Asian-Inspired Bean Sprout Salad with Citrus and Soy Dressing

Whew! I’ve made it through yet another exam season. Grad school is a bit different, we tend to have large research papers to hand in. I’m relieved to be done course work for a few weeks. And am working on a few other projects before the spring term begins. One is a research project I’ve been working on for a little over a year. It’s nice to see it coming together! The other is an event for game enthusiasts: Make a Game or DIY Trying. We’ve invited local speakers who work in the game industry to talk about their careers and will host a design competition in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to taking a few days off next week to relax before the next set of classes start.

With everything coming to an end for the term, Bryan and I took the evening of April 23rd off to celebrate our 9 year anniversary! 9 wonderful years. It sounds like a long time. It hasn’t felt all that long.

Us at Bryan's convocation -- there are very few pictures of us because I'm usually the one holding the camera

Us at Bryan’s convocation — there are very few pictures of us because I’m usually the one holding the camera

Anyway, we were both quite busy during the day, but were able to spend the entire evening together, starting with dinner at our favourite restaurant, Taka! It’s on the opposite side of the next town (near where I grew up), but is always worth the trip! The family that manages the restaurant is very generous, they always greet us with enthusiasm, give us appetizers on the house, which usually means we go home with leftovers. Yesterday was no different. Warm welcome, fantastic and friendly service, delicious food, and enough leftovers for a quick lunch today. We then headed home for a quiet evening. We’ve been watching Game of Thrones (I got the DVDs for my birthday a while back) and watched the final episode of season 2. We can’t wait for season 3 to finish and come out on DVD!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a salad that I’ve been making a lot recently that we’re both very fond of. The idea for the salad is based off of a recommendation from a friend. It’s very easy to make and surprisingly filling!

Asian-Inspired Bean Sprout Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bean sprouts – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 cup watercress – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamamae beans – approximate cost $1.50

Method

  1. Cook edamamae beans according to package.
  2. Soak hot edamamae beans in an ice water bath.
  3. Rinse the bean sprouts and watercress.
  4. Pat dry.
  5. Combine bean sprouts, watercress, and edamame beans in a large salad bowl.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Top with Citrus and Soy Salad Dressing.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Citrus and Soy Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) – approximate cost $0.15
  • 3 teaspoons Kikkoman soy sauce – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing glass. 5.75
  2. Mix well.
  3. Pour over salad (before the oil and citrus separate).

Makes 2 meal-sized servings (approximate cost: $2.88 per serving) or 4 appetizer-sized servings (approximate cost: $1.44 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Advertisements

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon with Caribbean Salsa

Normally, I don’t follow dinner recipes very closely. Usually, once I decide what it is I want to eat, I find out what I have in the fridge and pantry then make something work. Sometimes, I’ll make a quick trip to the grocery store if I’m missing something essential, but usually not.

When I picked up the salmon, I didn’t really have a plan in mind for it. I was feeling uninspired when I got home. I didn’t feel like making our usual lemon, butter and dill salmon. I didn’t have sliced almonds to make dad’s recipe. So, I started searching the Internet for a few ideas. That’s when I came across the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes from FoodNetwork.ca. This was just what I was looking for! Something different than the usual, yet interesting, and better yet, quick to prepare. Even more unusual, I liked everything about the recipes and didn’t feel compelled to change it drastically.

This salmon and salsa was an exception to our normal dinners. I bought the salmon, found the recipe, made a shopping list, made another trip to the grocery store, and followed the recipe (for the most part, I left out the salt and pepper in the crusted salmon and left the skin on the salmon). I bought fresh cilantro (when I would normally use dried) and fresh pineapple (instead of canned) as the recipes suggest. The place where I “cheated” was with the limes. I bought lime juice instead of squeezing limes.

Was this meal worth the extra money for fresh ingredients? Definitely! Would I make it again? For sure! However, Bryan and I both agreed to use half of a red onion instead of the whole onion next time.

