds of Holy basil, fenugreek (for methi), purslane, amaranth (for greens - the growing season's too short for mature seedheads here), calendula, epazote, and papalo.  All the things that are hard to find at the farmer's markets even when they are in season.  I shall water religiously.

Other games played this weekend include Saint Malo (light but pretty good), Credit Mobilier (jury's still out on that one), and The Inland Port (a most excellent two-player game).  Still pining for one or more of the longer, more hardcore games, Ora et Labora, Agricola, or any one of the dozens of very fine strategy games we've only managed to play once or twice before some new good game appeared. 
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.



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