Asian Food Store

A few images from a recent trip to our local Asian food store.

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Taste of Thai

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I am going to start this post off by saying that I have been soooo busy, I forgot to blog. Forgive me. And also, this is not a recipe, but a review of a meal at a restaurant.
We were going to head to Lexington for the day, Sarah had a professional development lecture and I was catching up with an out of state friend who was in my state for a week, so we had the chance to try something new. Anywhere, any food, the range of choice was huge. But Sarah knew exactly where she wanted to eat. A little Thai place in downtown Lexington.
Starting off with our drinks, my friend Marlee and I ordered “Authentic Thai Tea”, as the menu put it. It was a reddish color with a thick head of cream. Not tea foam or milk, but thick cream.

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And it was good. It didn’t taste very different from black pekoe tea, but it did taste like it had 2 cups of sugar in one glass. Talk about sweet!!

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I mixed the cream in with the tea to cut the sweetness and enjoyed every drink of it. Darn. I really want another glass right now.

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Sarah ordered this Pad dish, and I can’t fully remember which one, but I do remember it was very good.  The menu was full of wonderful dishes and we each had a horrible time pinning down exactly what we wanted.

I’ll tell you what I did want. I wanted to try something new and different. And boy, did I get something new. And different. Like liquid fire.

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That was my bowl of liquid fire. I ordered the Gang Dang Curry, a red curry paste in coconut milk with chicken, baby corn, veggies and basil. And all I tasted was hot. The very first spoonful, just setting the essence of the broth on my tongue lit my mouth up.
Marlee and Sarah took a bite and it felt really good to have instant sympathy. Marlee said, “That is ridiculous, how do they even get food that hot?!’
I have no idea, Marlee, but now I know it is possible.

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I did get a side of steamed Jasmine rice to help comfort the remains of surface of my tongue.

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Marlee ordered Pad Cashew and it was really tasty. It was full of chicken and bell peppers, water chestnuts and cashews.

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And lastly, to round out the meal, we went to a self serve frozen yogurt place. Marlee had never tried any before and she really fell in love with it, as Sarah and I have. The picture is of Sarah’s mix, she had chocolate yogurt, peanut butter yogurt and plain yogurt topped with bananas, strawberries and butterfinger. And those little yellow things were full of fruit juice, I can’t remember what they are properly called.

So it was a really lovely restaurant, and the food was lovely, though I will never again order Thai curry. I need to go back and redeem myself by getting a meal I can actually eat without whimpering in pain through.

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Hand pulled noodles

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Well, it’s Sarah again. I know, I know…I haven’t kept up too well with blogging regularly, but I have been cooking everyday. I promise I’ve tried something new every day, even bread baking. (Yeast smells awful, so I’ve avoided this particular area of the kitchen until now)

Well, there is a blog that I absolutely LOVE to read! The blogger is always discussing foods I’ve never heard of. She knows her food and how to present it. You should really check out Tiny Urban Kitchen if you haven’t already. When I saw her blog about hand pulled noodles I knew I just had to try it so this is the documentation of my attempt.

First of all, from reading her blog I knew that the chances of success were definitely not in my favor, so I made a herbed rice as a back up. :) Just Brown Rice, Green Onions, Garlic and some olive oil.20110718-013251.jpg20110718-013311.jpg
Next, the hand pulled noodles are often eaten in a traditional Taiwanese dished aptly called, Beef  Noodle Soup. I put a roast in the oven and covered it in sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, a little rice vinegar, some Kosher salt and pepper. After looking closely at the Beef Noodle Soup recipe I figured out that I had picked up rice vinegar instead of rice wine and our local grocery did not have chili been sauce. Cooks have to adapt and I was already onto plan C.  Now onto the noodles…

The noodle dough came together great! While I waited for the dough to set up I worked on some roasted carrots and green onions to accompany our meal. I used whole peeled carrots and whole green onions. The veggies were laid out on a cookie sheet and drizzled with olive oil, honey, and kosher salt. I roasted them at 350 but I did not anticipate how long the noodles would take, so I would suggest a lower temperature unless you want crispy vegetables.

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After veggies it was time to make noodles! I was so excited that I called Bekah in and we watched the Tiny Urban Kitchen “how to” You Tube video several times before attempting to start pulling our noodles. Man, it looked a lot easier on the video!

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We meticulously followed all the steps in the video…and well, at least we had fun trying. We pulled and stretched, swung and slapped all to little avail. The dough stretched, but we couldn’t get it thin enough to actually make noodles.

