Papaya Pok Pok

Have you ever stayed with someone you’ve never met before? With someone whom no one in your party has met before? Adventures in Portland.

Portland. The food and the public transportation. The Oregon coast and sunsets over the water. The care for plant and animal and health and sustainability. The rolling farms just outside of the city and the park running through the city. The homemade whiskey (okay maybe this was specific to our experience, but it was wonderful nonetheless). And did I mention the food?

Day 1 we ate at Pok Pok, created by caucasian Thai food Savant Andy Ricker.  Pok Pok offers a very unAmerican Thai, and I mean that in the best possible way. This was my first experience drinking water with pandanaus leaf, which gives the water a slightly toasted/vanilla/rice essence. I loved it. Based on the recommendation of our stranger of a host, I got the namesake salad, Papaya Pok Pok, with sticky rice.

The dish was spicier than I generally prefer, but delicious all the same. The sticky rice you use as a sort of mitten to pick up the food, and this and the spiciness resulted in me consuming quite a bit more rice than is typical. All things in moderation. My mantra. Except, of course, for the things you’re highly allergic to… here abstinence continues to rule.

I digress. Pok Pok was an excellent introduction into a couple days of allergen-friendly foodie heaven.

For a dinner dessert we went to Salt & Straw where I splurged on a scoop of dairy. Dairy is not on my allergen list, merely my I-know-my-body list. I repeat my mantra. Salt & Straw, like many restaurants in Portland, sources ingredients primarily from local farms, creameries, distilleries, and so on. I got the Aquabeet ice cream; a concoction of House Spirit Distillery’s Krogstad Aquavit liquor and sweet red beets (the primary sweetener for the recipe). What a light and delicious flavor.

Sadly I do not have a recipe for the Aquabeet ice cream. Maybe next Summer. But I did find this recipe for Pok Pok, which I modified slightly (of course).

Papaya Pok Pok

Ingredients:

1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded
1 handful cheery tomatoes, halved
1 handful green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
1/4 cup agave
1 small jalapeno or other hot green pepper, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 tbsp brigg’s liquid aminos
1/2 cup sticky rice

Directions:

  1. Soak the shredded papaya in cold water to crisp
  2. Prepare the sticky rice like this (or according to package directions)
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, slightly crush the green beans and cherry tomatoes. Set these aside in your serving dish
  4. Thoroughly combine the remaining ingredients, except for the papaya, to create the sauce
  5. Toss the sauce, papaya, and vegetables together to coat
  6. Serve immediately

NOTE: My sauce is significantly thinner due to using agave versus sugar. You could try using liquid stevia to reduce the liquid volume, or you could embrace it like we did, and use sticky rice to sop up the extra sauce.

The flavor of the salad will keep for a couple of days, however the crispness of the papaya will quickly disappear.

Enjoy!

ps I had a great time at Peacehaven Farm yesterday!

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Thai Style Fresh Spring Rolls

This past weekend, we had a get together to celebrate my graduation from University. It was a lot of fun! And I felt a lot of love, because as I looked down the appetizer line, I could eat everything on that counter. There was mayo-free egg salad, roasted vegetable dip, hummus, fruit salad, pico de gallo, and fresh spring rolls. I’m a lucky lady.

The spring rolls were the hit of the night. I sent my dad the recipe, and he put them together that afternoon. Because they were the success of the evening, I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

Fresh spring rolls are quite diverse. A variety of vegetables and proteins can be added to taste, this is just a base recipe. I like browned tofu, and extra basil in mine. Countless sauces can be used for dipping. They’re great in peanut dressing, or a simple combination of Brigg’s liquid aminos, sesame oil, and lime juice.

Ingredients:
rice paper (available at any asian/international market)
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
1/3 cup green cabbage, thinly chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup precooked rice vermicelli
1/3 cup carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil and cilantro, chopped, to taste
1 tbsp. Brigg’s liquid aminos
2 tbsp. lime juice
fresh grated ginger to taste

Directions:

  1. toss all of the ingredients, except for the rice paper and noodles, together in a bowl
  2. submerge each rice paper in hot water for several seconds until the paper softens and becomes pliable
  3. place a small amount of the noodles, and 2-3 tbsp. of the vegetable mixture, onto the rice paper
  4. fold like a burrito and serve fresh

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