Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spicy Cod & Asparagus Salad

I’ve been craving for spicy food lately. Yes! I do realize that it is summer and it’s burning hot, but I have come to the conclusion that eating spicy food in the hot weather can melt some calories that I’ve been collecting since the last few months in the winter as an alternative way to exercise because I would be sweating a lot from eating spicy food.  
Okay… ok…that is just my excuse since you might have already noticed that I am addicted to chilies!   So, this time I took out a package of rock cod fillet (kindly donated to me from my brother-in-law who loves fishing so much) from the freezer to unthawed and thinking of making spicy fish salad with the gorgeous asparagus I got the day before from the local supermarket. 

As you can see the picture of my salad dressing with those thinly sliced Thai chilies floating on top, I just wanted to warn you to reduce the chilies in half from my recipe because this salad was really really HOT! But if you like the heat, like me, go for it! And I promise that you will be crying and smiling at the same time! I did! ^___^

What you need: 

6 oz Rock Cod fish fillet, cut into thin slices
2 cups Asparagus, cut into 1-in long
1/4 cup carrot shredded
1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp fresh squeeze lime juice
1/2 tsp fresh ginger finely grated
3-4 medium Thai red chilis
 2 cloves garlic finely grated

How to:

- Bring water to a boil and add a pinch of salt
- Blanch asparagus in hot boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until they turn bright green and immediately using a slot spoon to take them out (you will need the same boiling water to cook the fish) to shock them in the ice water bowl (you should have it ready first) to stop the cooking process, drain and set them aside
- Cook the fish in the same pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Do not overcook the fish! Take the fish out after it’s cooked and put it in the large mixing bowl with the blanched asparagus, shredded carrot, red onion sliced, and set aside
- whisk together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, lime juice, grated ginger, garlic, chili to incorporate all the flavors and until all the sugar is dissolved - pour the dressing over the prepared salad bowl, mix well and let it sit for another 5 minutes to blend all flavors together


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meyer Lemon Honey Frozen Yogurt

Tried and True.

I was trying to make Meyer Lemon posset with my own twist! As a result, it turned out to be something surprisingly good, really, especially when having this icy creamy sweet lemon flavor in the hot weather like this. I needed to confirm that this is not really Meyer Lemon posset as that original recipe in L.A. Times I found the other day when browsing the Internet because I did not use heavy cream as the recipe called for. Instead I used nonfat plain yogurt and 2% milk, and honey was added for a hint of natural sweetness. 

To be honest, I was really nervous with the result because the Lemon-milk-yogurt mixture was not set properly in the refrigerator. So, I put them in the freezer and kept checking on them for every 15 minutes. The mixture started to set after 30 minutes…huh…it worked! So, I stirred and freeze for another 45 minutes until it set in the middle. But to tell you the truth, the yogurt mixtures had become ice and I could not poke the spoon into it…..sigh…. So, I let them sit on the kitchen counter (and stared at them to speed up the melting process, just kidding!) for 15 minutes and I started to dig into it again…

Voila! I was surprised with the texture it came out. It was icy and creamy at the same time. And the taste…nothing could go wrong with the taste of sweet creamy dessert made from Meyer Lemon in the hot summer. Agree?  

What you need:

1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup fresh squeeze Meyer Lemon juice
A few raspberries for garnish - optional

How To:

- Combine milk, sugar, and honey over low heat, turn off the heat as soon as the sugar is dissolved
- Add yogurt to the milk mixture and stir to mix well­­­­­­­
- Pour the yogurt mixture among dessert glasses and freeze them for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes in the freezer, stir the yogurt mixture with a fork or spoon to incorporate them and freeze another 45 minutes or until they are set
- Let them sit in the room temperature for about 10=15 minutes before serving; garnish with a few raspberries with a little dusting of powdered sugar if desired



Friday, July 20, 2012

Yum-Woon-Sen Goong /Thai Spicy Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp

In Thailand, we call any kinds of salad “yum.” And the word says it all…yummmm! (^o^)

This spicy salad is a perfect dish for the hot summer and it can be made with other kinds of meats or seafood whatever you prefer and even the leftover rotisserie chicken or tofu or anything that’s tasty and healthy! In the past years living in L.A, I’ve made yum-woon-sen quite often whenever I feel a little homesick and it helps me feel much better after having it.

