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Figs salad.

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It’s fig season!!! I have a very simple and delicious fig salad for you all. Figs already have a wonderful flavor so I don’t think we will need any heavy dressing or anything else that might overwhelm the figs themselves. Figs are already the STARS!  First I add a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil just to give a slight tangy flavor that will compliment the figs. I also like to add crumbled blue cheese and some microgreen sprouts on top. It is perfect recipe for this summer.

Recipe for 2 people

- 8 figs sliced (the more the merrier!!)

- 1 tablespoon of olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar and a tiny pinch of salt

- Blue cheese crumbled

- Microgreen sprouts (You can add arugula or any sprouts.) 

Directions

1. Sliced figs and put on the plate.

2. Add Blue cheese.

3. Add microgreen sprouts.

4. Top with Balsamic dressing a little bit all over.

                                                         Photo by David Gwennap

                                                         Edited by Alan Finn

09:18 am: pleaseletmecookforyou

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Thai Chicken Larb (Larb Gai)

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Cooking Thai food can be very overwhelming. A lot of Thai recipes have too many ingredients.  Today I want to share with you an easy Thai recipe for my favorite Thai dish Larb.  My mom makes it best! I remember vividly the very first time she made Larb for me.

Larb is the perfect food for fall. While the weather starts to get a bit cooler, Larb gives you a little heat from the spices along with it’s unique tangy taste. You can use any kind of ground meat you like. You can also have it with lettuce leaves or white or sticky rice.


Recipe for 2 people.

- 1 lbs of ground chicken

- 2 shallots or 1/4 of red onion sliced

- 2 limes or about 4 tablespoons of lime juice

- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce

- 1 tablespoon of sugar

- 1 tablespoon of roasted rice powder (See instructions below)

- red chili flakes. The level of spice is up to you. I like it spicy!

- Mint leaves (about 10-15 leaves)

- half cup of water

Directions

1. Put the skillet on the high heat and add half cup of water.

2. When the water is boiling, add ground chicken and let it cook through. Then turn off the heat.

3. Put all the ingredients together.  Stir until it is all incorporated

4. Taste it and add lime juice or fish sauce or sugar you prefer.

5. Put on the plate and garnish with mint leaves on top.

How to make roasted rice powder.

1. Put the skillet on the medium high heat and add uncooked jasmine rice.

2. Keep it in movement until rice turns to golden brown color.

3. Grind it with mortar and pestle of food processor. Please don’t grind it too fine.

                                                         Photo by David Gwennap

                                                         Edited by Alan Finn

11:48 am: pleaseletmecookforyou

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Vegetarian Bolognese.

Time flies when you are having fun. Yes, it is so true. Two months have gone by so quickly and now it is March already. Spring season is starting in three weeks. Wow!

I always cook lighter food when the weather starts to get warmer. I have to say that this year in Southern California it has started to get warm in February. As we all consume lots of rich food and delicious desserts during the holidays and winter, my plan now is to cook vegetarian food and eat lighter as much as possible before Spring season comes.

I craved for Bolognese pasta the other day so I challenged myself to make Bolognese without meat. Please believe me when I say that Bolognese sauce can be so delicious without any meat in it. My recipe is very easy but there is one very crucial tip and that is to let Bolognese sauce simmered for about 2 hours. I also used the brown rice pasta for extra healthiness.

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients.

1 lbs. of brown rice spaghetti pasta (or regular pasta).

3 cloves of chopped garlic.

1 cup and a half of diced yellow onion.

1 cup of diced carrot.

1 cup of diced celery.

2 red chopped jalapeno to give an extra kick (or 1 diced red bell pepper).

4 leaves of chopped Italian basil.

1 bay leave.

1 teaspoon of dry oregano.

A half of teaspoon of dry thyme.

1 lbs. of Marina sauce.

A half of cup of water

1 tablespoon of raw blue Agave nectar.

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Salt and pepper.

3 tablespoons of olive  oil.

Grated Parmesan

Directions.

1. Heat the olive oil in enamel pot over medium high heat. I use enamel pot because its excellent heat diffusion and retention makes it a good option for long-cooking.

2. Add chopped garlic and wait until you smell aroma of garlic (or wait about for 20 seconds)

3. Put diced of onion and stir until it turns to translucent.

4. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add diced carrot and celery along with dry thyme and dry oregano. Stir until it starts getting lightly browned.

