Tag Archives: Thai

They can’t all be winners

I love party food. This means chips, pizza, appetizers, and of course desserts. Obviously, I don’t have parties too frequently, and they aren’t necessarily the best for you (by default), so they’re more of a treat than a regular occurrence. But, with a little tweaking they can be healthier, and incorporated into more meals (at least I think so).

Prior to my trip to Trader Joe’s on Saturday, I check out their Fearless Flyer to see what deals they had, and also perused their website where they have just a few favorite recipes listed. I was immediately drawn to the Thai Chicken Pizza recipe, since it seemed so different. I’m always up for pizza, because as one of my fiancé’s teeshirts boasts, pizza is the best!

Unfortunately this pizza wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I think it might have been the peanut satay sauce used solely as the sauce for the pizza – it was a little too much. The cheese, scallions, carrot, and cabbage mix worked nicely, though. I left out the chicken because I forgot to grab the Chickenless Chicken strips I purchased from TJ’s out of my parent’s fridge when I was leaving. Maybe the lack of chicken was the culprit. Oh well, I’m just going to have to make up for it by making some Chickenless Buffalo Chicken Pizza next week.

My other culinary adventure this week, though, turned out to be a success. I made a Smokin’ Hoppin’ John, from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donel. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in quite a few different places, but finally settled on giving this variation a try, mainly because I already had the cookbook out when I was trying to plan our meals for the week.

Since I had the opportunity to throw it all in a pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes, it provided the perfect opportunity for me to fold the laundry pile that continued to grow as the week progressed. I also got to squeeze in a 45 minute yoga practice before starting to cook, and everything was ready in a reasonable amount of time. And I had leftovers… hello lunch!

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John via The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook
– Serves 6 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped coarsely
1 cup uncooked medium or long grain rice (I used long)
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 (20-oz) bag frozen black-eyed peas
2-3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water)
1/4 cup beer you like to drink (optional, but I added it!)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tsp salt or soy sauce (I used smoked salt)
scallions, grape tomatoes, chopped parsley, shredded cheddar, and/or hot sauce as garnishes

Directions:
1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the aromatics. Allow to toast for 1 minute. Add the smoked paprika and stir to coat.
3. Add the peas, followed by 2 cups of water, the beer (if using), and the chipotle chile. If not using beer, add 1/4 cup of water in it’s place. Bring to a lively simmer, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes without lifting the lid. At 25 minutes, check the rice for both doneness and moisture. The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy. If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid, a few Tbsp at a time (up to 1 cup). Return to the lid and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the salt or soy sauce, stir, and taste, adding more as you see fit.
5. Serve hot with any or all fixins <– I used shredded cheddar, and a chipotle hot sauce

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Filed under Pizza, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Pumpkin Soup and a Kitchen Farewell

About a year ago Serious Eats reviewed an instant pumpkin soup by Maggie and Mary, so I jumped at the chance to buy it. Yes, it took me a year to do so, but I finally tried it. Being our last real night in our soon to be old apartment, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so along side the soup we had grilled cheese. I sautéed some leftover red onion from the Spicy Quinoa we had, but that was the extent of my culinary adventure for dinner.

The soup was okay. I’m not sure if it’s because of how long it sat in my cabinet, or if it’s really just because it was powdered soup. It would probably be a whole lot better if there were some veggies thrown into it (maybe carrot, celery, even potato). But for something so quick and easy (add 4 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes) I can’t complain too much!

My co-worker and bridesmaid’s birthday is Friday (happy birthday Kierstin!), and she absolutely loves pie. So, I figured instead of doing my typical cupcake, I’d make her a pie! I went ahead and dug up an easy favorite – Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie! I made it on Pi Day this past year, and being it requires no baking and the mixing of only two ingredients, it was perfect. Hopefully she shares, so I can enjoy a sliver after we have our celebratory Thai birthday lunch!

My Coworker and I in our Best Friends Costume!

