Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

While I was in Texas a couple of weeks ago, I caught up with a dear friend one night and we had dinner at P.F. Chang’s in Arlington. I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles. It was a somewhat simple noodle dish and I knew right away I could re-create it. I think I hit the nail on the head. There are minor differences. P.F. Chang’s uses red cabbage in their Singapore Street Noodles, but I just used green cabbage since it was what I had. Napa or Savory cabbage would be really good too. Their dish contained halved grape tomatoes, but I left them out. I also left out the  green onions. Like most Asian dishes you cook in a wok, you want to have your ingredients prepared and ready to go. Once you start cooking, it comes together fast.

I’m partial to Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder. I used to be able to buy it locally when we lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but since moving to South Carolina I have not been able to find it. I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. Here’s what that container looks like:

Sun Brand Madra Curry Powder

Singapore Noodles

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, cored and sliced (use any color bell pepper you like)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 large head red or green cabbage (or your favorite type of cabbage), cored and thinly sliced
1  1/2 – 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder (to taste)

lime wedges, for serving

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until they are softened, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, combine the water, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turning the wok to make sure the oil coats the bottom. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Transfer to a clean bowl or plate. Wipe out the wok (It doesn’t have to be super clean, I just quickly wipe the wok out using a paper towel) Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and then add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate with the shrimp. Again, wipe out the wok.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok. add the garlic and cook briefly, a few seconds, before adding the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and cabbage. Stir-fry the vegetables until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and the Madras curry powder to the wok. Add the softened rice noodles and cooked shrimp and chicken, gently tossing them with the sauce and vegetables.  Cook, stirring often, until the noodles absorb the sauce, about 3 – 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.


Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad

Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad (640x480)
The cucumbers in my garden are doing well this year. It makes me happy because I really love cucumbers. I especially love cucumber salads. This is my favorite one. It’s adapted from a recipe in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking by Mai Pham (Prima Publishing, 1996).

I often make this salad using regular cucumbers found at the grocery store. Peel and then remove the seeds before slicing. Most of the time I make this salad only using cilantro since it’s an easy-to-find and inexpensive herb. In the summer months, I also use mint and Thai basil that I grow in my garden. I love the combination of cilantro, mint, and basil in Southeast Asian foods. Use any one of these herbs or a combination when you make this salad.

Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers (English cucumbers work well), cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 – 3 jalapenos or other hot chile (to taste), seeded, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
fresh herb(s), to taste
….fresh cilantro, chopped
….fresh mint leaves, chopped
….fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the sliced cucumbers, onion, jalapenos, and herb(s) in a bowl. In another bowl (or measuring cup) combine the rice wine vinegar, sugar, water, and salt. Pour the mixture over the cucumber salad. Mix to combine. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.


Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake 2

I might have been slightly delirious when I came up with the idea to hide some yellow squash in chocolate cake. At the time, I was knee deep in squash from my CSA. I was a little desperate to find new ways to use it. I had success using yellow squash in Yellow Squash Cornbread and in Summer Squash Bread, so I was pretty sure I could pull it off in chocolate cake.

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

Oh my gosh, it was so good, y’all! I was super happy with the result. It was moist and chocolatety. So delicious! You could not tell the cake had squash in it aside from the little flecks of yellow squash on top of the cake after it was baked. The frosting totally covered it up, so problem solved. My 4 year old had no idea. He loved it. My 14 year old son wouldn’t try it (extremely picky eater) because he heard me telling my husband of my plans to use squash in the cake. His loss. The Yellow Squash Cake was awesome!

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake 3

Chocolate Yellow Squash Cake

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 packed cups shredded yellow squash

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch cake pan

In a large bow, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture. Fold in the shredded yellow squash. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat until it all comes together and is a spreadable consistency. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

 


Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes with Chicken

Chicken with Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes

I got back to South Carolina Tuesday night from a 2 week trip to Texas. My sons and I had a great time visiting family and friends, but it is good to be home. My husband did not go on the trip with us. While he was home, he looked after my garden and picked up our CSA boxes. I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of produce (tomatoes, a variety of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, corn, winter squashes, and blueberries) I came home to. It was time to get to work.

tomatoes (526x343)

I was too tired to go to the grocery store Wednesday, so I came up with this dish. I really liked how this Mediterranean-inspired concoction turned out. Summer comfort food. I added a dash of Penzey’s Bourquet Garni herb mix (a mix of savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage, and tarragon) to the veggie mixture as it cooked. I didn’t include it in the recipe, but feel free to add your favorite herbs/herb mix. Serve this stew-like dish over rice or pasta (orzo).

