Archive for Life in food photography

Let’s cook up a rainbow!!

🙂 I guess I got your attention. Today, I wanted to share a recipe with you that is super super delicious and the bonus is that it is very wholesome! Dr. Oz would be so proud of me, if he sees this! 🙂 This is a dish that I created by using leftover vegetables, beans and roots I can find in my kitchen. These are the things I kept in mind…

A. Lots of fiber

B. Variety in color (rainbow), hence the nutrients & anti-oxidants

C. Low fat

Sound good yet? I also generously added some Garam Masala (Blend of North Indian Spices), Cumin and SUPERFOOD- turmeric. Let’s get this going!

Purple yam, regular yam, chopped ginger and onion.

Bay leaves, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric. Yes, I buy 1 pounders! 🙂

During the creation. Wish you could smell this!

Final product! See wasn't it easy?? 🙂

Things I found in my pantry and fridge today:

Roots: Purple yam and regular yam.

Veggies: Mushrooms and onions.

Pantry goodies: Garbanzo beans, black beans, sweet peas ( I rinsed them in water 2-3 times and drained), diced canned tomatoes.

Spices: Ginger, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and bay leaves.

Protein: 1 chicken breast.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Chop ginger and cut onions. Cut the roots in small pieces. Cut chicken in to little pieces. (That is very little).

2. Place a large skillet on medium heat. Add canola oil. Once hot, add bay leaves.

3. Add onion and ginger. Cook until onion is translucent.

4. Add chicken. Cook through.

5. Add mushrooms. Stir.

6. Add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and stir well.

7. Add tomatoes. Stir.

8. Add roots, beans and peas. Stir.

9. Season with salt, mix it all well and simmer for about 30 minutes covered on low heat.

10. Serve on top of brown rice. I like to cook my brown rice with 1 part quinoa and 3 parts rice.

Hope you will try this recipe. I hate to sound boring and tell you all the nutrients in this dish. It has the colors that each represent their own goodness. There is purple, orange, green, red, brown, yellow, and all the spices. 🙂 This is also one of those dishes that get better the next day. So I always make big batches. This batch will serve about 8-10 portions.

Hope you will give it a try and let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Even if this dish is leaning more towards my Indian side… I still say Thai it, you’ll like it!

Enjoy!

Comments (2)

Move over, butter.. Thai seafood dip is here!

I HEART butter. I do.. with all my heart. And it kind of shows, too. 😉 However, there is time and place for it. Many of them, too. However, not with seafood, in my opinion anyways. I grew up eating a lot of fish and seafood. Mostly fresh water fish though. Bangkok – where I grew up- is by the river. As a result, we get lots of fresh water prawns and all kinds of fish. Hmm.. good old days! 🙂

I have a recipe for you today, for a choice for your seafood dip, apart from butter. Let me tempt you by telling you the best part about it, (apart from being ridiculously delish) it has NO FAT. Nada. It is made of lime juice, garlic, Thai chili peppers and salt. Oh, a little bit of sugar to bring out all the flavors.

Recipe:

1 lime

1 clove of garlic

Thai chili pepper (or jalapeno) or not… It’s optional

2 tsp. sugar ( I used my mango jam to add mango flavor, color and sweetness to it this time)

1 tsp. salt 

2 tbsp. lukewarm water.

Directions:

 -Finely chop chili pepper and garlic.

– Put in a little ramekin.

– Add lime juice, sugar, salt and mix well.

– Add the water and stir until nicely blended.

– Dip your fave grilled or steamed seafood in it.

Wasn’t that easy? Here is how mine looked. I had it with grilled shrimp and brown rice with a generous size green salad to start with.

Thai Seafood Dip

Thai Seafood Dip. Yummalicious!

Remember, my friends, Thai it, you’ll like it!

Ciaociao!

Comments (1)

Home-Made Mango Jam

So with the weather getting nicer and nicer these days- especially when this comes from a Southern Californian, it means REALLY nice weather. Like, totally! 😉 There are lots of fresh ripe fruits to enjoy. With eyes bigger than the belly, sometimes, you might end up with lots of mangos like I did.  I love eating them on their own. If I have leftovers, poof! they become mango lassi. It is the best breakfast ever. Super yummy and rich in nutrients. The other best thing to do with extra mangos is making home-made mango jam. I have the recipe for you below, as well ideas on how to enjoy this lovely jam.

Here are a some ideas how to enjoy mango jam.

1. Straight on a piece of toast.

2. Brie en croute.

3. Bruscetta with goat cheese and mango jam. (This is particularly yum for h’ors d’oeuvres!!)

Ingredients:

6 cups of ripe mango, peeled, stoned, cut and mashed (I love the Kent variety.)

