Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tomato and Corn Salsa

I think I'm just obsessed with growing tomato.

Every summer, the hubby and I love to plant tomato.   Instead of just growing 1 or 2 tomato plants, we choose to grow 4, 5, or 6 tomatoes plants even though we know for sure that we would have too many tomatoes more than we really need – for only 2 people! I think we just love to watch them grow and produce beautiful tomatoes for us to enjoy all summer long.   The point is that when they get ripen, they get ripen at the same time.  
Even we are trying to eat them every single day, they are still plenty of them left to be eaten.

Let’s make oh-so-simple summer salsa one more time today for my grilled chicken salad. Shall we?

What you need:

5 medium tomatoes, cubed
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cubed
1/2 white onion, finely cubed
2 medium green jalapeno, seeded and finely cubed
1 ear/1 cup grilled/cooked white or yellow corn, kernels removed
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. hot sauce – I used Tapatio
Salt and black pepper to taste

: Combine everything in a large bowl and gently stir to mix well.
: Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes for a better flavor. 
: Serve with favorite chips or grilled meat as you wish


Orange-Honey Ice Green Tea

Summer is definitely here to stay…and what I hear is people are complaining about how hot it is. H-E-L-L-O! It’s summer! After check out the daily forecast, the weather in L.A. today can reach up to 96’F, but that’s not the case while somewhere else, such as in the valley areas, can reach up to 120’F!   OMG!!!!    I think I should be saying “how lucky I am.” Right? 

Let’s make some ice tea to cool down a little bit then. And trust me, we will want a big pitcher of this ice tea after a long hot day outing or just trying to stay cool at home.


All you need:

8 cups hot water
5-6 sachets green tea (of your choice, but I use matcha green tea)
1 orange – juiced, grated, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup honey (more or less adjust to your preference)

- Seeping the green tea sachets into the hot water along with orange peels, and let it cool
- Stir in honey and orange juice, and add orange slices
- Chill until it ready to serve over ice cubes


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soy-Braised Pork Spare Ribs with Shiitake Mushroom

 Who says a good comfort stew can only be eaten in the winter? Obviously, not me!

Today’s menu is the dish that I grew up eating it all year round in Thailand. The soy-braised pork spare ribs is the well-known dish in most of Southeast Asia countries that everyone loves it. It usually serve over steamed jasmine rice along with chili-vinegar based sauce (for adult only) and hard-boiled eggs that are often added into the stew. It the most comfort, hits-the spot, food that every parent would feed their kids almost every day. It can be made in different variations from thick sauce served over steamed rice to thinner sauce, or soup-like broth, severed as noodle soup. It can be made with pork, beef, chicken, or duck with the additional of hard-boiled eggs and tofu.  

I make this dish quite often here in L.A. regardless of the weather – hot or cold. The best part is that the hubby has fallen in love with this soup as well, especially when the weather gets really cold and I make this stew with chicken legs and hard-boiled egg in thin broth and serve with egg noodle. He would say, “The best soup at all time!” or “I can eat this every day!” Don’t you just love that reactions!?
This time is a thick sauce that would be served over steamed rice. No hard-boiled eggs added, but I added shiitake mushroom instead because I cooked stir-fry vegetable at the side. The trick of this stew is that the longer you let it simmer over the low heat, the tender the meat. Mine is literally falling off the bones and the meat is literally melted in my mouth! The fried garlic is just an optional and you don’t ever need it because you already added them at the beginning. But I just crazy for garlic…what can I say!!!

 What you need:

2 lbs. small pork spare ribs, cut and cleaned
2 oz. dried shiitake mushroom or use fresh mushroom
1 tbsp. Chinese five-spiced powder
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
8 cups water (can be added more if needed)
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. white ground pepper
2 star anise
3 pieces clove
1 cinnamon stick, 3-in long
1/2 cup cilantro leaves – reserve some of stems to add into the soup
1 tbsp. fried or toasted garlic – optional

How to:

