When I was growing up, I don’t really remember eating that much Thai food. Probably because there weren’t many good Thai restaurants where we lived, but I’ll have to ask my parents why because my life as an adult is not complete without it. Maybe it was because I didn’t especially like spicy food when I was little. I don’t know. But ohhh, how things have changed.
I was fortunate to have been able to go to Thailand several times to film shampoo and skin care commercials. Working there was great, but my favorite part about being there was feasting on authentic Thai food. Their dishes are SO flavorful and every bite packs a mean punch. I don’t think you could dislike spicy food if you were Thai! Almost every dish set my mouth on fire!
So when my April Bon Appétit arrived one afternoon, and I thumbed through to find the Thai Shrimp - Halibut Curry recipe, it gave me inspiration, despite only having two of the twelve ingredients (vegetable oil and fish sauce), to make a Thai dinner that night! A few pages further into my magazine (and new best friend) was a great accompaniment to the curry; Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile.
I was making Jasmine rice to go with the curry and with the pork & asparagus, so I was in search of a salad to round out the meal. I found a few on Epicurious, so I used them as a guide to make an Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw. I’d like to warn you that napa cabbage gets soggy rather quickly, so when you’re ready to eat is right about when you should dress the salad. You can find all of the recipes below. And of course, you can adjust the spiciness to your palette. Know that Thai chilies are effing SPICY.
Thai red curry paste, unsweetened coconut milk, and fish sauce are available in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets. Serve this curry over steamed Jasmine rice.
3 large limes 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup chopped shallots 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch dice 1½ Tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger 2½ teaspoons Thai red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen brand) 1 13½ to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) 16 to 18 ounces halibut fillets, cut into 1½-inch chunks 8 peeled and deveined uncooked large shrimp (8 to 10 ounces) ⅓ cup shopped fresh cilantro ½ cup chopped fresh basil
Finely grate enough peel from 2 limes to measure 1½ teaspoons. Squeeze enough juice from 2 limes to measure 2 Tablespoons. Cut third lime into wedges.
Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallots, diced red bell pepper, and minced ginger; sauté until shallots are tender and peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, 1½ teaspoons lime peel, and 2 Tablespoons lime juice. Simmer gently, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add fish and shrimp to curry sauce. Return to very gentle simmer and cook just until fish and shrimp are opaque in center, 5 to 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in cilantro and basil; serve with lime wedges.
SPICY PORK WITH ASPARAGUS AND CHILE Prep 25 minutes Total 25 minutes 4 Servings
Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped and measured before beginning to make this quickly cooked stir-fry.
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry 2 teaspoons cornstarch 12 ounces ground pork (preferably coarsely ground; sometimes labeled chili grind) 3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided 12 ounces thin to medium asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on extreme diagonal into ½ - ¾ inch pieces 1 red jalapeño chili, minced with seeds 1 Tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce 1 teaspoon honey 2 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal Fine sea salt
Whisk 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add pork; toss to blend. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in heavy large wok or deep skillet over high heat. Add asparagus, chile, and ginger. Toss until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer asparagus mixture to plate. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to wok. Add pork mixture and stir-fry until browned, using spoon to break up pork into small pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. Return asparagus mixture to wok. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, oyster sauce, and honey; stir-fry until pork is cooked through, adding water by Tablespoonfuls if dry, about 2 minutes. Add green onions; toss to incorporate. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
ASIAN NAPA CABBAGE SALAD Prep 15 minutes Total 15 minutes 4 Servings
¼ cup fresh lime juice 2 Tablespoons Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce) 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ½ Thai green chili, seeded, minced (be careful, they’re really spicy) 3 cups finely shredded Napa Cabbage ⅓ cup grated carrot 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves or ¾ teaspoon crumbled dried 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh coriander 1 Tablespoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame)
3 or 4 Tablespoons chopped peanuts for garnish sesame seeds for garnish
In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, nam pla, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Slowly add the minced chili as a little goes a long way. When you’re ready to serve the red curry and asparagus dishes is when you should finish this recipe.
In a large bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, mint, coriander, and oil. Toss the salad well. Add the lime juice and nam pla dressing and toss again. Sprinkle the peanuts and sesame seeds as you like, either in the salad bowl, or on your individual plates. Enjoy!
I find myself constantly daydreaming about kitchens. Big, spacious, open, tons of counter space, large islands...I’m obsessed. I’ve never had a big, pretty kitchen to call my own, but it is definitely on the top of my “things I want someday” list.
