Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thai Basil Fried Rice

I made this fried rice recently to go with some other Thai food for a Thai-themed dinner.  We also had Massaman Beef Curry and Tom Kha Gai Soup.  We had an extra kid over that day and he loved the food too.  I want to make this meal again soon!

Thai Basil Fried Rice- Khao Pad Horapa
adapted from Rachel Cooks Thai

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 red Thai chili pepper, chopped finely
1/2 cup chicken, cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup red bell pepper (or red jalapeno) slices
1/4 cup onion slices
1/4 cup green beans, cut into 1” pieces
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon thick dark soy sauce (sweet soy sauce- like Healthy Boy brand)
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
2 cups pre-cooked jasmine rice, left out for 1-2 hours

1.  Prepare the ingredients by finely chopping the garlic and red Thai chili. Slice the chicken into thin, bite-sized pieces. Slice the green beans, red bell pepper, and onion into thin strips.

2.  Heat a wok until very hot and then add 1-2 Tablespoons of canola oil (or any other mild oil of your choice). Add the finely chopped garlic and chilis and stir fry until the garlic is golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until it is cooked through. This should take 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick your chicken pieces are. Then add the long beans and red bell peppers, quickly followed by all of the sauces.

3.  Once the long beans and peppers are close to done, add the onion slices and stir fry for 30 seconds to a minute until they are translucent, but still slightly firm.

4.  Finally, add the rice and mix together with all of the other ingredients. Once the sauces have been mixed thoroughly with the rice, add the Thai basil and turn off the heat. Give everything one more toss and then serve.
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

 A friend on Facebook made and posted these a few weeks ago, and I couldn't help but make them too. They use a lot of butter but they are SO good.  They are also super quick and easy to make.  Only 6 ingredients!  You just use the stove to mix the oat mixture and then melt butter and peanut butter together.  These were gone super quickly.  (Some of the pics are of the bars at room temp; others are of them after being in the fridge.)

No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
adapted from All Simply Recipes (via

1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (mini ones work great)
1/2 cup peanut butter

1.  Grease a 9×9 inch square pan.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended. Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the other half for topping.
2.  Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

3.  Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently. Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars. (Or serve cold.)

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Thai Basil Chicken

I loved this dish so much.  I found some Thai Basil at my Italian grocery store.  It's just regular Thai basil- not Thai Holy Basil, which you're supposed to use in this dish, but it worked out wonderfully anyway.  I found this recipe online after asking my Thai friend what I should do with the Thai basil plant.

We loved the crispy fried egg with this! I forgot to buy chilies, so I used my Italian chili oil to fry the eggs in and add a little spicy.

Thai Basil Chicken
adapted Eating Thai Food

1 egg
2 tablespoons of oil for frying (I used hot pepper oil)

For the basil chicken:
1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams)
5 cloves of garlic
4 – 10 Thai chilies – when you fry the chilies, they aren’t as spicy
1 tablespoon oil for frying
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 splash of dark sweet soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves 
Hot cooked jasmine rice, for serving

1.  First, fry the egg:
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat.  When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don't flip the egg, unless you really want to).

After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness (I like mine runny), take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later.

2.  Basil chicken:
Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces.

Rinse and peel the garlic and chilies, and pound them in a mortar and pestle (alternatively you can just mince them with a knife). They don't need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the oils and flavors from the garlic and chilies.

Pluck a good sized handful of holy basil leaves off the stems.  

Heat your wok on high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan.  When the oil is hot, add the chilies and garlic. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don't let them burn or get too dry.

Toss in your chicken. Keep stir frying continuously. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it's just about fully cooked all the way through (depending on the size pieces of chicken and how hot your fire is, it should take about 2 - 3 minutes). If it starts to get dry, add just a tiny splash of water.

Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds.

Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat (if you're using an electric stove, you'll want to remove the pan from the burner). The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken. This step is important because if you cook the basil for too long, it loses some of its glorious flavor and gets slightly chewy.  Serve over cooked rice.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Orange Buttermilk Sherbet

This is a nice, creamy orange sherbet.  The buttermilk adds a slight tang without being really evident. I bought a little European ice cream maker after my other one stopped working and tried this recipe first.  I miss my old machine, as the new one took forever.  But anyway, the whole family loved this and wants me to make it again.
Orange Buttermilk Sherbet
adapted from the Kitchn

1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Chill the ice cream bowl, if needed. If your ice cream machine has a bowl that needs to be frozen before churning, put it in the freezer the night before you plan to make ice cream. (If you forget, you can make the base and refrigerate it overnight while the bowl is freezing, and churn the sherbet the next day.)

2.  Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the sherbet base to the bowl of your ice cream machine. Churn until the base has thickened to a consistency somewhere between a very thick milkshake and soft-serve ice cream. In most ice cream makers, this takes about 20 minutes — check the instructions for your particular machine.
3.  Transfer the thickened sherbet to a freezer container. Press a piece of wax paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. The sherbet will keep in the freezer for about 2 weeks before becoming icy.
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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken

I somehow saw this recipe, maybe on Facebook?  It's a Food Network recipe, but the recipe disappeared from the website the second time I went to make it.  I found a video of it, and used that the second time around, although it was much harder.  I just checked again, and the link is back.

This is so good, and easy.  I love the flavors.  Almost the whole family enjoyed this.  I made it the second time on Father's Day.  I get prosciutto sliced very thinly at the deli for this recipe and ask for 12 slices (2 for each breast).  I think you can get prosciutto at the deli counter of most bigger grocery stores in the US, too.  I also buy chicken breast "filets" which are just chicken breasts sliced to make thinner breasts.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken
adapted from Food Network

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
6 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
6 chicken cutlets
salt and freshly ground pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1.  Sprinkle the garlic and sage on the chicken cutlets; season with salt and pepper. Wrap 2 slices prosciutto around each cutlet.

2.  Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until the prosciutto is golden brown and slightly crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3.  Add the chicken broth and the lemon juice to the skillet; cook over medium heat until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the butter melts and the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red, White & Blue Layered Drink

Happy 4th of July!  We had a BBQ and made these layered drinks for fun.  They were a hit.  How it works: drinks with more sugar are heavier, and they stay on the bottom.  Cranberry juice is on the bottom, then blue Gatorade (not sugar-free), then diet 7-Up (or Sprite Zero).  You also need lots of ice for these.
Red, White & Blue Layered Drink
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Cranberry Juice, chilled
Blue Gatorade (not sugar-free), chilled
Sprite Zero or Diet 7-Up, chilled

1.  Fill each glass with ice. Pour the cranberry juice into the glass, filling about 1/3 of the way. Slowly pour the blue Gatorade on top of the ice (if you pour it around the sides of the glass and it hits the cranberry juice directly without filtering over the ice, it won’t create separate layers) and let it flow down until it fills the cup another 1/3 of the way (so now the glass should be 2/3 full). Finally, slowly pour the Sprite Zero or Diet 7-Up on the ice and let it slowly flow down to create the final layer. Serve immediately.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Spanish Marcona Almond Cake (with Olive Oil)


I spotted this recipe on La Tienda a while ago and really wanted to make it.  La Tienda  is a company that ships food from Spain to the US and other places.  I've ordered some stuff from them before.  They also feature Spanish recipes.  For this cake, though, I ordered Marcona almonds from - I love that company.  (You can probably make this recipe with any blanched almonds; Marconas are supposed to be superior though.)

I lightly toasted the almonds in a dry skillet on the stove and then ground them coarsely in my food processor.  I actually messed up on this recipe- dumping all the ingredients in together instead of doing the wet first and then adding the dry. I was afraid I'd messed it up, but it turned out very well despite that.  I loved the orange and lemon flavors- make sure you use fresh zest.

Spanish Marcona Almond Cake (with Olive Oil)
adapted from La Tienda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup Marcona almonds, toasted and finely chopped
Powdered sugar, for sifting

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil 9-inch diameter cake pan. I cut out a circle of parchment paper and placed it in the bottom for easier release.

2.  Whisk flour, baking powder & salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs & zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in milk, then gradually beat in oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended, then stir in almonds. Transfer batter to pan and place on baking sheet to collect any spills.

3.  Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

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