Our only complaint? You need lots and lots of salsa to go with the fish. The fish is nothing to write home about on its own. But when paired with the salsa it is amazing!

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon with Caribbean Salsa

Both the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes are from FoodNetwork.ca (with slight modifications)

Ingredients

Salmon

  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut – approximate cost $1.00
  • 5 salmon fillets, skin on – approximate cost $15.00

Salsa

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed – approximate cost $2.50 (purchased at a reduced price, the pineapple was very ripe)
  • 1 red onion, diced – approximate cost $1.10
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, minced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/4 cup olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup lime juice – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used sriracha) – approximate cost $0.05

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $4.58 per serving).

Note: Both the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes are from FoodNetwork.ca (with slight modifications). I have listed the ingredients here to show the affordability of the meal. Please visit FoodNetwork.ca for the full recipes.

Monday Link Parties

Photobucket

mop it up mondays


Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

The weather has been so gorgeous here lately, that I’ve been taking the opportunity to walk more often rather than driving or taking the bus. I decided to take a detour through the park on my way from school to UpTown the other day, expecting to make a short stop by the petting zoo and continue on my way. Somehow, I’d forgotten that there would be baby ducks and geese everywhere, and stopped to take a few photos of the fuzzy ducklings and goslings. So cute!

I think the ducks thought I would feed them, which worked out well for a close-up photo!

The geese, as you could imagine, weren’t as welcoming. The adult goose was hissing at me while I snapped this photo. They are very protective of their goslings. I managed to get this photo and get away safely. The babies are just so adorable, I had to stop! Seeing all the animals return after winter, and the cute little ones is one of my favourite things about spring!


While I was out taking pictures, dinner was marinating in the fridge at home. I’m quite excited to share this recipe with you. It looks like a giant mess of a stir-fry, but it was really tasty. Bryan thought so too, but he rarely complains about anything I serve him, he’s such a good sport when I try out new recipes!

Normally, I avoid cooking liver. It’s cheap, yes, but it’s not always my favourite. It tends to have a weird texture and a strong flavour. It’s one of Bryan’s favourites, so I make try to buy it every month or two and eat it for one meal, leaving Bryan to finish off any leftovers. However… this adapted stir-fry recipe is a hit. I enjoyed it and didn’t really notice the things I normally dislike about liver. I will be making this again. In fact, I will probably make this often. On top of being delicious, it was very affordable!

How do you usually prepare liver? Any tips for having it turn out delicious every time? Please link to recipes if you can!

Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

Recipe adapted from Simple Chicken Liver And Gizzard and How to make the green seasoning paste that’s so unique to Caribbean cuisine, both recipes from Caribbean Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken livers – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken hearts – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken gizzards – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.45
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups of uncooked Basmati rice – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Cut the chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken hearts and gizzards (set the liver pieces aside for now), lime juice, salt, pepper, tomato pieces, garlic, jalapeño pepper pieces, thyme, cilantro.
  3. Mix well and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (or longer).
  4. Cook Basmati rice according to directions.
  5. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the chicken and marinade to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, the chicken pieces should brown a bit.
  8. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to cook for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally and adding water if liquid begins to boil away).
  10. Turn heat up to medium.
  11. Add liver pieces.
  12. Remove lid from pot and cook for 5-10 minutes (until the liver is cooked through, watch it closely at this point, because liver cooks quickly).
  13. Serve over Basmati rice and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $2.13 per serving).

Homemade Ginger Ale

A few week’s ago at a classmate’s birthday party, I was served homemade ginger ale. Normally I would turn down ginger ale. It reminds me of days that I was sick and had to stay home from school. (I loved going to school every day, keeping busy, staying home in bed was boring!) But when I was told the ginger ale was homemade, I had to give it a try! It was delicious! What made it different from canned ginger ale? It was much less sweet, there was much more ginger flavour, and there was less carbonation. I asked my classmate to send me the link to the recipe so I could try it our myself. Not only did I get the link, but also some suggestions for preparing it. Thank you!

