A Meal out of Three Cookbooks

A great selection of three cookbooks with themes are used to build a wonderful 3-course meal.

The internet is an infinite source for recipes, no one can deny that, but sometimes sitting in your favorite chair and leafing through a cookbook can be really relaxing and gratifying. Cookbooks also have a great knack for gathering a whole bunch of recipes on a specific theme. Today I will give you a brief introduction to such three cookbooks I received recently: Spiralizer, Slow-cooker and Vegetarian Thai.

A Meal out of 3 great Cookbooks

I have savored my time leafing through these cookbooks and testing out some of the recipes lately. I am including the main description of the books, a recipe and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Bon Appetit!

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Crunchy Colorful Thai Cabbage Salad & the 4th annual Food Film Marathon

Do you have a jar of coconut oil at home? If so, you are joining and ever growing crowd of fans of this most delicious and versatile oil. I bought my first jar a while back and I must admit at first I did not use it much. I just did not really know how to use it. But once I broke away from the ‘fear of the unknown’ I became addicted. If you are still hesitant as to howto incorporate this oil, or any coconut product, than I would suggest you check out The Complete Coconut Cookbook.

There are so many intriguing dishes and sweets to pick from in the cookbook but the Crunchy Colorful Thai Cabbage Salad recipe was the perfect dish to prepare for my 4th annual Food Film Marathon which took place this past weekend.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

5 Star Makeover: Thai Butternut Squash Chilled Soup

The 5 Star Makeover group is back this month with a very season appropriate type of dish: chilled soups. Who would want to eat a hot soup during a heat wave? Not me. And I was pretty sure neither would my guests I received this past Saturday night, at the end of a heat wave.

Funny enough the menu consisted of what were suppose to eat 3 months ago when we all rented a cottage together for a weekend. A couscous (coming soon) and a squash soup never saw day from lack of time. I took the ingredients home to freeze until we could all meet again. Our warm squash soup of the winter seemed inappropriate so I found a cold soup that fit the main ingredient. I forgot to take a picture of the soup with the fried cubes of pancetta I added…totally not a Thai thing but it worked perfectly.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

Ξ Thai Butternut Squash Chilled Soup Ξ

Ingredients
1 stalk lemongrass (2 tbsp)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp palm sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 tsp fish sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk, light or regular
1 lime, juiced
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Directions
1. Slice and mince the lemongrass stalk.

2. In a large pot add the lemongrass, stock and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the lemongrass and ginger out and return to the pot.

3. Add the butternut squash, red curry paste, sugar, kaffir leaves and fish sauce to the stock, and simmer until the squash is cooked for about 1 hour.

4. Remove from heat and blend the soup until smooth in a food processor or an immersion blender. Return to heat and add the coconut milk, lime juice and salt. Chill soup completely. Garnish the soup with cilantro and if you like some cubed pancetta.

 

Thai Garlic Scape Soup and Garlic Scape Pesto

I am away for a little bit to frolic in the country…..enjoy this scheduled post and I look forward to posting upon my return.

Recently I was invited over for dinner at a friend’s place. She had gone to a farmer’s market that day and her purchased treasures brought on a discovery for me: garlic scapes. I had never come across (consciously at least) this green stalk before. On my next farmer’s market trip I found some and had to bring a small bunch of garlic scapes home. But what to do with them. Two recipes really caught my eye: a soup and a pesto. I had enough for both so you get both.

Garlic scapes are the immature flower stalks of the hardneck garlic bulb variety. So you they are tender and edible and have a delicate hint of garlic flavor. They are usually harvested and found in markets during the month of June and July.

Ξ Thai Peachy Garlic Scape Soup Ξ

1 tablespoon of oil
1 dozen garlic scapes, green shoots chopped
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 coconut milk
1 peach, chopped
1/2 inch grated ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon lemongrass
a pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the scapes and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the broth and all the ingredients except lemon juice.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered,  for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and then puree using a hand blender.
  5.  Add the lemon juice, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

What can I say about the soup, the taste is truly unique and so flavorful. Obviously the soup itself is not Thai but the seasoning is: coconut milk, chili, lemongrass, ginger and the fish sauce. I was inspired to add a piece to bring an underground sweetness to the soup and it was perfect. Imagine all those flavors with a light garlic taste. Wonderful and extremely exotic.

Ξ Garlic Scape Pesto Ξ
1 cup garlic scapes, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste
Directions:

Place garlic scapes, walnuts, and Parmesan in a food processor. While the processor is running drizzle the oil in slowly. Season and store in the fridge or freeze into cubes.

Vacation Eatz: Washington DC part 2

Yes part 1 was just the was my evening arrival and morning. This post is on the afternoon and evening. OK so it’s like 100 F in a big city. Hello museums with lots of A/C. I did 2 museums (quickly) that day. The first one was the National Museum of American History. Lots of fun and important exhibitions reviewing the past influences and happenings that shaped the USA.

One totally unexpected but fabulous exhibition was Julia Child’s actual kitchen from her home in Massachusetts. Apparently she donated it to the Smithsonian in 2001 when she moved to California. Julia cooked in this kitchen for 42 years! This kitchen alone influenced the way of eating of a whole nation. I stitched pics together to give the best 3d effect I could, bare with the imperfections.

She was apparently a knife fiend. And lots of copper pots too.

Next museum was the National Air and Space Museum. Here you will see the history of flight and space exploration attempted, failed and achieved. It is a hugely popular museum with lots of people. Be prepared! But it is something to see. I card less for the flight part but really enjoyed the space side.

And yes even this museum had food items on the display menu! There was the occasional brief comment on airline food and a statue of a ‘stewardess’ holding a tray.  Ice building totally unrelated but wanted to show you the pic. It was near my friend’s house.

Now space food….on display…was unexpected. Coke, Pepsi, brownies, nuts,prepared stews, fruits. The upper left pic above this text is the kitchen on Skylab. Little teaser: tomorrow’s Thursday’s Thingamajig will be related to space food so come back to see that.

On Apollo 10, semisolid foods became regular items. With a supply of chicken, ham, and tuna salads, along with breads contained in sealed, nitrogen-filled packages, the astronauts could prepare fresh sandwiches. Beginning with Apollo 13, a canteen was added to the astronauts spacesuits that would allow the crew members to drink while they worked on the moon. The Apollo 15 astronauts carried apricot food bars for a snack during increasingly long work periods on the lunar surface. Each astronaut meal was individually wrapped in foil and color-coded.

Back on earth it was time for supper. My hosts decided to take off the beaten path all the way to Fairfax Virginia where a favorite Thai restaurant of theirs is: Cee Fine Thai Dining. How can we not like this place CEE is Cheap Ethnic Eatz acronym too.

It really was a great meal, if not a bit too SPICY (OMG) even for me. I am not new to Thai but this was hot! Thanks god for the Thai Ice Tea (dairy calming down the fire). All 3 of us are foodies and all 3 of us wanted to taste everything. That suited me just fine! We ordered Tom Yum Soup, Jacketed Shrimp and Pot Stickers for starters. Entrees were Drunken Noodles, Panang Chicken Curry and one I cannot remember but it was seafood mix. If you are in that area I recommend this restaurant.

Keep on checking daily….

Thursday’s Thingamajig will be related to space food.

Friday’s post begins the North Carolina leg of my trip.

Pretty Food Thai

Hello all,

I am going to be crazy busy and then off for 5 days without blog access till Feb 01st. But I do not want to just abandon you either so I am preparing a Pretty Food from Around the World pic week.

Sorry no interesting text to read, just eye candy!

Pad Thai by Ciao Amici