Monday, May 30, 2011

Thai-spiration: Coconut Chicken Soup

Recently, we had some lemongrass in the fridge (leftover from this meal) that needed to be used. When I discovered that we also had some chiles and mushrooms on hand, I realized we were one can of coconut milk away from this delicious Coconut Chicken Soup.

I made several adaptations based on what we had or didn't have. I used fresh mushrooms instead of canned, fresno chiles instead of Thai, reduced-fat coconut milk instead of regular, lime zest instead of kaffir lime leaves, and boxed stock instead of homemade.

And guess what? It was still amazing! One of the reasons I love Thai food so much is the salty-sweet-sour pucker that hits you right in the cheeks. The zing of the lime and spice of the chiles swirled together with the chicken and mushrooms in the milky broth.

Not too heavy, perfect for the beginning of summer. Try it out!

Happy Searching,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lovin' Larb

Larb? Yep, larb. It's a strange word to say, but surprisingly, not to eat. It's a Thai dish that is a basically a meat salad (sort of like the lettuce cups you may have tried in various Asian restaurants).

Intrigued? I certainly was the first time I saw Giada whip up this recipe. In trying to build a meal around some ground turkey, I thought it might be a good time to try it out.

Larb might make you step outside your kitchen comfort zone. Back when I first saw Giada introduce this dish, I wasn't completely sold (the fact that I waited several months to test it out is proof). But when I stumbled upon the recipe again, I read through the list of ingredients.

Turkey? Like it. Mint? Love it. Lime juice and lemongrass? Citrusy heaven. So I, myself, expanded my culinary horizons a bit and am so glad I did!

The name might sound a bit odd, the finished product may not be overly alluring, but let me tell tastes incredible! I hope it inspires you try something that stretches your tastebuds a bit.

Eaten anything that has surprised you lately?

Happy Searching,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wild About Rice

As you may know, I have an unrequited love for carbohydrates (I mean, if they loved me back, I could eat them without recourse, right?). Pasta, potatoes, bread and rice are must-haves in the pantry.

The good news in all my carbohydrate cravings is that I really like whole grains. I love the nutty, chewiness of brown rice and the texture of a multi-grain bread. And I LOVE wild rice. I've enjoyed it since my young carbo-lovin' days, when Mama B would glam it up with some sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, & white wine.

So, since she sent us a bag of it in our Easter package (the exact same kind we used to have growing up from Byerly's in Minnesota), I recreated her version.

Mama B's Wild Rice
2 c wild rice
1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I like cremini/baby portabellas)
1/2 c white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
1/4 c chopped parsley

Cook the rice according to the package (we use chicken broth instead of water to add even more flavor). Drain the rice, and set aside in a bowl (it takes a really long time to cook--like an hour--so start ahead of time).

Meanwhile, saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms with the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
When the mushrooms are starting to get soft, add wine and let it reduce and soak into the mushrooms. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley then add the mixture to the rice.

The hubs had never tried it before, and enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. The chewy texture of the rice, the carmelized onions, the sweetness of the wine...just like Mom used to make. Wildly delicious.

Happy Searching!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ooey Gooey Ultimate Coffee Cake

How has it been this long? In between delicious meals, I have been grading papers, planning for the end of my first year of teaching (how did that happen?) and finding a few minutes to spend with the hubs. But summer is around the corner, my friends, and although I have discovered first-hand the many challenges of education, I am about to enjoy the biggest perk. Summer vacation will definitely allow for more blogging, so I hope you're hungry.

On to the food! As far as breakfasts go, I am typically more of a savory person (breakfast tacos, eggs benedict, etc.) than sweet. So much so that it took a little convincing from my mother to give this recipe for the Ultimate Coffee Cake a try. "You'll LOVE it!" she kept insisting...

So, when my friend Andi was in town for a visit a few weeks ago, we gave it a whirl and all saltiness aside, this sticky pull-apart is the sweetest breakfast ever. Not just because it is incredibly delicious, but it is the easiest thing I've ever made (including the apology call I had to make to my mother for doubting her recommendation).

Toss some frozen dinner rolls into a bundt pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and butterscotch pudding mix, and drizzle some melted butter over the top (add a few chopped nuts if you're feeling frisky). Rise, bake, eat. And eat. And eat some more (I'm serious, it's hard to stop).

If you have any sort of breakfast function to attend, bring this and you will be a hit, guaranteed. And in case you're wondering, Andi and I were also able to squeeze in a few savory meals. Like breakfast tacos. And mimosas. On a swan. Ultimate fun!

Happy Searching,

p.s. If you're a visual learner (like me) and you'd like to watch Paula make it herself, check that out here.
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