This is my first attempt at making homemade ginger ale and it won’t be my last. It was very good, but there’s room for improvement. For starters, don’t skimp on the ginger. If you get through peeling the ginger and find you’re half a cup short of the desired amount in the recipe, don’t move forward anyway. Make a quick trip to the grocery store for more ginger, you’ll be glad you  did!

Homemade Ginger Ale

Adapted from the recipe at Simply So Good with suggestions from my classmate

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh ginger, peeled and chopped – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 liter Club Soda – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 limes, juiced – approximate cost $1.50
Optional:
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Method

  • Prepare the ginger syrup
    • Bring the water to a simmer in a medium-sized pot.
    • Add the cane sugar and stir until dissolved.
    • Add the ginger and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat.
    • Cover the pot with a lid and let stand for 1 hour.
    • Refrigerate until cooled (keeps for a few days if you aren’t making the ginger ale right away).
  • Put it together in a large juice pitcher!
    • Combine the ginger syrup, Club Soda, and lime juice.
    • Stir well.
    • Add ice cubes.
    • Stir again.
    • Serve (with optional mint leaves for garnish).
  • Or, serve it by the glass.
    • Combine 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup ginger syrup, and3/4 cup Club Soda.
    • Stir well.
    • Add ice cubes.
    • Stir again.
    • Serve (with optional mint leaves for garnish).

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.38 per serving).

Guacamole

On Saturday, we decided to have a Mexican food themed dinner. It being Cinco de Mayo gave us an excuse to enjoy some of my favourite foods. On the menu was some yummy homemade guacamole, followed by spicy chicken enchiladas. But, by the time I got home at 8pm (a very late dinner time for me!), I didn’t have the enthusiasm necessary to cook the entire meal. So I started by making the guacamole, deciding that if we were still hungry afterwards then I would attempt to make the enchiladas.

The guacamole was quite filling. I’ll be making the enchiladas later this week. It was a very casual dinner/large snack. We shared the guacamole and a bag of tortilla chips while sitting on the couch watching Heroes.

I tried guacamole for the first time at Gabriel’s restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. In fact, I think this was also the first time I’d tried avocados! I remember the experience so clearly! It was my first visit to New Mexico (to meet Bryan’s family). The restaurant is famous for having fantastic guacamole made right at your table. The ingredients arrive on a cart and you choose what you want in your guacamole. The avocados are sliced and the limes are squeezed in front of you. All of the ingredients are fresh.

The first time I tried making it at home on my own, the avocados were not ripe and I was impatient. I wanted to share this recipe with my family, and decided I couldn’t wait for the avocados to ripen. Big mistake! I couldn’t cut through them (in fact, when I tried to anyway, I ended up cutting through the pit in the center of the avocado). I put the chunks I was able to peel away from the skin into a blender and they were roughly chopped, but not creamy nor tasty. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that waiting until the avocados are ripe is a very important step. Sometimes they are already ripe (or even over ripe) when you find them at the store. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it is firm, but squishes slightly when you press on the skin. If the avocados aren’t ripe, that is, they are as hard as a softball when pressed, be patient! Let them sit on the counter (not in the fridge) for a few days to allow the avocados to ripen. You’ll be glad you waited!

What Mexican foods did you enjoy this weekend? What is your favourite Mexican or Tex Mex food?

