Category Archives: Asian

Thai Beef Salad

A flavorful salad that’s done in about 20 minutes max? Sold to the Thai Beef Salad from Cooking Light! In a section all about shortcuts and fast recipes this one stood out to me. One, I heart fish sauce. Lambs, I know that’s a crazy thing to swoon over but I love the salty bite and unique flavor it lends to dishes. Maybe I should produce an “I Heart Fish Sauce” t-shirt? Anyone with me?

Thai Beef Salad (Photo by John Autry)

Two, the flavor combinations looked to die for with cilantro, cabbage, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, orange zest, serrano chile and mandarin oranges. Three, it’s a simple, hardly no-cook recipe that worked around our current kitchen status. We simply broiled the steaks in our Wolf microwave/convection oven to medium rare and made the rest of the salad while it cooked. The one thing that really stood out to me was the dressing. After making it in the food processor I gave it a taste and then did a little jig in our kitchen. Emily jig = really, really good.

Give this one a try for a super fast, delicious and healthy salad, and don’t skimp on the fish sauce.

Thai Me Over

As a part of the ongoing no-cook meal week I chose Cooking Light’s Thai Beef Rolls and Chef Jamie Oliver’s Thai Mango Salad for a little Tuesday Thai night.

The Thai Beef Rolls were extremely simple to put together and the sauce is what made this dish. First of all, I love fish sauce. Similar to the saltiness that anchovies provide, fish sauce lends a perfect bite and balance to the sugar, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Plus we heart roast beef so this was a winner for sure.

On to the Thai Mango Salad. Um, this rocked. We didn’t make the prawns since we had the roast beef in the rolls but I can see how they would be an awesome addition. This salad was so fresh, colorful and delicious I made enough for leftovers the next day, but once I started picking the unripe mango out of the rest of the bowl we heaped the rest onto our plates and nom, nom, nomed. Plus you can’t feel too guilty about eating an extra helping of bell peppers, mango and cucumbers can you? I didn’t have fresh coriander (or cilantro, thank you Nicole!) but used ground instead and it worked perfectly.

This meal was fast, full of fresh Thai-inspired flavors and that salad is going to be a go-to staple from now. Thanks Chef Oliver, you are such a poodle!

Thai Curried Noodles with Pork and Basil

Last week I got home and was totally mouthbreathing. After a long, hectic day I had the foggiest on what to cook; I was at a loss lambs! Thankfully, Food & Wine has their handy, dandy color-coded system that breaks recipes down into categories including Fast, Staff Favorite and If You Are Totally Mouthbreathing. Yeah that last one not so much but you know I would go to those recipes stat if they were labeled that way!

David scanned the magazine and voila! found the Thai Curried Noodles with Pork and Basil recipe. Not only did it sound delicious but it was labeled as Fast – meaning 45 minutes or less – and a Staff Favorite. It was also convenient because I had many of the ingredients on hand…see you never know when you might just need Thai red curry paste.

This was incredibly easy to assemble and what I enjoyed while putting it together was the layering of flavors as you went. The lemon grass, ginger and sugar mixture when thrown in the skillet perfumed the house!

WE LOVED THIS. I see why this was a staff favorite for sure. It was easy breezy, had fantastic, well-rounded flavor and was quite unique for a weeknight meal. For an added bonus, you have leftovers for days and trust me it’s one of those dishes that just gets better as it sits and does its thing. I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go!

Thai Curried Noodles with Pork and Basil
Food & Wine
August 2010

Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks (I bought these already done at the store)
2 large lemongrass stalks, tender inner bulbs only, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3/4 ground pork
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
10 ounces, fresh thin egg noodles, preferably Chinese
1/2 up chopped basil, preferably Thai
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a plate. Reserve the carrot cooking water.

2. In a mini food processor, puree the lemongrass with the ginger and sugar.

3. In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until golden brown. Add the lemongrass mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork and cook, breaking up the meat, until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to moderate. Stir in red curry paste, Sriracha and lime juice and turn off heat.

4. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente; drain well. Add the noddles, carrots and carrot cooking water to the skillet and toss over moderate heat until the noodles are thoroughly coated. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and serve.*

*Tester’s note: We added more Sriracha at the end as it gave it a bolder, spicier flavor.

The Search for Padan Leaves and Other Tales

Let’s go back a few weeks to a lovely night David and I spent at Susan Feniger’s new-ish restaurant Street. When I lived in Los Angeles I loved visiting Susan and her partner Mary Sue Miliken’s fantastic restaurants Ciudad and Border Grill. Knowing the fantastic food Susan can put out, plus I think she is such a gentle lamb, I was stoked to eat at Street.