After we finished up with dinner and dessert, it was time to finally pack up the kitchen. All that’s currently left is our coffee maker (like we can move boxes without coffee!) and some perishables in the fridge. My parents have been kind enough to help us out, so they’re bringing over a cooler Saturday morning that we can put our refrigerated items in for the move. That’s the great thing about moving only 15 minutes away – we didn’t need to completely clean house in the food department. I have to say, our new kitchen is A LOT smaller, but it also has a dishwasher, which will be great for my fiancé. It’s overall a nicer place, too, so I have to take that into consideration. In the end I don’t think I’m really losing any counter space, though, which for me seems to be the most important anyway.

My next post will be from the new place, and I’m so excited to share it with you! It’ll take a few days before I’m fully settled to get cooking again, but I’ve got some really yummy recipes queued up!

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Filed under Cupcakes, Home Cooking

Spicy takes on a whole new meaning: Curry Udon Stir-Fry

I’ll be the first to try something spicy. It takes a lot for me to really think something is spicy, and even more for me to have it be at an unbearable level. Well, my friends, I may have met my match last night.

While grocery shopping last weekend, I scoured the asiles for a red chile. When ShopRite came up empty handed (no surprise there), I picked up a bag of Jamaican hot peppers, and hoped for the best. The bag itself gives no indication on what type of peppers they are, but there was some red, green, and orange, so I figured I would just use one of the red ones in the bag. I needed the pepper for a recipe I had found last week on Serious Eats, a Curry Udon Stir-Fry. The recipe has a great combination of Indian, Thai, and Japanese flavors that work really well together. The recipe also called for Garam Masala, which I realized is really just a combination of spices. After talking with a co-worker, she told me I should just look up a recipe and make it myself, since everyone makes it differently, and while they sell it mixed, it’s best fresh. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any cardamom, so the Garam Masala was out. It was still really great though!

It was an easy recipe, but required a lot of attention – quite a few things were going on at once (making the roux, sautéing the vegetables, cooking the noodles). But if you don’t mind multitasking and trying to keep everything going, you’ll be fine! I also had the luxury of using my newest obsession, thanks to Shelby over at Eat, Drink, Run. I’ve been on the prowl for a decent online recipe cataloging-styled system lately, and she suggested KartMe. Well my friends, so far, so good! I currently have two categories of carts – Dinner Recipes and Baking/Dessert Recipes, but you can make carts and lists of anything. I’m a fan!

So a word to the wise would probably be to not buy a random bag of hot peppers if you don’t want to sweat during your meal. However, if you’re like myself and my fiancé and think that’s fun, then go for it! We sweat throughout our meal, had stinging tongues and lips, and actually grabbed some milk (a first for both of us). My stomach was warm for quite a few hours afterwards also. But it was definitely worth it. Maybe next time I’ll use half of the pepper, though. Now that I have an entire bag of hot peppers, I guess I should start scouring the internet for some yummy recipes I can throw into my KartMe list. Any suggestions are welcome!

Curry Udon Stir-Fry
– Serves 2-3 –
Adapted from The Kitchn.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh udon
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 red bell pepper, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 hot red chile, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/2 pound broccoli florets, chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the udon according to the directions on the packaging. Drain, and then rinse well under cold water.
2. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the flour. Stir well, and cook until the roux browns, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the curry powder and garam masala to the roux, cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock. Continue whisking, and add the sugar. When the sauce is thick, turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside.
4. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Then add the ginger, red bell pepper, and chile. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Add the udon noodles to the pan. cook for about a minute, and then pour in the soy sauce. Cook for a minute.
6. Whisk in the remaining vegetable broth with the curry roux. Pour this sauce into the pan with the noodles. Stir well, and cook for another minute or so, until warm.

So today I’m going to leave you with a question: Do you like spicy foods? What’s the spiciest food/meal you’ve ever had?

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Running and food are a perfect combination

Downtown Westfield is doing something right. At first, you might think to yourself – why on earth would I want to run a 5k at 7pm at the end of July? That’s just asking for torture. Well, perhaps because you’ll get to eat all the pizza you want as soon as you cross the finish line. Yes, as soon as you cross that finish line the first thing on your mind is water and to continue walking, but once the nausea passes and you realize it’s over, hunger sets in.

