Vegan Pad Thai

This is a nice, simple make-at-home dish that will satisfy your Thai take-out fix without the need for too many specialty ingredients. Did I mention it’s vegan? But it doesn’t have to be. See tips below for some easy ways to beef it up (ha!).

The star of the show in this Food & Wine recipe (in my humble opinion) are the noodles. They are nice and chewy and the perfect vehicle for the yummy Sriracha sauce, which has a nice spice, alongside the salty umami of soy sauce and sour-sweet of the tamarind paste. You get great, fresh flavor and crunch from the carrots (make sure you don’t overcook!), scallions and bean sprouts. And the peanuts are the perfect, nutty finish. I went back for seconds on this one!

TW’s Tips

  • To non-vegan-fy this recipe, add stir-fried pieces of chicken, shrimp or beef or a chopped up fried egg
  • Other easy additions: tofu, stir-fried cabbage,
  • I wanted a bit more sauce than the recipe made — I recommend doubling the recipe
  • Garnish with lime wedges and squeeze over right before serving
  • Adjust the heat at the table with more Sriracha or sambal/chile paste

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried pad Thai rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (available from Indian, Asian and Latin markets)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or chile-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups julienned carrots (from about 3/4 pound carrots)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts

Directions

Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak until just pliable, about 15 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain the noodles in a colander, shaking off any excess water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the brown sugar, tamarind paste and Sriracha.

In a large nonstick wok or skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, shallots and carrots and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the noodles and scallions and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Add the sauce and stir-fry until the noodles are evenly coated and the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pad Thai to a platter. Garnish with the peanuts and bean sprouts and serve.

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Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Soft Boiled Egg

IMG_6590This salad is really, really delicious. It’s so simple. And so good. The ingredients are few:  you get an awesome contrast from savory caramelized onions and garlic, salty bacon, sweet honey and the bite of the apple cider vinegar all on top of the nice freshness of the spinach. And in my opinion, put a runny egg on top of anything and you’re golden. This is yet another winner from Tyler Florence — his “Ultimates” cookbook is one of my regular go-to’s.

Everything comes together really quickly on this one, so make sure you time it well so the egg isn’t sitting around and cooking more while you wait for the onions to caramelize. Recommend getting the water to boil on first, and cooking up the bacon while you wait for that to work. Once the onions and garlic are caramelized, you can turn the burner off if the water has still not come to a boil, and then turn it back up when it’s almost there, so the spinach is ready when the eggs come out.

TW’s Tips

  • I skipped cutting up the bacon ahead of time and just cooked it up nice and crispy and crumbled it over the salad
  • I made this for one (would be really tough to reheat), and used 2 pieces of bacon, one egg, 1/4 onion, 1 garlic clove and almost a full bag of spinach for one serving. One onion seemed like an awful lot to me.
  • The original recipe called for letting the eggs sit for 12 minutes — this does NOT work for a soft boiled egg. The ideal you’re looking for here is a runny yolk so you can mix all that goodness up in the spinach. After trial and error I got a pretty soft yolk letting the egg sit for 2 minutes — if you do 1 minute it would be nice and runny.
  • Pull the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and run under cold water/plunge into an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking.

Enjoy!

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Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Soft Boiled Egg

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs (TW: or more)
  • 2 bacon, slices cut crosswise into thin strips (TW: see note above)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey (TW: I used agave syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (1 lb) bag baby spinach (TW: recommend 2 bags)
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 1 1/2-2 minutes. Lift the eggs out of the pan and cool; peel the eggs.

Meanwhile, put the bacon strips into a big skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat to render the fat. Scoop the bacon out and set aside onto a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the honey and vinegar and keep cooking until the onion has caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Toss the spinach into the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with tongs until the spinach is just wilted, about 30 seconds. Dump the spinach out into a bowl and add the bacon. Halve the eggs and arrange on top of the salad.

Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

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This was a really easy weeknight meal by Robin Miller, and super delicious. I love a piccata. There’s something about the really simple but pungent flavors — lemon, capers, the great, toasty, salty crust you get on well browned meat. It hits all the notes on your palate. This chicken piccata incorporates artichokes as well, which is a great addition. Then just throw it on top of some rice or pasta and you’ve got a meal. The sauce cooks down into a nice, rich yet tart and salty accompaniment that is great when it soaks into the rice.

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TW’s Tips

  • You can use any type of rice for this — white, brown, one of the different flavors you can get in a box. The one I used had some almonds in it which added a nice crunch and layer of flavor.
  • Serve with a roasted green vegetable of your choice.
  • I prefer to use several layers of plastic wrap instead of plastic bags when you’re pounding the chicken. I’m just afraid the bag will pop open and get chicken juice everywhere. Ick.
  • I skipped the lima beans in the rice.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans

Directions

Place chicken in zip-top bags and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Remove chicken from bag and season all over with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish (or plastic bag), combine flour, lemon zest, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture and shake off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Add artichoke hearts and capers and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

Cook rice according to package directions, adding lima beans at the beginning of cooking process. Serve chicken and sauce with rice.