As I mentioned before, I have a long history with Andy Ricker's roasted young chicken (or game hen). It was one of my favorite dinners back when I lived in Portland, and I still fantasize about driving up to the Northwest just for another taste. Luckily, now I don't need to spend the gas money (or wait in line).
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Phat thai wasn't on Andy Ricker's original menu at his Portland restaurant, Pok Pok. It wasn't until he opened a noodle shop in New York that he fully embraced the public's demand for a serious plate of Thai fried noodles. Ricker's recipe in his new Pok Pok cookbook is a version of the dish he serves in New York. Even though it has a long, somewhat chaotic ingredient list, the final dish is subtle and almost delicate.
Use this slightly subtle shrimp paste in Andy Ricker's Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green curry with fish balls and eggplant) from his new Pok Pok cookbook.
Andy Ricker's Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green Curry With Fish Balls and Eggplant) From 'Pok Pok'
Green curry was the first Thai food I remember eating. My parents would make it with jarred curry paste, coconut milk, green beans, potatoes, and chicken--I trust many of you are familiar with this meal. I loved this curry, and in fact still make it occasionally when the craving strikes. The green curry in Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook is nothing like that curry.
I was surprised to see a recipe calling for Brussels sprouts in Andy Ricker's new Pok Pok cookbook. As it turns out, Ricker has spotted a similar vegetable (a cross between Brussels sprouts and bok choy) in stir fries in Northern Thailand. He prepares them simply, in a Chinese-Thai hybrid of a sauce made with oyster and fish sauces, for a sweet, salty, and spicy dish that'd fit in with just about any spread of seasonal dishes—Thai or otherwise.
Andy Ricker opens his new Pok Pok cookbook with a series of variations on papaya salad. These are the beating heart of his namesake restaurant, providing its inspiration as well as a sweet and sour bridge between the range of complex savory dishes. This particular salad, made with cucumbers instead of papaya, is a cool and refreshing twist.
I ate at Andy Ricker's Ping a couple of times right when they opened in 2009. The food was a little hit and miss, but one dish was spot-on every time: the carrot cake. Not to be confused with the American dessert, Ricker's carrot cake is actually made from daikon and rice flour, and is sort of like Southeast Asian gnocchi. The dumpling-like cakes come stir-fried in a slightly sweet soy and garlic sauce, scrambled with eggs, bean sprouts, and cilantro.