Shrimp Laksa

Shrimp Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia.  There are a gabillion different variations of it.  Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth.  Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu. This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online.  It’s not all that authentic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found in most American grocery stores.

Shrimp Laksa

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or about 1 tablespoon of ginger paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sambal olek (sriracha can be substituted)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion softened.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sambal olek (or sriracha).  Add the broth and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk.  Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Season to taste with the fish sauce, about 1 tablespoon.

Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).

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Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

I bought a spiralizer at a school fundraiser yard sale for $1 and now that it is summer and zucchini is pleniful, it’s a perfect time to use it to make zoodles (zucchini noodles).

I haven’t had much luck with growing zucchini in my garden. This year, I planted some zucchini in a bucket on my deck and so far have only gotten 2 zucchini from it. They were kind of funky-looking, but tasted great as zoodles.

I have worked on perfecting my Peanut Sauce for years and I think I have finally nailed it. This stuff is great on all kinds of noodles (rice noodles, spaghetti, zoodles, etc…) and as a sauce for grilled chicken (think Satay) and Summer Rolls.

The Peanut Sauce recipe includes a paste made from a clove of garlic. This is an excellent tutorial on how to make garlic paste with a knife. This is how I do it:

Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

Special tool needed:  spiralizer

1 tablespoon (or less) of mild-tasting oil (I used canola)
4 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
1 carrot, peeled and grated
prepared Peanut Sauce (recipe below)

fresh cilantro
crushed peanuts

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spiralized zucchini and shredded carrots and cook, tossing often with tongs, until tender (but not mushy). Turn off the heat and add the peanut sauce to the zoodles. Toss to coat. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced and made into a paste with the side of the knife’s blade (see tutorial video above)
1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha
juice of 1/2 lime
warm water (about 1/2 cup)

Combine the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic past, sriracha, and lime juice. Add water, a little at a time, until you reach a somewhat thick, but pourable consistency. You want it just so that it coasts the noodles but isn’t too thick or too thin. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.


Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon-roll-lid

Day 12 of LID. I won’t lie, I am sick of being on this low iodine diet. It is easier, in a way, this time, but that doesn’t change the fact it is a soul-crusher.

I had some time to bake this morning and I used my Easy White Bread recipe to create these Cinnamon Rolls. I was really, really happy with the results. These are quite possibly the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made. They definitely lifted my spirits.

Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough:
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

For filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 – 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread

For icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
enough water to make a thick, but pourable icing

Put the dough ingredients into a bread machine in the order given. The yeast should be the last ingredient going into the bread machine. Set the machine to the dough setting and press start. Let the machine do the mixing and kneading for you. Once the machine is finished, turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. The dough will probably be sticky. Knead the dough a couple of times, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out evenly into a rectangle that is about 9 X 13 inches. Spread the Earth Balance spread evenly over the top of the rolled out dough. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and spread evenly over the Earth Balance spread. Starting at the shorter side, roll up the dough. Pinch the seam to close. Slice into 12 even slices. Spray a 9 X 9-inch square baking pan or a 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray and place the slices in the pan. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

cin-roll

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little water at a time until you get a thick, but pourable consistency. Drizzle evenly over the cinnamon rolls.

cin-rollls


Baked Chicken Taquitos

baked-chicken-taquitos

This is a recipe I posted on my other blog last night. I’m on a low iodine diet for 2 1/2 weeks to prepare my body for a tracer dose of radioactive iodine and a nuclear whole body scan to check for possible recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’m looking forward to a clear scan.

The thyroid is gland that absorbs iodine from one’s diet and uses it to make hormones that are used by the rest of the body. Certain types of thyroid cancers mimic healthy thyroid tissue and also absorb iodine. Because of that characteristic, certain thyroid cancers can be treated successfully with radioactive iodine. By eating a low iodine diet, the thyroid and  certain thyroid cancers are starved of iodine. When the radioactive iodine is ingested, the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissues gobble up the iodine with radiation attached. In a large, therapeutic dose the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissue is killed. In lower, tracer doses it allows for a scan that shows where the radioactive iodine was taken up. They are able to see if there is a recurrence of thyroid cancer (or regrowth of healthy thyroid tissue).

