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Pad Thai at Home

by Anne Maxfield on April 29, 2019

Accidental Locavore Pad Thai PlatedI’ve always like Pad Thai, but never really thought about making it myself until I saw this recipe on David Lebovitz’s website. It feeds 2 but if you get greedy, you might want to double the recipe. Just saying.

Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces dried thin, flat rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on (preferably)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten together in a small bowl
  • 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 ounces firm tofu
  • 3 scallions (just the green parts), cut into 1 1/2“pieces
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, plus an additional 2-3 tablespoons (chopped) for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Sriracha, optional to taste

Accidental Locavore Pad Thai CookingBring a saucepan of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the noodles. Let the noodles sit in the water for 5 minutes, stirring them a few times as they sit. Drain the noodles and rinse well under cold running water, separating the noodles with your fingers, and set aside.

Mix the fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re just about cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the wok or skillet and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok or skillet and add the shallots and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the cooked noodles and fish sauce mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring, until everything is well combined.

Push the noodles to the side of the wok or skillet and add the eggs to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until they start to set, about 30 seconds, then add the cooked shrimp, 1 cup of the bean sprouts, the tofu, scallions, and 1/4 cup peanuts. Continue to cook, stirring, until everything is well combined and heated through, about 30 seconds. If the mixture looks a little dry (the noodles should be slicked with sauce with some extra floating around), add a tablespoon or so of water or chicken stock.

Transfer to a serving plate. Serve sprinkled with the remaining bean sprouts, peanuts, lime and Sriracha and enjoy! 

My verdict: This was so good (and easy) we made it twice in 3 days! Frank gave it his highest rating “you can make this any time”. It really does only make enough for 2 people, so you might want to up all the quantities a bit, because you’re going to want more.

I added the Sriracha as optional, but we always end up squirting it on any batch of Pad Thai we’ve ever had.

The second time I made it, I used some thinly sliced pork cutlets that I marinated in some Chinese garlic sauce I found in the fridge and it was just as good as the shrimp version.

Both times I only used one tablespoon of vegetable oil and it was fine. If you need more to sauté the shallots and garlic, add it, but I didn’t need to.

There weren’t any bean sprouts in the store, so neither of the batches I made had them and it was fine without them. The peanuts are good, giving it a nice crunch so keep them in, but this recipe like fried rice, can be made with whatever you like and will still be good.

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Rice with Duck Confit, Olives and Apricots

by Anne Maxfield on April 15, 2019

Accidental Locavore Duck Confit and ApricotsDuck confit and dried apricots are probably not pantry staples for most people, but it just happened that I had both hanging out in my kitchen so thought this was an interesting way to put them to use.

Rice with Duck Confit, Olives and Apricots

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 confit duck legs, skinned and meat coarsely shredded
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Spanish chorizo
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup diced dried apricots
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Accidental Locavore Duck Rice CookingPreheat the oven to 375°. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat until softened, 5 minutes.

Add the tomato and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika and saffron. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add half of the broth and gently simmer until absorbed, 8 minutes.

Stir in the duck, chorizo, olives and apricots and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Bake with the skillet uncovered until the rice absorbs the liquid and is tender, about 16 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Duck Rice With ApricotsMy verdict: This was pretty easy, tasted great and end up like a paella. I used a spicy chorizo (which wasn’t terribly hot), but if heat’s not your thing, just go for the regular.

Next time, I might swap bomba for the arborio rice. Speaking of swapping, if you don’t have duck confit hanging around, shredding some chicken legs from a roast bird would probably work well too. And IMHO, adding some artichoke hearts would be a good thing.

If you’re one of those who like peas in everything, a handful tossed in would work too.

 

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Palestinian Chicken with Red Onions

by Anne Maxfield on March 11, 2019

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs PlatedSoon I’m going to have to watch how many dishes I make with chicken thighs, but this one looked really good and it seemed like an easy weeknight dinner.

  • 14 skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons ground sumac, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, coarsely crushed (1 tablespoon)
  • 1teaspoons salt
  • 1teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large red onions, halved then thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs Skin side up, use a sharp knife to slash the flesh of each piece of chicken against the grain a few times, then transfer the meat to a large bowl or Ziploc bag. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sumac, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well, using your hands to rub the marinade into the meat. Add the onion and toss with the chicken, then cover and refrigerate for 1–3 hours.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 350°.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, then add the chicken, skin-side up. Scatter the onion around the pan. Roast until the chicken skin is deep golden and its juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a paring knife at its thickest parts, 50–60 minutes.

Plate the chicken pieces and onion, sprinkle with the pine nuts, a little sumac, and the chopped parsley, then drizzle with any remaining roasting juices. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs AsparagusMy verdict: This was just about as much work as I felt like doing on a busy (and snowy) Monday. Super easy and delicious! I’m out of pine nuts and forgot the parsley (as you can see from the photos) and it was still good. Pine nuts would give it a nice crunch, so they’ll definitely be added the next time.

Frank liked it, especially with the red onions.

There were some beautiful asparagus at the market so I tossed them in the last of the marinade and roasted them with the chicken for the last 30 minutes.

The recipe called for serving it on naan bread, but it was Monday, so I served it with some leftover basmati rice and that was fine. If you use bread, warm it on a clean baking sheet before serving.

 

 

 

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Salmon and Spinach Curry

by Anne Maxfield on March 4, 2019

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry CookingBecause Frank is not generally a salmon fan, I’ve been looking at this recipe from Meera Sodha’s Made in India cookbook for a while. Since cooking more fish is one of my 2019 goals, I took the plunge and started with salmon. Don’t be put off by the long list of spices–you probably have most of them. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 8-9 ounces ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound spinach leaves
  • 14 ounces skinless salmon fillets, cut into big (2 ½”) chunks

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry PanPut the oil into a large lidded frying pan on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to release their aromas.

Add the onions and brown sugar and cook for 12-15 minutes until golden and caramelized. Stir in the tomatoes, put the lid on the pan and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.

Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Stir to make sure the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 8 minutes the mixture should thicken and look paste-like. When it does, add the spinach, turn the heat down to low, put the lid back on and leave the spinach to wilt.

Add the salmon to the pan, coating it with the tomato and spinach sauce. Put the lid back on and cook for 5-7 minutes until the salmon cooks through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry My verdict: Frank gave it his highest praise (especially for salmon) “you can make this any time” and the fact that it was so good with only okay (January) tomatoes made me think it would be even better with truly ripe tomatoes (hello August).

Made in India has become one of my favorite cookbooks and everything I’ve made from it has been great. I’ll certainly make the salmon again and go on to some of the other fish recipes that have caught my eye.

I cooked the salmon for 6 minutes and it was perfect (medium rare). If you like it more well-done, go for 7 or more minutes.  I served it over basmati rice. Because it was what was handy, I used a mix of regular and baby spinach and cooked it until it just started to wilt.

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