Chicken, Peppers, and Tomatoes 2

Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes with Chicken

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half horizontally to make the pieces smaller)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Italian eggplant, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces (or use equivalent amount of Japanese eggplant)
2 bell peppers, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
3 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the oil. Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces back to the mixture and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies and chicken are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and season the dish with salt and black pepper. Serve with hot rice or pasta.


Pad Thai II

Pad Thai II

I love Pad Thai. When I go to a new (to me) Thai restaurant, I will usually order Pad Thai. It’s kind of a boring order, but I feel that if a restaurant can do Pad Thai well, then other dishes will be good too. We actually don’t go out to eat very often, so when I’m craving Pad Thai, I usually make it myself. This has been my go-to Pad Thai recipe for years. It’s fine, but it just doesn’t taste like any Pad Thai I get at a restaurant. I can do better. I have decided that I am going to master Pad Thai this summer. A girl has got to have goals. : )

I adapted/simplified this version from a recipe for Thai Noodles in Victor Sodsook’s True Thai. It’s good, a little on the sweet side, but good. So good that I have made it twice this month. The ingredients are fairly easy to find, although I’m not sure how authentic of an ingredient ketchup is. Once the ingredients for this dish are prepared and assembled, it comes together quickly.

Pad Thai II

8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (bahn pho)
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 pound chicken breast, sliced
5 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
fresh cilantro, chopped

crushed peanuts
chile pepper flakes
fresh bean sprouts
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime wedges

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until they are soft, about 15 minutes. When they are ready, drain in a colander and set aside until ready for use.

Meanwhile, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and chili powder (if using). Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

Have all the ingredient ready and within reach. This dish comes together quickly once the cooking begins.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turning the wok to make sure the oil coats the bottom. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Transfer to a clean bowl or plate. Wipe out the wok (It doesn’t have to be super clean, I just quickly wipe the wok out using a paper towel) Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and then add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate with the shrimp. Again, wipe out the wok.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add lightly beaten eggs. Cook the eggs, stirring to scramble them, until they are set. Pour the prepared sauce mixture into the wok. Add the reserved softened noodles, tossing gently in the sauce. Cook until the noodles are tender and have absorbed the sauce, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the reserved cooked chicken and shrimp and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve. Have the crushed peanuts, chile pepper flakes, bean sprouts, additional chopped cilantro, and lime wedges on the table so everyone can add their desired condiments.

Adapted from True Thai by Victor Sodsook (William Morrow and Company, 1995).

 


Fried Cabbage

Fried Cabbage

This is a simple and inexpensive side dish made with cabbage. Cooking the cabbage this way really brings out the sweetness. This recipe is versatile too. I don’t always include the onion when I “fry” cabbage and sometimes I even sprinkle a little bit of bread crumbs into the dish just before I take it off the heat. Sometimes I toss in a pinch of caraway seeds. In the South, Fried Cabbage is often made with bacon and bacon grease. So, if you are a bacon fan, you can fry a few strips of bacon, reserve the cooked bacon, and use the bacon grease to fry the cabbage in instead of butter. Crumble the bacon and add back to the cabbage just before serving.

Fried Cabbage

1 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter (or favorite oil)
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and season to taste with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage is tender. I like to take it a little further to the point where the cabbage is starting to brown and caramelize.


Squash Hash Browns

Squash Hashbrowns and Eggs

Breakfast is a perfect meal to add more veggies (ahem, and this time of the year, squash) to. These squash hash browns are super yummy, especially when paired with eggs. If you wanted to add some minced onion along with the potatoes, that would be good too.

Squash Hash Browns

1 pound of potatoes (whatever variety you like or have on hand), scrubbed clean, peeled if you want
1 yellow squash, ends trimmed
1 zucchini, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
olive oil (or your favorite oil)

Using a food processor or grater, shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. I dump them out onto a large clean kitchen towel, wrap them up and squeeze. The less moisture in the potatoes, the crisper they will be.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a (cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, season with Kosher salt and black pepper, and let cook. Let the potatoes cook, stirring occasionally, while you are preparing the squash.

Meanwhile, shredded the yellow squash and zucchini together and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Again, I put them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze. Add the minced garlic to the cooking potatoes and then the shredded squash. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper, add more oil to the pan if you feel like you need to, and even the mixture out in the bottom of the skillet.

Cook until the bottom is crispy, about 6 – 8 minutes, and then using a spatula, turn the hash browns over and cook the other side until crispy. Admittedly, I have a hard time leaving hash browns alone while they are cooking. I’m constantly stirring and turning them. My thought is that they will get crispier. Do it however you like. Once the squash hash browns are browned and crispy to your satisfaction, they are ready to serve.

Squash Hashbrowns


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