Thai Chicken Curry (Gang Gai Khao Mun)

I made curry paste, from scratch. Gourmet as hell you guys! It took a few stores to find all of the ingredients for this recipe but between H Mart and Ranch 99, I was able to get it accomplished. This recipe for the curry paste makes more than you need for one batch, which was about six servings, so I threw what was leftover in the freezer for next time.

From what I read, this comforting Thai dish is a staple at street food stalls, house restaurants and is a popular take away dish. It seems that they serve the curry sauce over boiled chicken and steamed rice, opposed to simmering the chicken in the sauce. Since I am not a food stall, I made it Bon Appetit style.

Ingredients for the Kalaya Curry Paste

⅓ cup trimmed and thinly sliced lemongrass (from 2 large stalks)

⅓ cup thinly sliced shallot (from 1 large [1 1/2-ounce] shallot)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper (about 1 1/2 ounces)

¼ cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh turmeric root (from 1/3 cup whole turmeric)

2 tablespoons paprika

1 ½ tablespoons black pepper

1 ½ tablespoons ground white pepper

1 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced fresh galangal

½ tablespoon ground turmeric

8 garlic cloves

5 makrut lime leaves

3 to 4 fresh red Thai chiles

¾ cup water, divided

Directions:

Combine the lemongrass, shallot, crushed red pepper, sliced turmeric, paprika, black pepper, white pepper, galangal, ground turmeric, garlic, lime leaves, and Thai chiles in a food processor, and process until vegetables and herbs are very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water; process until mixture looks creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Scrape down sides of processor bowl, and stir mixture. With processor running, pour remaining 1/4 cup water through food chute, processing until mixture is smooth but slightly gritty and paste-like, about 2 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste in a small bowl.

Store remaining paste in an airtight container in freezer.

Ingredients for Chicken Curry

2 tablespoons palm sugar

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

1 (13 1/2-ounce) can coconut cream, divided

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs), cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

¼ cup fish sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

3 makrut lime leaves, plus more for garnish

2 fresh green long hot peppers sliced (I used jalapeños) (about 1 cup)

Directions

Heat a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven over medium-low. Add palm sugar, shrimp paste, reserved 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste, and half of the coconut cream (about 3/4 cup), and cook, stirring often, until curry sauce is fragrant and bubbly and palm sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken pieces and coconut milk. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers at least 165°F, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and salt. Stir in remaining half of coconut cream (about 3/4 cup). Remove pan from heat. Stir in basil and makrut lime leaves.

Garnish curry with jalapenos, basil and lime leaves.

Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Snickerdoodle’s are not my favorite cookie, not even in my top five. So when I made this recipe, I did not think I would want them for breakfast, however paired with cream cheese frosting, they are suitable for any time of the day. With Christmas a short few days away, these are perfect to have out for little and big hands to grab.

I made these a few times, once from scratch and then I used a sugar cookie mix as a short cut and it’s just as good. Since time is minimal these next few days, get the mix and make it easy on yourself. But you do have to make the cream cheese frosting, that is a must.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of sugar cookie mix

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the cookie dough according to the package directions. Using a 1/2-inch cookie scoop or spoon, scoop cookie dough and roll into balls. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar and then place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool completely.

While the cookies bake and cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

In a stand mixer or a bowl with a handheld mixer; beat cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add salt and then gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, spread frosting on the bottom half of the cookies, top with remaining cookies and press gently together so the frosting spreads to the edges.

Store in an airtight container. They are good out of the fridge too!

Cravings Broccoli Salad with Cashew Dressing

She had me at cashew dressing.

This recipe is out of Chrissy Teigen’s 3rd cookbook, Cravings All Together and it’s a solid five stars. Instead of the traditional mayo dressing with bacon, which is obviously delicious, we make a dressing out of cashews to dress the broccoli. And the dressing is the star of the dish, it’s so good. It’s sort of like a satay peanut sauce but not… actually now that I think about it, I am going to make this dressing to dip chicken in.

It’s a little sweet, a tad spicy, crunchy, nutty and creamy an easy and delicious salad that almost hits all of the five flavor elements.

Plus it’s dairy and gluten free if that’s your thing.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

2 medium heads of broccoli, trimmed and separated into florets (about 6 cups)

Kosher salt

1 cup chopped salted roasted cashews

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeño pepper (preferably red, with seeds)

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/4 cup thinly sliced

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS

Place 1 1/4 cups of water in a 5 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli, cover with a tight fitting lid, and steam until broccoli turns bright green but is still tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and then spread the broccoli in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. (Don’t place in an ice bath, that will create soggy broccoli) Season the broccoli with the salt.

While the broccoli is cooling, make the dressing. Combine 2/3 cup of the cashews with the 1/3 cup vinegar, sugar, jalapeńo, soy sauce and fish sauce in a blender until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; add water by the dressing if it’s too thick.

