Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Vegetarian Pad Thai

I made this delicious pad thai dish last week and for the first time in my efforts, I finally got pad thai right.  I love a good tofu pad thai, but in the past, things never really came out the way I had hoped.  However, this dish, which I consulted a variety of recipes for before coming up with my own, was a huge success.  My husband loved it as well and it yielded plenty of leftovers that were quickly gobbled up. Tamarind paste is an essential ingredient for any pad thai sauce.  I love the tangy flavor of tamarind in a variety of dishes, and it lends a nice flavor to the pad thai sauce here.  I got mine in Curry Town at Foods of India.

Sasha's Vegetarian Pad Thai
12 oz (one package) dried flat rice noodles (pad thai noodles)
3 T tamarind paste
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T Sriracha (spicy chile sauce)
1 bunch scallions
2 small onions
1 package (15 oz) extra firm tofu
1/2 cup canola oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 5 large eggs
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped)

Soak the noodles in boiling hot water until softened, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Make sure they are done before you combine them in with the dish.

To make the sauce, combine the brown sugar with the tamarind paste, sriracha and soy sauce and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside.

Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes.  Cut the scallions and onions.  Saute the onions in a tablespoon of canola oil on low heat until browned, about seven to eight minutes.  Set aside.  Lightly scramble the eggs with a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and cook the eggs in a wok until cooked through.  Break up into chunks and set aside. Stir fry the scallions, cooked onions and garlic for about a minute in a bit of canola oil.  In a wok, add about 6 T of the canola oil and fry the tofu cubes on all sides until browned.  Combine the tofu, egg, noodles and onion mixture.  Add the noodles and sauce and combine well.  Finally, mix in the chopped peanuts and serve.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Pasta Tomato Medley

I made this lovely pasta dish last week.  It was was excellent, but I kept thinking that it is really a dish for the summer.  As good as it was with fresh tomatoes that I was able to secure in the dark of winter, it would have been amazing with summer yellow tomatoes, or with fresh heirloom tomatoes.  Still, it was a satisfying pasta dish that made enough for two nights easily.  I've been under a bit of stress lately with things going on in my life, so this was just the meal we needed - nice and easy, but still filling, healthy and delicious with lots of leftovers.  This dish was inspired by and very loosely adapted from a recipe that I found for tomato-angel hair pasta in Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook, New American Table

Pasta Tomato Medley 
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
3 on the vine red tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 shallots, diced
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup arugula, chopped
1/2 tsp black   pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
grated parmesan cheese

Place the fresh tomatoes in a large bowl with the sea salt and allow to sit for 45 minutes.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente, rinse and set aside.  To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the garlic, red bell pepper and shallots and cook until softened, three to four minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for five minutes.  Toss the pasta, the salted tomatoes, arugula, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes in the saute pan and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Duck Confit Salad with Apples and Blue Cheese

I love a good duck confit salad.  I've made various recipes for duck confit salads in the past, including an Indian-inspired one.  However, this time, I tried my own inventive recipe for mixing ingredients in a duck confit salad and it was my favorite one to date.  I bought the duck confit legs from FreshDirect and removed the fat before adding the duck confit meat to the salad.  A made an orange vinaigrette which went nicely with the blue cheese.  Whoever said you can't mix apples and oranges?

Sasha's Duck Confit Salad
5 oz baby spinach
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 lb crumbled stilton cheese
2 large duck confit legs, fat removed and shredded
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 T red wine vinegar

I made the dressing out of the OJ, canola oil and vinegar, and mixed all of the other ingredients to make this lovely salad, which is a great recipe for a busy day.  Stay tuned for more fun posts from me soon. I had a bit of a baking marathon last saturday, where I made a lovely red velvet cake with white chocolate ganache frosting for a pre-Valentine's day treat, as well as my favorite German street pretzels.  Pretzel making is oh so much fun!
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