For the past few years (I believe about 9) Downtown Westfield in New Jersey (my home town!) has been doing a 5k pizza run extravaganza. If you’re unfamiliar with Westfield, it’s a pretty nice town; it’s won the Main Street USA award a few years, the television show Ed was filmed here as well as tid bits of quite a few commercials and movies. It was also called home by the creator of The Addams Family, Langston Hughes, Dave Brown (Giants), Zora Neale Hurston, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe… you get the drift.

This is my second year running the race, and last year it was actually my first 5k, and second road race. It started to drizzle and there was some serious wind and lightning before the start, but I was hopeful it’d hold out until we were done – and it did! I decided to rock my newly acquired No Meat Athlete shirt, which is adorable! Even though I’m not 100% veggie and my fiancé joked it was false advertising, I think the idea behind the shirt, and the fact that I’m at least conscious and mindful about what I eat is what counts!

Happily rockin' my shirt pre-race

I had a little trouble starting MapMyFitness on my iPhone once the race started, so people were pushing me out of the way (rude!). It was honestly one of the rudest races I’ve ever run – people were cutting me off left and right, zig zagging so I couldn’t get in front of them, and elbowing me and invading my personal space! I had a cramp within the first half mile till the end, and my side is actually a little sore from it. But in the end I finished in 25:21, almost a minute faster than my previous PR, set last October. Hoorah! With the heat and humidity, and it being at 7p after a full day of work, I was very pleased.

Down the home stretch... I have no idea how both feet are planted

Once the race was over, my fiancé had a slice of pizza while I guzzled a ton of water, and we focused on trying to cool off. Since the race was in my home town, my parents so graciously offered for us to come over to enjoy dinner from one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Thailand. Being a creature of habit, both my fiancé and I ordered our ususals; I got Pad Kee Mao, and he got the Chicken Pad Thai (nice and spicy, of course). We also all shared an order of spring rolls, and some salad. I’m a huge fan of the salad because it comes with some fried tofu and a delicious peanut dressing. After relaxing a bit more, we shared a caramel pretzel Klondike bar, which are my newest obession. I’ve always been a huge fan of Klondikes, but these are amazing! Crunchy, sweet, and salty are the perfect combination. I highly recommend them.

I’m looking forward to some more deliciousness this weekend, including a trip to the beach tomorrow for our half day with a stop at WaWa, and some type of BBQ on Saturday. Oh yeah, and some running.

Happy healthy nomzing!

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Filed under Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

A Failed Attempt at Cupcake Camp NYC Still Ended Sweetly

This past Friday was the second annual Cupcake Camp NYC. You may find yourself asking, “What is this camping cupcake nonsense?” Well, yes, there are cupcakes, but no, there isn’t any camping. It’s basically an ad-hoc gathering for cupcake lovers alike. From bakers to writers and bloggers, and everyone in between, it’s an event to get together and mingle with other cupcake nerds. And Cupcake Camp happens all over the WORLD!

Having heard about the event awhile ago, I was pumped and ready to go. When the tickets were finally made available in March, I made sure to get myself and my fiancé a pair. Since they were free, I was more than ecstatic at the mere thought getting to see (let alone eat) some awesome cupcakes, and potentially brush shoulders with some seriously important cupcake people. You know, like my favorite blog Cupcakes Take the Cake. Or the owner of Buttercup Bake Shop! So once the day rolled around, my fiancé and I made sure to leave work 45 minutes early to get into the city as soon as possible.

Cupcake Camp was held at Happy Ending on Broome Street on the lower east side. When we were approaching our destination, my heart sunk. The event started at 7pm, and it was only about 7:10. The line was not only out the door, but down the street, and around the corner. I mean, I knew it was going to be crowded – everyone loves cupcakes. I couldn’t help but think to myself; “I got my tickets a month early! I love cupcakes way more than these people! I’m even wearing my cupcake necklace! My fiancé and I have mushy gushy cupcake love! THIS ISN’T FAIR!”

