Thursday, June 28, 2012

Radish and Snow Peas on Baguette Slices

There isn't much to say about this recipe other than it was a way to use up some radishes and snow peas.

So to entertain you, here are some pretty radish pictures.

I grew these radishes in my garden at work.

If you love radishes (or even like them), you should definitely grow some. They are ready in about a month from seed to plate. They don't need much other than regular watering and some love.

And then when your radishes are all grown up, you can make this recipe. See? I'm thinking ahead for you.

Radish and Snow Peas on Baguette Slices
Serves 2-4

2 radishes, thinly sliced
handful of snow peas
a few baguette slices

Spread butter on baguette slices and top with radishes and snow peas. Simple yet delicious!

Time: 5 minutes


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Asparagus and Beef Pad Thai

I love pad Thai. It's typically one of the first Thai dishes anyone had when they first try the cuisine and it's easy to see why. The noodles are bathed in a sweet but salty sauce and there is crunch from the peanuts and bean sprouts. Plus, I mean, who doesn't love to eat noodles?

I don't eat pad Thai much anymore since most places add a scrambled egg to the dish, but I have made it at a home a few times. It's actually really simple. One of my favorite versions is from Williams Sonoma's World Kitchen. I decided to do my own spin on pad Thai by adding my favorite spring vegetable, asparagus.

The sauce for my version is not as heavy as what you typically would find in a restaurant. I liked that it was lighter, but if you prefer a stronger flavor, just simply double the ingredients for the sauce.

Try a new spin on pad Thai instead of takeout for dinner tonight!

Asparagus and Beef Pad Thai
adapted from Williams Sonoma World Kitchen
Serves 4

1/2 package rice sticks
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 lb. sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
peanut oil

For sauce: 
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp agave syrup
1/4 c. water

Green onions, bean sprouts and peanuts for garnish

1. Bring water to a boil. Put rice sticks in a long shallow dish and pour boiling water over top just to cover. Let stand until noodles are soft on the outside, but still brittle on the inside, and drain. They will continue to cook in the pan later. Set aside.
2. Bring another pot of water to a boil and blanch asparagus for 1 minute. Remove from pot and place in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large saute pan or wok, heat peanut oil over medium high heat. Add onions and stir fry for 1 minute. Add beef and stir fry until the beef is no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Mix together ingredients for sauce. Add to pan and stir until thickened. Add the noodles and stir to coat noodles in sauce. Keep stirring until noodles are soft, but not mushy. Add beef, onions, asparagus and some bean sprouts; stir to distribute evenly.
5. Garnish with green onion slices, more bean sprouts and peanuts.

Time: 45 minutes


 Shared at Whole Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Potato and Pea Curry with Chicken

I have been on an Indian kick lately (which so far has ceased, but may pop up unexpectedly! You have been warned! hehe), which would explain this curry. I have a pdf cookbook called 30 Minute Indian, which really intrigued me since most of my favorite dishes require marinating or simmering for long periods of time.

This is the first recipe I tried from the book, and I really loved it! I ate it for almost 3 days straight with no problem. The leftovers tasted just as good! I served it with some toasted naan and basmati rice.

If you have never had Indian food before, this would be a great starting recipe. It doesn't require any special spice mixtures or ingredients. I have changed the recipe a little bit from the one in the book, but mainly kept the flavors the same. I also added in some chicken for a little protein.

The book definitely stays true to it's name in that this dish was ready in about 30 minutes. Give Indian food a try tonight!

Potato and Pea Curry with Chicken
Serves 4

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 c. frozen peas
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 lb potatoes, diced
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saute pan, cook chicken in oil over medium high heat until brown. Remove from pan. Cook onions, ginger and garlic together over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add potato, chicken, spices and a cup of water to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add peas during last 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Time: 30 minutes


 Shared at Whole Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays .

Friday, June 22, 2012

Salami and Asparagus Salad with Pesto Dressing

This is another "hey what in the fridge can I toss together to make dinner?" kind of meal. It was getting late, I didn't feel like going to the store after work and I needed dinner. I had salami, goat mozzarella, leftover asparagus and some pesto sauce. I didn't feel like pasta, so I made a salad!