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20110718-013413.jpg As the supper crowd became restless I fell back on Plan D: Roll out the dough and hand cut the noodles. Using a rolling-pin, I rolled the dough paper-thin, then cut noodles about the size of a wide egg noodle.

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20110718-013422.jpg After a quick boil, the noodles were placed                                                                                                                                                                   in with the roast, which I had pulled apart.

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Voila, almost pulled noodles with an Asian inspired roast! While not the end result that I envisioned, the dish tasted great and has already been requested for a second showing. Now, it’s your turn. Here is the link to Tiny Urban Kitchen’s terrific food blog, specifically the Hand Pulled Noodles page:

http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/2010/11/project-food-blog-round-7-hand-pulled.html

Challenge: Try to make your own hand pulled noodles and let us know how it goes!

Here’s to another Square Meal,

Sarah

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Stevens and Stevens

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That was lunch a couple weeks ago. Stevens and Stevens is a marvelous delicatessen on Bardstown Rd in Louisville that is full of character and good food. They have funky names for every food option like a Foghorn Leghorn or Peter, Paul and Mary. And their food is good.

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This was my sandwich, called a Soho Mozzarella. It had fresh mozzarella, tomato, spring greens and an herb mayonnaise on a rosemary focaccia. I LLOOVVEEDD it and I want to recreated it at home. Very fresh and tasty.

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This salad I had as my side was called Lady in Blue and incredible. It had two types of rice, neither of which I can remember the name. It also had sliced almonds, cut fresh vegetables, sliced, dried apricots, raisins and wonderful cumin oil sauce thing. I might have to eat this several more times so I can recreate it at home. Drool.

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Carrot and zucchini muffins

There is only so much zucchini that one can eat in savory meals before it becomes boring. So what do you do with the giant zucchinis you get from your local farmer’s market or garden? Well, when life gives you zucchini, make zucchini bread!

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Not too long ago I woke up early, not because I wanted to, rather my new puppy decided that 6 am was a great time of day for a trip to the yard. So having the time to make something from breakfast, I scouted the kitchen for ingredients. Lo and behold, just waiting for a purpose was a giant zucchini. (This particular zucchini lasted through zucchini bread, fried zucchini and veggie spaghetti sauce.) I did a quick search for zucchini carrot muffins. (I can’t seem to remember why I wanted the carrots but I did.) I found a recipe that I liked and starting getting my ingredients together only to find out that we were out of both white sugar and brown sugar. Smart huh? Ever persevering, mostly because I was hungry, I did another search for honey – sugar equivalents. So in place of the white sugar I used honey and for the brown sugar I used sucanat. Also, I used light tasting olive oil instead of vegetable oil. These were very healthy muffins and they were quite tasty! Hope you try them out!   – Sarah

Here is the website where the recipe I chose can be found:

http://southernfood.about.com/od/zucchinibread/r/r70819f.htm

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Pasta with Brussels Sprout Sauce

 

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I will tell you right here that I really love Brussels sprouts. I could eat an entire bag of them for lunch, just with a little butter and salt. Mmmm.
We have always buy frozen Brussels sprouts because the fresh, raw ones are very costly and not very sensible for a large family like ours.

For every birthday in the Maggard house, the person having the birthday gets to choose what meal they want for supper and what birthday dessert they want their candles on. Last year, for my 21 st (eekk!) birthday, I asked for an entire meal of vegetables. It isn’t unusual for our family to have a vegetable meal once a week for health and for cost, but my family was entirely disappointed in my decision for vegetables. Usually the celebrator will choose a complicated meal that we don’t make very often, but I love vegetables and that is what I wanted. My only specification was that I wanted fresh Brussels sprouts. Not frozen. And let me tell you, that meal was memorable. It seemed like my sister made every vegetable available from the grocery store: baked potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots and maybe even more than that. It was really marvelous.

So when I saw this recipe for Pasta with Brussels sprout sauce, I became excited. It sound very rich and tasty, and mostly, Brussels sprouty. This recipe is out of From the Cook’s Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden, a cook book that I really love.

Pasta with Brussels Sprout Sauce
adapted out of From the Cook’s Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden

Note: There is a step, before you brown the onion, where you fry up 1/2 cup of pancetta in 2 tablespoons of butter. I would have loved to do that, but we didn’t have any pancetta so I used bacon grease instead of butter to fry my onions and garlic in.
The recipe calls for fresh Brussels sprouts cook in boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes, I used frozen sprouts that I let thaw.