As you may recall, Susan left Top Chef Masters because the judges disliked that she made a “sandwich” at such a crucial point in the game. After eating her exact Kaya Toast creation from the show at Street all I have to say is the judges were waaaaaaaaaaay wrong. We ate a lot that night but this was my favorite. So much so, we kept talking about how awesome it was and we bet we could make it too. A little searching later and voila here was the recipe! The only difference in this recipe than the restaurant version is that Feniger served it with a fried egg instead of soft-boiled.Yesterday I had the day off and was determined to make this for us to try. The only hitch? Padan leaves. What are those you ask? I turn to the Thai Food section on to let you do a little light reading. I searched for specialty Asian markets here in Austin and the first one I called said they had them…YAY! I drove to MT Supermarket and walked straight down to aisle five and there they were, frozen Pandan leaves. After dethawing, as I opened the package I let out a big “Oh! That’s it!” What was it? This dear readers was the smell i.e. the flavor that made Susan’s jam just so delicious.

I followed the instructions listed in the recipe and though it’s tedious, dude it is like a custard, it came together pretty quickly. We let the jam sit overnight and then for lunch assembled the dish. People, I SNORTED this, not kidding. It was almost as good as the restaurant and the butter on the jam on the toasted bread was absolutely fantastic. I also served with some fresh arugula, low-sodium soy sauce (hey you’ve got to cut back somewhere right?) and a fried egg. David was quite impressed as well – for the win! I’m quite concerned because I have a vat of the jam in my fridge and it’s calling my name as I type this. Maybe just one more to make sure it’s really that delicious? Please give this a try if you (a) can find Pandan leaves (b) want to commit yourself to devouring a vat of coconut jam for the next week. Here is our completed dish!

Twice-Glazed Asian Barbecued Chicken

I’m still on the Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2010 train and last night didn’t disappoint. I’m trying to eat a little healthier these days so when I came across this Twice-Glazed Asian Barbecue recipe from Chef Mike Sheerin of Chicago’s very own Blackbird (I will go there someday as my cat is my witness!), I thought it looked like a perfect, simple and healthy weeknight meal.

The barbecue sauce is quite different with its Asian spices of oyster and soy sauces but you know what, it still came out spicy and barbecue-ish all the same. I went rogue on y’all last night however. I couldn’t find skin-on boneless chicken breasts so instead chose bone-in, skin-on. Also, a mother of a storm rolled through Austin last night so instead

of the suggested grilling, I salt and peppered the three chicken breasts on a pan and roasted at 400 degree for 20 minutes. I then glazed the first side of the chicken with the sauce and cooked for five minutes. I then flipped the chickens over and glazed the other side and cooked for five more minutes. I repeated two more times until I was out of sauce and then let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. These were huge honking chicken breasts so if you plan to follow my method just make sure you check the chicken until the juices run clear and let it rest accordingly.

David and I had The Lex over last night for dinner and the three of us loved this! The chicken was very moist and the sauce was excellent. I could see this sauce working even on an Asian-inspired turkey burger…yeah I’m so going to try that. We also made the suggested accompanying salad of a Cucumber-Cherry Salad but instead I made with cherry tomatoes and it was still delicious. The Lex also made some bombtastic bok choy that was wok-seared with garlic, red pepper, soy sauce, sriracha and sweet chili sauce. Perfect little plate of food if I do say so myself.Up next poodles I made a coconut jam with padan leaves…intrigued? So was I. More to come. :)

Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro from Food & Wine

Continuing on with the Battle of the Cover Recipes, I’ve tried the insanely delicious short rib/grilled cheese goodness that graced the cover of Bon Appetit and now it’s on to the Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro recipe on the cover of the new Food & Wine.mThis was a really fast and simple recipe to make plus I’m a sucker for shrimp. I have to say though that Alex liked this WAY better than I did. I felt it was OK but nothing to write home about. The flavors were fine and I did enjoy the crispy shallots and garlic on top.  One thing to note, I’m not the biggest fan of cooking Asian-inspired cuisines at home (I’m weird, I know) so maybe that’s why I’m so blah to the blah about it. Alex loves cooking Asian-food and is a big fan in general so if you are anything like her then I would definitely give this one a shot and not listen to me one bit!  The Grilled Cheese is still winning in my book and we are testing Cooking Light’s new cover recipe tonight and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, how fun huh? Stay tuned lambs!

My Super Slow-Roasted Sunday

Austin’s weather today was soupy, cold and gray or the perfect weather to slow-roast the heck out of my entire dinner! Cooking Light did a whole slow-roasting recipe smorgasbord and you can just tell the test kitchen staff had fun with these recipes. It makes me wonder if they slow-roasted a lot of things and if so what didn’t make it to the magazine pages? I have to say whatever fun they were having translated into some amazingly delicious recipes. Let’s go through this slowly shall we lambs?

Now it has been written on Cooking Inside the Lines before that I hate salmon. Not dislike or despise, hate, so what compelled me to try this Slow-Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon recipe? Well, it is in an instant favorite amongst Cooking Light staff, which I always trust, and the flavors of dill and brown sugar made me think it would cover up the salmony flavor that I’m not a fan of. Also, it mentioned that slow-roasting the fish gives it a velvety texture which is definitely what I need if I’m going to try salmon. The result? We have a winner! Now I’m not going to join the salmon cha-cha line but I might be intrigued to shake my hips with this recipe. The brown sugar and dill lended a beautiful flavor to the salmon and they were right, the texture was velvety and made it so much more enjoyable.