Arrange the broccoli on a large plate or platter, then scatter the onions and cranberries on top. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the dressing over the broccoli, then scatter the remaining 1/3 cup cashews over the salad. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Finally…A Farro Recipe {Farro Salad}

Why have we been neglecting farro for so long? I have been using it a lot recently because we can’t get enough of it’s chewy texture and nutty flavor. This dish here though, is the best reason to cook some up.
I promise, you won’t be mad at it.

Farro Salad with Apple, Parmesan, Arugula & Fried Shallots

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup whole-grain farro

2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 bay leaf

1 Large shallot, very thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. honey

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cup lightly packed arugula

1 apple, chopped

1/2 cup shaved fresh Parmesan

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine farro, vegetable broth, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is tender and no broth remains, about 30 minutes. When farro is cooked, transfer to a large glass bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, make the fried shallots: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and shallots. When the shallots begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt. Let oil cool.

Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine the cooled olive oil with vinegar, mustard, and honey and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad: combine cooked farro, crispy shallots, arugula, apple, parmesan, basil, and pecans. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.

*Recipe adapted from Delish 

The One and Only Crab Cake Recipe

Ironically, two days after I post about the only crab cake recipe one needs, I see this on Instagram.

So…. I figured it was a sign from the chef’s to post this. Honestly it’s so easy and delicious, you won’t look back.

*Recipe from Chef Andrew Zimmern

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over

20 saltine crackers, finely crushed

1/4 cup canola oil

Lemon wedges, for serving 

Homemade remoulade/tarter sauce or your favorite store bought brand.Walmart Logo

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

  • These can be made ahead, formed or not, for up to a day.

Cowboy Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is truly addicting. When I read the ingredients for the dressing, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. Creamy, tangy, sweet and as spicy as you’d like depending on if you’re feeding adults or children…or adult children.

The girls and I made this again at home. I went a bit heavier on the heat by also adding some cayenne pepper. I thought about adding some bacon, but honestly it’s good as vegetarian side dish.

We had it for dinner, it’s just as good as the first time.

The next day, I tore some arugula and added it to the pasta salad. I suggest trying this too!

Cowboy Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 lb. bowtie pasta

Olive Oil

1/2 cup mayo

1/4 cup your favorite bbq sauce

1 tbs spicy brown mustard

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1-2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

2 ears of fresh corn

2 cups cherry tomatoes

8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

8 scallions, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Arugula, if you want.

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta per box instructions, drain in colander.

Put cooked pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with evoo, so the pasta doesn’t stick together, set aside.

Husk the corn and cut kernels off the cobs. Add corn to pasta.

Halve the tomatoes, add to pasta.

To make the sauce, whisk the mayo, bbq sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a medium bowl until combined. Add the sauce to the pasta, tomatoes and corn, toss to combine.

Finely chop the green onions, add to pasta. Top with the grated cheddar cheese.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Cooking with Kids

A few months before our trip to Greece I landed a gig to teach a summer cooking class to kids. The days, times and location worked out brilliantly with our schedules. I was given all of the recipes for the cooking session, then I went shopping for the ingredients on the Sunday before class or that Monday morning. There is a Pavilion’s right near the school, that was so handy! The company dropped off bins full of the cooking utensils and tools I should need beforehand, so all I had to do was unpack the groceries and prep for the class.The plan was to teach two separate sessions, three weeks each. The first session was a cooking class the second was a baking class.

My cooking group consisted of 3 boys and 3 girls, ages 6-11 and they were awesome!

Each day we made two dishes/recipes. I would get to the site early and prep all of the ingredients (mis en place), the cooking equipment we would be using, and presented it on a table for easy accessibility. I wrote on each recipe card who was going to do what. Little Billy (names have been changed) will cut onions, Rose will grate cheese and so on and so forth. That way I knew that everyone was participating throughout the entire class. After a quick demo of what we were going to make and asking them about some of the ingredients, we dove in. I didn’t do any of the cooking, they did it all. I guided them, I handled the hot oven, any boiling water and the washing of knives, but other than that, they did it all. And man, they kicked ass!

The first week we made.

Gumbo, flapjacks, carrot casserole, porridge bites, egg casserole, spinach mac n cheese, Spaghetti with meatballs, and omelettes.

They were pretty good eaters. I will say that by the second week, one girl was begging to stop using onions, HAHAHA! I feel like every recipe called for onions.

When we were done with both dishes of the day, we sat down and ate together. I would bring in juice mix and they would take turns making a pitcher of lemonade or fruit punch, yes, of course it was sugar free, not my first rodeo lunatics. Then, if we had any free time before the class ended, we would play heads up or trivia or maybe just draw Whatever they wanted to do as long as it wasn’t swinging from the rafters or playing chase, boys, I am looking at you.

The second week we made;

Mash and gravy, meatball stroganoff, brussels sprout and parmesan salad, hot dogs with a veggie chili, Naan personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese and a fruit salad.