This spicy glass noodle salad has reminded me of my younger years when I was in my 20s and still living in Thailand. We (girls) referred to this “yum” dish as a “trying to stay in shape” food! We would eat this “yum” for a week whenever we felt like there were 5 lbs of weights attached to our bodies and it was hardly to move around. I guessed it worked because by the end of the week after had been eating this spicy “yum,” we totally felt a lot better and lighter – I guessed we perspired a lot from the spiciness of “yum,” plus the hot humid weather of Thailand helped speedy up the process! Hmmm…that makes sense…what do you think?

Anyway, why wait? Let’s make some yummy-licious!

What you need:

1 2-oz vermicelli or glass noodle
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1 large tomato chopped
1-2 cups cooked shrimp
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp fresh squeeze lime juice
2 tbsp sugar
1-2 tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce or dried chili flakes
1 big clove garlic
A handful of cilantro leaves + for garnish
1 small Thai chili and lettuce – optional
How to:

- in a medium bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, chili garlic sauce and chopped cilantro leaves until the sugar is dissolved, set it aside to blend flavors. The dressing should be the balance combination of salty, sweet, tart, and spicy, however, you can adjust it to your own preferred taste

- Soak the noodles in water to soften it for about 5 minutes, and drain

- Bring 2-3 cups of water to boil, add the soften noodles into the hot boiling water(turn off the heat) and let it stand for about 10-12 seconds and drain immediately, no rinse! The noodle will become sticky but it’s okay, then using a fork to hold them up and cut the long noodle to shorten them for a few times so they can be working on easier when combine them with the dressing. But long noodle can be fun, too!

- In a large bowl, add noodles, chopped celery, tomato, red onion, shredded carrot, and cooked shrimp - Pour the dressing over and mix well. Let the “yum” stand to mingle the flavors for about 3 minutes before serving on chopped lettuce/cup with a sprinkle of toasted peanuts and/or more Thai chili sliced if you like!



Monday, July 16, 2012

Gazpacho with Mango Avocado n Toasted Walnuts

There are some gorgeous tomatoes and cucumbers ready to be picked in my small garden and what could be more perfect than making a cold gazpacho soup for the hot weather in L.A., since I have been looking forward to make my own gazpacho every summer. I think gazpacho is such a brilliant idea for using such simple ingredients we can grow ourselves in our own backyard and turning them into the most wonderful dish that everyone is addicted to, I know I am! 

I know of those who love making gazpacho in summer have added a little of something into it and make it more enjoyable for their own personal liking. But gazpacho is still gazpacho no matter how many times the original recipe has changed, the gorgeous characteristics of great cool taste, and the freshness of those raw ingredients are still the same which probably make gazpacho the healthiest dish ever! Isn’t that awesome? Since I already have some of ripe mango and avocado sitting on the counter ready to be used, I decided to cut them up in small cubes and added into my version of gazpacho with the addition of the crunchy toasted walnuts to make it more wonderful than it already is. And for the records, you can absolutely add anything you like – you decide.

What you need:

2 medium cucumber roughly chopped (seeded, no peel)
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1 medium green jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups Clamato tomato cocktail
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce or Tabasco hot sauce
1 tbsp fresh squeeze lime juice
1 large Avocado, cubed
1 medium mango, cubed
Some toasted walnuts, roughly chopped for garnish 

How I did it:

- Add chopped cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, red onion into the food processor for a little more chunky soup or the blender for smooth version (I used the blender) and add half a cup of tomato cocktail juice so it easier to process. Keep pulsing until it turns into your preferred texture.

