Friday was my Uncle Ed’s 89th birthday. I cooked him a mild variation of Komodo Kitchen’s udang goreng kecap with rice noodles instead of our aromatic nasi uduk.

Udang Goreng Kecap

Kecap, pronounced catch-up!

He wanted a “pasta rice” dish, so that’s what he got. Who wants to argue with a stubborn Irishman? The shrimp are farmed in Okemos, Michigan, and I have to say that they are sweet and delicious. It’s a little more expensive than typical Walmart brand shrimp, but then, I don’t have to worry about contributing my scratch to Thai slave labor…All the more reason to know your farmer!

I also made a gado gado salad for my siblings who joined us later for Pinwheel chocolate cake and Tofutti vanilla bark ice cream (totally uber-processed sugar and oil but it tastes freeking amazing!!!). Once again, I prepared a variation of Komodo Kitchen gado gado, as tempeh and bitter melon would not be appreciated by my family. Unfortunate too, as I managed to grow a few bitter melons in my garden this year. It feels sexy to grow such an exotic, tropical fruit. I want everyone to know it’s weird, dimpled beauty and alleged medicinal benefits (cures malaria?!?). I like it in gado gado because it’s taste is so severe, it’s a perfect foil for the creamy peanut sauce and sweet corn kernels. It’s all about the yin and the yang, afterall.

Baby Bitter Melon in my garden

I found this Asian cooking site, RasaMalaysia. They have some information about the geographic differences in gado gado with a tasty recipe following. Check it out. Make some. Give me a full report.

Oh, and this is what my garden looks like today:

A hairy lemongrass mess.

Where I thought I planted eggplant, a giant leafed squash of some sort erupted. Pumpkin? Watermelon? What I thought was watermelon turned out to be bitter melon. What I thought was Romanian sweet peppers turned out to be the eggplant. And to think, I actually kept a journal…