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Krapow Moo: Thai Stir-Fried with Fresh Basil & Pork

28 Mar


After I met Alayna in France, but before we lived together in New York, I lived in a village in the south of Thailand called Amphur Muang Phang Nga. That picture is of the market where I shopped for food and a friend of mine worked. That friend, Pi Nee, also owned a small food stand and would cook me dinners most nights. They were delicious.

Pi Nee once asked me if Americans ever ate Thai food. I told her it was very popular. She asked what was the most popular dish. I said Pad Thai. She literally freaked out. She thought that was hysterical. “Why Pad Thai?” She kept asking. Then she asked about how much money someone would spend for a plate of Pad Thai. I said about ten US dollars. From that point, for the next two years, she remained a little too serious about going back to America with me to open her food shop and rake in the big bucks. She said she would travel in my suitcase.

Pi Nee honestly would have raked in the big bucks because her food was dope. Unfortunately this was a time in my life where I didn’t think I had the ability to cook. I just didn’t think it was physically possible for some reason. If I did I would have spent a lot more time paying attention to what she was cooking, because when I moved back here I deeply missed her food.

Fast forward a bunch of years later. My friend from the Peace Corps, Julia (hi Julia!), who still lives in Bangkok visits New York. She brings me a small little cookbook a friend of hers made for extra money. It’s not a real book, it’s just her recipes bound in plastic, translated into English. There are typos, she obviously took the photos herself, it’s very DIY. I thanked Julia and put it aside and didn’t think much of it for a few weeks until one day I decided to try out the Pad Thai recipe. And holy shit, it was incredible.

I have been cooking through this cookbook ever since, and repeating the recipes over and over because they are delicious. I’ve actually gone on to compare these recipes to other cookbook versions of Thai favorites and they are very different- and superior. What is below is a recipe that I love from my little Thai cookbook (Note that I have made some modifications to the recipe, simply adding more veggies). I’ll keep posting a few more of these recipes because if you are in the mood for good REAL Thai food- this is it.

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Krapow Moo

Serves 2… Feel free to add more or less veggies

  • Cook 1 cup of brown rice in 2 cups of chicken broth
  • Meanwhile, using a large saute pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and put on medium heat. Add 3 crushed cloves of garlic and one chopped hot red pepper. Add a little salt and heat for a minute or two
  • Add 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms, handful of edemame and saute for about 5 minutes until beginning to get soft
  • Add 1/2 pound ground pork or beef (whatever you prefer, both are delicious), add salt and cook for about 4 minutes until meat is no longer pink
  • Add seasoning: 1 tbsp of Oyster Sauce, 1 tspn of soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp of white sugar, 1 tspn of fish sauce, cook for about another 2 minutes
  • Add a handful of scallions, small handful of fresh, chopped basil, give a mix for a minute and put into a large bowl and set aside
  • In the same saute pan, add more oil if you need to, and fry 2 eggs— try not to overcook the yolk!
  • Put the brown rice in two bowls, top with meat/veggies, top with fried egg.


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Oven Poached Salmon

17 Dec

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Poaching fish sounds hard right? And it seems fancy. And dinner-party-esq. It doesn’t sound like a 30 minute after-work no-big-deal meal does it?

But you know what, it totally is. This was an easy breezy super delicious dinner. It’s also really healthy because I realized I didn’t use any oil or fats- and it didn’t matter nor was missed because the fish came out so moist and delicious. The thing I love best about cooking meat in the oven is you don’t really risk over-cooking it unless your timer is broken.

I’d recommend this as a main coarse if you want to impress dinner party guests but you don’t want to actually do a lot of work. But I’d also recommend it as a random Tuesday night at home. I served it with some brown rice and steam broccoli and it was just the best. (Gavin, attest.)

Oven Poached Salmon

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F
  • Place 2 salmon fillets (or however many you want- also can be any kind of fish that is meaty) on a lightly greased oven pot or dutch oven.
  • Add a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes and radishes around the fish
  • Pour in 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • Pour in a 1/3 cup of chicken broth
  • Add 1 tbsp of capers
  • Sprinkle on salt and pepper and a generous amount of dried or fresh thyme over fish and veggies
  • Cover and bake for 12-15 minutes
  • If enjoying over brown rice, spoon the sauce in the pan over the rice.