- Add the rest of clamato juice, salt, ground black pepper, chili garlic sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice, stir to blend well

- Chill the gazpacho for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better - Serve chilled gazpacho soup with mango and avocado cubes and top with toasted walnut and garnish with basil leaf, if desired



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Salmon-Edamame Coconut Chowder

L.A is burning up right now but as strange as I am, I crave for a bowl of some good chowder! So, I have decided to make Salmon Chowder for supper.
Instead of heavy cream, I used coconut milk and coconut oil for the more exotic summer flavor and YES, they are healthier than cream and butter.   Also, I’ve added some Edamame for no other reason but just for the love of Edamame beans.  And exactly what I was hoping for, the chowder turned out great with the light summer tastes of the coconut milk.   It's so light, tasty, and healthylicious! 

What you need:

1 12-oz Salmon fillet, skin and bone removed and cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup potatoes cut into small cubes (any kind of your favorite potatoes)
1/2 cup carrot, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup shelled frozen Edamame beans, thawed 
1/4 cup celery chopped
1/4 cup white onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Tabasco hot sauce
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

How to: 
- Over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in coconut oil until soften, whisk in salt and flour and gradually add chicken broth
- Add carrot, celery, and potatoes and reduce heat to simmer uncovered for about 8-10 minutes until the entire vegetable are tender
- Season with sugar, cumin, black pepper, and add Edamame and salmon and let it cook for another 5 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through
- Stir in coconut milk and turn off the heat immediately, then stir in red wine vinegar, Tabasco hot sauce and chopped parsley


Monday, July 9, 2012

The Tropical Paradise Smoothie

July is supposed to be summer already but the weather in L.A. is killing me!    For the last few weeks, the May grey and the June gloom is stretching out through July caused by those marine layer, and is stealing my warm summer.   However, the real summer has finally arrived, and I couldn’t be happier like iguana getting sunbathe! 
So, today I am making a cold non-alcoholic drink with its ability that can transport me to the tropical beach paradise somewhere in the world and imagine myself sitting on the white sand beach and let the warm wind touching my skin all day long.......  ~_~

You can think of this smoothie as a Pina Colada without alcohol (well, you can add alcohol if you think you need it more than I do!) and don’t be afraid of those coconut chunks.  They are there to make the drink more enjoyable while drinking it.   And if these combinations of the ripe mango, fresh pineapple, lime juice, and coconut won’t make you think of the tropical weather, I don’t know what will!   So, would you excuse me, my drink is getting warm!      

What you need:  for 2
1 ripe mango peeled and cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple cut into small pieces
250 ml pineapple juice
1 1/2 cup crushed ice
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
Some mango cubed and toasted coconut flakes for garnish – optional

- Blend the entire ingredients together until smooth and frothy
- serve immediately with the sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes and small dice of pineapple coated with the toasted coconut flakes, thin slice of lime and mint leaf for garnish


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thai Pineapple Fried-Rice with Shrimp

I made Thai Pineapple Fried Rice on July 4th along with my Chili Cilantro Lime Kabobs and I just had a chance to post it today.
Pineapple fried-rice is basically made with the same basic ingredients of making regular fried-rice if you have ever made fried-rice before, EXCEPT, there are some few ingredients have been added to the dish which makes it distinguish from the regular fried-rice – pineapple (obviously and preferably fresh), curry powder, red bell pepper, and shallots.

I've learned that many people love this dish more than the regular fried-rice because of the sweetness from the pineapple and the tasty and distinctive flavor from the curry powder that made this dish so famous and fun to eat.  Be careful though when making this Thai pineapple fried-rice, because you might get addicted to it since it's very tasty-licious!

