Thai Cucumber Salad

Great anyday salad, but perfect for a day of NO COOKING, like Saturday or Sunday! And you know we enjoy Thai food whenever we get to our favourite restaurant in nearby Baca. It is a quick and easy salad that even the kids could make if you supervise their cutting! Personally, I used my mandoline.

This salad tasted so good even with regular cucumbers (seeds and all) and I enjoyed it so much that I forgot to get a real picture before it was GONE!

I replaced the red chile pepper with a bit of finely diced red pepper but still used the red pepper flakes for a little heat.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 red Thai chile pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 large cucumber, spiralized or sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and red Thai chile pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.

2. In another small bowl, combine cucumber, shallots and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

3. Pour liquid mixture over cucumber mixture. Toss until cucumbers are coated well. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Another hot day in Yucatan and time for a cold dinner of salads. Previously I shared 10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad (May 31,2020) and also Chilled Asparagus Salad (last week). Here I am adding an easy Vietnamese Noodle Salad with garnishes of jicama, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and black olives. The “noodles” are actually rice vermicelli which is readily available in most grocery stores where pasta or Asian foods are displayed. It made a great looking salad bowl! (I took this photo before I added the tomatoes) LOL.

The “salads” can easily be made ahead and assembled as shown when lunch or dinner calls.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces thin Asian vermicelli noodles
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 2 cucumbers seeded and shredded
  • 4 green onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts OPTIONAL
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Lime

1. Soften the vermicelli noodles in a large bowl by covering with boiling water and soaking for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold water, drain, and add to a large bowl. Add the shredded carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts and chopped cilantro to the noodles.

2. In a glass jar fitted with a lid or a bowl, mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and crushed red pepper. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the noodles and toss to coat. Add more dressing if desired. Sprinkle with more cilantro and green onion and a squeeze of lime if desired. Salad can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, however if making ahead, add the cilantro just before serving.

Zoodle Pad Thai

After spiralizing my zucchini, I was ready to prepare the sauce and ready my garnishes. It is a fairly simple cooking process, for which I use my trusty wok. Use less zucchini for two people,but otherwise follow the instructions. A spoonful of real peanut butter isn’t a bad option to the sauce? I am addicted…

Zoodle Pad Thai

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchinis (about 10-ounces each), made into zoodles with spiralizer ( I used one larger one for two people)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 green onions, sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Sauce

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

Garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peanuts
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside until needed.

Heat a wok, or large skillet (preferably with high sides) over medium-heat. Add the oil and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add the 2 eggs to the pan and lightly scramble for about 30-40 seconds. Add half of the green onions, and peanuts to the skillet, toss for about 30 seconds.

Add the zoodles and the set aside sauce to the skillet. Use tongs to gently toss the zoodles into the sauce to evenly coat all of the zoodles.

Garnish with the remaining uncooked green onions, peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Coconut Rice Pudding

Due to my spouse requiring a modified diet for a few days, I decided to make him some rice pudding. Without too much work, this one filled the bill!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Serves/Makes: 4    |   Ready In: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15-ounce size) coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used Jasmine)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Combine the coconut milk and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook until it returns to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Pour into custard cups.

Serve warm or chilled.

Zucchini Chicken Stir Fry

Must say that this recipe turned out very well. The sauce was great. Be very carefulnot toovercook the zucchini or it will get mushy!

Zucchini Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless – skinless chicken breasts (or thighs or tenders), thinly sliced then cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce – divided
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar – divided
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar – divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic – about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium zucchini – yellow squash, or a mix
  • 1 large red or yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sesame seeds – optional for garnish
  • Chopped green onion – for garnish

1 In a large bowl, combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Set aside while you prep the remaining ingredients.

2 In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, the ginger, garlic, water, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

3 Trim off the ends of the zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise, then place the flat, cut sides on the counter. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch thick half moons. Thinly slice the onion.

4 In a wide skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and its marinating liquid. Sauté until the chicken is golden brown on the outsides and fully cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

5 Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion. Cook until tender and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

6 Give the sauce one more stir, then add it to the pan. Let cook 30 seconds, then add the sliced zucchini. Cook just until the zucchini begins to soften, about 3 minutes more.

7 Remove from the heat, then stir in the reserved chicken. Serve hot with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onion as desired.

