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.



Why Reinvent the Skewer?

by Anne Maxfield on May 27, 2013

Accidental Locavore Grilled ShrimpEvery year, there are grilling accessories the Accidental Locavore just shakes her head at. Seriously now, how many of my readers grill enough jalapenos to warrant a jalapeno holder for the grill? And where is there room for all this stuff? True confession time:  I hate most single-use kitchen stuff. I mean, how hard is it to peel an avocado and slice it? And if it is that difficult, just pull out a big spoon, scoop out the avocado and slice it.

Accidental Locavore Grill CombsBut back to the grilling silliness. Recently, in a trip through Sur la Table (where I was tasked with picking out my birthday present – fun!), I noticed these large stainless combs which were supposed to take the place of skewers. It was an interesting idea, but since I don’t do that much with skewers (except use them to dry pasta, but that’s another post), they didn’t seem necessary.

Accidental Locavore Bamboo SkewersWhen the box arrived with my gift, my friends had thoughtfully included the combs. The other night I decided to take them out for a test drive. I was just grilling some shrimp to put on leftover risotto. It took a minute or two to figure out the best way to do that with (and food takes up a lot of real estate on these things), then I gave them a quick baste with some Caesar dressing and tossed them on the grill. Miraculously, the line about not turning them without tongs or a pot-holder caught my eye, or there might have been trouble with burnt fingers from hot metal handles.

Accidental Locavore SkewersThe shrimp came out fine and I tossed the combs into the dishwasher – and there’s the problem. With wooden or bamboo skewers, you just throw them away.  With my “fancy” metal skewers, they’re flat and they’re coated, making them somewhat non-stick, so they’re usually pretty easy to clean (and since they’re long, you don’t need so many of them). With the combs, the dishwasher did a lousy job so I scrubbed them afterwards, but something has totally adhered to the handles. Now, it’s just the handle, but it’s unsightly and impossible to remove. It did make me realize that sometimes there’s just no need to re-invent something that’s worked just fine for centuries. What do you think?



Easy Shrimp and Hot Sauce Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on March 14, 2013

Accidental Locavore Hot Sauce ShrimpA long time ago, the Accidental Locavore and friends used to go down to Costa Careyes, in Mexico. It’ s a beautiful spot, a few hours drive south from Puerta Vallarta, and at that point in time, undiscovered and unspoiled. One of the things I have always liked about the Mexican coastline, is the number of small seaside shacks, serving amazing seafood. This shrimp dish is my attempt to duplicate the incredible shrimp served at La Vieuda a tiny place just outside Careyes. A pound of shrimp will feed 3.

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, and deveined
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Hot sauce to taste (I use Frank’s Red Hot Original)
  • Juice of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the shrimp, and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes. If you’re going to use asparagus (see below), add them to the shrimp now. Toss with a few generous squirts of your favorite hot sauce and the juice of a lime, until well coated.

Serve over rice, garnish with the chopped cilantro and enjoy.

My verdict: This is one of my go-to recipes. It’s quick to make and tastes great! If I’m feeling energetic, I’ll make green rice to go with it, or toss some asparagus (sliced into 1 ½” lengths and steamed in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes) as a veg. You could even get fancy and sprinkle some queso fresco over the top.



Cook-Along Recipe for Shrimp With Feta Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on January 6, 2012

Accidental Locavore Shrimp With FetaFor 2012, The Accidental Locavore decided to make eating seafood at least once a week a priority. Part of the reason we don’t eat as much of it as we should is that upstate we’re really limited in our sources for good fish. Because we have such good relations with a couple of local purveyors, it’s easy to revert to meat. To make this resolution stick, the Locavore is going to pick a recipe each week and revisit the Cook-Along, this time with seafood. First up, an old Greek favorite:  shrimp with feta cheese. There are lots of recipes online for them. I started with one from The Olive and the Caper and quickly deviated. It’s really quick and this will serve 2:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted (if you can get really good tomatoes, use about 3 of them instead)
  • 1 tablespoon ouzo, or brandy (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ¾ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled in big chunks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until just soft, not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the brandy, dill and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have started to meld into the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Put in a gratin pan or shallow casserole (I used two small gratin pans) and top with the feta. Bake (uncovered) for about 6 minutes until the feta has just started to turn golden on the corners (it doesn’t melt, but will soften). Sprinkle some of the dill on top for garnish, serve and enjoy.

My verdict: 3.5 out of 5. I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles. The chiles didn’t add anything and while not terribly spicy, it was enough heat to be noticeable (and not welcome). If I were cooking this for more people and/or wanted to stretch it, it would be tempting to braise a little fennel and add that plus some Greek olives and serve it over orzo. The shrimp were lovely and tender, and went nicely with the creaminess of the feta. I didn’t get much taste from the dill, it might just have traveled too far.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo, the Locavore must have been hungry…



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