Fresh Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce & Tom Kah Cocktails

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You know how there are certain dishes you always order, every time you go out for Thai food?  They are the control variables by which you can judge a new restaurant, leaving only ambiance, service, and price up for judgment.  Typically when Jesse and I go out for Thai food, we never even open the menus.  Pad kee mao for me, beef massaman curry for him, and tom kah soup and salad rolls to share.


So when I got an email last month about our monthly rotating “family dinner” that we do with our group of friends, announcing that the theme for February would be “Asian,” our contribution seemed like a no-brainer.

Salad rolls, when equipped with the proper fresh ingredients, really don’t require too much talent or planning.  The accompanying peanut sauce, on the other hand, would be the focus of our evening prep. 

When I’m looking for a good recipe, I often will let the Internet do the dirty work for me, and Google something like “best alfredo sauce I’ve ever had,” or “the most incredible mushroom soup of my life.”  Via this strategy, I discovered a recipe for “The best fucking peanut sauce you’ll ever eat.”  And decided to give it a go.

I won’t rehash the recipe for you here, because in very un-Lindsey style I followed it precisely, so I’ll let you follow that link and help cut down on Internet clutter.


Unfortunately, this was not the best fucking peanut sauce I’d ever eaten, and required a bit of doctoring up to get to dinner party presentable form.  


I added some toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, and ginger powder until it tasted more like the tangy dipping sauce I was going for; this made enough to almost fill an entire large Adam’s peanut butter jar.


Rumor has it that Jesse used the leftovers a few days later to make Pad Thai with his bowling league buddies and it was just as fantastic in that form.

Okay, part two of this post is where the serendipity comes in.  So I mentioned above that Tom Kah Soup is one of my go-tos.  What I did not mention is that it is also among my top five favorite foods, along with olives, popcorn, and cereal.  It is in fact the only one of my favorite foods that has more than 2 ingredients.

One day back in January, soon after I’d received this email announcing the Asian theme, I had biked to work with a full carton of leftover Tom Kah Soup in my bag; I had woken up that morning thinking of nothing but how excited I was for lunch.  Lo and behold, that had to be the day that my Tupperware exploded and I arrived at work with soup all over the inside of my bag.

I was so devastated about this, I was still talking about it that night at dinner, while we were waiting for a table on a busy Friday night at The Observatory.  After being seated, I opened up the cocktail menu to find this:

Do you see what I see?  

I knew immediately that not only was this a token cosmic reimbursement for my earlier lunch debacle, but clearly the cocktail we’d be making rounds of at the dinner party.  I even bought a shaker for the occasion.


All right.  Chili infused vodka?  Check.

Lemongrass cilantro simple syrup?  Check.  We brought along a can of coconut cream and a few fresh limes, set up shop on Josh and Sarah’s kitchen counter, teamed up with one of our genius friends who had brought starfruit, and these were the hit of the party.

Okay, how are we doing over in budget-land?  

New Seasons 3/13
shredded wheat: $3.49
jug of V8: $3.99
lemon juice: $3.99
2 boxes Pacific almond milk: $5.38
huge jar Adams peanut butter: $7.99
Braggs apple cider vinegar: $3.99
can tomato sauce: $0.69
red quinoa: $4.07
white quinoa: $2.15
Israeli couscous: $2.60
red lentils: $2.99
half & half: $2.59
yams: $2.94
collard greens: $2.49
yellow onion: $1.15
grapefruit: $1.75
garlic: $0.84
braising greens: $3.00
aged cheddar: $4.23
ground turkey: $5.50 — if you guessed slow cooker cabbage (collard) rolls with ground turkey, Asiago, and Israeli couscous cooked in tomato broth, you’re right!!
TOTAL: $65.82

How did the rest of my Project: Food Budget-ers do??

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Anecdotes? Let me know about it here!