Guacamole

(adapted from a recipe on a magnet purchased at a museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe Hass avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
    • Or 2 tablespoons of concentrated lime juice – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.15
    • Or 1 tsp dried cilantro if fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • Sea salt (to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon) – approximate cost $0.05

Optional ingredients (not pictured)

  • Lemon juice (if lime juice is not available) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 roma tomato or other variety (if grape tomatoes not available) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper – approximate cost $0.12

Method

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients you would like to add to your guacamole (except avocados, lime, and salt) and set aside in a bowl.  Preparing these ingredients first keeps the avocado from turning brown before serving the guacamole.
    1. Slice tomato into small pieces
    2. Mince garlic
    3. Mince cilantro
    4. De-seed and mince jalapeño pepper (See a tip on easily de-seeding hot peppers in an earlier post)
    5. Dice red onion
  2. Slice and scoop the “meat” from the avocados into a large bowl.
  3. Mash the avocados with the tines of a fork.
  4. Pour lime juice over the avocado and mix (this helps keep the avocado from browning).
  5. Add your choice of optional ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, etc.)
  6. Mix until the ingredients are coated in avocado.
  7. Salt to taste and mix well.
  8. Serve and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Makes 2 servings as a meal (approximate cost: $2.95 per serving) or 5 servings as an appetizer (approximate cost: $1.18 per serving).

We also tried the wine I brought home from Virginia. We passed the Peaks of Otter Winery (however, I picked up this wine at the market in Roanoke) on our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was slightly sweet with a hint of apple flavour. I enjoyed it. Bryan did not.

Guacamole Sauce Over Spaghetti Noodles

A few weeks back I bought everything to prepare guacamole for dinner… or so I thought! Turns out I forgot one of the most important ingredients: the tortilla chips. At that point, I was hungry and didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store. I have this bad habit of spending too much on items I didn’t necessarily mean to buy if I go to the store while hungry.

Instead, I started browsing through recipes I’d bookmarked to see if there was something else I could make to use up the three perfectly ripe avocados that were on the counter. That’s when I came across the recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta from Two Peas and their Pod. The original recipe calls for everything that I already had on hand to make the guacamole, and I decided to make a few adjustments: I added some tomatoes for colour (also, because I had them and they looked like a delicious addition), and a few slices of bacon (really, what doesn’t go well with bacon? I also wanted to add some meat to make the dish more appealing to Bryan).

Initially, I had a few hesitations about this one. Could pasta and guacamole really go together? Was I about to use the avocados that I had been looking forward to for a few days while they ripened on my counter in a dish I wouldn’t enjoy? Was I about to ruin the original recipe by making a few changes to include ingredients I had on hand?

How did it turn out? Delicious!

Would we make it again? Definitely!

What would I do differently? For one, I’d make a smaller portion. Half of what the recipe calls for. This was way too much food for two people. And because the avocado turns brown quite quickly, it doesn’t keep for more than a day.

If you do try this and want to save a portion for later, cover the leftovers with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap firmly against the pasta/sauce so that there is very little air in contact with the avocado. Then, cover it was foil so the avocado is kept in a dark place. Then, put it in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours.

What is your favourite way to enjoy avocados?

Guacamole sauce over spaghetti noodles

Adapted from and inspired by Creamy Avocado Pasta by Two Peas and their Pod

Ingredients

  • 4 servings of spaghetti – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 ripe avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 8 slices of bacon – approximate cost $2.50

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I like to bake it in the oven to avoid grease splatters) and, if desired, crumble the bacon when completely cooked.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package (prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking).
  3. Prepare the avocados by removing the pit and scooping out the delicious green “meat” into the food processor (alternately, you can use a blender).
  4. Add the lime juice, garlic, cilantro and sea salt to the food processor.
  5. Process (or blend) until smooth.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine one serving of pasta and sauce, tossing until the pasta is well coated.
  7. Place in a serving bowl and top with tomato slices and bacon.
  8. Repeat for the remaining servings.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes  4 servings  (approximate cost: $2.40 per serving).

Coconut Lime Sorbet from Relish Cooking Studio

I’m back! I took a few much needed weeks away from blogging to focus on end-of-term papers and such. Feels wonderful to wrap up the last of my courses, well, until September that is.