The dreaded line

The dreaded line

After whining in my head till the end of the line, we got in line, and waited. We waited and waited, and we didn’t actually get in until just a bit after 8pm. On the way in, we heard a few people echoing “There aren’t any cupcakes left!” while they walked out with boxes of leftover goodies. I sincerely hoped they were lying, but my hopes were dashed once I finally got inside. Any cupcakes that were left were already spoken for by others. There were a few authors selling their cupcake books, and everyone was just mingling and enjoying one another’s company. The bar was so packed, it was nearly impossible to move. After making our rounds, my fiancé and I left, a little disappointed, and very hungry.

I am utterly shocked at how many people were there! It was truly impressive. I mean, I know cupcakes are the “it” trend right now, but man! I suppose the word “free” might have played it’s part as well. I’m definitely going to make an attempt at next year’s gathering. But I think some camping might be involved this time. Forget about leaving work 45 minutes early – I’m going to need to take the whole day!

After that fail, we decided to head over to Dos Toros Taqueria, a place I had read about on SeriousEats. They compared it a lot to Chipotle, so as a burrito fanatic, I was in. When we got there, though, we faced our second fail of the evening. It’s an extremely small place – only one window bench with about 4 seats. And, the line was out the door. Since it was a bit chilly and windy, we decided to save that deliciousness for a day we could really enjoy it. We settled on the Thai restaurant Spice. We passed one of their other locations en route to Dos Toros and had already perused the menu, so we figured that would suffice. I really think Friday was the night of the foodies. We walked past Momofuku‘s Milk Bar and that line was even more outrageous! [I still need to get in on that chicken dinner!]

When we got to Spice, we were told we’d have about a 20 minute wait, which isn’t so bad for 9pm on a Friday in the city. Thankfully, we only wound up waiting about 10 minutes, and we were brought upstairs to our table. We decided to get an order of the spicy calamari to share. It wasn’t spicy so much as it had a nice crisp black pepper taste. The dipping sauce was sweet, tangy, and peanuty with a little kick all at the same time. I really enjoyed it.

Spicy Crispy Calamari with Sriracha honey chili sauce

For our entrees, I went with the Drunken Man Noodles, and my fiancé went for his go-to Pad Thai. The Drunken Man Noodles were broad rice noodles (my favorite!) with chicken, shrimp and squid along with chili, egg, and green beans.

Drunk Man Noodle

Our food came quickly, and it was actually really good. Being the spicy lovers that we are, we asked for extra spice. Surprisingly, despite the restaurant’s name, the food wasn’t spicy. That would be my only gripe about the place. The service was friendly, but they didn’t check-up on us once. It worked out since everything was fine, but if it hadn’t been, I wonder if we would have had trouble flagging someone down. At any rate, for a $30 dinner in the city, I really can’t complain.

To end our night on an even higher note, we headed over to 16 Handles. My fiancé and I actually went here on our fourth date, after dining at the Telephone Bar which is sadly now closed. 16 Handles really is as great as it sounds. There are 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt that you get to choose from yourself, followed by a plethora of toppings. It’s all done buffet style, so you get to pick your cup size, yogurt and topping choices, and then pay by weight. They have everything from sweet to tart flavors, non-dairy and low fat options, and both fruity and candy-like toppings. Being the sweets junkie that I am, I went for red velvet, cookies & cream, New York cheesecake and peanut butter yogurt (just a dollop of each!). I then topped it off with some cookie dough bites, brownie bites, crushed graham crackers, crushed Oreo, and mashed Reese’s peanut butter cups. Oh. Yes. Take a look at the masterpiece!:

16 Handles of deliciousness

So all in all, despite not getting a cupcake, I think I had a successful foodie evening. And I made up for the lack of cupcakes by getting a Crumbs cappuccino and half baked cupcake Saturday. Plus, I’m on Sunday I was able to whip up some peanut butter cupcakes from my 500 Cupcakes recipe book! Maybe next year I’ll be adventurous and bake my OWN cupcakes for the event! We’ll see 🙂

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Filed under Cupcakes, Food Review, Restaurant