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage (and Potatoes)

Mustard and pork chops + red cabbage = great dinner! Another Pinterest find which turned out really well. I omitted the starchy potatoes since I did not have any. Not sure it would have turned out any better?

Mustard

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage and Potatoes (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium potatoes, Yukon Gold, scrubbed clean
  • 1 small head of red cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, thick cut (about 1 pound each)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz. crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped dill, plus some for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
  • fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 230 C / 450°F. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skins on. Spread the potatoes in a single layer in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat well. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut the red cabbage into 2.5 cm / 1-inch slices, remove thick core and discard. Brush with 1 Tbsp. oil and add to the roasting potatoes. Reduce heat to 200 C / 400 F and roast for another 25 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl mix crème fraiche, dill, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and cook each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Place the pork chops on top of the potatoes and red cabbage and coat evenly with the mustardy crème fraiche.
  6. Transfer the baking pan back into the oven and roast until the pork chops are tender, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers at least 65 C / 145 F.
  7. Sprinkle with dill, salt and fresh ground black pepper before serving.

Korean Chicken Stir Fry and Zucchini Pancakes

Apologies for not posting sooner, but Internet was down here. Back in action with 2 great Korean recipes! First tried these pancakes at Korean Grill and Ice Cream and they were an awesome appetizer. To upgrade the pancakes to a dinner, I have prepared the Korean Chicken Stir Fry.

 

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Hobak Buchim (Zucchini Pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini about 8 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 2 green hot chili peppers thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup buchim garu (Korean savory pancake mix) or flour (see note)
  • 1 large egg (omit for a vegan version and add some water)
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch gochutgaru (red chili pepper flakes)
  • OPTIONAL baby shrimp and chopped green onions

Instructions

Cut the zucchini into matchsticks. Place them in a bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes until wilted and released some liquid. Squeeze the liquid out from the zucchini as much as possible, reserving the liquid in the bowl. Set the zucchini aside.

Add the egg and pancake mix (or flour) to the bowl with the zucchini squeezed mix. Mix everything well with a spoon, and then combine with the zucchini, onion and chili peppers. The zucchini mix may look stiff when mixing, but it will become more liquidy after a few minutes. If it’s still too stiff, mix in some water (2 to 3 tablespoons to start with).

Heat a skillet with two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add about 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Depending on the size of your pan, you can cook 3 to 4 pancakes at once. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the bottom is light golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Notes

Use 5 tablespoons all purpose flour with 3 tablespoons cornstarch if available.

This recipe makes 6 to 8 3-inch round pancakes, or two large pancakes.

Korean Chicken Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste

Korean Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce low sodium
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. Red curry paste or sambal oelek

Garnish

green onions        toasted sesame seeds             red chilis sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Toss the chicken pieces through the egg first, then dredge through cornstarch.

In a large bowl whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Add about 3 inches of oil to a heavy bottom pan and heat to 375 °F.

Add chicken to the pan and fry in batches about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining chicken.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Stir in the brown sugar and honey and cook for about 1 minute until the brown butter dissolves. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and gochujang sauce to the skillet and stir. Cook for 30 seconds then add the chicken to the skillet and toss well with the sauce.

Serve garnished with green onions, toasted sesame seeds and red chilis.

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Biscotti with Ginger, Orange and Cashews

Calling all coffee lovers! Found this recipe for a great biscotti cookie for dipping in that morning or evening coffee. Or, just nibbling away whenever…NOT just for Christmas!!

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Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken

When life gives you lemons…oops…a great Thai basil plant, one makes more Thai food, right? This 15 minute recipe was incredible. You do not have to use Thai basil, but the taste will be a little different. In place of the Thai chilies, I used a few drops of Sriracha sauce.

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15 MINUTE THAI BASIL CHICKEN

Prep Time: 6 mins Cook Time: 9 mins Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces green beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • 4 sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 minced Thai chilies, or to taste
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Jasmine rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a wok or heavy, high-walled skillet over high heat. As the wok is heating up, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar until well-combined. Set aside.

Add the bell pepper and green beans to the hot wok. Stir-fry for one minute. Add in the chicken and stir-fry, breaking apart as you go, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the shallots, garlic, and Thai chilies. Cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Then, pour in the prepared sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce begins to glaze onto the meat, about 1-2 more minutes.

Stir in the Thai basil leaves and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, the basil is wilted, and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Serve warm with rice.