Baby You Can Drive My Car

Friday was bittersweet.  We donated our 1998 Toyota Sienna to NPR, and I shed a few tears as they hitched her up and drove away.  This was the car we brought Sophie home from the hospital in, traveled across the country and to Korea and back, gone in an instant.  We had dinner with friends that night to celebrate her recent divorce, and even though nobody was sad to see her ex out of her life, it makes women of a certain age count their blessings.

I had promised Thai food and spent the morning getting together the ingredients for Vietnamese Chicken Wings and Khao Man Som Tam (pork/rice/green papaya "one-dish" meal). The Vietnamese/Thai grocery had bahn mi for sale, and when I asked the owner what was in them he said, "pork meat."  I just didn't look inside before I took my first bite--sometimes that stuff looks scary and I worry I am eating some sort of offal.  It was delicious, that "pork meat".

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These wings are infinitely better than Buffalo wings in my humble opinion.  I didn't make the spicy version because I had enough spice going on in the green papaya salad.  I used the deep fryer for the initial cooking, then did the sauce in the wok.  You can find the recipe in the Pok Pok cookbook or here.  The sweet pork and coconut rice I will make again.  The pork is basically Asian carnitas, slow cooked for hours and then shredded.  The sugar content in the braising liquid caramelizes as you reduce it.  Seriously addictive, especially with the coconut rice.  I made a double batch which was more than enough for dinner for 6, lunch for 3 the next day, and likely dinner for 6 again after I thaw it out.