So easy!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

3 Dec

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Peppers, aka God’s little bowls, waiting to be stuffed.

I like stuffing stuff. One time I had a dinner party and called it, “Stuffed Stuff.” Stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed eggplant. You can stuff squash, you can stuff potatoes, you can stuff tomatoes. You can literally stuff anything with a peel or skin. And then you just eat the whole entire thing and it’s delicious.

Now that we discussed the art of stuffing, lets discuss quinoa. I don’t love quinoa as much as I should. I know, shocking right? I should be obsessed with it. It’s a complete protein. It’s probably the healthiest grain there is- it just doesn’t excite me that much. (Let me first set the barometer on the sorts of things that do excite me: Farro, wheat berry, my shower drain not clogging, when this grandmother who lives in the apartment across the street has her lights turned on when I’m walking home so I can pause and look in her windows- a ritual that strangely relaxes me…) What I am saying is I’m easily excitable so quinoa should, in theory, excite me, but it doesn’t that much. It tastes too… pilly or something.

But the quinoa in this recipe is the best quinoa I’ve ever made. I think it’s the fact that I roasted it that helped with the texture and made it exciting. I made extra “stuffing” that didn’t fit into the two peppers, which I just threw onto the cookie sheet and roasted everything together. Then put the extras on a pile of spinach next to the plated pepper. And poof, a complete meal and a complete protein.

And what’s even more exciting? Don’t put cheese on top of this and you got yourself a vegan recipe. And lastly, let it be noted that a man ate this with me, and he was really into it. I just like to say that to prove that these recipes don’t just please the rabbit-girls of the world.

So stuff some stuff and enjoy!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, lightly oil a baking pan
  • Boil 1/2 cup of quinoa & 1 cup of water (or chicken broth- better!) together, and then simmer for 15 minutes until soft
  • Cut the pepper’s “hats” off and clean out the insides- brush or spray the peppers with olive oil inside and out (I have spray olive oil, best invention ever)- put the peppers top-side-down in the oven for 15 minutes (when peppers are roasted, reduce the oven to 350)
  • In skillet, warm some olive oil, add half an onion chopped, some garlic chopped, for about 5 minutes- Then stir in 1 teaspoons of cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes & salt
  • Add a handful of each: chopped carrots, celery, zucchini & corn… really add as much as you want, you like a lot of veggies, add more, whatevs
  • When veggies are tender add the quinoa and salt to taste
  • Stuff the peppers with the quinoa stuffing, if there is extra just toss it on the oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the peppers and put back into the oven for 10-15 minutes
  • Place over a nice bed of spinach and you’re done!

East West Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

27 Nov

I forgot to take a picture of the stuffed mushroom, so here is a picture of some nuts and my grandmothers & aunts & great aunts & my cousins & me that I keep in my kitchen.

You know what happened yesterday? I spent over an hour reading this blog thinking, Why don’t we update this blog anymore? And then I decided to make Alayna’s rosemary bread which is really, really easy to make and as I was mixing the dough I was thinking, I really still like all of these recipes that are on this blog. And then I started talking to Alayna and we were both like, Why don’t we update this blog anymore when we’re both such better cooks now than we were when we were writing this blog?

And so, hellllllo ladles wez be back!

Just because Alayna and I haven’t been posting for… err… about a year now, doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking. Au contraire! Have we ever. So what we’re going to do is start updating Monday’s Soup again with whatever we have made that’s really awesome. Don’t gotta be soup, just gotta be good.

I also really want to do this so I can start stealing Alayna’s recipes again.

For those of you who are new here, let me tell you a bit about how Alayna and I cook so you know what you’re getting into:

  • We don’t use measuring cups or spoons because that would result in more dishes to clean. That means these recipes are really loose, add more of what you like, don’t add what you don’t like… this isn’t baking, it’s cooking so relax. (Well sometimes it’s baking but even then we don’t really use measuring cups.)
  • Alayna and I do not like to waste food, ever. This is less of an environmental/responsible conscious kind of thing (though there’s that, too) rather it’s more like, we’re really, really anal.
  • Alayna and I like to cook things that are both practical and wholesome. This is where our love for soup is really rooted- to make soup most of the time you really just use one pot. And then you get a whole delicious meal out of it. So practical! So healthy! So perfect!
  • Alayna and I really like to eat.

