I can’t tell you how exited I am about my upcoming vacation! I think I already mentioned it in one of my prior posts and finally we are close to the countdown, 11 more days and Mike and I are taking off for a trip of a lifetime. Its our 10th year wedding anniversary and we have decided to get another bucket item off our list – a trip to Indochina! I have never been to Asia, so this will be the 6th out of 7 continents that I will have visited with Antarctica being the last continent to explore in one of our future adventures to really get the bucket list check mark of having visited all 7 continents in the world!
I do have to make a comment about being married now for 10 years – depending on which “lens you put on” 10 years can be a loooong time but then again it can also go by in a blink of an eye – and for me the latter applies… I am still amazed how the “always dressed in black/self chosen non marrying kind” is now celebrating her 10th year anniversary in a pink flower dress with her Pacific Northwest Outdoorsman in Cambodia. A toast to all the couples where the saying of “Opposites Attract” is really true and with that a toast to my man who introduced me to very useful camouflage and Gore-Tex clothing, makes me enjoy country living including green house veggie growing, gardening as well as smoking self caught trout and salmon and last but not least is showing me the beauty of living in the Pacific Northwest.
Now on to our Indochina adventure – it will start with a couple of days in Bangkok, then proceeding to Cambodia to celebrate our anniversary in Angkor Wat on September 19th. Angkor Wat was built during the early years of the 12th century and is the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares and it has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag.
After visiting Angkor Wat in the morning, Mike and I will have a Buddhist blessing ceremony in the afternoon and conclude our celebration with a traditional Cambodian dinner in the countryside. Then we are taking off for a 4 day Mekong River Cruise where we will experience some very authentic Cambodian fishing villages. Then we will cross over to Vietnam and spend some days in Hoi An on the beach, followed by our own “Junker” Adventure in Halong Bay, concluding with a visit to Sappa, high up in the Vietnamese mountains.
The suitcase is not yet packed but I have already laid out all my outfits and are waiting for a hot day to spray everything inside and out with bug spray to make sure I don’t get pestered by mosquitos, which I hear are quite prevalent in this part of the world. While I have spent hours on my clothes selection, knowing my husband, he will spend 5 minutes packing his clothes – standard issues: flip flops, shorts and tank tops- must be nice!
I am sure I will be in heaven when it comes to food, I like ANYTHING Asian (with the exception of the creepy stuff like monkey brain, dog and sea urchin) but the judgement is still out for Mike, lets see how he will do with all these fresh vegetables and coconut milk hehehe…;-).
I do want to make a shout out to my friend Laura, who spent time with me shopping for the “blessing ceremony dress” which then unfortunately didn’t make the cut with Mike but nevertheless I had a great time shopping for the dress options with Laura and getting into vacation spirit. Laura – you will have to wait until I post the blessing ceremony picture(s) to see which dress I landed on and I think you will really love the dress I found!
The plan was to post this entry yesterday but then Mike and I decided to take out the boat one more time to lake Kachess and enjoy one of our last summer days on the lake and I am glad we did so. We packed up the dogs, some brewskies and Hot dogs and had a lovely Sunday night dinner high up on this mountain lake.
Ok off to my recipe, not exactly Vietnamese or Cambodian but definitely influenced by Indochina seasonings, this Curry Orzo salad is to die for and I don’t say that very often about my recipes. To be honest, this recipe is actually from my friend Astrid! I brought a huge bowl of this dish to my friends birthday party (Happy Birthday Again Bobby!) and I received raving feedback how this was the “best dish on the table”. If you don’t want to make the same old same old Italian Pasta or American Macaroni Salad and you like Asian flavors like curry and ginger, then this salad/side dish is for you. And if you are vegetarian, you can leave out the chicken and it will still taste amazing.
Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Curry Dressing
Ingredients: will serve 10-12 people as a side dish
- 1 pound rotelle or Orzo
- 1 rotisserie chicken, picked clean from the bones and cut into small pieces (you can cook your own chicken but rotisserie chicken tastes pretty good and makes it much faster to prepare this dish
- 1 cup of grapes (cut into quarters)
- Optional: 2 scallions, sliced thin
- Optional: 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- Optional: 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut into half’s or quarters
- For the dressing
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 4 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 3-4 teaspoons curry powder
- 4 tablespoons mango chutney or puree of 1 mango
- dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Cook the pasta for 10 minutes, or until it is tender, rinse under cold water, and drain it well.
- In a large bowl combine the pasta, the chicken and the grapes (scallions, basil and tomato’s are optional).
- Make the dressing: In a skillet cook the garlic and the ginger in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened, add the cream and coconut milk and cook the mixture, whisking, until it is thickened slightly. Whisk in the vinegar, the curry powder, the red pepper flakes, and the chutney (or fresh mango puree). Add the dressing to the pasta mixture, tossing the salad to combine it well, and season the salad with salt and pepper.