1.5 cups of sugar (or 1 cup agave nectar, or 1 cup honey)

1 pouch powder pectin (gives it the spreadable consistency)

1/2 Tsp. lime zest

3 limes, juiced

Directions:

1. Prepare the mango as mentioned above, peel, stone, cut and mashed. Use caution- it can be slippery.

2. Mix pectin with 1/2 cup of sugar to help prevent from clumping once in the fruit mixture. If you are not using sugar, you just have to make sure to stir really well, so the pectin doesn’t clump up.

3. In a large pot, add the prepared mango, lime juice and zest, and cook on medium heat. Add the sugar and pectin mixture. Stir well.

4. Bring to a rolling boil. Then, add the rest of the sugar and stir well. Cook for 8-10 more minutes. Stirring consistantly.

5. Ladel into pasteurized jars. Let sit and cool at room temperature for 24 hours. Once opened, stays refrigerated for upto 3 weeks.

This recipe tastes very tropical with the addition of lime juice and zest. I am going to try and add some Thai chili peppers to it next time, so it can be used on savory foods as well.  

Yummmm!

Mango and Lime.

LOVE the color!!

Comments (5)

Little Saigon – Foodie’s Paradise

Where do I buy all of my intimidating/exotic/God-knows-what-it-is ingredients for the classes and recipes I share with you?? I go to a few places- 99 Ranch Market off of Jeffrey (5 freeway), Little Saigon in Westminster, and Laguna Niguel Farmer’s market which I posted a blog about earlier this month. Although, it might seem daunting to take on this challenge and go shopping for Thai ingredients in the beginning, you will slooooowly start to recongize things and become more open to the adventure of what you might find each time. Come on, give it a Thai! 🙂 (I’m just enjoying the Thai-try play on words too too much!!)

Live crab in a tank

Does it get fresher than this? 😉

Jasmine tea.

These, my friends, are banana blossoms… I know whatcha thinkin’. They are kind of exotic. 😀

An alternative for our same old latte. 😉

If you have taken my class, I don't want you anywhere near these! You know how to make them from scratch!

Some of my groceries. Fresh fruits and veggies are mmm mmm good!

Always remember, Thai it, you’ll like it! 😀

Ciaociao!

Comments (3)

Hidden Gem- Laguna Niguel Farmers Market

If you know me, you have heard me talk about this market tons of times. 😀 Instead of rambling, I will tell you my top 2 favorite shops I love at this market and I will just post some pictures for you. They will say a thousand words- each.

Asian vegetable stand: You don’t know this, but this stand is very very dear to my heart. They have 6-8 kinds of basil ALONE. They have the freshest herbs, vegetables, and lots and lots of dark leafy greens; bok choy, kale, arugula, Chinese broccoli, mustard greens, and so much more. So super good for you, at pretty inexpensive prices, too. I recommend getting here early-9 am- to get the first dibs of all the goodies. They run out of certain popular herbs if you get there late- say noon. The owners are very friendly. They are originally Hmong, which is North of Thailand. So some of them actually speak Thai!!! 😀 Sweet! 

This week, I bought Thai sweet basil (for green curry & chicken and basil leaves), pepper basil (stir fry dishes), dill (potato and dill), cilantro, mint (for mojitos!), and red lettuce leaves. Yumm!

Another one is Mangi Con Amore: Mamma Stella sells Italian home-made pasta, sauces, spreads, cookies and oh, fresh home-made cannolis!! They are sooooo soooooo good!!! Everything is home-made. You can visit her website and see for yourself at www.magiconamore.com. Stella is so lively and charming, you will be greeted with her fully Italiano Buongiorno and a big smile. Her warmth makes you feel like you are not buying food from a shop, but imagine your loving aunt giving you food to take home with you. This week, I bought Spinach ravioli and Salamoia (herbed salt.) She tells you how to cook the pasta and what sauces go well on each of them. Gulp!!! You’ll love Mangi Con Amore. So totally bellissima, my friends. 😉

As promised, I will stop right here and share the pictures of this wonderful market I highly recommend for you to visit. It is at the corner of La Paz and Pacific Park Drive in Laguna Niguel- near Henry’s Market. Sundays 9 am – 1 pm.  

Perfect tomatoes.

Perfect tomatoes.

Rainier cherries.

Rainier cherries.

Strongly onionated!

Strongly onionated!

Lemongrass

Lemongrass. They grow the best I have ever come across.

More fresh stuff!

Stella, the brightest star in the farmers market 🙂 I heart her.

Pluot, blueberries and cherry monster! Is this killer cute or what?!

Flowers selection is huge here.

Pomegranate and apple jelly. Been eyeing this for a while!

