Posts Tagged food

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!

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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!

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Step by step – how to clean cilantro roots for Thai cooking.

Cilantro is a fragrant herb that can light up a blah dish. The leaves are delicate and are usualy used for garnishing. Did you know that the roots have even stronger aroma but have the strength to withstand mashing and heat and deliver that aroma to many of your culinary creations? A good example, if you make your own chicken stock, try using the roots when you add the celery, onion and carrot for the mirepoix. The mashed roots will take the stock to another level. Cilantro root is good excellent for killing fishy smells. So next time you marinate fish, try a root in your marinate. Your fish will smell like roses.. Just kidding. They will smell noticably fresh.

In superstores, cilantro comes with their roots chopped off. If you buy it at your local farmers market, you will have better luck. See the following pictures on how to clean them up. The good news is that they freeze so well, that you can store them for months of usage.

As always, Thai it, you’ll like it!! 😉

Cut them about 4 inches from the base of the stems.

See the dirty roots? That's what we're cleaning.

Run a pairing knife up and down the surface of the roots. That is my attempt to make it look like I am moving. 😛

See the difference??

Repeat until finish and rinse well. Then, dry on a kitchen towel. Store in a zip top bag and freeze.

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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! 😀

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Meet my other friend – Tom– Tom Yum

You must think I’m joking and playing around with this name after I pulled the Clawed-ine joke. 😀  Tom Yum is actually a name of a soup that is one of the most famous soups in the world. It is the Thai spicy and sour soup. Usually with shrimp or chicken in it. The soup is chicken broth or vegetable broth-based soup, so it is quite light. A good friend of mine went on a diet of this soup for two months along with eating sufficient servings of fresh whole fruits and vegetables and lost a significant amount of weight. Of course, this is not meant to starve you into being thin, because it is unhealhty. If 5-6 small light meals are the ticket to great health, Tom Yum totally fits the bill. The soup is very satifying, because of all the flavors you get and it is not over powered by fatty creams and too much protein. And you serve it with rice, so it is plenty filling.

Here is how you make it.

Ingredients:

3 cups chicken broth

1 stalk lemongrass, mashed and cut at an angle

3 slices of galangal (it’s ok to use fresh ginger root for substitute, but galangal is better, if you can find it.)

4 leaves of kaffir lime leaves, torn to release the heavenly aroma (or lime zest)

1 Thai chili pepper (or jalapeno)

1/4 cup sliced shallots or red onion

1 lime

3 tbsp. fish sauce or 1 teaspoon salt   – Make me proud and don’t use soy sauce in this dish. 😉

6-10 shrimp ( I like to buy whole and I de-vein and peel them and leave the head and tail on. Don’t freak out. It adds such great flavors to the soup. But you can totaly use whatever shrimp you like. :))

4 mushrooms quartered

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Serves 2, but you might not want to share!

Here’s how:

– Bring the broth to a boil.

– Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, and the chili in the boiling broth.

– Season with fish sauce and add mushrooms.

– Once the broth comes to a boil, add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove from heat.

– Squeeze in the lime and garnish with cilantro.

– Serve fresh and hot on jasmine rice.

– Mmmm.. Yummmmm… 😀

Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp

Best soup in the world! 😀

I hope you will give it a try and let me know how your soup turns out. Feel free to post questions. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thai it, you’ll like it! 😉

Well, the weekend starts in about 4 hours. Make sure to enjoy every minute of it!

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Thai Cooking Instructor on a Not-So-Spicy Day

I usually get a “wow!”, “yum!” or ” looks soooo good!” for my culinary creations. And I’d better, if I want to teach Thai cooking classes. However, there ARE times when eating, let alone cooking, becomes overrated. Today is one of those rare days that I could only spend literally 2 minutes on the production and a couple of minutes on the destruction (eating ;)). So I returned to one of the classics and it turned out so YUM that I will be repeating. I made a sandwich with peanut butter, Nutella (aka Heaven in a Jar) and banana slices. This is how it looks. Not too shabby ha?

Quite YUM, I must say...

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Sweet Basil Inc. Food Display

I didn’t come to appreciate food photography until I had the wonderful Jackie Lovato of Lovato Images over for a very fun shoot one day. We decided I will cook a few dishes, plate up and they will be shot as I finish cooking. We had such a great shoot! Got to know each other. Jackie Lovato is one of a kind. She radiates happiness, very fun to work with and very good quality work. I tell people that my food is really good, but Jackie is the one who can make you almost taste it when you see the photographs. Thanks again, Jackie.

Here are some samples of the pictures. Enjoy, my friends!

The weekend starts in about 2 hours! 😀

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