Posts made in May, 2013

Peanut Thai Noodles

noodles

This is a recipe I’ve done for a few years now. It’s always changing and evolving. It’s one of my go to recipes for when I have a fridge full of veggies I need to use. And the best part? So many different veggies work well in this dish that you can use it throughout the year.

What you find below is not an exact recipe, by any means. I change it all the time and expect anyone else to make it their own. This is just meant to serve as a starting point.

Here’s a list of the various veggies I’ve found work best:

Spring:
Asparagus
Peas (especially snow)
Spinach
Green Onions

Summer:
Squash (Yellow and Zucchini)
Green Beans
Bell Peppers
Onions
Carrots

Fall and Winter:
Carrots
Onions
Cauliflower
Frozen Vegetables

Protein:
I have added eggs before, but have yet to try chicken or shrimp (both of which I think would be very good with this sauce.)

As for the method, start by cooking pad thai style rice noodles according the the package instructions. (The kind I usually use says to let them soak in hot water until tender, about 8-10 minutes).  In the meantime, sauté whichever veggies you’re using with olive oil over medium heat.

For the Peanut Thai Sauce (which is really not authentic Thai food in any way.):
1 heaping tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter (heat in the microwave for a minute to soften it. And feel free to add more if you love peanut butter)
1/4-1/2 soy sauce
about 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
about 1 tablespoon of mirin cooking wine
1-2 teaspoons of chili paste, or your favorite hot sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
about 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
about 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

Mix the sauce well. Once the veggies are tender, add the sauce to the pan, along with 1-2 laddles of the hot water that you used to soak the noodles. This will help thin out the sauce and bind it to the noodles. Give the sauce a couple of minutes to cook, and then add the noodles. Using tongs, combine the noodles and sauce and add more water, if necessary.

To serve, top the noodles with chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, and cashews all work well) and drizzle  Sriracha on top. Enjoy!

Read More

Tips for Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

Intimidated by farmers’ markets? Or maybe new to the process? Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years:

  1. Get there early. It’s less crowded and the best stuff goes quickly. This is especially true for fruit. If a farmer only has so many quarts of berries or cherries, he may sell out within the first 30 minutes. If you want to be sure you don’t miss anything, get there when it opens.
  2. Take plenty of cash. Though more farmers are starting to take credit cards (thanks to smart phones and tablets), cash is still, by far, the most common method of payment. And take more than you think you’ll need for those “I simply can’t leave without this” moments.
  3. Buy your necessities first, then, if you have cash leftover, go for the fun, maybe not so necessary, stuff.
  4. See a vegetable or fruit you don’t know? Ask the farmer how to prepare it.
  5. Hit as many stands as possible until you get to know the farmers. Buy from a variety of people. Soon you’ll get to know your favorites.
  6. Don’t expect the fruits and vegetables to look perfect. Don’t be scared off by the sight of dirt. Food picked fresh from the ground isn’t going to be flawless.
  7. Expect to pay more for some things. Vegetables are usually reasonable, but things such as honey, syrup, jam, and fruit will seem high, if you’re not used to markets. Remember: you get what you pay for. These things may cost more than the grocery store, but taste wise, there’s no comparison. Plus products in grocery stores often have added ingredients to make them cheaper. At the market, you get the best quality possible, while supporting local businesses.
  8. Take your own bags
  9. Be prepared to stand in lines. Peaches, strawberries, corn, and tomatoes bring out the crowds.
  10. Talk to the farmers and the people in line around you. The type of people who shop at markets are usually the type of people who love talking about food. It’s the best way to get recipe ideas and to get to know the best food in the area.

Though there are many markets around central Ohio, these are my personal favorites:

The Westerville Farmers’ Market: Wednesday 3-6pm

The Worthington Farmers’ Market: Saturday 8-12pm

 

Read More

Ohio Strawberries

A visual ode to Ohio strawberries. (Berries from Rhoads Farm at the Worthington Market)

strawberries

 

strawberries2

 

strawberries4

Read More

Ohio Spring Food

Due to moving into a new place, I haven’t posted in awhile. But have no fear! I have a newly organized kitchen and am ready to start posting again.

And since it’s been awhile since I’ve had time to post, let’s just take a moment to admire some beautiful Ohio food:

(All food from Bird Haven Farm).

raddish

 

cabbage

 

strawberries

Read More

Asparagus Soup

Another favorite asparagus recipe. It’s the perfect spring soup.

Asparagus from: Northridge Organic Farm and Doran’s Farm (both at the Westerville Farmers’ Market).

asparagus

Start by cutting the asparagus into three pieces. The tough ends (the stalks), the middle, and the tips. I used about 3 large bunches of asparagus.

asparagus3

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil (or a combination of water and chicken stock, or even all chicken stock), along with the asparagus stalks and some salt and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Next heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 large onions, sliced. Sauté until soft, about 20 minutes. Don’t let them brown. If they do, add a touch of water.

Cut the middle part of the asparagus into one inch pieces and add to the onions. Season with salt. Let them sauté for about another 10 minutes.

Next take the pot with the water and asparagus stalks. Discard the stalks and add the flavored water (or stock) to the asparagus/onions. Let simmer about 30 minutes.

Then, using either an immersion blender or stand blender, puree the soup. Once smooth, add the asparagus tips to the soup, along with about 3 tablespoons of half and half (or heavy cream). Simmer on low for a few minutes until the tips are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

When serving, garnish each bowl with grated parmesan cheese, paprika, freshly ground pepper, and garlic croutons (homemade, of course). Enjoy!

soupbowl2

 

soupbowl

 

 

Read More