Posts Tagged herbs

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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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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