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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Easy Pad Thai


 Thai food is one of my all time favorites. The variety of flavors that go into almost any Thai dish is what draws me in. I love the combination of sweet, spicy and savory of a good Thai curry or my go to comfort Thai food, Pad Thai. I found a simple Pad Thai recipe a year or so back and it has become a staple in our house. If you are in Asia (or in my case have an Asian supermarket nearby) the ingredients are simple and inexpensive. If you try and get these same ingredients from a conventional grocery store in the states, you will feel like you have spent a minor fortune. But trust me, do a little searching and you might be surprised that there actually is an Asian market near by. I just discovered a second one in our town just the other day!

I found the original recipe on the Eating Well website. They have quite a few simple and delicious, mostly whole food recipes, I definitely recommend the site. I modified this recipe slightly to suit our family a little better.

Here is my beautiful Pad Thai in my beautiful $3 wok (This can be cooked in a regular pan, but when doubling or tripling, which I often do, a wok is your best friend!)



Ingredients
4 ounces dried rice noodles
2 teaspoons peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken (I use thighs because they are so inexpensive. I have also used beef in this recipe)

1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation
  1. Soak rice noodles in warm water to cover in a large bowl until they are limp and white, about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil over high heat in a wok until very hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds. Add the egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add chicken (or beef) and stir fry until cooked through
  3. Drain the noodles and add to the wok, tossing with tongs until they soften and curl, about 1minute. Add bean sprouts, green onions, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and chile-garlic sauce; toss until the meat is fully cooked and noodles are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately.

    The best part about this recipe for me is that it is so customizable. Like more vinegar? Go for it. More veggies, less (or no) meat? It all works. I would recommend that if you are using extra veggies like carrots that might take a while to cook, steam them slightly before adding them in or everything else will be overcooked.

    Enjoy! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Crunchy Coffee Cake

Sometimes I just have a craving for a cake. Baked goods are a serious weakness for me actually. So, in good fashion, around 3 o'clock yesterday, I had a hankering for a cake. That probably explains my expanding backside, huh? This little coffee cake was the result of the limited ingredients I had in the kitchen due to our departure for a trip in a few days. Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens 1977! If you need something slightly sweet for tea or coffee time in your house, give this one a try since it doesn't feel like a guaranteed trip to the dentist. It's super simple with tasty results--and it's Miracle Oven friendly since we're approaching that season of very little electricity.

Give me a C! Since someone couldn't wait before snapping a picture...

Crunchy Coffee Cake
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine the liquid ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another. Add the dry to the wet and stir just until combined and relatively smooth. The batter will be pretty thick. Pour into a greased 9x9 square pan/round cake tin/Miracle Oven. In the empty dry bowl, mix the topping ingredients together lightly. Sprinkle over the cake. Bake at 375F/190C for about 25 minutes or 30 minutes on low heat in the Miracle Oven. Transfer to a cooling rack after cooling for 15 minutes.

Notes: The cake part is just plain white, especially when cooked in the Miracle Oven. If you want some color, try subbing brown sugar for the white sugar and adding a little cinnamon to the batter. That should get you a more golden cake color even in a stove top oven. Also, just a side note on stove top ovens. I am told that, unlike conventional ovens that start putting out delicious smells right away, stove top ovens let you know when they're done because the smell of a cake won't become obvious until the very end of cooking. In other words, when you smell it, it's probably done. Helpful little tidbit that has been pretty accurate for me in the last 4 years of use.