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Dishes Taste as Good as They Look : Thai Menu Features Colorful Barbecued Pork on Skewer

October 20, 1988

Thai cooking has filtered into the American food scene. Its popularity results from the range of exotic flavors and because its dishes cater to the palate as well as to the eye.

This Thai menu is a perfect example. Succulently tender pork is basted in a marinade of bottled sweet and spicy French dressing, peanut butter, Sherry, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper. The pork is then threaded on skewers and barbecued until done.

A Medley of Vegetables

An accompanying vegetable platter features assorted vegetables cooked just until tender-crisp to preserve nutrients and color. Cauliflower, green beans, carrots or broccoli are drizzled with a pungent sesame-soy Thai dressing made of bottled Italian dressing, toasted sesame seeds, ginger, soy sauce and Sherry that can be prepared in two ways--simply combine in a bowl or whirl in the blender for a creamy dressing that mingles well with cooked noodles.

Mandarin Almond Custard is the chosen dessert. A creamy egg custard is laced with orange liqueur and almond extract to soothe the palate. Serve in orange cups for an eye-appealing finale.

PEANUT PORK SATE

1 cup bottled sweet and spicy French dressing

1 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon dry Sherry

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, diagonally sliced into 1/4-inch strips

Combine dressing, peanut butter, Sherry, soy sauce, ginger root, garlic and red pepper in blender and process until smooth. Blend 1/2 cup mixture with water in shallow baking dish and add pork. Refrigerate remaining mixture. Cover pork and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, 4 hours or overnight.

Remove pork from marinade and thread onto 12-inch skewers, weaving back and forth. Grill or broil 5 inches from heat, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade, 12 minutes or until pork is done. Makes 6 servings.

SESAME VEGETABLE SALAD

1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing

2 to 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons dry Sherry

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger root

Assorted blanched vegetables

Combine dressing, sesame seeds, Sherry, soy sauce, sugar and ginger root in bowl. Arrange assorted blanched vegetables on serving platter, then drizzle with dressing. Makes about 6 servings.

Note: To make assorted blanched vegetables, in boiling water, cook 6 cups any combination of following vegetables 1 to 2 minutes: green beans, cauliflowerets, broccoli florets or sliced carrots. Drain, then immediately plunge into ice water 5 minutes and drain thoroughly.

MANDARIN ALMOND CUSTARD

4 cups cold milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 (4-serving) packages instant vanilla pudding and pie filling

1/4 cup orange liqueur

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Orange cups

Toasted sliced almonds, optional

Blend milk and eggs in medium bowl. Add pudding mix. With wire whisk or electric mixer at lowest speed, beat until blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in liqueur and almond extract. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. To serve, spoon into orange cups or dessert dishes and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Makes about 8 servings.

Note: To make orange cups, using sharp knife, make zigzag cut around middle of orange, cutting only to inside center. Twist and pull apart. Remove fruit and juice from shells.

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