Pomegranate and apple jelly. Been eyeing this for a while!

I opened the jar so you can smell the herbs. 🙂

Yummy herb and lemon salt.

So, that is it, my friends. Take advantage of the beautiful weather with fresh fruits and vegetables. You will love it, I promise. 😀

See you there next Sunday!

Ciao bellissima! 😀

Comments (4)

Meet my friend, Clawed-ine.

This past weekend was a long and savory weekend spent with friends, family, and relatives. All I need are good food and time with friends and family and I am heaven. 🙂 Really, my friends. These are two, if not the top, of  the most treasured blessings in my life.

I wanted to share with you about this restaurant I went to on Saturday. It is called Tan Cang Newport Seafood in Santa Ana. It is Chinese seafood restaurant, owned by a Vietnamese family. So I assume they are Northern Vietnamese which is influenced a lot by Chinese traditions and ways of life. Lucky for me. 🙂 The restaurant was slam packed. The food is served family style. A friend who is a veteran foodie ordered for our table of eight hungry boys and girls.  

Once you place the order, the food comes out dish-by dish, fast and furious! So bust out your chopsticks and be ready! Seafood doesn’t take long preparing and served as fresh as possible. The highlight of the table was our thirteen-pounder lobster who sacrificed her life for us (which was still alive when we arrived, too. So, very fresh). She was beautiful and luscious. The meat was juicy, the sauce complemented it very well. The lobster was full of row (eggs), which is a delicacy. It was rich and quite yum. We also had orders of garlic pepper squid (THE BEST I have ever had.) It was crispy on the outside and perfectly juicy inside. The seasoning was simple how it should be for good seafood. We also had a crab dish, beef (I didn’t eat that, but heard it was ok), salt and pepper shrimp, chicken, crab and asparagus soup, Chinese broccoli, and mushroom and bok choy in oyster sauce. And boy, did we make a good use of that lazy Susan. We turned it around and around to sample a little LOT of everything.

The freshness of the food was ultimately the best thing I experienced, apart from the feast-like presentation, the hustle and bustle (always a good sign), the reasonable pricing and the fast service. My tip to you is to make reservations, know what seafood you like and they’ll guide you on how it is prepared best, order a kettle of hot tea to help cleanse your palate, and you must arrive there hungry. You will sooo love it!  So, Tan Cang Newport Seafood. Look them up. Hope you will give them a try. Stop by and say hi if you run into me. 😀

Lobster claw

The lobster claw was bigger than my head!

One more shot of the claw

Food is beautiful! 😀

This was the highlight of the night... actually, let's make it the weekend.

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Best Thai Grilled Chicken Recipe by Kanchana Rubino

Quick Thai lesson for today: ‘chicken’ is called Gai, and ‘to grill’- Yang.  

So I wanted to share with you my Gai Yang recipe today. I have been meaning to post it for quite a while now, so I am glad I could do it finally! As it is getting sunnier, warmer and beautiful here in Southern California (as it is most of the year!), it is time to get serious about BBQ again. This recipe is a part of the menu of my Thai cooking lessons. However, it is not so widely known yet and is not requested often as much as I like to share it. It is quite easy to make and above all, the flavors explode with every single bite you take. The secret is in the Cilantro roots, which you can find if you buy your cilantro at a farmer’s market. I usually buy cilantro there and what I do is cut off the stem with the roots and clean the dirt off with a pairing knife under the sink. scrub off as much dirt as you can. Then, pat them dry, put them in a zip top bag and freeze. They last months in the freezer. You can also use it when you make home-made chicken stock for a great aroma. Very mmm mmm good!  

Your friends and family will absolutely love this recipe, I promise! I probably cook this for gatherings at least 20 times a year. And it is still exciting! So here is the recipe and I have pictures step-by-step. I hope you will try it when you have a chance to.  DISCLAIMER: I didn’t have a free hand to take pictures of the end product, since I was busy turning the chicken wings. Be sure to use medium heat and to turn them often for crispy skin and evenly cooked meat!!

Black pepper corn to be freshly cracked.

Garlic & cilantro root

Mash garlic with the cilantro roots.

Black pepper, garlic and cilantro root paste.

Make a paste from pepper, cilantro root and garlic.

Fish Sauce

Add fish sauce(1/4 cup) and sugar (1/2 tbsp) to the paste.

 
Sauce & chicken wings.

Add the marinate to the chicken.

 
Marinate

Marinate at least 4 hours before grilling

So, I hope you will like this recipe. It is super easy and tastier than any other chicken marinate I have ever used myself and I think you will agree with me once you have tried. 

Thai it, you’ll like it!

Kanchana Rubino – http://www.sweetbasilinc.com – twitter @kanchanarubino

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