Alayna, please comment if I’m missing anything.

So anyways. Here we go again. Kicking this off are these amazing stuffed mushrooms I made last night adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook (I recommend!). Because this meal involved a lot of eastern flavors (e.g. miso, soy sauce, sesame oil & peanut butter) I wasn’t totally sure how this would come out. But it came out awesome. Gavin said, “This meal should go in the rotation.” As in, the rotation of dinners I make- that’s as big of a compliment as I’m going to get. It’s also, I just realized… vegan! But you really, really don’t realize that because it’s so flavorful and hearty and good.

Now without further ado…

East West Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms 
Serves 2 people who eat a lot, or 3 normal people
  • Preheat the oven to 350, oil a baking sheet that will hold 3 portobello mushrooms
  • Make brown rice (use about 3/4 of a cup of dry brown rice)
  • In a large bowl crumble 8 oz of tofu, 1 red diced red pepper, 1/2 a can of water chestnuts, 3 diced scallions, 2 tbsp of peanut butter, 2 tbsp of miso, some diced ginger, 1 tsp of sesame oil & mix well
  • Twist off the mushroom stems and place them gill-side up on the oiled pan, in a small cup stir 3 tsp of sesame oil & 1 tbsp of soy sauce brush this onto the mushrooms. Then mound the fillings on top of each mushrooms (I had extra and just put it on the baking sheet to heat up with everything else.
  • Bake for 35 minutes
  • Meanwhile! in a small sauce pan mix 1 cup of unsweetened apple juice, 1 tbsn soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice OR cider vinegar, some grated ginger, 1 tspn sugar and put on low heat
  • Slowly pour in 1 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp of cold water– mix for about 1 minute over heat

To plate:

Put down a handful or two of fresh spinach, then pile on a serving of the brown rice, then top on the stuff mushroom, then sprinkle everything with the sweet & sour sauce. Add soy sauce if you’d like, to taste

Vegan Enchiladas

27 Apr

The vegan challenge. I’m always happy with the results of my meals, but finding those meals to make in the first place is a little annoying. Alayna’s sister awesomely sent me a cookbook that passed through her magazine, Women’s Day, called “Part-Time Vegan.” I was super pumped. I haven’t given the recipes there a good look yet, but I will and will get back to you. Mainly, a lot of the self-declared “vegan” recipes I find on blogs and vegan cookbooks seem so bland. And it’s not the lack of cheese and stuff. Cooking vegan isn’t that different from how I ordinarily cook. It’s the lack of spices and flavor. I really beg, if you have great vegan recipes please share them by commenting below. I’d love to try them out.

But in the meantime, try out this one for size. Enchiladas. That is one thing I’m discovering actually, that vegan recipes that aren’t self-declared “vegan,” but are actually, vegan, from all around the world (more like Asia here, not how I think of Mexican food…) are totally flavorful and delicious. I should poke East for my recipes for next time. Anyways, this is delicious. I didn’t miss any cheese or meat and Gavin loved it. Very flavorful and filling.

Plate cleaning.

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Saute 1 onion in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until soft
  • Add 1 green (or any color) chopped pepper, 2 normal size summer squash cut in bite sized pieces and 1 tspn of chili powder, 2 dried chili peppers crushed, saute for another 5 minutes on medium heat
  • Add 3 or 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • I bought this all natural taco seasoning at Whole Foods and added a ton– you don’t have to do this, you can just add 1 tbsp of tomato paste, generous shakes of cumin, onion powder and more chili powder instead
  • Add 1 can of black beans, saute for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add lime juice (from one lime)
  • Lightly spray large rectangular baking dish, place a tortilla in front of you and arrange about 1/4 cup of bean mixture (or whatever you think) across the center. Roll up and place seam-side down into the backing dish.
  • You can fit about 4 inside, put extra juice you have from pot on top of the enchiladas and put in the oven for 20 minutes
  • Take out, sprinkle with chopped green onions and add sliced avocado on the side. And hot sauce if you so desire.
  • Enjoy!

Acorn Squash Chili

8 Dec

Do you know what today marks? The first day of my winter CSA that involves meat. Very, very exciting. I just picked up a giant frozen chicken and eggs. Mother and child! All in my refrigerator. I also picked up a few acorn squashes which are my favorite things in the world these days. And Jerusalem artichokes. Which look like ginger knobs and I have no idea how you cook them, but don’t fret I will find out and report back.