What you need:

2 cups leftover cooked rice (white or brown)
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite size
1 cup shrimp, cooked
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 red onion or shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 eggs
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp sugar
1/3 cup toasted cashews, salted or unsalted
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
Cilantro leaves for garnish

How to:

- Heat up the oil in the sauté pan over medium-high heat
- Add garlic, red onion, and red bell pepper, stir-fry until fragrant about 2 minutes
- Crack the eggs directly into the pan, break them up and cook for a minute
- Add cooked rice, curry powder, soy sauce, sugar, pineapple, and cooked shrimp and stir-fry to incorporate all the flavors and then add toasted cashews and stir another 30 seconds, turn off the heat - sprinkle with sliced green onion and cilantro and serve immediately


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chili Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kabobs

In the past few days, the sound of the explosion from the fireworks was everywhere. And today is July 4th, and the explosion even bigger and louder making the cars alarms go off every single time of the blast. It makes me think to myself, “Burn baby burn, money is wicked. Let’s celebrate our freedom by burning that evil, the money we rarely have" ….sigh…. I am such a whiner! O_0

Anyhow, the weather in Los Angeles today is kind of weirdo. It’s cloudy and gloomy in the morning and a little bit chill...for me anyway. But the sun has finally arrived hours later. So, why not do some grilling? A hubby got some gorgeous shrimp the other day from the grocery store (have I ever mentioned that he loves grocery shopping?) along with some beautiful red and yellow bell peppers with the idea of shrimp kabobs. So, today is going to be the day for me to execute it.

There are so many recipes for marinating shrimp for grilling and I think all of them are great!   As for my marinating recipe below, I guarantee the juicy, tasty, a little hint of spicy and the sweetness from these shrimp kabobs.  The longer you let them marinate, the better the flavor.  The important fact of shrimp kabobs is not to overcook the shrimp; otherwise they will turn out to be too dry and rubbery which you really don’t want that to happen. So, when grilling the shrimp, as soon as they turn pink they are done!

What you need:
1 lb shrimp (16/20 ct.)
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili flakes
1 fresh lime juice and zest
2 cloves garlic finely mined
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Red onion, red and yellow bell pepper cut into 1-in square pieces
Bamboo skewers 


How to:

- whisk together canola oil, soy sauce, dried chili flake, lime juice and zest, garlic, and chopped cilantro to blend well, add shrimp and marinated in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes
- Onto the skewers, thread shrimp, red onion, red and yellow bell pepper whatever you like
- Grill the shrimp kabobs over medium-high about 5 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turns pink. Do not overcook


Monday, July 2, 2012

Thai Spicy Manila Clams in Roasted Chili Paste and Thai Basil

When I was on my way home from work the other day, I decided to stop at the Asian grocery store in China town to get something for dinner, and there I saw the gorgeous Manila clams plied up in the big tank calling my name, I could have sworn! So, I brought home 2 lbs of Manila clams for dinner to make my favorite dish, Stir-fried clams with roasted chili paste or as the Thais called it “Hoy lai pad num prik pao,” another popular Thai dish that I haven't had for a while.

Though, In Thailand, the clams using for this dish are much smaller in size and lighter in weight, I found that these big and meaty Manila clams have satisfied my hunger for this dish as much as the one I used to have in Thailand. Hoi lai pad num prik pao is very easy to make as long as you can find the two main “must-have” ingredients Num Prik Pao or roasted chili paste and Thai basil and then you are set!

 if I have to name a Thai dish that I missed the most, this would be it!

What you need:
2 lbs Manila clams
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1tsp sugar
3-4 Thai chili slightly mashed  or thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp roasted chili paste
1/2 cup Thai Basil leaves
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/4 water
2 tbsp vegetable oil

How to:

- Add the oil into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add garlic and fry to light golden brown
- Add the clams and stir for a few times, add roasted chili paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, water, and stir to incorporate all the flavor
 - Stir and let the clams cook for another 5 minutes (if using a lid to cover the sauté pan, it will cook faster) or until notice that all the clams are opened up
- Turn off the heat and add the Thai basil leave, stir to blend all together once more
- Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice


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