Stir-Fry Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing: a wake-up dish.

It was a long day yesterday, mostly because my body thought it was night for most of the morning.

The beginning of my weekday-wake-up-routine before I go to work is this: blearily open my eyes, roll off the edge of the bed, throw myself towards the bathroom, wash my face, and reach for my chewable vitamin C. Unfortunately, that reaching is usually done blindly as I'm drying my face. As I placed the tablets into my mouth yesterday (I decided to take two because I've been tired the past couple of days and don't want to get sick before my exciting weekend!), and bit down, I wondered why they were larger than usual and had less of the sharp tang.

As I dazedly stared down at the bottle in my hand and read the words 'Sleeping Pills', my first thought was - 'damn'. I realized I had an interesting day ahead of me, one that would be carried out with awkward long pauses after my boss asked a question of me, and uncoordinated walking into various objects, such as doors.
After an excruciatingly long day, I made my way home, to my lovely old apartment building, right in the heart of Vancouver, and wistfully had the urge to grow a garden - a completely and utterly impractical thought for a city-dweller. Large gourds, the sweet smell of herbs, and never having any raspberries visible on the bush because as soon as I spot one, I eat it!
I watched the sun set out of my west-facing window, wishing for at least a little planter filled with herbs to hang over the side, (which I swear, makes us an oceanview apartment - you see that small strip of blue in the photo above? That's the water!), and contemplated life and contentment. Its funny, as cliche as it sounds, it takes completely losing yourself to find yourself again. Life is full of beauty and stunning moments; they are fleeting yet carry so much weight, so you have to enjoy every one. I'm slowly recognizing that, and having appreciation for the world that envelops us. I guess you could say that in the past couple months I've been 'woken-up' (much like my experience by early-afternoon after the pill wore off)!
I decided to make a 'me' dish, celebrating self-discovery. I adore salads - obvious from the amount I've written about on this blog. I also love veggies and stir fry. However, it is too hot for stir fry. So, to combine my two favorites, I made a stir-fry-salad last night for dinner.

Thai peanut dressing is as prosaic as air in restaurants. But a good Thai peanut dressing, that is more rare. When you have a good peanut dressing recipe, you can use it for dipping sauce, for marinade, for salad dressings, well, for anything you can do with a sauce or condiment. It's pretty specacular, and you can change it according to the palette(s) you're giving it to - whether spicy or mild, a little sour or sweet. It's a delightful, malleable thing. And what is better to end a sleepy day than a little spice, and a little love.  

Stir-Fry Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. peanut butter (real stuff, not kraft, not sweetened)
3 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 c. peanut or sesame oil
1 tbs. red curry paste (optional)

perfect tofu (recipe here)

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
handful of fresh mint, shredded
1 large carrot, jullienned
1/2 small daikon, jullienned
4 large mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/2 c. broccoli, chopped and cooked slightly

1/2 roasted peanuts

1. Place first 9 ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more peanut or sesame oil to create the consistency needed for salad dressing.

2. Place vegetables/salad stuff on a plate, with tofu on top. Drizzle dressing over salad. Sprinkle peanuts on top.

3. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Don't ever take sleeping pills before work.