This pasta recipe, you guys, was soooooo good. I know it doesn’t look great and honestly when I read the recipe I wasn’t sold. But it’s good, guilty pleasure BBQ side dish good.

I will share the recipe.

The final week we made said pasta salad, pizza pockets, veggie sushi rolls and eggs with pico de gallo.

It was a great first round of cooking.

Pan Seared Salmon with Arugula and Avocado

Simple ingredients come together super quick in this recipe. The flavors of the peppery arugula, the buttery salmon and the acidic dressing, play very well together. Definitely a weeknight dinner to put on repeat.

I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar in lieu of Parmesan, just because I wanted to. The addition of mustard to a vinaigrette acts as an emulsifier, and keeps the oil and vinegar together with a creamy consistency. Don’t forget to season your vinaigrette before dressing your greens.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Salmon filets, preferably wild

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups baby arugula

1 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving

1 tsp Dijon mustard

crumbled parmesan cheese (or any sharp cheese that you prefer)

1/2 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tomato, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

 Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium, medium low depending on your stove. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.

While the first side of the salmon cooks, whisk lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the mustard in small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip salmon and cook on second side for another minute or two, or to your desired doneness. I like my salmon close to medium rare/medium at 125 to 130 degrees.

Plate the arugula and top with avocado and tomatoes, dress with the vinaigrette. Crumble on your chosen cheese, place salmon on bed of salad and serve with lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

*Double recipe for 4 servings

Brown Buttered Scampi with Parmesan Cauliflower Puree

Does the original scampi recipe call for wine? I want to say no, and that we (cooks) added that later on in life, but I have no idea. I didn’t use wine in this recipe, just butter, garlic and some lemon. This dish comes together quickly and with only a handful of ingredients, most of it being fat, dairy and garlic, you’re welcome.

While I steamed my chopped cauliflower, I let the shrimp hang out in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red paper flakes, a teaspoon of lemon zest, salt and a tad of honey. I also started my browned butter. All I did for that was place the butter and garlic in a small fry pan over medium heat. After a few minutes, the butter starts to foam. Then it will begin to turn brown and begin to smell nutty, just keep an eye on it to not burn the garlic, take it off of the heat when you like what you see.

Once the cauliflower is fork tender, drain and toss into your food processor. Add some salt, to taste, about 1/4 cup of cream or half n half, two tablespoons of melted butter and about 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and puree. Taste and taste and taste again, I find that cauliflower, like potatoes always need more salt than we think. You can let that hang out in the processor until you are ready to serve, so it stays warm.

Meanwhile, heat a large-ish skillet over medium high heat and add a little olive oil. Toss in your shrimp and let cook for about 1 minute and when they start to get a little brown, flip and cook the other side for another 20-30 seconds or until cooked through.

Spread your cauliflower puree on a plate, top with shrimp and drizzle with that heavenly browned garlic butter. I garnished with micro parsley.

Dinner is served in under 30 minutes but now you have to find someone else to do the dishes because quick doesn’t always mean easy.

Lemon Talk

Our lemon tree is in full produce mode. I’ve always wanted a lemon tree for those moments when you randomly need a lemon but don’t have one. You know, maybe you decided to make a piccata dish or you wanted to make pesto. All you need is one lemon and clearly you don’t want to go to the store for one damn lemon, right? I used to visualize the neighborhood and picture which homes had lemon trees and then I may have helped myself to a lemon or two in a time of need (the tree would be in the front yard, I wasn’t hopping any fences you guys). Now that I have said lemon tree, I never have to buy lemons, but I’ve realized that I don’t use them very often.

The lemon tree was staring back at me probably wondering why I was neglecting it, I felt bad.

There is only so much you can do with an abundance of lemons. Lemonade, lemon bars, lemon cakes, lemon meringue pie, the list goes on. We still had cream cheese frosting in the fridge from Kaili’s birthday cake and I had puff pastry in the freezer, I didn’t see the harm in making lemon curd and then turn those three things into a lemon cream cheese danish.

This is the recipe I used to make the lemon curd.

INGREDIENTS

4 large egg yolks 

2/3 cup  granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2–3 lemons)

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons  butter, softened

 If you have a double boiler then pull that out. If not, like me, simply place a small heatproof glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water you will cook the curd in the top pot/bowl. Place on high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce to low heat to keep the water at a simmer.

Place egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt into the top pot of your double boiler. Using a whisk, whisk until completely blended, then continue to whisk as the curd cooks. Constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling. Whisk and cook until the mixture becomes thick, resembling the texture of hollandaise sauce, about 10 minutes. If curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.

Remove pan from heat. Cut the butter into 6 separate pieces, then whisk into the curd. The butter will melt from the heat of the curd. Pour curd into a jar or bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top so it is touching the top of the curd. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Once cool, the plastic wrap can be removed.

This can stay in the fridge for about 10 days.