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
chile pepper flakes
fresh bean sprouts
fresh cilantro, chopped
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).
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.
1 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter (or favorite oil)
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.
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.
The amount of yellow squash (well, squash in general) I have gotten in the past several weeks in my CSA boxes is almost overwhelming. I’m not complaining. I love squash and have been happily using all of it. There has just been a lot. I have sautéed it, put it on savory tarts, made quick breads with it, added it to veggie enchiladas, fried it, put it in soups, made casseroles with it, and tossed it with pasta. It seems that no matter how much squash I use in recipes, I continue to find more of it tucked away in the veggie crisper. I’ve been wondering if it is multiplying overnight in the fridge.
Tonight I added mashed yellow squash to a basic cornbread recipe. I was super happy with the results. The gluten-free cornbread was moist and the flavor was not overpowered by the squash. I really liked the idea of the added nutrition the squash brings to the cornbread. I will definitely be making this again. I served the yellow squash cornbread with black-eyed peas and fried cabbage. Southern comfort food.
Update: I made a cornbread dressing with leftover yellow squash cornbread and half a loaf of French bread. Turned out well and you could not tell there was squash in it at all. Good stuff.
Yellow Squash Cornbread
4 yellow squash, ends trimmed, sliced
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola (or corn) oil
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a cast iron skillet with cooking spray and set aside.
Bring the sliced yellow squash and enough water to cover to a boil. Cook until the squash is tender. Drain well in a colander. Mash the drained squash (I use a potato masher) and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, oil, and eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Add the mashed squash and mix until well combined. Pour into the prepared cast iron skillet and bake at 400° F. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 – 40 minutes.
I made this simple salad using the last of the Swiss chard from my garden. The Swiss chard turned the barley a pretty pinkish color. Barley is one of my favorite grains and I am always looking for new ways to add it to our diet. Barley has lots of fiber, so this salad is very filling. I was thinking that the next time I make it, I will add some cooked lentils and maybe even some finely chopped celery.
Warm Barley Salad with Swiss Chard
1/2 cup pearled barley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch Swiss chard, washed and chopped (I use the stems, but you may remove them and reserve for another use)
juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Bring the barley and 3 cups of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain in a colander. At this point, I like to rinse the cooked barley with water and let drain completely.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped Swiss chard and cook until wilted. Stir in the cooked barley. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture and season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil, if you wish. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.
This salad is summer in a bowl. It’s perfect for when you have way too much zucchini and tomatoes in the garden. This recipe serves about 4, but it can easily be doubled or tripled.
Grilled Zucchini Salad
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
2 medium tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or chunks of fresh mozzarella)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper to taste
In a grill pan over high heat or on an outdoor grill, cook the zucchini quarters about 3 minutes on each side. You want them to be tender, but not mushy. Grill marks are nice. Let the zucchini cool until they are easily handled. Cut the zucchini into bite size pieces.
Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a Mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine.
Combine the grilled zucchini, tomatoes, olives, and feta in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and gently mix. You may not need all of the dressing, just enough to coat the veggies. Serve at room temperature.