But enough about school, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to return to the topic of food! You may remember that I’ve been blogging recently about the Thai Culinary Adventure class I attended at Relish Cooking Studio.

This is my last post from this class. However, I attended a second class and have many more fantastic recipes to come!

Today, I’m excited to share their dessert recipe! I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure it’s not the last time I will mention this, but I’m not a huge fan of sweets. Which means I will usually pass by a dessert, or enjoy the obligatory small serving. I’m excited about sharing today’s recipe because it’s one that I enjoyed, it’s sweet, but not too sweet. Also, it’s simple to prepare (albeit a bit time consuming) and I can actually picture myself making this at home.

What is your favourite dessert to prepare at home?

coconut lime sorbet

Coconut Lime Sorbet

Recipe by the lovely ladies at Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 500 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) superfine sugar – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 cups coconut water – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 cups coconut cream – approximate cost $2.00

coconut lime sorbet

Method

  1. Preheat a sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Combine sugar and coconut water in the saucepan and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add lime juice and lime zest, then simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the coconut cream and remove from heat.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
  6. Pour the mixture into a shallow stainless steel container (alternately, you can use an ice cream maker and skip the next set of steps).
  7. Freeze until the mixture is frozen at the edges.Remove from freezer and beat with an electric mixer.
  8. Return the mixture to the freezer.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 (2-3 times) until the mixture has a sorbet/ice cream-like consistency.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings  (approximate cost: $1.44 per serving).

coconut lime sorbet

Pad Thai from Relish Cooking Studio

When you think of Thai food, Pad Thai is probably the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, when I mentioned that I had attended a Thai cooking class many of the responses were “Did you learn how to make Pad Thai?!” Yes, I did learn.

Will I be making it at home? I’m not sure. Maybe if I have a Thai-themed dinner at some point I will attempt this at home. I’m not very good at stir-frying in large quantities, so maybe I’ll make half the recipe the first time I try to make it myself.

A few things I took away from the course are that Thai food doesn’t take a long time to cook, but takes a very long time to prep. And the noodles can be a bit finicky (the water needs to be boiled first, tap water isn’t hot enough for soaking the noodles).

If you’re adventuresome enough to make Pad Thai at home, this recipe was delicious!

Pad Thai

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package of Thai rice stick noodles – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/3 cup boneless, skinless chicken pieces (or super firm tofu if you’d like to make this dish vegetarian-friendly), cut into strips – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 1/2 cups Chinese chives, chopped into 1 inch pieces (optional) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 1/3 cups bean sprouts, rinsed well (optional) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (optional) – approximate cost $5.00
  • 1 shallot, minced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or palm sugar) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper, dried and ground – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted peanut pieces (optional) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Remove from heat and add dried noodles to the water (noodles should be flexible and still fairly solid after soaking, if the noodles are over soaked, they will become soft and mushy).
  3. In a wok (or large pot), heat the vegetable oil on high heat.
  4. Add the shallot, garlic, and chicken (or tofu) and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
  5. Drain the noodles and add to the wok (stirring frequently so nothing sticks).
  6. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, and chili pepper and continue stirring. (Note: If there is a lot of liquid in the bottom of the wok, it’s not hot enough and turn the heat up!)
  7. In a separate frying pan, scramble the egg and remove from heat.
  8. Fold the scrambled egg into the noodles.
  9. Test the noodles (if the noodles are chewy, they’re done! If the noodles are crunchy, add a bit of water to cook them).
  10. Add the shrimp and stir.
  11. Add white pepper, bean sprouts, and chives and continue stirring for anther another minute or so (the noodles should be soft, dry, and very tangled).
  12. Pour generous amounts onto serving plates and garnish with peanuts and black pepper.
  13. Serve hot with a lime wedge and Thai basil on the side (Optional: have additional raw bean sprouts and Chinese chives available as garnish).

Makes about 4 servings  (approximate cost: $4.15 per serving).

