Pad Thai with Shrimp

Pad Thai with Shrimp is an Alton Brown recipe from Food Network. I have re-written his recipe for a couple of reasons. First, his original recipe only makes two servings. I try to have all of my tried-and-true recipes sized appropriately for my family. We like leftovers for weekday lunches, so I quadrupled his recipe. Second, there is a lot going on in his original recipe, perhaps too much definitely more than we are able to manage for a week night dinner. And honestly, more than it needs. For this reason, I have left a few things out, like marinated tofu, salted cabbage and dried shrimp. The remaining ingredients can be purchased in any decent mom-and-pop Asian grocery store. The rice noodles I like to put in a bowl in hot tap water a couple of hours before I want to use them. My 12-year-old gets home at 4:30pm and this is an easy job for her to do.

Pad Thai with Shrimp
adapted from Alton Brown of Food Network

Ingredients:

12 – 16 oz thin rice stick noodles
1/2 C fish sauce
1 block palm sugar
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
4 oz tamarind paste
Canola oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
8 tsp minced garlic (1/8 C + 2 tsp)
3 whole eggs, beaten slightly
12 oz shrimp, shells removed and deveined
Bean sprouts
Roasted salted peanuts, chopped

Directions

One to two hours ahead of time, place the rice stick noodles in a mixing bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let sit until ready to start cooking. Drain.

Combine the fish sauce, palm sugar, rice wine vinegar and tamarind paste in a small bowl and set aside.

Place wok over high heat. Once hot, add enough oil to coat. Heat until the oil shimmers. Add about 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic, and cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs to the pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble. Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauce, shrimp, a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts, and a handful of peanuts. Toss until shrimp are pink and everything is heated through.

Garnish with remaining scallions, and more bean sprouts and peanuts.

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Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Garlic Roasted Broccoli is proof positive of what I have come to believe about vegetables: roasted is always the best way to go. We’ve never done the lemon wedges nor the parmesan cheese that it calls for and frankly, it doesn’t need it. The broccoli turns out sort of crisp-tender, and the roasting process intensifies its flavor, rather than watering it down like some cooking methods. It makes a tasty, healthy side dish to go with a wide variety of proteins. Even better, it’s simple to prepare and a quick fix from start to finish. Often, we stage the broccoli while our protein is cooking, and then the broccoli roasts in the oven while the protein rests on the counter, nestled under a sheet of aluminum foil.

Garlic Prawns in Hot Sauce

Garlic Prawns in Hot Sauce is a recipe that comes from a cookbook that I no longer have. I love this recipe, and yet, I didn’t want to make any of the other recipes in the book. When this happens, I make a copy of the recipe(s) that I want to keep, and give away the cookbook to make more room on my bookshelf. My copy of the book called for 2 pounds of shrimp, 1/3 cup of bamboo shoots, and the cornflour was listed as cornstarch, but everything else is the same. If I don’t have any fresh basil already growing in my garden, then I just leave it out; this recipe doesn’t really need it. We do love, however, to add asparagus: one bunch cut into 2 inch pieces and stir fried w/ the rest of the veggies is a fabulous addition.

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding is one of those recipes that make me wonder at the existence of mixes. The ingredients are everything I have on hand anyway, and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes from start to finish. I usually make this dairy-free, using vanilla almond milk, but you could totally just use regular milk if that’s what you prefer. It does call for a bit of margarine or butter, but if you are eating dairy-free, chances are you have some dairy-free margarine already on hand. The pudding just needs an extra bit of fat to make it creamy. For vanilla pudding, just leave out the cocoa and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
4 C milk (vanilla almond milk works well)
4 Tbs margarine or butter
2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the milk as one continuous stream. Place over medium heat and continue whisking. After the mixture comes to a boil, cook it until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the margarine and vanilla.

Chill before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Avocado Mango Chicken

Avocado Mango Chicken is a recipe that doesn’t seem like it should work. With Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in the marinade, you wouldn’t think that it would go well with an avocado mango salsa, but it is delicious. Rather than serving a corn tortilla on the side, like the recipe suggests, I like to serve the cooked chicken chopped, on the tortillas like tacos, with the salsa on top. We use slightly more salt than is called for, but otherwise we do this as written. I also like to use just the salsa by itself on No Waste Tacos de Carnitas. Unfortunately, the salsa doesn’t keep well, so we try not to make more than we think we can consume in a single meal.

Introducing an avocado into any meal can make meal planning challenging, since the avocado has a fairly narrow window of perfect eating. One trick we have learned, is that uncut avocados can be placed in the refrigerator when they are ready to eat. This will slow the ripening process and give you a couple more days’ worth of potential perfect eating. When you buy groceries exactly once a week like I do, this is a bonus. I can grocery shop on Sunday or Monday and I can still plan this recipe on a Friday and not have to worry that the avocado will be brown and yucky by the time I need it.

No Waste Tacos de Carnitas

When I find an on-line recipe that I want to use, I print a hard copy, put the copy into a page protector and file it in a 3″ binder. I now have 11 binders, all full of recipes. This recipe is a perfect example of why I do this. No Waste Tacos de Carnitas has changed since I originally printed it and put it in my recipe binder. The author has added a salsa verde to the recipe, but the ingredient list and the directions are now mixed together, just assuming that you are going to want to do both. However, any number of accompaniments are appropriate, such as a mango salsa like the one from Avocado Mango Chicken. All that said, this recipe is a great weekend or holiday dish. It calls for boneless pork butt, which tends to be a pretty affordable cut of meat, to say nothing of tasty! We have also done this method with boneless skinless chicken thighs for friends of ours who don’t eat pork, and it worked really well.

Because the recipe has changed from how I know it, I am going to reprint the recipe that I use here. I have linked to the page of the original author. Everything that follows were the author’s original words. If you are interested in a salsa verde, by all means, click on the link. Based on how much I like this recipe, I’m betting the salsa verde is delicious as well.

No Waste Tacos de Carnitas
by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Carnitas can be prepared through step 3 up to three days in advance. Pork can be crisped up straight from the refrigerator.

Serves 4 – 6, active time 45 minutes, total time 4 1/2 hours.

Ingredients

1 small onion, quartered
3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
1 medium orange (or a lime)
4 cloves garlic, split in half
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
1/4 C vegetable oil
24 corn tortillas

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season pork chunks with salt and place in a 9 by 13 glass casserole or large Corning Ware dish. The pork should fill the dish with no spaces. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork. Nestle squeezed orange pieces into casserole. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick to casserole. Nestle everything into an even layer. Pour vegetable oil over surface. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is pull-apart tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Set a large fine-meshed strainer over a bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork and discard. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of fat. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Add fat back to the pork, and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Liquid can be reserved for another purpose.

To serve, place casserole dish with pork 4-inches under a high broiler and broil until brown and crisp on surface, about 6 minutes. Remove pork, stir with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp. Tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat tortillas. Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in a bowl filled with water. Transfer to hot skillet and cook until water evaporates from first side and tortilla is browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until dry, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad works best, in our opinion, with a lighter, less hearty variety of kale. We grow our own in our garden. Our favorite variety for salads is called Red Winter. If you are buying your kale in a grocery store or farmer’s market, look for delicate, tender leaves. The salad has mango in it, which gives it a sweet note. As a result, it pairs especially well with something a bit spicy, such as Seared Chipotle Shrimp.