On the low iodine diet (LID), you can not eat iodized salt, sea salt, dairy, egg yolks, soy (soy oil and soy lecithin are fine), seafood, sea products (seaweed, carrageenan), certain dough conditioners, and red dye #3 or any foods that contain these ingredients. You can only have 5 – 6 ounces of meat per day. This diet is a challenge, but each time I have to do it, it gets easier. Only 12 more days to go.

When I am on LID, I eat these Baked Chicken Taquitos with LID-safe salsa and avocado “cream” (avocado blended with lime juice and kosher salt until smooth).

If you are not on LID, you can add cheese to the chicken mixture. You can also add other ingredients such as roasted chile peppers, kale, spinach, etc…

These taquitos freeze really well, but they have to be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) to maintain crispiness. They get soft and chewy when reheated in the microwave.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

1 whole chicken
kosher salt
black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup salsa
corn tortillas
cooking spray

Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 -4 hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and let cool. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones (unless you plan to make chicken stock.…in that case, reserve). Shred the chicken. You should have about 6 cups of shredded chicken meat.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and salsa to the shredded chicken. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper, if needed. Mix to combine.

Place 4 corn tortillas on a large microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds to soften tortillas. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on  bottom third of the warmed corn tortilla. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Don’t roll too tight. Place the taquito on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is used. You will have approximately 18 taquitos. Use two baking sheets if you need to. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, turning after the 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Remove the toothpick before serving.


Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken-and-white-bean-chili2

This is a nice change from a heavier, spicier beef chili. I like this dish a little more on the soupy side. If you like a thicker chili, add less chicken broth and definitely add the masa harina to help thicken. Serve the Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili with cornbread or fresh tortillas.

I think this could easily be made into a crockpot freezer meal. Add all of the ingredients except for the canned beans and masa harina to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze flat. You could make several at one time and have them on hand for easy crockpot meals. The day before cooking, place the frozen bag in the refrigerator to defrost. Place the defrosted contents of the bag in the crockpot with the drained canned white beans and cook 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hours on high. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry 30 minutes before serving.

chicken-and-white-bean-chili

Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 4 ounce can roasted chopped green chiles, drained (or the equivalent of chiles you roasted yourself)
2 15.5 ounce cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy), drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Masa Harina mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Possible toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, shredded (Monterrey jack, pepper jack are great options)
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
serranos, sliced

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, and salt over the chicken. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, roasted chiles, white beans, corn, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high 3 -4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry and continue to cook 30 minutes until the chili is thickened.

Serve and let each person customize their toppings.


Pickled Collard Greens

Pickled Collard Greens

I get the most amazing collard greens from my CSA. Sometimes I get an overwhelming amount of amazing collard greens from my CSA. It’s a challenge I gladly accept. I’m always trying to think of interesting ways to prepare them. This morning I put a Boston Butt pork roast in the crockpot with dinner plans for pulled pork sandwiches on homemade Focaccia bread. I was staring into the fridge and the idea of pickling the collards popped into my head. I have pickled mustard greens before and enjoyed using them as a condiment. Why not collards? Y’all, they turned out so good. They were excellent on the pulled pork sandwiches. I kind of wish I had made a double batch.

These sweet and sour collard greens would also make an excellent side dish. Just cook the collards until tender (about 20 minutes longer than stated in the recipe) and serve warm. I could easily drink the pickling/cooking liquid. : )

Pickled Collard Greens

1 large bunch of collard greens
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash and chop the collard greens. I usually remove the center ribs from the leaves before chopping.

In a pot over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped collards and cook for 5 (for crunchy collards – these are actually better after a few days in the fridge) to 20 (for use right away as a condiment or side dish) minutes. Let the collards and pickling liquid cool and then transfer to a large Mason jar. Refrigerate at least several hours (a couple of days is even better) before use.


Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

This colorful salsa, eaten with tortilla chips is a tasty snack. It is also a nice addition to tacos, fajitas, or rice bowls. It can even be eaten on its own as a side dish or salad of sorts. It keeps well in the fridge for a week or so.

Poblano  chiles (fresh or roasted) can be substituted for the bell pepper and jalapenos.

Corn Salsa

1 pound frozen corn
1/2 large onion, small dice (red onion looks pretty with corn)
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice (you could also use red bell peppers)
2 jalapenos, or to taste, minced
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
kosher salt, to taste

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the frozen corn and cook, stirring often, until heated through and starting to char. Cooking it this way really brings out the sweetness of the corn. Let the corn cool completely.

Once the corn is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Taste and add more lime juice or kosher salt, if needed.