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts and Chlies) from Relish Cooking Studio

After a short break last week, I’m back to talking about the Thai food class at Relish Cooking Studio!

I think this salad was among my favourite dishes that we enjoyed at the class. It was fresh, crisp, and very different from the typical salad. First, I hadn’t realized there was more than one variety of papaya. I expected the salad to be sweet and spicy. It was definitely not sweet. Actually, I didn’t find it overly spicy either. I really like the lime-based salad dressing. It would probably taste very good on a spinach salad!

When learning how to make this salad, we had a brief lesson on Thai chilies. I learned a lot.

First, we learned how to choose our chilies according to our desired spiciness. The long Thai chilies are mild, while the smaller chilies are spicier. The richness of the colour doesn’t relate to the spiciness. (Who knew?) I used to buy the smaller chilies so I wouldn’t have as many chili pieces in the dish. Turns out I was actually using the spicier chilies!

Second, we learned some safety tricks when chopping peppers. Akeela suggested wearing gloves to avoid any contact with the pepper. After an unfortunate encounter with a jalapeño pepper, I highly support this idea! While it may seem a bit over the top, you will understand if you’ve ever accidentally touched your eyes after handling a hot pepper. You may recall, I posted about ways to relieve burning caused by contact with hot peppers a few months back when I was just starting this blog.

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts and Chilies)

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 long red Thai chili pepper, seeded and chopped finely – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 ounce of unsalted roasted peanuts (whole or pieces, your choice) – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried shrimp (optional) – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons of palm sugar (or brown sugar) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/4 cup lime juice – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 1/2 ounces cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cups of green papaya, peeled and grated – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Combine the garlic and chilies in a food processor, and mix until they form a paste.
  2. Add the peanuts and mix until roughly chopped.
  3. Add the shrimp, sugar, lime, and fish sauce to the paste and mix well.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the tomato pieces and lightly squish.
  6. Add the papaya, shallots, basil, and cilantro to the mixing bowl, and toss well to coat the ingredients with the sauce.

Makes about 4 servings  (approximate cost: $2.18 per serving).

Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup) from Relish Cooking Studio

I was a bit surprised to find that, when I arrived at the class, I was the only attendee who came alone. I felt a bit out of place at first, but quickly made friends and immersed myself in the surrounding discussions. The set-up of the studio welcomes chatting. There are a few private tables, but the majority of the class sat around the demonstration area. I got a great spot where I could see everything being prepared and could avoid bumping elbows with others (being left-handed can be challenging at dinners).

There was even a super nice group who offered to share their wine with me. Thank you random group of super nice people who talked with me and shared their things!

I think this tom yum soup was my favourite dish of the evening. It’s something I can see myself making again at home. It was delicious. The ingredients are fairly easy to find. It was on the verge of being too spicy for me. Yet it was so good that I continued to eat. I think Bryan is going to like this soup just as much as the curried squash and coconut cream soup I made the other week.

Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup)

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of prawns (or shrimp), peeled and deveined, shells reserved to make the stock – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, bruised and finely sliced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 slices of galangal ginger – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red onion (or shallot), finely chopped – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1-3 small red chilies – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tablespoons of nam prik pao chili jam (enough to turn the soup base red) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves torn (stems discarded) – approximate cost $0.50
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 1/2 ounces button mushrooms, halved – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat a large pot with the vegetable oil in it over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the prawn/shrimp shells until they turn pink (3-5 minutes).
  3. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Note: If you do not have the shells, make the brother using 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups of water.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes to infuse the flavour from the shells into the broth.
  5. Remove the shells from the broth and discard.
  6. Add lemon grass, galangal ginger, onion/shallot, chilies, chili jam, and kaffir lime leaves to the stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Continue to boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Add the prawns/shrimp and cook until they turn pink (approximately 3-5 minutes)
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.
  11. Serve hot!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $4.43 per serving).

%d bloggers like this: