Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicken Pad Thai

Ever been intimidated by all the ingredients that go into making Pad Thai? Yeah, so was I. Finally I gave it a shot this week; and even though I couldn't find one key ingredient at the store (tamarind paste), I did not give up on the dish. I found that tamarind paste provides the dish with a sour tang that can be mimicked with some lime juice, white vinegar and a bit more brown sugar than was planned. Crisis averted!

My recipe is not precise as far as the sauce goes, but taste as you go and remember that the sauce needs to be a bit strong since it will coat a ton of rice noodles. I added roughly 1/2 cup lite soy sauce, 1/2 cup H2O, juice of about 3 limes, a splash of white vinegar, 1 tsp or 2 of Sriracha chili sauce, 1/2 tsp garlic powder (too lazy to chop fresh stuff), 1/2 tsp of low sodium chicken bouillion, and about 1/2 cup light brown sugar.

Whisk those ingredients together and set aside while, in another bowl, covering the rice noodles with very hot tap water and let sit for 15 minutes - according to my noodle package's directions. They will still be al dente and ready to finish cooking later...

Coat a hot wok (or large pan) with oil and then add some raw thinly sliced chicken breast that you marinated in about 2 tsp cornstarch and some soy sauce. Brown for about 6-8 minutes until done. Remove from wok and add some more oil. To this add about 8oz shredded carrots and 1 bunch of sliced scallions. Throw in 2 scarmbled eggs as well. After 2 minutes, add your SAUCE! Let this cook down for about 3 more minutes and then add your al dente rice noodles. Allow this entire mixture to absorb some of the sauce for 3 minutes, add the chicken back, and then throw in some bean sprouts. Traditionally, uncooked sprouts are put on top of the dish during plating, but apparently this poses a slight risk for pregnant women so we heated ours through.

Serve up the Pad Thai with another lime wedge, some cilantro and some peanuts, and more hot Sriracha if you are like Michael! Honestly, I was amazed at how much this tasted like Pad Thai from a resto and I didn't need to buy that $5 jar of pre-made sauce from the market!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Aroostook County Bounty

We were up in northern Maine last weekend and we quickly discovered that the abundance of rain they'd received in June had flooded the riverbanks and allowed the reeds to grow up to forest-like proportions. This meant that even with waders, we just couldn't get past the reeds in order to cast even with just a spinner rod. Walking around these reed forests in the mud in waders is no fun when you're over 18 weeks pregnant with twins!! Alas, this meant that no fishing was to be had unless we had a boat, which we didn't even think to bring.

As sad as Michael, the fishing addict, was - I knew that all the rain also meant that as long as the farmers wore their mudding boots, they'd be able to pull out some mid-summer crops. Specifically I was on the hunt for new white potatoes and string beans. New potatoes just taste so darn good, and since I'm biased coming from a potato-farming family from Aroostook County, I think new MAINE potatoes are the best around.

Simply wash off the dirt from the potatoes and place them in a pot with the trimmed string beans. If some potatoes are a bit larger, just halve them. No need to peel the tender peels off, they are quite edible and rather tasty! Cover the veggies with water, bring to a boil with the lid on (it's faster that way!!), and keep a close watch on them though because once at a boil it'll froth up and over due to the starch in the spuds. Boil for about 20 minutes until fork tender.

I know that the beans will look way overcooked, more so than we usually like, but for this dish, that's what I intend! Serve up with a smidgeon of margarine or butter on the spuds and some salt and pepper and you're good to go. I like my served up with a simple steak with a dollop of A1 sauce on the side, but clearly the stars of the show come from the Crown of Maine.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In Memory

We are very sad to learn that one of our favorite food bloggers, Sher at What Did You Eat?, has passed away.

Sher had a great blog and we loved to read about her adventures with food and small animals - two things we also love. We would regularily visit her blog to read her updates and find out what she was up to...

Sher would leave many encouraging comments on our posts that we always looked forward to and enjoyed receiving.

Our thoughts are with her family and we hope she rests in peace.