Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl Snacks Roundup 2015

Guys, it's here! It's the best snack food weekend of the year! That rhymed! And that was way too many exclamation points. Let me calm myself down a bit.
I've been blogging long enough that I can do these recipe roundup type posts. And even though I hate roundup posts (as I think they make me come off a little lazy) because I'm not a full-time blogger (I have a day job) I don't make dishes in advance and share them for the coming holiday. Instead, I make them to eat for the actual holiday and then I share them afterwards (when they're kind of useless).

So, a bunch of the posts I'm linking to are a result of last year's Super Bowl. The rest are just other delicious foods I'm dreaming of making myself this weekend. In summary, I just picked a bunch of my favorites. I'm not sure which recipes I'll be making yet, though I'm sure there may be one or two newer recipes that will end up on the blog on next year's round up. All I know is that I'm excited to sit on the couch and pretend to be interested in football whilst actually being interested in the mountains of food in front of me.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thai Style Mussels

I really love singing whilst cooking. Is that weird? I think it's an awesome way to pass the time, especially if the internet's just gone a little wonky, which has caused Netflix to cut out, and I can't do anything about it because I can't touch my iPad because I'm in the middle of kneading dough. I especially love taking upbeat songs and transforming them into slow songs - imagine Superbass as a ballad - and making up my own tunes (usually the lyrics describe my current mood or activity). I'm not super talented or anything (this isn't some sort of braggy introduction), but I do have a knack for imitation and one of my favorite numbers to belt out is Toni Braxton's Unbreak My Heart. Hey, I'm a 90s kid, okay? Anyway, if you ever become a close enough friend - you know, the type of friend where I feel like I can do anything shame-free - then you might one day be blessed enough to witness an up-close and personal live concert from moi.

My number one fan is my dog, George Michael, who loves to sit in his little bed whenever I'm cooking. If he sees me heading for the kitchen, he'll come down to observe, and probably to hope that I have some snacks that I can share while I'm chopping. He'll take a little snooze usually but if I start singing, his tail will start wagging and sometimes, he'll get up and come over and give me a little smooch on the knee. Probably to show his appreciation and say, "Nice song, mama! Keep going!"

I always have a lot of fun in the kitchen. And I almost always look forward to cooking a meal, especially when it's been planned out. That's what today's dish was like. I had been taking trips to the fishmonger here and there and buying whatever looked good and was recommended by the guys at the counter. During one particular trip, I was buying clams when I noticed that they also had a pile of really pretty looking mussels. I bought a big bagful and when I told my sister, we both said, "We should make them Thai style!" at the same time. We planned the meal to be enjoyed over the weekend and the anticipation was fun, the cooking was fun, and of course, the eating was really fun.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
mussels
2 lbs mussels
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 Thai chilis, sliced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced lemongrass
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
handful Thai basil
handful cilantro
2 cups coconut milk
+ scallions for garnish

dipping sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 handful cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pad Kee Mao | Spicy Basil Noodles | Drunken Noodles

When I was growing up, Chinese takeout was a rare occurrence and therefore, it was a treat. Mum was really into home cooking and didn't like the idea of letting her children gorge on processed foods where she couldn't control our salt and sugar intake. But every so often, we'd call out for vegetable chow fun, extra spicy orange chicken, and beef with garlic sauce. Those three dishes were our takeout staples.

A decade later and Chinese takeout has gotten a bit boring. It's still a rare occurrence but not as much of a treat. In its place, Thai food has stepped in. Thai food has spice and strong flavors and it's much more appealing to our Korean palates. It's also a pretty frequent occurrence; we have it at least once a month in our house. And that's a good thing except Thai food is pricier than Chinese. And for good reason; it's got more ingredients, more punch, more spice so why shouldn't it be more expensive?

In order to satisfy my Thai food cravings without breaking the bank, I like to whip up some of my favorites at home. I've previously shared a spicy basil noodle but that was almost three years ago and in that time, I've updated my recipe. The old one was inspired by my favorite Thai place in college. This new one is inspired by my new favorite Thai place near home and it's more flavorful and I think it's a bit prettier to look at.
Ingredients [serves 2 as a main or 4 if serving alongside other (Thai) dishes]:
6 oz. rice noodles
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3 Thai chilis, sliced (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
3 to 4 broccoli florets
1 egg
6 oz. tofu (or protein of your choice, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, seitan, quorn, what have you)
handful Thai basil (regular basil also works but it has a slightly different flavor)
handful mung bean sprouts (optional; this is typically seen in pad thai but I enjoy the crunch)
2 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free option)
1 teaspoon fish sauce (use 1/2 teaspoon miso for a vegetarian/vegan substitute)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
+ scallions for garnish
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