This salad really reminded me of one of my favorite snacks I had growing up. It was iceberg lettuce, salami, pepperjack cheese, diced white onion and Italian Good Seasonings dressing. I loved eating that salad and would eat bowl fulls. I think my newer version is a lot tastier and has more grown up flavors, don't ya think?

Salami and Asparagus Salad with Pesto Dressing
Serves 1

salami, cubed
mozzarella cheese, goat or cow
asparagus, steamed and cut into pieces
your favorite salad green mix
pesto sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together 1 tbsp pesto sauce with about 1 tbsp olive oil to make a dressing like consistency. Add a little more olive oil if you like a runnier dressing. Toss salami, cheese, asparagus pieces and salad greens. Drizzle dressing over the top.

Time: 5 minutes


 Shared at Whole Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Bean Soup with Mexican Chorizo

Unless something is absolutely so terrible I cannot eat it, I usually try to salvage the dishes that don't turn out so well. This soup gave me a rather lot of trouble during my salvaging mission. I made it according to the recipe I had, but it just wasn't the way I wanted it to be. I let it sit overnight in the fridge while I thought of what I could do to it to make it the soup of my dreams. I wanted it spicy, flavorful, so delicious I would want seconds or thirds. The soup I got was bland, the texture was off and I didn't want more than a spoonful. Not to mention, the color was a very not appetizing olive green.

I decided to go back to the store and buy another can of black beans to add some texture. I also bought some Mexican chorizo, cooked it up, and added it in. I also grabbed some diced bell pepper and some cilantro to stir in on top. The result was exactly what I wanted! The texture was perfect, smooth, yet chunky. The flavor was spicy yet homey.

Give it a try for dinner tonight!

Black Bean Soup with Mexican Chorizo
adapted from Betty Crocker Cooking Basics
Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
1 slice bacon, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 tube Mexican chorizo
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Cilantro leaves

1. Cook the bacon in a large stock pot over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not drain. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. 2. Stir in the chicken broth, carrot, and celery. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook chorizo in a large saute pan for 5 minutes until cooked. Drain on paper towels.
3. Drain one can of black beans in a strainer, and rinse with cool water. Mash beans. Let soup cool for a little while, then blend to a smooth consistency in a blender. Return to stock pot.
4. Stir the can of whole beans, the mashed beans and chorizo into the broth mixture. Cook about 1 minute or until beans are heated. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle red bell pepper and cilantro on top.


Monday, June 18, 2012


Have you ever watched the show Gilmore Girls? It's one of my favorites, mostly because when I started watching it, I felt like I could completely relate to Rory (and a bit to Lorelai). I love to read and I love to learn and I talk just as fast as Lorelai.

At one point, Rory inspired me to read more so I compiled a list of books that I want to read. (I'm a list maker!) It got so huge that I got overwhelmed and quit trying to complete it. I really do enjoy reading, but lately I've been in a reading slump. I have mostly been reading Daniel Silva novels (which are my favorite!) but I've read them before.

My reading list. Yup it's that big!
Yesterday, for Father's Day, we went to the Tap House Grill in Bellevue. Right next door there is a Barnes and Noble, and we made a visit some my mom could get a few gifts for her top students. As soon as we stepped inside, my love for reading suddenly reappeared. My longing for curling up with a good book was awakened. I could have stayed in there for hours. While my family was looking around, I picked up the Count of Monte Cristo, a book I've been meaning to read for years, and started to read it. I completely forgot where I was. Finally, my phone went off because my family couldn't find me. I had been so entranced in the book, I forgot that we weren't staying for very long.

This wave of emotion came over me that I hadn't felt in a long time. I felt this intense desire to find a nice, little, comfy coffee shop where I could curl up with a book and a cup of tea and read for hours. I wanted to pull out that list of books, dust it off and start over again.

As soon as I got home, I logged onto my local library website and put 3 books on hold: A Bell for Adano by John Hersey, Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis and Candide by Voltaire. I read these three a long time ago and they were the first three on my list. I cannot wait till they come in to my library so I can devour them!

How do you decide what book to read?

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