Our family is not enthusiastic about eating leftovers. We will eat day-old favorites like Indian curries, Spag Bog or Shepherd’s Pie for lunch, but we prefer a hot, fresh-cooked meal at dinner time. Since setting a New Year’s goal of reducing food waste at home, I have been working on serving leftovers creatively.
This week, while doing my rushing around with all-of-the-usual, I decided to experiment using leftover grilled steak and lamb from two different meals in a recipe from a cooking class I took in Thailand. I chose to make Yam Nuea Yang (spicy grilled meat salad). I marinated the already-cooked meat in oyster sauce, cracked pepper, and soy sauce for about 30 minutes while chopping the vegetables: garlic, green onions, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, and cilantro. I added a dressing of fresh squeezed limes, (left over from “Havana in the VeloKitchen”), fish sauce and a little sugar. To spice up the adults’ salad, I sprinkled chili powder on top. The result was as tasty as a freshly cooked dinner!
Now, on to the 100 boiled eggs. I have had the fortune to visit Thailand two times. The second time was to give thanks to the fulfillment of a prayer-wish to the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. On our first visit, our guide shared that, in Thailand, Buddha is a messenger to God, and Buddha delivers messages to any religion’s deity. He explained that temple visitors may pray their wishes and when these are fulfilled, they return to give thanks, often in the form of 100 boiled eggs which are donated to the monks for their once-daily meal.
I carefully followed the instructions for the Thai ritual using incense, a lotus flower and a small piece of gold leaf and prayed-wished privately for “a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.” Having suffered a miscarriage the year before, I was miraculously surprised when, within a month of returning home, I tested pregnant and nine months later delivered my second son, whom we affectionately call Scallywag. When Scallywag was born, I knew that “someday” I must return to Bangkok to thank Wat Phra Kaew, but I had no short term travel plans. Unexpectely, when Scallywag turned three months old, I was invited to speak at a business conference in Bangkok, and I was able to return to give my gratitude.
My first challenge was: how would I acquire 100 boiled eggs while staying at a fancy business hotel? Thankfully, the concierge was very accommodating after I explained my story. He sent a messenger on a scooter to the local market who returned with a plastic bag filled with 100 boiled eggs. My husband carried Scallywag in the Snugli, while I toted the 100 boiled eggs. One hundred eggs weigh a lot! We caught a river taxi from our hotel to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Once we reached the Emerald Buddha, a guide helped me chant my thanks in Thai. I have no idea what the words meant, but I repeated them dutifully. Then we stacked the 100 boiled eggs on a platter and left our symbolic thanks along with others’ gifts. Since this very personal experience, I am wondrous of the mystery of miracles and Scallywag’s favorite food is eggs, prepared in any way.
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