Here are a few kitchens that are currently causing me to drool and swoon.
A few weeks ago, I had some time on my hands, so I reorganized my spice drawer. The thing with my spice drawer is that you can only see the lids of the spice jars, so it's difficult to identify what is what. And there are just so many of them. I used to waste so much time lifting the jars, then putting them back down if they weren't the spice I was looking for. Lifting them up, putting them down. Up and down. Most days, I would only use crushed chili pepper or cinnamon, so of course, I'd know exactly where those spices were located. But for anything else, it was always such a drag to have to go searching.
My Brother changed my life. And I mean my P-touch 1180 label maker. I do have two older brothers, but they have busy lives, so I didn't bother to call on them for help with this particular task.
Then I decided to be totally OCD and alphabetize my spices!
This labeling method has saved me a ton of time, money, an unnecessary stress; Such as when I'm figuring out what spices I don't have and need to buy at the supermarket, or when I'm in the middle of cooking and need to rush into the spice drawer for a forgotten ingredient.
I think when you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, organization is key to keeping your sanity. If you don't know what you have stocked, you may make double purchases. Or triple purchases! What a waste!
Maybe the way I've organized my spice drawer is a little much for you, but it has streamlined my way around the kitchen. I hope you get inspired to tackle an area in your kitchen, or somewhere in your house that is in disarray. I guarantee you will only benefit from this!
I had a wonderful and lazy weekend...which definitely doesn’t happen often enough. Saturday, I went over to a friend’s house for a BBQ and watched the Kentucky Derby (way to go Animal Kingdom!), and Sunday I hit up the nursery for some pretty flowers to add to my little garden. And that was about it. The rest of my weekend was spent reading, napping, and watching movies. Ahhhh.
But Sunday night, I found myself craving something light and sweet, so I decided on Wine-Soaked Strawberries with fresh Whipped Cream.
Whenever I drink sangria, I find myself constantly fishing the wine soaked fruit out of the bottom of my glass, savoring each bite, and wishing I had more. Enter Wine-Soaked Strawberries. The wine perfectly brings out the sweetness of the strawberries and paired with fresh whipped cream, it makes for a delightful and dreamy dessert.
2 cups fresh strawberries (cut into quarters)
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all three ingredients in large mixing bowl. Let soak in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, place strawberries in a small dish or bowl. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Place sugar and whipping cream in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until cream reaches stiff peaks.
For as many times as I eat Bossa Nova Brazilian Cuisine, I feel I should either own a time card because I'm there so much, or buy some equity in the company. More than pho, I fill my weekly meal schedule at least 3 times with either the Bossa Salad with chicken (romaine, chopped fresh tomatoes, roasted almonds, gorgonzola, homemade croutons and chopped red onion, tossed in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette), or the Traditional Boneless Chicken (marinated in Brazilian herbs and spices served with buttery white rice, black beans, salsa and yucca flour with your choice of french fries or fried plantains).
Today for lunch, I got the Traditional Chicken with plantains. Good story, I know. I don't really stray from these two dishes because I don't need to. I never get sick of either entree. If you have a Bossa Nova in your area, you must try my suggestions if you haven't already. I promise you'll love them both!
This West LA location is at 10982 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 (310) 441-0404.
I like to mix the rice, beans and salsa together, then sprinkle the yucca flour...basically over everything.
It's really difficult not to polish off all of the rice. It's so buttery and flavorful. But if I plan on having chicken pho for dinner, I'll skimp on the carbs for now so I can save some room for them later!
The 137th Kentucky Derby is this Saturday so dust off your favorite hat, and get ready!
It’s been 33 years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 and although we have come close with Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, and Big Brown in 2008…I’m hoping 2011 (just like I hope every year) will be the year a horse dominates all three races; The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and The Belmont Stakes.
Personally, I love all the classic traditions that go along with The Kentucky Derby. Namely, the Mint Julep. It’s not Derby day unless there’s lots of big hats and Mint Juleps present! Mint Julep Makes 1 drink
1 scant ounce minted simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.
To make minted simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh mint
In heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat slightly, then simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take pan off heat, add mint leaves, and steep 15 minutes. Strain, then refrigerate syrup until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Now, if you're like me and you're not a regular bourbon drinker....add an extra ounce of the minted simple syrup to your drink. I really like to taste a strong mint flavor.