February 9, 2017

Mango Inspired Curry with a very Special Ingredient

I am not ashamed to admit that I read cookbooks like romance novels. Yes I just compared cookbooks to romance novels and with good reason......FOODGASMS!

If I had to pick one cuisine that has the most potential to create a Foodgasm it would have to be Thai food!! I kid you not every city I go to I always look for the best hole in the wall Thai spot to get my fix....ok I also look for wine stores but that's a whole different story!!

Now to the mentioned SPECIAL INGREDIENT.....have you ever had or made a curry with kaffir lime leaves and then had one without them?!?! HUGE difference.

For those of you who know what I am talking about, high five and you know what I mean.....for those who don't you REALLY need to find your own personal dealer, um I mean provider or sales person!! Kaffir Lime Leaves are needed in order to get to that next level of foodgasm, trust me, without them it's just a big fat tease. After living overseas, in Bangladesh where they sold kaffir leaves at the local markets I didn't expect to come to the states and either get the look of "what the hell are you talking about?" or to be asked 101 questions at the Asian stores like I was some under cover agent looking for "trouble" only then to be asked to come with them to the back of the store where this magical ingredient was handed to me in a undisclosed ziplock bag.....guess I passed the interrogation but won't lie it was....guess it pays to know your ingredients.

OK I have to confess something.....the first time I was asked to follow this guy to the back of the store after being asked 101 questions I was a wee bit nervous, probably from watching to many episodes of Criminal Minds LOL but comes to find out I scared them more by knowing so much about the ingredient.

Anyhow, once you have tasted a curry with this special ingredient you will know when it wasn't used and don't believe what anyone or any cookbook tells you lime zest will not produce the same flavor. Oh and the dried leaves, yeah do not waste your money on that crap it!!

Mango Curry with Baked Flounder

Mango Curry

1 TBS coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
about 1 1/2 cups of Sugar Snap Peas, cut in half (green beans could be used as well)
1/2 unpeeled zucchini, sliced into 1 inch circles & then cut in half
1 roasted red pepper (the kind in a jar)**, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS minced ginger
2 TBS red curry paste
1 TBS soy sauce
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth (use veggie broth if preferred)
1-2 mangos, peeled & cubed (I used 2 because I love mango!)


In a stock pot, melt the coconut oil and add the onions. Sauté until softened. Now add the rest of the veggies, don't let them cook too long and definitely don't let them burn SO remember to stir them. Now I know the ingredients doesn't state salt and pepper but sometimes you just have to know that they need to be added.....and if not....ADD SALT AND PEPPER to your taste and preference now before proceeding to the next step ;-)

After adding your salt and pepper and giving it another good stir it's time to add your garlic, ginger and curry paste. Once you can smell these awesome ingredients it's time to add the soy sauce, coconut milk and broth. Now cover it and let it come to a simmer. Once it is simmering you are ready to add your mango and those precious and oh so AMAZING kaffir lime leaves......if you decide to make this without the kaffir leaves I am begging you DO NOT TELL me about it because I am TELLING the results are NOT going to be the same!!!

Let this simmer for about 10 minutes, no more is needed.

As you can see in the picture I ate my curry with Flounder but you could easily eat this with something else. If tofu is your thing go ahead, chicken would work great too. If you need the carbs I would suggest a healthy serving of jasmine rice, I don't miss the rice but hey that's just me.

**I prefer using jarred roasted red peppers because bell peppers don't like me so much and I find it a bit of a pain in the a$$ to peel bell peppers to get rid of what causes me to burp so much.....yes it's the skin of peppers and tomatoes that make you burp!

January 28, 2017

Fancy Rahmen

I know we have all heard the quote "when one door closes another opens". If you believe that some doors close because they weren't made for you to walk through.....GREAT you are either an optimistic person and don't mind overcoming obstacles thrown your way or you didn't really try that hard to make it "your" door in the first place. Which ever it might be, don't take that closed door as a slap in the face or you failing at something but more as a sign that you were made for something greater, you might need to work a little harder, probably lose a little more sleep or I don't know show off more grey hair.

The reasons these doors close are usually not very obvious and will not present themselves to you on a silver platter and you probably won't know EXACTLY which door to approach next because lets face it that's not how this shit works! Choices, it all comes down to the choices we make in our lives. Some of these choices are simple and trivial while others impact us immensely but no matter what you decide you are the one in control of either working toward becoming a better person or getting lost in those hallways.

