Yay, it was my birthday yesterday!  I am one of those gals that loves a birthday.  I am one of those gals that announces it to people weeks in advance so they don’t feel stupid when I say, “Oh, its my birthday today” or say “It was my birthday yesterday.”  Nope, I give people all the chance they can get to wish me a good b-day.  Why?  Because I like it and because I know that I like making people feel special on their birthday too, so why not give others that chance.  Anyways, birthdays are a chance to celebrate and why would I pass up a chance like that?!

I got pancakes in bed, a sweet cookbook from loving Mr. F and in the evening we went out for Thai with some great friends we made here.  I was weary about the Thai place, though.  It took a while to pick a restaurant.  Mr. F and I spent an evening biking around the cobble-stoned streets in the center to check out where the hot spots were.  Turns out that the Dutch also like to eat out on Fridays and Saturdays because the centrum was hopping.  I had my eye on something asian and thought Thai would be just right.  The problem was that one of the Thai restaurants in Calgary is a personal fave, so going for Thai here could be a major disappointment.  Well, I am happy to report that it was a major delight!  I just love the way Thai food has such a variety of the most flavourful food I have ever tasted.  Seafood soup, spicy peanut sauces, coconut curries, the list goes on.  How about a sweet and sour sauce, oh man, my mouth is watering again with the thoughts of last night’s meal…

On the recipe front, aside from my birthday, I did try something, FINALLY.  I say finally because I have had a can of harissa paste in my cupboard for probably 3 months now.  Maybe even longer.  When I read the ravings of a certain carrot and harissa salad plastered across the food-blogesphere I frantically searched all the tiny grocers in my city until I found a coveted can of this harissa paste*.  What was it?  How did it taste?  And then, this dilemma arose.  Mr. F. eats carrots every day, every single day, for lunch.  Could I possibly serve him a carrot salad for supper without him turning orange?  So, the colourful can of harissa got lost in the back of the cupboard.

Then, I read about another salad that used harissa paste.  Thanks to The Wednesday Chef, we got to taste this mysterious red paste, finally.  It is hot, kind of sweet, garlicky and a bit tomato-y.  I don’t know if the tomato taste is a ghost taste since it is so red, but anyways, you gotta try this stuff out for yourself.  It made me feel all worldly, trying an ingredient that is not found anywhere in my culture.  I’ll give you the option, try the carrot salad or the zucchini one.  Try one of them and let me know what you think of harissa. 

*I ended up finding the paste at a Turkish grocery store.  It’s common in North Africa or that is what Wiki says.  Oh, and it is crushed pimentos.