Valentine’s Day Thai-ish food!

15 Feb

Yes, it has been a slow year of blogging, so far. But, I’m off to Spain very soon and then my culinary adventure updates will be more regular (I’d like to say everyday, but my goal is a minimum of 5 days a week).

So, what did I cook for Carnet for Valentine’s?  Thai-ish, of course. I forgot to take a picture of course #1. Since we were both way too hungry, we dove right in and I thought it might be gross to post at an empty bowl with fragments of prawn tails, lemongrass, chilies, herbs, garlic and ginger at the bottom. It was delicious, so here’s the recipe:

Shrimp and noodle salad: Makes 2 bowls

Ingredients: 1) Fresh peas, snowpeas, or peapods (anything that looks good), 2) your favorite noodle of choice e.g. rice vermicelli noodles or any thin rice noodle that doesn’t need to be cooked. I used a kelp noodle that is essentially seaweed and water. 3) 2 garlic cloves, minced, 4) 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced, 5) 2 Thai chilies, seeded and thinly sliced into rounds, 6) 1/2 pound large or jumbo prawns or shrimp, 7) 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias, 8) 1 lemongrass stalk, minced superfine, 9) 1 carrot, cut into julienne, 10) 1/2 red bell peper, julienne, 11) fresh mint, Thai basil and cilantro – all roughly chopped, 12) black sesame seeds for garnish (or, you can use white).

For the Dressing: 1) 1 Tbl. fish sauce, 2) 1 teaspoon tamari, light soy sauce, or regular soy, 3) 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, 4) 2 Tbl. rice vinegar, 5) squeeze of lime.

Directions: 1) If you are using rice noodles, soak them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes, drain (if you’re using kelp noodles, just heat in microwave or on the stove with a little of the kelp water in a bowl for 1-2 minutes), 2) Steam the peas for about 2-3 minutes, until crunchy yet tender, then refresh in ice water to stop cooking, 3) While you’re steaming the peas, make the dressing from the above recipe, shake in a glass jar and set aside for the moment, 4) Stir fry all ingredients in roughly this order: a) Heat 2 Tbl. peanut, regular olive oil, or canola oil in a wok or large frying pan, b) Add garlic, ginger and chilies and cook 1 minute, c) Add jumbo shrimp and let sit 1 minute on one side, then flip to other side, d) after you flip the shrimp, add in the julienned carrots and red bell pepper, the scallions and the peas. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until shrimp is pink but not rubbery, 5) Put 1/2 the noodles on 1/2 side of each bowl, stacked in a little pile, 6) Add half of the stir fry mix on the other side of each bowl, 7) pour 1-2 tsp. of the dressing over both the noodles and the stir fry mix, 8) Garnish the top of the noodles with the fresh herb trio and garnish the stir fry mix with the sesame seeds.

Carnet said he thought the sesame seeds looked nice, but he would have preferred some rough chopped cashews or peanuts for more of a crunch. Noted.

Here are the kelp noodles I used:

I love this product, especially if you’re trying to cut out grains, are gluten or rice intolerant, or you just want to change things up. There is not a strong sea-weedy taste and the texture is crunchy, so it goes well as a base for just about any food you would want to accompany with glass noodles.

Onto the main course: whole striped bass marinated in coconut milk, dry white wine and chilies; stuffed with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil and ginger; and garnished with the trio of fresh herbs – Thai basil, cilantro and mint – and Meyer lemons (feature picture above).

This was a really simple dish. Directions: I used 1 can of coconut, 1/4 bottle of dry white wine I had left over from oyster tasting in Tomales Bay with Bob, Steph and Carnet on Saturday, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced into rings, 1 stalk of lemongrass I beat up a bit with the back end of my 10″ knife, 4 lime leaves, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, and a few Thai chilies.  I mixed the coconut milk, wine, soy sauce and Thai chilies in a bowl. I stuffed the cavity of the fish with the ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves, then poured the coconut milk mixture over the fish. I let that marinate in the fridge for about 3 hours, basting the fish once during that time to cover it again with the coconut marinade.

Then, I took it out of the marinade, wrapped it in a tent of aluminum foil (ran out of parchment paper) and added back about 1/2 cup of the marinade, so that it would steam in the oven.  I baked it at 375 degrees F for approximately 40 minutes (it was a 4 – 4 1/2 lb. fish prior to cleaning).  While the fish was baking, I strained the rest of the coconut milk marinade, put it in a small saucepan and simmered it/reduced it for the entire time.  I added in a couple of extra lime leaves and a whole Thai chili to bump up the flavors, as well as a couple of tablespoons of the coconut sugar.  Without the sugar, it was pretty acidic from the wine.   To me, the end result tasted something like a coconut beurre blanc.

Here’s the fish before it went into the oven:

If you notice the sauce, it’s not milky white. That’s due to the light soy sauce and coconut sugar. The coconut sugar I’m using these days is this one, and it almost looks and tastes like an off-brown sugar (it’s not coconut-y at all):

And, here’s the manufacturer’s story on it, on the back:

Again, I’m not sponsored by any of these products. Carnet and I just do a fair amount of research into healthier alternatives for things and based upon the way we like to cook and eat. So, these are just some products we’ve found along the way that we really like.

Happy Eating!

4 Responses to “Valentine’s Day Thai-ish food!”

  1. al and maren ogdie February 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Looks delicious…our mouths are watering just from the pictures. Our valentine’s dinner was not as beautiful or artistic. We had a boneless pan seared Rib eye that had a shallot, rosemary, and red wine mix as its sauce to be poured on after the steak was done to almost perfection. We topped that off with fresh spinach sauteed in red onions, bacon and butter seasoned with pepper and salt. It was tasty. I’m learning more about cooking from your blogs. Maren and al

    • rachelogdie February 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      Ummm, I’d say yours sounded equally great! No one does red meat like you 🙂 We’re off to a middle eastern restaurant tonight near the embarcadero. I’ll give you an update on it tomorrow.

  2. Bee Leng Chua February 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Thanks for the Salad recipe! I too like the Kelp noodles however the price at Whole Food here in Honolulu has increased by a dollar – 3.99 to 4.99. Coconut crystals is an interesting option – good information. Happy Valentine’s Day After!
    Bee Leng

  3. Sim Thadani February 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    sounds delightful, and i don’t even eat seafood! looks like you are enjoying these precious days in sf with carnet and having the usual fun culinary adventures 🙂 xo

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