6. Add Marinara sauce and stir it occasionally until it is hot. Also, add chopped Italian basil leaves, bay leave and chopped red jalapeno (diced bell pepper).

7. The secret ingredients of my vegetarian Bolognese are Agave and red wine vinegar. Add Agave, red wine vinegar and a half of cup of water in the sauce. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.

8. Meanwhile, bring the water to the boil in the big pot (at least 6 quart size). Add the pasta and let it cook approximately 10 minutes or until it is Al-dente.

9. Serve Vegetarian Bolognese pasta with grated Parmesan.

Buon Appetito!

                                                                             Photo by Sarinya Rattana

                                                                             Edited by Alan Finn

09:13 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou1 note

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Miso Chicken.

Simply the best is how I describe Japanese cuisine. Back in Summer last year, my very good friend (who is Japanese) introduced me to this wonderful dish “Miso Chicken”. When she gave me the recipe, I was so surprised because there are only 5 ingredients for this Miso chicken recipe. She recommended me to give a few days to marinate the chicken so the flavor from Sake, Mirin, Miso and sugar are all soaked into the chicken meat. Also this recipe goes so perfectly with fish especially black cod.

Recipe for 2 people (and leftover for the next day)

3/4 cup of Sake

3/4 cup of Mirin (cooking sake)

4 tablespoons of white miso paste

3 tablespoons of sugar (white or brown)

3 tablespoons of canola oil or vegetable oil

Directions

1. Heat the pan in low heat.

2. Add sake and Mirin and let the alcohol gets evaporated about 5 minutes

3. Add white miso paste and whisk.

4. Add Sugar and give it a good whisk.

5. Once the ingredients are all cooperated, let the marinade gets cool down and pour it over the chicken. Marinate the chicken meat for a few days.

6. Turn the heat on medium heat and add the oil in the pan.

7. Add the chicken in the pan and shallow fry the chicken about 2 minutes on each side or until it turns brown.

8. Finish Miso in the oven for 350 F about 12 minutes.

                                                            Photos by William R. Greenblatt

                                                                               Edited by Alan Finn

04:56 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou3 notes

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Farmliegh Farmer’s Market at Phoenix park, Ireland.

Ireland is the country where I have always dreamt of going to visit. I am very happy to announce that I finally made it there AND it was during the holiday season of last year. My trip to Ireland made me feel like a kid who is about to go to Disneyland for the very first time. The very first place I was brought was to the farmers market that takes place in the grounds of Farmliegh House.  Farmliegh House is the ancestral home of the Guinness family.  Yes THAT Guinness.  As I walked around the farmer’s market I felt a wonderfully warm vibe from the Irish farmers and various food vendors who have their stalls at the market. I have to say I loved the very genuine and super friendly attitude that I experienced from the people there.  It was such a freezing cold day when I went to the market but the famous Irish hospitality warmed my hearth and soul. 

Irish people go to Farmliegh farmer’s market for super fresh, straight from the farm produce and also to support the local farms, handmade cheeses, homemade breads, homemade jams and etc.. First stop was the fresh vegetables.  Irish people prefer their seasonal vegetables.  If you ask for summer vegetable in winter, you are in the wrong place.

Bags of “dirty” carrots (as seen in the photo below).  I questioned the farmer as to why she names them dirty carrots and why she doesn’t rinse the dirt off the carrots. She told me that dirt keeps carrots fresh longer. If the carrots are all washed, they will go bad  quicker.

My next stop got me very excited.  Cheese!  There are a wonderful variety of cheeses in Ireland and one of my favorites is Coolattin Cheddar, handmade by cheesemaker Thomas Burgess. The cheese is made from fresh milk from his family farm in the Wicklow hills not far from Dublin.

The cheddar cheese which I bought from Thomas’s stall has a rich flavor coupled with some sharp characteristics.  When I checked out his website for Coolattin Cheddar what I found interesting is that Thomas chooses to use what he describes as early morning milk. The early morning milk, which is high in melatonin, helps aid relaxation and sleep. It is pumped directly to the cheese-vat, not stored or pasteurized, thus the natural goodness & flavor is preserved by his traditional cheese-making process.

Fenugreek seed cheese is my second favorite from Thomas’s stall. Fenugreek seeds gives the cheese a unique nutty flavor and is quite mild.  Fenugreek seeds are usually one of the ingredients for making curry.

My favorite bread vendor was  Soul Bakery which had so many selections I had to sample every single one before I made my decision.  Surprisingly, Soul Bakery has bread which contains no sugar, no egg and no dairy and it still tastes divine.

