1. Today, for the first time in over two years, since moving into our apartment home, I ran into our across the hall neighbor, Donelle, away from the apartment complex. I saw him outside the Co-op in the parking lot. He and his mother were just climbing out of her car as I was heading to the Sube. Donelle has been a great neighbor. He's lived in his apartment for eighteen years. But, he decided he needs a three bedroom apartment home in another building here at Lakeside North. I thanked him for being a good neighbor and especially for accepting the corgis (they can be noisy). He arched his back a bit and laughed and said, "I love your doggies" and went on to tell me how much his little dog loves to sniff the area around our door where Maggie and Charly come in and out and thought maybe his little dog had a crush on them. His mom laughed and laughed at this. So did Donelle and I before we went our separate ways.
2. Wednesday, at Hung Phat, I bought a jar of shrimp paste without having any idea how I would use it. I spent time this morning searching online for recipes calling for shrimp paste and, at www.food52.com, I found one that looked very good, Burmese Noodle Bowl, found here. It required me to get out the blender and make, and then saute, a paste of onion, garlic, ginger, and shrimp paste, to which I added tofu (instead of the chicken called for in the recipe), along with seasoning, coconut milk, and water. I also bought shrimp noodles the other day and boiled and drained them. The Deke and I each ladled soup in a bowl, dropped noodles on top of them, and garnished the soup with lime juice, cilantro, chopped hard-cooked egg, and fried shallots. Almost everything about making this recipe was new to me, making it fun and challenging, and both the Deke and I were very pleased with the results. I especially liked the way the chopped eggs gave the soup's broth a creamy texture. The soup was mild, to me, and I was tempted to add some hot sauce or pepper flakes, but I decided I'd enjoy its mildness and I think its layers of flavors were more available to me because I didn't make it spicier. One day, I'll make this dish again with chicken thigh meat, but the Deke and I both agreed tonight that the tofu was just what we wanted.
3. I exercised for over an hour in the pool. I made the Burmese Noodle Bowl. I cleaned the kitchen. I ended the evening by relaxing with about four ten minute episodes of Chopped After Hours. I really enjoyed watching the chef/judges facing the challenge of baskets that had been used on past shows. I also enjoyed that the chefs were not competing -- no prize was at stake -- but were simply putting together a thirty minute entree or dessert and having a blast doing the cooking and then enjoying one another's work.