Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles

FINALLY!!!!!

I have been trying to find time to post this recipe since the day I made it. When I say I have not even had a single second to just sit at my computer and get it done, it is not an exaggeration at all. This week was so insanely fun but so crazy busy.

Between flying to Florida for just a day to see mt grandfather, photography lessons (hence the ridiculously beautiful photos by the ohs talented Miriam Pascal), filming ten brand new videos for kosher.com, kids, husband oh and a few minutes of much needed sleep here and there this week was action packed. Even for me. And thats saying something. Luckily,I loved every minute of it.

Now that I have a few free seconds, I decided to use the time to bring you the recipe I promised I would. I know its a little late to make this for shakos but Im so confident in its level addiction that I felt like you needed to have it. 

Whether you make it for a shabbos afternoon, as a barbecue side dish, or as the perfect portable beach day lunch it is one of those recipes thats just perfect. It’s versatile and I included a bunch of variations in the recipe to help you make it even more to your liking! I never know when I make something like this whether mysids will eat to or not, but they all LOVED it. I actually kept the veggies separate and each kid customized what veggies they wanted in their bowls. 

Lets talk about these photos. No, I did no take these insanely gorgeous pictures. They were taken by the uber-talented Miriam pascal from overtimecook. I had the unbelievable privilege of hanging out with Miriam and the equally talented Melinda from kitchen-tested. We got together, well actually, they got together and I crashed their photoshoot, to photograph some new recipes. Not only were they gracious enough to let me watch and learn from everything they did, they even told me to bring a recipe that they would tech me how to photograph! 

I don’t think I’m quite ready to produce any pictures that look as gorgeous as these, actually I probably need to buy a real camera first, but I can’t wait to get back home and start implanting all the tips and tricks they gave me. 

Hope your all having a slamming summer!

Peas out, 

Danielle 

For the printable Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodle Recipe, click here

 

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Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Meat. Gooood.

Bread. Gooood.

Pickled Vegetabes. Good.

Creamy Soy Sauce. Good.

Put it all together to make the best sandwich ever. Verrrrrrrry good.

It actually doesn’t seem fair to call this a sandwich. These days, the word sandwich evokes a picture of two pieces of some sort of floppy bread, smeared with PB&J, or cream cheese stuffed into a condensation filled plastic bag, pulled out from the bottom of a knapsack, 20 degrees hotter than it was when I put it in there in the morning.

That is not what’s happening here.

The banh mi is a sandwich at it’s best. It’s basically the little black dress of sandwiches. It consists of 4 very simple components that can be switched up or accessorized in a ton of different ways. No matter what you do to it though, the basic premise is a good French baguette, quickly cooked protein, flavor bomb pickled veg, umami packed mayonnaise and fresh herbs keep this sandwich down to earth, easy to make, portable, and simple but sophisticated.

The banh mi is what happened as a result of Vietnam being a French occupied colony from the middle of the 19th century until Vietnam’s independence in 1954. Like any good group of people, the Vietnamese took the incredible baguette that the French brought with them, made it their own and stuffed it with a combinations of France’s best delicacies and their own deeply cultural pickled veggies. The Banh Mi, which really just translates to mean “bread of wheat”, became a staple across Vietnam because it could be filled with anything and carried around easily. 

The first banh mi sandwiches were spread with a thin layer of French liver pate, then filled with a thin layer of thinly sliced meat, topped with pickled vegetables (usually carrots and radishes) and fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves. It was the perfect east meets west combo.

Over time, the Bahn mi has transformed to mean any kind of sandwich as long as it’s in a Vietnamese style French baguette, filled with some sort of protien and loaded with pickled veggies and coriander. They sell them on the streets of Vietnam filled with thinly sliced beef, scrambled eggs, crushed pork meatballs, roasted pork belly, tofu for the vegans out there, grilled chicken and even sardines. 

For pretty obvious reasons, I chose to go the route of thinly sliced meat. In my house nobody is vegan, eggs are for breakfast, we keep kosher and if I served my husband and sons a sardine sandwich they would trade me in. 

Liver pate was optional so for those that unwisely chose to skip it I created a soy sauce-mayonnaise to add in some of that creamy umaminess they were missing. 

Traditionally Vietanam style French baguettes actually have a bit of a thinner crust than regular French baguettes but I couldn’t find that so I just went with I had access to. You can, of course make your own baguette, but then this would not be an easy to make sandwich anymore.

                   

Pickled veggies are a staple in my fridge. They come in many forms, flavored differently and grace basically every dish I serve. If you aren’t obsessed with pickled veggies, you will be after you make this sandwich so  double or triple the recipe so that you too will have a well stocked pickled veggie fridge. I also added thinly sliced spicy peppers for some heat and although you can leave it out, I urge you strongly to try the banh mi with it.

However you do it, whether with meat, chicken, tofu, eggs, sardines or really any other protein you can think of just make sure to cross this dish off your list of “I want to make that one day but not today” dishes because you will absolutely fall in love with it at the first bite. And all over again with every other subsequent bite you take. 

For the printable Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe click here

 

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Tom Yum Soup + Video

THAILAND. sigh. BRING ME BACK!!!!!

It is just the most amazing mix of beauty and culture. From the elephant studded jungles to the tropical, crystal blue ocean lined beaches, every inch of this country is absolutely remarkable. It’s the people, the history, the location, the agriculture, the culture, the smells and the food – oh my, the food- that all together contribute to the colorful backdrop of what makes Thailand so truly special. 