Here are the rest of the other food vendors I enjoyed visiting at the market and sampling their goods. I have to say that the food in Ireland is not plain and boring as lots of people say it is. Irish fresh vegetables, fruits and meats are of a very hig quality and that is the key for delicious food. I had an amazing time at Farmliegh farmer’s market and I can’t wait to come back here again. Sláinte (Cheers) and Go raibh maith agat (Thank you).

                                                                  Photos by Sarinya Rattana

                                                                  Edited by Alan Finn

10:06 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou

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Toulouse Vinyards in Mendocino, California.

Last week, I had a great opportunity to visit Mendocino county for the very first time for my friend’s beautiful wedding. One of their wedding weekend fun was to visit Toulouse Vineyards. Most of people are only familiar with Napa Valley and Sonoma wineries. If you have a chance, Mendocino, California is a great place to visit for Redwoods, wine, mushrooms festival, and amazing view of the coast while driving on the pacific coast highway.

                                                                      Photos By Sarinya Rattana

06:44 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou

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Shrimp Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce.

Satay is one of the most popular street food dishes in South East Asian countries. It is marinated meat (beef, pork of chicken) that is skewered and grilled. In Bangkok, Thailand where I grew up, I remember so vividly being able to see the long lines from far away at every Satay cart or vendor. You can smell grilled Satay from far away and it’s well worth waiting for. The Satay meat is so tender and it tastes so divine when dipped in Thai peanut sauce (which adds more sweet and richness to it). The seasoning and the spices also play significant roles for this delicious dish.

For this blog, I want to make my Satay slightly different. I am making “Shrimp Satay” which is rare in Thailand. This Shrimp Satay recipe is very easy. I find some people can be overwhelmed when they read the recipes where there are so many spices, especially Asian spices, that they are not familiar with. Also, the Thai peanut sauce recipe will only take you less than 10 minutes to make. It is not just a dipping sauce for Satay but  can also be used as a salad dressing or sauce for stir frying with noodles.

Recipe for 2 people.

1 lbs. of shrimp (take heads and tails off. Also please peel and devein the shrimps)

1 table spoon of coconut milk

a pinch of salt

1/2 of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of curry powder

1/4 teaspoon of tumeric

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon of coriander powder

For Thai peanut sauce.

a half cup of coconut Milk

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

1 teaspoon of Thai red curry paste. You can find Thai red curry in Asian markets or if you want to make it from scratch, you can follow the recipe from Temple of Thai website.

a half tablespoon of sugar

a pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

Instructions.

1. Marinade shrimp with salt, coconut milk, sugar, curry powder, tumeric, garlic powder, coriander powder and mix altogether. Leave it in the fridge for at least half and hour.

2. Making Thai peanut sauce, turn on the low heat and add coconut milk.

3. Add peanut butter and stir until it is nicely incorporated with the coconut milk and it starts getting thicker. Then add Thai red curry, sugar, salt and white vinegar. Stir all the ingredients together.

4. Once the Thai peanut sauce is finished, turn the heat on the grill to medium. Add shrimp and grill until they are cooked (but not  overcooked).

5. Serve Satay shrimp with Thai peanut sauce.

                                                                               Photos by William R. Greenblatt

                                                                               Edited by Alan Finn

07:11 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou4 notes

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Stir Fried Beef with Broccoli.

A lot of my friends ask me how can I cook dinner everyday after coming back from work. They all think cooking takes so much work and preparation. Cooking at home sounds very difficult for those of us who have 8-5 job plus feeling frustrated from the commute home (if you live in a city like I do - LA!). It is my belief that good food can be made very easily and takes much less time than you may think. Beef Broccoli is one of my quickest meals. I can make this dish in 15 minutes or less.