You will see that the recipe calls for fettuccine, but I used spaghetti noodles because that is what we had.
Also, you can use 2 cups of chopped, fresh spinach that you will add to the onions after they brown and let wilt.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 (12 oz.) bag frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed
4 tablespoons bacon grease or butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium bell pepper, roasted, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, preferably Vermont Cheddar
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish root, or use prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound dried fettuccine

Directions:

Bring medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.

 

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Melt the butter or bacon grease in a pan, then add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft.

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You can cut your pepper open, seed it, put it on a baking sheet and roast it under the broiler, but I used the gas range roasted.
(And just so you know, it was a purple pepper, I did not burn it)

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Don’t forget to squeeze the water out of your thawed spinach and Brussels sprouts!

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Chop the pepper up and add…..

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the spinach and peppers to the onions and garlic. Also add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

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Cut the larger Brussels in half

Add your pasta to the boiling water.

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Add them to your skillet.

Now is the time to add your Cheddar cheese, half-and-half, Parmesan, mustard, horseradish, dill and tarragon. Stir to melt cheese.
Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and toss with 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve the hot pasta topped with the Brussels sprouts sauce.

Enjoy!

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Blueberry-Cinnamon Basil custard

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Eggs are a food that I equally admire and am afraid of.  I am afraid of them because they can taste too strong for me. I am afraid of runny yokes, they seem gross to me. I am afraid of runny scrambled eggs (shudder).
But eggs are marvelous, they help everything -even your hair!

We started homesteading with 4 chickens and they laid marvelous eggs. Then we added 4 more chickens, one of them turning out to be a rooster. And then we started losing any chicken we added to the homestead to heartless predators. It’s been sad. I have had to put 4 different chickens  out of the misery because 2 of them were attacked by dogs and the other 2 were attacked by the rooster. I hated it, but it was the merciful thing to do.
This year we started with a marvelous crop of chickens -1o Americaunas and 3 Rhode Island Reds. We lost 2 chicks because of health issues, but the rest were beautiful. And they were soooooo friendly, the dream flock of chickens.
But then we had a storm and somehow the coop door blew open and our chickens blew away too. I was so let down. THEY WERE INCREDIBLE CHICKENS!!!

Anyway, that was then, last month, and this is now. We have 2 chickens that managed to stick around, Ernestine and Roberta. The day after the chickens blew away we thought we just had Roberta left then our neighbors told us there was a chicken on the other side of their house. Hooray!

Ernestine and Roberta will start laying eggs in the fall and I can’t wait.

Because we don’t have any chickens laying eggs, I had to wait for someone to come back from the store with eggs to finish this custard, but it was worth waiting. This stuff was SO delicious. Other family members who are afraid of eggs to really loved how this custard didn’t taste eggy, but lovely.

 

Blueberry and Cinnamon Basil Custard
adapted from The Cook’s Garden
The recipe calls for a variety of basil called cinnamon basil that actually has cinnamon flavor built right into it, I only had regular basil. If you have cinnamon basil use  1 cup of it instead of the 1/2 cup of Genovese.

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh Genovese basil, or whatever you have on hand
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
1/2 pint fresh blueberries or 1 cup frozen blueberries, thoroughly thawed
Cinnamon basil flowers, for garnish

Method

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

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Crush the basil leaves with a wooden spoon in a medium saucepan. Add the milk, cream, vanilla bean and cinnamon and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let stand so that the milk is infused with the basil flavor, about 20 minutes.

 

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Whisk the eggs and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl.

Strain the infused milk through a wire sieve to remove the basil, vanilla bean and any cinnamon clumps.
Use the tip of a knife to scrap the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk.
Gradually whisk the milk into the eggs, strain the custard into a 1 quart measuring cup  or pitcher.

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Place equal quantities blueberries in four 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins, and cover each with a 1/4 tsp of sugar.

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Pour equal quantities of the custard into the cups.
Place the cups into a large pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cup.

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Bake until a knife tip inserted in the center of the custards comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Remove from the water and let cool to room temperature.

We ate ours warm from the oven, but you can cover them with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

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To serve, run a knife around the inside of each cup and invert the custard onto a plate.
Garnish with flowers, if using.
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Enjoy!!

Serves 4

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