- put the pork ribs in a large bowl and add five-spiced powder, toss them together and set aside.
- soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm/hot water for 10 minutes to revive and soften, set aside. If using fresh shiitake, do not need this step.
- set a large pan or wok on medium-high heat and add the oil into the pan.
- when the oil is hot, add the pork ribs to brown them 5 minutes on each side, then add garlic and onion and cook another 5 minutes. When finish, transfer them to a large pot
- add water into the pan, add shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cilantro stems.
- turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for at least 1 hour.  You may need to scoop out the dirty foams that floating up to the top at this point.
- when the pork ribs are cooked and tender, turn off the heat and add white ground pepper
- garnish with cilantro leaves and fried garlic when serving with steamed jasmine or brown rice, along with Asian chili garlic sauce if desired.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Khao Soi Goong / Northern-Thai Shrimp Curry Noodle

My life has been so hectically crazy lately, though it’s still wonderful!

It has been for several weeks that I’ve not posted anything. That’s because I was so busy at school. But now I’m off for summer! Woot Woot!!!

A few Weeks ago I was watching Giada De Laurentiis traveling around Thailand and savoring Thai food started from the south to the north in the episode, Giada in Paradise; Thailand on the Food Network channel. I was drooling like crazy in front of the TV. And the worst thing, I felt suddenly homesick, especially when I saw Thai people walking around the night market sampling all the goodies from the street vendors. If you are one of the people who love street food, then you’d know that street food is the bomb! And when Giada went to Chiang Mai in the northern part of Thailand and learned to make Khao Soi with the hotel chef, I thought to myself, “I want to eat that!”

Khao Soi is specifically known as Chiang Mai curry noodle. It’s famous for its tasty curry broth made with coconut milk, red curry paste and curry powder. The curry broth is lighter than the other Thai curry dishes, but the taste is mouthwatering with chopped shallots, chopped pickled green mustard, fresh squeeze lime juice, and the extra chili oil for more spicy goodness. And the must-have crispy fried noodle for the garnish makes the dish even more fun to eat. Egg noodles are normally used for this dish, but some people prefer rice noodle instead. It doesn’t matter what kind of noodle you choose, egg noodles or rice noodles, they still taste great. Sliced chicken meat or chicken drumsticks are usually used for the curry but pork or beef or tofu can also be used as well. Whatever you like basically.

Today, I made it with shrimp. It was not my first choice but the hubby wanted shrimp curry instead of chicken. I think he’s just getting tired of eating too much chicken lately! The original Khao Soi is very easy to make and you can adjust the taste however you like it – more or less of spiciness, more sweet or salty, more curry powder...why not! Khao Soi doesn’t have any vegetable in it. But I’ve added some red bell pepper in my Khao Soi for color and some bean sprouts for texture…and for the excuse that I didn’t have pickled green mustard this time…..bummer!!!!

And one thing I want to remind you, do not forget lime wedges when serving. The fresh squeeze lime juice and also chili oil make the dish even more super extra delicious!

What you need:   for 2-4 servings 
1 lb. Shrimp, cleaned and deveined (or chicken/beef/tofu)
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp. Red curry paste
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. palm sugar or white sugar
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1-2 cups bean sprouts - optional
1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced – optional
Lime wedges
Chili oil or dried chili flakes
6 oz. Egg noodles
1/4 cup vegetable oil to fry noodles
Water for cooking noodles


How to:

- heat the oil in the pan over medium-high heat
- as soon as the oil is hot, add 1 oz. of egg noodles into the hot oil and fry both sides for 30 seconds – fry the noodles in two batches – set them aside. Discard the oil.
- cook the rest of egg noodles in the boiling water for about 7 minutes or until the noodles are cooked, drain and set aside

- set a pan, wok or pot over medium heat

- add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk into a pan and follow by red curry paste, stir to cook until it’s fragrant

 - add the shrimp, curry powder and stir to mix well

- add the rest of coconut milk, vegetable broth, sugar, fish sauce, and sliced red bell pepper, stir to mix well and let the shrimp continue to cook for about 12 minutes

- in each serving, serve each bowl with the shrimp curry soup over cooked egg noodles top with chopped shallots, bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, a handful of crispy fried noodles, and lime wedge, plus chili oil or dried chili flakes – the toppings can be added as much or as little as you desired


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