Steamboat Springs: Kathy’s “Thai One On” Cooking Party

Kathy's "Thai One On" Cooking Party

I’m visiting a friend – Kathy Barker – in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, who I met at the water fountain when I was 12 years old. She was from New Orleans, the “new” girl at my Alabama junior high school, and scouting about the hall for friends. She overheard me yammering in a knot of girls discussing  my upcoming sleep-over.  When I parted the pack for a sip of water,  she made her move and asked me if she could be included. Impressed with her social chutzpa, I agreed; we’ve been friends ever since.

Steamboat Springs is a laid-back cowboy-ski town.

Her adopted city Steamboat is a laid back cowboy-ski town notorious for some of its more emboldened citizenry riding their horses into Safeway to buy a bag of Doritos, for instance, or trotting their mares into a bar for local brew.

At last year’s Winter Olympics, four Steamboat boys brought home gold and silver medals and the town has produced more Olympians than any other north American city.  It’s a town to be proud of, no doubt, and Kathy is proud of her girlfriends, as well. She wanted to introduce me to some of them and thought a cooking party would be an amusing ice-breaker.

(left to right) Cami, Molly, Kathy, Linda, Toni, Linda, Pat, Darlinda

It’s February, we’re snuggled in towering peaks of  fairyland bliss, so we decided to heat up the evening with a Thai-inspired menu of Tempura Fried Oysters with Asian Dipping Sauce, Cellophane Noodle and Peanut Salad Wraps and Spicy Thai Shrimp & Eggplant with Steamed Rice.

There were nine of us and we divided the group into three women each per recipe. Kathy and I did a bit of prep work prior to their arrival – chopping herbs and hot peppers, washing lettuce cups, and the like – leaving the cooking to the teams. Each recipe serves 8-10, but are easily divisible to serve a smaller group.


Dipping oysters into tempura batter.


Frying the oysters in a deep fryer (pan works great too).


Umm...Tempura Oysters on the far right.

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Recipe: Tempura Fried Oysters with Asian Dipping Sauce


  • 1 recipe for Asian Dipping Sauce (below)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup soda water
  • 1 egg
  • 36 oysters, shucked (small to medium-sized)
  • Peanut, vegetable or canola oil for deep frying


  1. Make the dipping sauce; see recipe below. (Can be made up to 24 hours in advance.)
  2. To make batter, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. Whisk in  soda water and egg.
Add enough oil to a heavy-bottomed pan, deep-lipped skillet or a deep fryer to come up to 1 1/2 inches deep. If using a deep fryer, follow manufacturer’s directions. Heat oil until a small piece of tempura batter sizzles when put in oil.
  4.  Pat oysters dry with paper towels then dip into batter to thoroughly coat.  Deep fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with Asian Dipping sauce.

Number of servings (yield): 36 oysters

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Asian Dipping Sauce


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili paste
1-2 teaspoons hot chili peppers, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 3 teaspoons chopped green onion


Whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chili paste, 1 teaspoon chili peppers, cilantro, ginger and onion. Taste and add additional chili pepper to taste.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.


Just soak dry rice sticks (cellophane noodles) in hot water; chop.


You could buy pre-made Thai peanut sauce...but why?


Slice cukes as thinly as possible; cut in half.


Composing a cellophane noodle lettuce wrap.

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Recipe: Cellophane Noodle and Peanut Salad Wrap


  • 3-4 ounces rice sticks (cellophane noodles)
  • 1 recipe for Peanut Sauce (below)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, washed, sliced as thin as possible, cut in half
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 16-24 large lettuce leaves for wrapping salad, such as bib or curly leafed romaine


  1. Cover noodles with hot water; let stand in water at room temperature 15 minutes or until softened. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Make Peanut Sauce(recipe below.)
  2. Toss noodles with peanut sauce, then combine with cucumber, carrot, cilantro, mint, basil and scallions.
  3. Stuff salad into lettuce cups and serve.

Number of servings (yield): 16-24 hefty lettuce cups

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Peanut Sauce  


  • 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai or serrano chili pepper, finely chopped*


  1. In a food processor or blender, purée peanut butter, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic and ginger.
  2. Scrape into a bowl, stir in peanuts and 1 tablespoon minced pepper; add additional chopped pepper to taste.

* Wear plastic gloves when handling hot peppers

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.


Salt the eggplant to release moisture, in fact, tenderizing the globes. (Asian eggplant don't require this step.)


Eggplant creates a flavorful sauce sopping up those wonderful Thai spices.


Sautéing eggplant; embracing oil.


so so good.


Spicy Thai Shrimp & still, my heart.

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Recipe: Spicy Thai Shrimp and Eggplant


  • 3-4 large black globe eggplant, peeled, or 7-8 Asian eggplant, washed, unpeeled
  • 6-8 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (8/12 size; 11-12 per pound)
  • 4 teaspoons garlic
  • 4 tablespoons lemon grass
  • 2 tablespoons chopped or grated ginger
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-4 tablespoons red chili curry paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai or other hot pepper, seeds and membranes removed and finely chopped*
  • 2 (14.5) ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup Thai basil, washed and chopped (or combination of basil and mint)
  • 1 cup washed and chopped cilantro


  1. If using globe eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on paper towels or a clean cloth. Lightly season with kosher salt and let excess moisture drain 30-60 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch dice. If using Asian eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch coins.
  2. In each of two large sauté pans, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, quickly cook shrimp until browned but not cooked through, about 45 seconds on each side. Remove and reserve.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add additional oil to each pan and divide and sauté garlic and eggplant; occasionally stirring, 3 minutes or until eggplant is just beginning to soften. Divide lemon grass, ginger, fish sauce, 2 tablespoons curry paste, diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon peppers between pans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until eggplant is tender, 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional curry paste and peppers to sauce, if desired.
  4. Return shrimp to pan and heat in eggplant sauce until just cooked through; stir in Thai basil (or basil and mint) and cilantro into mixture and serve.

*Always wear plastic gloves when handling hot chili peppers.

Number of servings (yield): 8-10 servings

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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