Recipe for 2 people (and leftovers for the next day)

1 lbs. and 1/2 of broccoli and cut into bite size pieces

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 yellow onion, sliced

1/2 lbs. of beef, thin sliced

4 tablespoons of light soy sauce

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Directions

1. Heat the wok or pan in the medium high heat.

2. Add vegetable oil and chopped garlic, stir until it turns light golden brown.

3. Add slices of yellow onion and stir occasionally until onion starts to get translucent.

4. Add slices of beef, add soy sauce, and sesame oil. Give it a good stir until beef is cooked.

5. Put broccoli and stir about 5 minutes or less, depends on how crunchy of broccoli you would like.

                                                                               Photos by William R. Greenblatt

                                                                               Edited by Alan Finn

08:34 am: pleaseletmecookforyou1 note

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Thai fast food “Phad Ka Prow Kai”

Today I am so proud to present Thai fast food called “Phad Ka Prow Kai”. Please do not get me wrong!! This dish has no chemicals, no preservatives or any artificial ingredients as the fast foods here in America do. I call this dish Thai fast food because Phad Ka Prow or Stir Fried Chicken (or any kind of meat) with Thai holy basil and Thai chilies is served at every street corner in Thailand. I remembered how I used to have this dish all the time. I mean almost everyday as breakfast (seriously!!for breakfast), lunch, dinner, or late night dinner.

It is very difficult to find holy basil (Ka Prow leaves) in the US. Most Thai markets in Los Angeles have Thai basil which is a great substitute for holy basil. I am sure it gives different tastes and different aromas for Thai people (including me). The difference between Holy basil and Thai basil is that Holy basil gives you spice but it does not give you the taste of sweetness in the way Thai basil does. I guarantee the flavor of this dish is still divine with or without Holy basil.

Recipe for 2 people (and leftovers for the next day)

2 lbs. of ground chicken (or any kind of meat you would like)

Big handful of Holy basil or Thai basil

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 (or more) of Thai Chilies, chopped

3 tablespoon of oyster sauce

3 tablespoon of fish sauce

1 and 1/2 tablespoon of light soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoon of brown sugar (or white sugar)

3 tablespoon of vegetable oil or canola oil

Directions

1. Heat the wok on medium high heat.

2. Add vegetable oil in the wok.

3. Add chopped garlic and saute until it turns light golden brown and until you smell garlic all over in your kitchen. Then add the crushed Thai chilies.

4. Add ground chicken and stir occasionally. then add oyster sauce, fish sauce, light soy sauce and sugar and give it a good stir.

5. Taste it and add more fish sauce or sugar if needed. Add some water if it is dry. Then turn the heat off and add basil leaves and stir.

Thai people love this dish on top of steamed white rice (Jasmine rice) with fried egg.

This is what I call fast food and the taste is incredibly divine.

                                        Photos by William R. Greenblatt

                                        Edited by Alan Finn

12:10 pm: pleaseletmecookforyou4 notes

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Hangover Cure after St. Patrick’s Day. “Feel So Good Chicken Noodle Soup”.

After the large amount of alcohol consumption over St Patrick’s Day, “Hangover” is something I hate to deal with. I wake up with a  horrible headache, a sore body and very dehydrated. “Chicken Noodle Soup”, for me,  is the best ever hangover cure. 

When I pull myself together and check in the refrigerator what do I find??  The left over roasted chicken I had made. This will save my life completely from all the alcohol I’ve had AND it’s not going to take more than 10 minutes.

 

What I really love is the broth of this soup. Can you imagine all the flavor and aroma from the herbs, onions, carrots, celery, etc? Plus the texture of the chicken as it falls off the bones. This is what I call Feel So Good Chicken Noodle Soup and it really helps cure me from a hangover…indeed.

Recipe for 2 people (and left overs for the next day)

Roasted Chicken

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

a pinch of fresh thyme leaves

2/3 of cup of Vermouth (It’s optional)

Salt

Pepper

16oz of egg noodle or one package of egg noodle

1 liter or about 5 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth

3 cup of filtered water

Directions.

1. Heat the big pot on medium high heat and add 4 tablespoon of olive oil.

2. Add chopped garlic and saute until it turns to light golden brown.

3. Add chopped onion and saute until it turns translucent.

4. Put a pinch of fresh thyme and give it a good stir until you smell aroma of thyme.

5. Add chopped carrot and chopped celery and stir about 2 minutes.

6. Put a pinch of salt and pepper in it and stir.

7. Pour 2/3 cup of Vermouth and stir. Let is sit until there’s no alcohol taste (about 3 minutes)

8. Add the leftover roasted chicken.

9. Add 1 liter of broth and 3 cups of filtered water and close the lid until it’s boiling.

10. While you are waiting for the chicken soup to boil, starting cooking the egg noodle by boiling egg noodle until it’s cooked.

11. Once the chicken noodle soup is boiling, taste it and add more salt if needed.

YUMMY and it  feels good….

                                                                           Photo by William R. Greenblatt

                                                                           Edited by Alan Finn

07:28 am: pleaseletmecookforyou1 note

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