To accompany the salmon, I also made the Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes which, as they mention, brings out the natural sweetness of the plum tomatoes. As I was eating these on top of fresh watercress I thought these would be amazing on top of a pizza or food processed and used for a tomato sauce on top of pasta with Parmesan. I ate them on top of salad and they were delicious, delicious, delicous.

Finally, for dessert, I made the Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits. Through roasting, the grapes still retained their burst-y (yes that’s a word) texture and it does sweeten them overall. With this recipe they had me at Greek yogurt and honey which is one of my favorite combinations. With the crunchy, toasted walnuts in the layers of parfait you’ve got a perfect, crunchy, creamy, sweet, good-for-you dessert.

On a cooking note if you should desire to recreate this entire meal, I started curing the salmon this morning and then cooked the grapes and tomatoes at the same time and then simply removed when they were complete. Once the salmon was ready I cooked per the time instructed and placed the tomatoes and grapes in around 20 minutes or so at the end with the salmon to warm them up.
As a final side note (sorry for the long post but hey at least it’s about food and not calculus right?), I made a delicious Thai Coconut Lime-Soup with Chicken from Bon Appetit. Now I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves (who does?) or sake (gosh, but I should have that on standby always – tee hee hee) but I made this soup anyway to enjoy for lunch today and tomorrow and it was still awesome. I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go. Enjoy!
Thai Coconut-Lime Soup with Chicken
Bon Appetit, December 2009
8 First-Course Servings
2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 red Thai chilis or 2 red jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced into rings, seeded (I used jalapenos)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup sake
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used the low-fat version)
8 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut crosswise into thin strips (y’all I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Chopped green onions
Discard all but bottom 4 inches of lemongrass stalks. Peel off tough outer layers. Mince lemongrass. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until onion beings to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chilis and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add broth and sake; simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, lime juice and sugar; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer just until cooked through about 4 minutes.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro sprigs.

1 Grocery Bag, 5 Weekday Meals

Intrigued? I know I was when I saw this on the cover of the new Everyday Food. Having to be on a pretty strict food budget I jumped at the chance to give this a try. They even give you a handy, dandy shopping list right where this section starts in the magazine and I simply just took it with me and crossed items off as I went.
This is going to be different than my other posts since I usually only cover what I like, but since the focus is here is on a short weekly shopping list, I’m going to post my reviews of all the recipes (regardless of how they taste) to really see how this nets out.
The recipe recommendation is as follows – Monday, Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions; Tuesday, Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula; Wednesday, Tomato-Pepper Soup with Ham and Arugula Wraps; Thursday, Grilled Pork Chops with Cucumber-Dill Salad; Friday; Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken and Cilantro (sorry, can’t find some of these on the Web site and I will post here later).
I tweaked this schedule to work within my week and started with the Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken and Cilantro. On the recipe page they mention the sauce is Vietnamese-style and features fresh ginger, garlic and jalapeno combined with brown sugar and rice vinegar in a saucepan. I have to say the sauce really made this dish, but it was also a great combination of the cool, crisp cucumber, savory chicken and cilantro and noodles. I really liked this dish and how quick it was to get on the table.
Up next, ham and arugula wraps with tomato-pepper soup. Hope it’s good!

Sauteed Scallops with Watercress and Ginger

I was on a watercress kick last week with the world’s best pizza and all, but I also made this Sauteed Scallops with Watercress and Ginger from Everyday Food which was really good.

This recipe was so super simple for a weeknight meal and had it on the table in about 25 minutes. I did add a dash of red pepper flakes at the end for a little bit of heat. I still can’t find this recipe online so here you go.

Serves 4

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of peeled minced fresh ginger

3 bunches of watercress (about 5 ounces each), thick ends trimmed

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 pound large sea scallops (about 12)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and cook until garlic is lightly golden. 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 of the watercress and cook until wilted. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining watercress. Stir in lemon juice and sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper. Wipe skillet clean.

Pat scallops dry with a paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high. Add scallops and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. turn and cook until opaque throughout, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve scallops with watercress.

Luck O’The Stir-Fry

So I got home late on St. Patrick’s Day, no not because I was out drinking green beer, I was just working late. So you can imagine my glee when I got home and realized I had serendipitously chosen the Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry with Peanuts recipe that mentioned it would be on my table in minutes. “Yeaaaaah right” I thought. Well, they were right it turns out and I was happy to be wrong for once (I believe I hear everyone I’ve ever known laughing out loud). This dish came flying out of the kitchen and it tasted great.

I substituted snow peas for snap peas because, well, I just like them better and added some diced red bell pepper for good measure. The recipe calls for jalapenos or serrano chile. I chose the serrano because I like spice but this was definitely heat manageable for anyone I would think. The basil and peanuts added a nice depth of flavor and I was really surprised at how great this tasted with so few ingredients. The simpler the better, I love it!

What a lucky St. Patty’s Day for me eh?