Shrimp Stir-Fry with Cookin’ Greens and Spicy Sauce

Over the summer, I received coupons to try any products from the Cookin’ Greens line of frozen vegetables. I frequently forgot the coupons at home on shopping days. And I never quite felt like making a special trip to the store when the coupons stared at me from their spot on the fridge. Eventually, they expired. Unused. I was a bit disappointed that I never found the time to use the coupons.

Despite letting the coupons expire, I still wanted to give the product a try. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I picked up the Athlete’s Mix (collards, kale, spinach, red pepper, and white beans). I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make at the time, But the mix looked very appealing!

The other night, I had some shrimp that needed to be used up. I suggested a pasta, but Bryan didn’t sound very enthusiastic about it, so we decided that I should make a stir-fry instead. This was the perfect opportunity to try the Cookin’ Greens, because we wanted a quick dinner without much fuss. No chopping required. It’s really a toss what you’ve got into the frying pan sort of dinner.

The stir-fry? Delicious (and healthy too)! I was very glad that I’d made enough for leftovers. This will definitely make a reappearance on my dinner table sometime soon! It would probably also go very well with chicken or tofu pieces.

Shrimp Stir-Fry with Spicy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, beaten – approximate cost $0.70
  • 2 1/2 cups sticky rice, cooked – approximate cost $0.75
  • 16 pieces of shrimp – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix – approximate cost $2.20
  • 1/4 onion, chopped – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Cook sticky rice according to directions.
  2. Preheat a frying pan and 1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed oil.
  3. Add the onion and shrimp (I used uncooked shrimp with the shell on, a bit more finicky to eat, peeled shrimp will also work well).
  4. Preheat a second frying pan and 1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed oil.
  5. Add the beaten eggs to the hot frying pan.
  6. When egg begins to set, carefully flip it.
  7. Break egg into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Remove egg from frying pan.
  9. Add the ketchup, cane sugar, dark soy sauce and chili garlic sauce to the shrimp.
  10. Mix well to coat.
  11. Add the Cookin’ Greens.
  12. Mix well and cook until heated through.
  13. Divide rice into four portions.
  14. Add equal portions of shrimp and greens.
  15. Decorate with egg.
  16. Drizzle with sesame oil.
  17. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.13 per serving).

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Shrimp and Fiddlehead Pasta

It’s just about the end of the season to purchase fiddleheads. They have such a short season, I’ve only seen them available in stores and markets in the spring. Particularly, the month of May. After that, they disappear for another year. I tried fiddlehead ferns (or, frequesntly referred to simply as fiddleheads) for the first time last spring. Not because I was cautious of trying them, but mostly because I didn’t know how to cook and enjoy them. I gave them a try anyway, and sautéed them with garlic and butter. They were delicious!

They look like this:

That’s the first batch of fiddleheads, sautéed with garlic and butter, that I made this season. Before I had read more about preparing and serving them. They tasted wonderful despite not trimming the brown spots.

This spring, I decided to browse recipe blogs for more exciting ideas for serving fiddleheads and more information on preparing them.

To prepare fiddleheads:

  1. Soak fiddleheads in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt.
  2. Remove from  bowl using a slotted spoon.
  3. Empty bowl and rinse out dirt.
  4. Repeat at least once more.
  5. Trim the brown spots from the cleaned fiddleheads.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  7. Blanch fiddleheads for 2-4 minutes.
  8. Remove from boiling water and place in an ice bath.

My favourite was the Fiddlehead Pasta from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. The original recipe is vegan, so I made quite a few adjustments to suit our meal preferences.

This isn’t the most cost-effective dish I’ve made. In fact, it’s a bit more on the expensive side of what I would usually cook… but it’s delicious and perfect to serve if you happen to have an occasion to celebrate and want to cook at home instead of eating out. (I think my excuse was making it through my first conference.)

Shrimp and Fiddlehead Pasta

Adapted from Fiddlehead Pasta (Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, shells removed (otherwise it takes a long time to eat!) – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 pound fiddleheads, rinsed and brown spots trimmed – approximate cost $5.00
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 lemon, sliced into four wedges – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 package of whole grain spaghettini (or your facourite type of pasta) – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Prepare the fiddleheads (clean, trim, blanche, and move to ice bath).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add salt and pasta.
  4. Cook according to directions on package.
  5. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  6. Add olive oil and minced garlic, cook for about 1 minute.
  7. Add shrimp and fiddleheads and cook until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through (about 5 minutes).
  8. Add chili pepper flakes and lemon juice.
  9. Serve fiddleheads and shrimp over pasta and with a lemon wedge on the side.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $5.18 per serving).

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).

Goog Kratiem (garlic shrimp) from Relish Cooking Studio

Last week I attended a cooking class at Relish Cooking Studio. I had purchased the class as a deal from Living Social a few months earlier and eagerly anticipated the class. The class was definitely worth the wait! I learned a lot about cooking Thai food including how to:

  • Recognize and choose ingredients
  • Remove the seeds from a hot pepper
  • Juice a lime
  • Adjust the spiciness of a dish

In fact, the class helped to ease me into the idea that I too could prepare Thai food at home. I don’t have to eat out to enjoy Thai food. The class instructor, Akeela Rabley, has generously allowed me to share all of her recipes here on this blog. Thank you Akeela and Relish Cooking Studio!

The next few recipe posts will highlight foods I learned how to make in this class. (Please forgive the pictures, I forgot my camera at home and had to rely on my cellphone camera).

Goog Kratiem (garlic shrimp)

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

I could eat this as a meal as opposed to an appetizer. I’m sure it would be delicious served over a bed of rice or noodles.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced (stems and leaves) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar) – approximate cost $0.25

Shrimp

  • 1 pound of shrimp (shelled and de-veined) – approximate cost $10.00
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the garlic, cilantro, white pepper, salt, fish sauce, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and set aside for 10-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat a frying pan (with vegetable oil) over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and sautee until cooked through (the shrimp will turn pink).
  5. Remove shrimp to a serving plate and garnish with tomato and cucumber pieces.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.43 per serving).

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