Meanwhile I have become somewhat obsessed with a very simple and hearty winter meal that I made up. It began as a mix-up. Gavin’s trivia co-host, Adam, noticed an acorn squash on my counter and said how he read a recipe about baked beans in a pumpkin. (That sounds so good right!) I got confused the next day and thought he said chili. So I made chili in an acorn squash. And then I told Adam and he was like, What you talking about?

Either way, it’s so good. And I’ve eaten it three different times. It’s also nice because you just drop the chili in the acorn and it looks fancy and nice but it’s actually incredibly easy. This also works to satisfy my recent onset of uncontrollable winter squash cravings. Is it the weather? Who knows. But make this ladles, and enjoy!

Acorn Squash Chili

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Put 2 halves of acorn squash on baking sheet in oven, with seeds scooped out. Bake for 40 minutes
  • (I like to set the timer for 20 minutes and then start on the chili so everything finishes at the same time but whatever floats your boat)
  • Saute on low heat onions in olive oil with some salt and a lot of chili powder
  • Add a 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • If you want to add other vegetables like mushrooms or green peppers add them now and wait until they are soft and sautéed to your liking
  • Then put in a 14 oz. can of black beans with generous shakes of cumin seeds (I put in 2 tspn)
  • Add 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • I always like to add spinach too. Taste and see if you need more chili powder or cumin seeds or salt.
  • Spoon the chili into the acorn squash.
  • enjoy!!

Chicken bean soup & Olive chicken

18 Aug

I’m starting to realize my kitchen looks a little Soviet Russia. I still really love my kitchen… some people would call it a hallway or a foyer, but I call it a kitchen. I’m always startled when I see it in pictures, like the one above and realize it’s hideous. My kitchen is my ugly baby.

Alayna’s mom made this chicken when we were in D.C. moving her in and it was so delicious I made it the following week and that recipe is below. With the corresponding soup I made with the meat and bones. I’m not putting the broth recipe in here because we all know how to make chicken broth by now right? If not, check ’em archives. I like the routine of the Sunday chicken, Monday soup. Feels very on-the-farm-practical, you know? Using everything down to the bones and all.

Alright, sorry this is short and boring. I just got back from the Dominican Republic. Alayna is in Colombia. I’m still thinking about coconuts and sunscreen. Now go and get yourself a chicken.

Shoot, that looks sorta disgusting doesn’t it? It’s not though I swear!

Sunday Chicken, Monday soup

Olive chicken

Put a 4-6 pound roasting chicken in a slow cooker or dutch oven

Add thyme and smoked paprika to the chicken

Put in 2 green peppers chopped and three or four wedged tomatoes, I squeezed their juice onto the chicken

Throw in one chopped onion

Pour in an entire jar, with the juice, of black olive (I’m not an olive fan so I put in half the jar of olives- but all the juice)

In a slow cooker cook on low for 9 hours, in a dutch oven cook for two hours

From this I made 2 meals with the chicken, ladling the delicious juice over your entire plate, (I froze the bones to use as a broth later).  There was a lot of chicken left over- I put this in the fridge for Monday Soup. There was also a lot of left over broth and juice left over, which I also saved for Monday soup (don’t freak when you open it the next day and you realize it’s become a gelatin, all you first timers.)

Chicken Bean Soup

Boil 2 quarts of water, dump in 1 and 1/2 cups of dried beans (any kind of beans- I did one of those mix packets) let boil for 2 minutes, take off heat and let sit for an hour

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in your soup pot, add 1 chopped onion until fragrant

Add (and this is all really based on whatever is in your fridge), a couple chopped carrots, 1 chopped Japanese eggplant, 1 chopped zucchini, 3 chopped red potatoes. Let all that simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pour in all the leftover broth from last night’s chicken into the pot. If it doesn’t almost cover the veggies add some water

Add a big squeeze of lemon or two, 1 tsp of thyme and 1 tspn of paprika and 1 tsp of salt & pepper. Add the beans (with their water if you want more liquid). Taste it and see if you want to add a chicken bullion cube. Let all of it sit on simmer for another 30+ minutes.

Add in as much of the leftover chicken as you want and a few handful of leafy greens.

Let it sit for another 10 minutes and ENJOY!