Now that I got my philosophical rant out of the way let's get down to the real choice of the this post! Eating Rahmen.....if you have never eaten the sodium overloaded & msg flavor enhanced packs of goodness then you probably missed out on many other great convenience foods as kid, teenager or young adult who is struggling to figure out why they hell being adult is supposed to be cool!!! ANYHOW.....here is my FANCY version of Rahmen that will require a little more than a microwave or water cooker BUT trust me so worth it. AND the best part is you have the choice to add whatever you want to finish it off or you can just eat the noodles & broth if that floats your boat. Whatever....it's your choice!

Fancy Rahmen

1 TBS oil**
1 TBS minced ginger**
1/2 onion, finely diced**
garlic, minced**
2 TBS Sriracha
1 TBS soy sauce
6 cups of Beef Broth or 6 cups of water & 3 Beef Bouillon Cubes**    
3 packs of Rahmen......ONLY THE NOODLES, throw those NASTY SEASONING PACKS AWAY!!      

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the ginger, onion, garlic and Sriracha. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring constantly, you don't want the garlic or onion to burn.

NOW YOU HAVE THE CHOICE.....I have done it both ways, flavor wise it's the same. The only difference is Option 2 eliminates the visual aspect of onions being in the broth.

Option 1: Add the soy sauce and broth and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling, add noodles and boil uncovered for 1 minute. Turn heat off and cover. Let the noodles sit in the broth until they are the consistency you prefer. During this time I get all my toppings ready. Transfer noodles to bowls, add your toppings and THEN add the broth.
Option 2: Carefully transfer the Sriracha Mix to a blender and blend the crap out of those onions so it looks like a paste. BE CAREFUL doing this though, not only is it blazing hot but it might make your eyes water a bit. In the same pot you used to heat the Sriracha Mix up add the soy sauce and broth before stirring in the the Sriracha Mix. Now bring to a boil, once the broth is boiling add noodles and boil uncovered for 1 minute. Turn heat off and cover. Let the noodles sit in the broth until they are the consistency you prefer. During this time I get all my toppings ready. Transfer noodles to bowls, add your toppings and THEN add the broth.

Topping Choices: hard boiled eggs, diced avocado, freshly sliced mushrooms, sliced green onion, thinly sliced uncooked beef, shredded chicken, raw shrimp, bean sprouts, sweet peas, shredded carrots, shredded cucumber, snap peas, tofu.....you get the idea....make it your own FANCY Rahmen with whatever the hell you want to add or not it's up to you.

** I use coconut oil but you can use whatever you prefer
**Did you know you can peel ginger and keep it in the freezer?
**I like using sweet onions but shallots work great too.
**use as many or as few cloves as you prefer, trying to tell you how many cloves to use is tricky because I have used anywhere between 2-5 cloves of garlic, it all depends on how big the cloves are or the mood I am in.
**I have made this with Vegetable and Chicken Broth but prefer the Beef Broth best.

January 20, 2017

The Best Damn Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Have you ever found yourself on a quest? This quest could be for a new car, the best schools, deciding where to go on vacation or maybe just finding a perfect pair of jeans......because let's face it finding the perfect pair of jeans seems nearly impossible and the ones that are perfect cost almost as much as a car payment does! I really shouldn't have to pay that much for comfort, or should I?

I know what you are thinking, "what does this grilled cheese sandwich have in common with finding a pair of jeans?".....well let me tell you it has a lot in common, at least for me it does. I currently find myself on a quest for finding my way back to what I a passionate about. I don't like to admit that I slipped so far from what brings me so much pleasure but it's true and this damn grilled cheese is my step back into reconnecting myself with my passion.

So what makes this grilled cheese so special, well it's part of a menu I am working on for my "dream coffee shop". I have a vision of what I want my coffee shop to be like, look like and what I want to offer as far as freshly prepared food and drinks go. Now it's just a matter of fine tuning those ideas so when that day comes to open the doors to my coffee shop I will only be serving you the best damn tasting food you deserve and would expect from me!!

The Best Damn Grilled Cheese Sandwich (or BDG)

-perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs, sliced.....you know the kind where the yolk is bright orange
-a sweet pile of sautéed onions....that have been sautéed in coconut oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper
-lots of crispy bacon
-gouda and pepper jack cheese
-a smear of spicy mayo (I whip my spicy mayo up on my own but don't have a recipe to share for it....I will tell you that it gets it's heat from that lovely red condiment associated with a rooster)

-bread (duh, it's a sandwich) I used Italian Bread in this picture but prefer it with a ciabatta or English Muffin Bread......I say use whatever bread floats your boat!

Do you have a BDG of your own??