Strawberry season signifies the beginning of summer here in New Hampshire. This year we opened the Cedar Circle Farm at 7am, jammin’ with their background music of The Grateful Dead, and within one hour my pickers were finished and we had 26 pounds of strawberries! We made strawberry mouse, strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and froze 10 pounds for smoothies.
Ok, so I’ve now become obsessed with finding and/or making the perfect laksa. It is my new go to comfort food and I just can’t get enough. I’ve eaten it out at 4 different restaurants in Manly and plan to try one in Sydney next week after my half-marathon. This recipe combination is my favorite so far! I tried laksa the paste made by Ayam – Malaysian Laksa Paste – and was right on with both taste and spice (it has two chili peppers). Laksa is very easy to make and can be on the table in 30-40 minutes depending on the meat or vegetables you add.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 pound roasted pumpkin, sliced in 1 inch thickness
1 jar Ayam Laksa Paste (185 grams)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
200 grams dried vermicelli rice noodles
2 cups bok choy, washed and cut coarsely
1/2 cup Thai basil
1/2 cup cilantro
fried asian shallots, garnish
red chili, sliced, garnish
Heat oven to 190c or 375f.
Place pumpkin on rimmed baking sheet and coat with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or sesame oil). Roast covered with foil 30-40 minutes.
Heat oil in wok.
Add laksa paste and sauce about a minute until fragrant.
Add chicken, stock, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Simmer 5 minutes.
Add pumpkin and bok choy, simmer 2 minutes more.
Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse.
Divide noodles among the bowls, ladle laksa over noodles.
Top with sprouts, basil, cilantro, dried shallots and red chili (if using).
I saw this recipe in the New York Times this week and had to try it! First it is a salad that can be served as a main course and second I’ve never made roasted chickpeas and really have wanted to so here was my opportunity!! The recipe came together easily and my daughter even pitched in and made the dressing! Any combo of vegetables works, just be sure to keep an eye on the chickpeas – I charred a few of mine 😉
Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 pounds pumpkin (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper, as needed
2 thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 ounces spinach (6 cups)
2 tablespoons shallots thinly sliced
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash chickpeas, drain and dry them on paper towels.
Toss veggies with 2 tablespoons oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread on rimmed baking sheet and top with thyme. Roast until golden brown and tender 40- 50 minutes.
Toss chickpeas with 2 tablespoons oil, chili powder, cumin and salt. Spread on another rimmed backing sheet and place in the oven about 10 minutes after the veggies. Roast until golden brown, 30-40 minutes.
Mash garlic to a paste with a large pinch of salt. Whisk garlic, yogurt and lemon juice in small bowl. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place spinach in a large bowl, toss with dressing and add roasted vegetables and chickpeas.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the huge influence that Asia has on modern day Australian food. I’ve learned a few new dishes and new names for old favorites. (For example, ‘Dim Sum’ is called ‘Yum Cha’.) With all of the new opportunities for Asian dining I’ve decided to try a bunch of the soups that I’ve only seen others eat, my current favorite being Curry Laksa (before moving here I hadn’t even heard of ‘laksa’ 😉 ). As I’m writing this, I’ve discovered that laksa is combination of influences from China and Malaysia. And that curry laksa is a combination of curry soup and noodles (either laksa or vermicelli noodles).
I ended up finally making a curry laksa tonight because I made a cauliflower soup and knew the kids would gobble all of it up, so we needed 2 soups. I guess having 2 soups is sort of a family tradition – my Dad quite often can be found ordering 2 soups when we are out to dinner, one for the appetizer and one for the main.
We started making this recipe about a year ago and it is a family favorite. The kids absolutely love it with crackers or garlic soldiers. My husband and I put a swirl of truffle oil and pepper on top – yummy! So simple and delicious. The recipe says serves 8, but there is never enough for a main for my family of 5!
It’s about time I put this recipe up, we make them every week. My interpretation of the crazy maze of what is ok and not for food is everything in moderation and homemade it better than prepackaged, especially for kids lunches. So I make these often because since it is a bar recipe, they can be made in very little time. But be warned, they are so quick that you can actually make them in the morning and have them ready for the kids lunches – and if they smell the yummy bars in the morning, they might just want dessert after breakfast – and that’s ok by me 😉
Heat oven to 325 degrees f (163 degrees c). Adjust rack to lower middle position. Line 13×9 inch pan with foil (pushing it to the corners and the sides of the pan). Spray foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.
Mix butter and sugars together until combined. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Smooth batter in prepared pan.
Cook for 25-30 minutes and golden brown. The sides will start to pull away from the pan. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove from the pan by lifting up on the foil overhang on the sides. Slice into bars.
This is our latest twist on poached eggs, and it is definitely worth trying. The salsa is made first and adds a really fresh flavor to the poached eggs. I’m not sure if Turkish Toast is readily available in the US, as I only just discovered it here in Australia, but it is delicious!
Combine first 5 ingredients and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Bring large saucepan to a boil. Add about a tablespoon vinegar, and a teaspoon salt and reduce to a simmer. Swirl the water with a whisk and gently put and egg in the water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from water with slotted spoon and cover to keep warm. Repeat for remaining eggs.
This has slowly crept in and is now a an official member of our rotation – I only say official since my not spicy 8 year old ate a huge bowl! I’ve made it a habit of always making too much rice since this recipe is so darn easy to make later in the week, it takes about 20 minutes start to finish. Also, I highly recommend making a batch of Thai Chili Dipping Sauce to be served on the side at the table, in my opinion it is what makes the dish authentic. This recipe was combines several variations of fried rice from one of my favorite chefs, Mark Bittman – he is a runner too! It is found on his app ‘How to Cook Everything’ under variations for Simple Fried Rice (which is very tasty too). Here is a link to a video Bittman did on the Today Show featuring Impromptu Fried Rice – showing how fried rice is both versatile and economical!
Well it happened, 6 months after being here in Australia, we have one down (fever 102)! Never fear though, sick soup is here. This is our tried and true soup that my Mom always made us when we were sick, and now my kids ask for it by name, even when they are not sick and just want some comfort food. It is a Vietnamese style chicken and rice soup with just the right amounts of ginger and garlic.