The old ladies that sit on the side of a seemingly deserted road selling bananas, the proprietors of each stall at the random street long market places that pop-up any where from the middle of a train track to the inside of a series of gondola like canoes in a through fare of canals, to the barefooted buddhists monks, and even the punky, techno music obsessed teenagers, it is the people who make up and truly influence this great country. Each one with their own familial variations, traditions, and of course, recipes. There are a few staple base recipes, but from their each region, town and family ventures off to create their own version of these very Thai dishes.

Sometimes, the recipes vary between fish bases and meat bases depending on whether you lived in the hills and were surrounded by cattle or if you lived on the sea shore surrounded by the most amazing fish and shell fish. Which, aside from the fact that Thai people just so happen to be culturally the most accomodating, genuinely nice people, is why I think it was not difficult for them to help me come up with a way to kosherfy some of their most traditional recipes. 

Each region we went to we got to take a private cooking class in. At the start of each class the chef, assuming that I just wanted to learn how to make some super fancy, Michelin star worthy dish came armed with a slew of extremely updated, over the top, beautifully plated dishes. As soon as I told them I did not want to learn how to make hotel food and was really there to cook something that their own grandmothers made for them the whole experience changed. Each chef, both women by the way (girl power), instantly relaxed, plastered a huge smile on their face and taught me to make the food that they truly like to eat.

It’s not fancy food and not difficult to make. It is however, complex in flavors and mind blowing-ly delicious. In the west we are used to very different types of herbs and spices. So, Thai food seems complicated as these ingredients are not as easily available as say, a carrot. However, once you have all the ingredients in your house, nothing actually takes more than a few minutes of active prep time to put together. 

Over the course of the classes we made Tom yum soup, which is technically a spicy prawn soup, that we kosherfied by swapping salmon for the prawns. We made a fried flounder with a spicy thai mango salad, sticky rice (my fave!!!), Tom Kah Gai soup, which is basically Thailands version of a Jewish chicken soup, and a spicy, fresh hearts of palm (yup, thats right, NOT canned, meaning straight from the heart of a palm tree!) salad. Each recipe was bright, fresh, light enough to not weigh you down in the crazy heat but filling enough to leave you feeling totally satisfied!

I am so excited to be sharing these videos and giving you a small glimpse of all the amazing things I was privileged to learn and see there. I am going to release the videos one by one, each with a printable recipe so that you can recreate these recipes in your own kitchens. 

Before I do though, I just want to share a few things I learned there. 

  1. There are no rules. If you don’t like an ingredient, don’t worry, just swap it out for something you do like.
  2. Taste along the way. It was not easy writing down these recipes for you, because like any really good recipe handed down from parent to child, they included ” a little of this, a pinch of that and a handful of this”. So, trust your palettes and keep tasting to adjust the flavors till it tastes right to you!
  3. SWEET, SOUR, SPICY and SALTY. These are the flavors that are found in all Thai food. Every dish aims to incorporate all four regions of our tastebuds at the same time which is why each bite-ful of a Thai dish sets off a flavor party in you mouth.
  4. There is a Thai version of a mirepoix. It is their “holy trinity” and it is the base of all their soups and stews. Just like any good jewish neighborhood grocery store sells prepackages bundles of all the herb and veggies we need to make a good chicken soup, the Thai market vendors also sell their 3 traditional ingredients all bundled up. Their three ingredients are galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. 
  5. Limes are crucial. I knew I would love Thailand because we both share a deep rooted love for lime. It goes in and on everything. If you don’t live in a place where limes are always available (like I do 🙁 ), when they are in season, buy a extra, juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. This way you’ll have fresh lime juice all year long!
  6. They put sugar in everything. No joke. I don’t understand because everywhere we went I was clearly the ummmm, I’m trying to think of an elegant way to say this, lets just say they are tiny! The women and the men all have the tiniest waists and the most beautiful skin. Some of them say its from all the coconut they eat, some say its just in their genes (yes, I asked basically every Thai person I met. I mean how can you be 6o and not have a single wrinkle? Naturally?). Whatever it is, it is not because they are on some crazy sugar-free diet. It does however provide a flavor balance to their recipes and really should not be omitted.
  7. Use the freshest ingredients possible. If a recipe calls for flounder, but the flounder in your market doesn’t look amazing, no problem! Buy a different fish. 

Now that you have all the building blocks to take the recipe I give you and make them your own I’m going to help you out by linking the names of some of the produce to websites where you can easily buy them (hint: starts with “ama” and ends with “zon”). 

GALANGAL:

click here for fresh galangal 

click here for dried galangal

KAFFIR LIME LEAVES:

click here for fresh kaffir lime leaves

click here for dried kaffir lime leaves

LEMONGRASS:

click here for fresh lemongrass

click here for dried lemongrass

THAI BIRD CHILES:

click here for fresh Thai bird chiles

click here for dried Thai bird chiles

BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWERS:

click here for dried butterfly pea flowers

PANDAN LEAVES:

click here for fresh pandan leaves

click here for dried pandan leaves

NOTE: These are raw ingredients. The links are for produce that is NOT grown in Israel and there for not subject to the laws the apply to produce grown in Israel. Consult with your own rabbi on how to check these vegetables appropriately.

For the full printable Tom Yum Soup recipe click here.

 

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“Pho” Style Soup with Super Thinly Sliced Steak + All Asian Soup Base

Soup is everything. 

Its a meal, it’s a snack, it heals you when you don’t feel good, it can be a fridge cleaner, it can be meaty and hearty, it can be light and refreshing, it can be eaten with a soup for a dignified experience, it can be slurpped up with a huge chopstick full of noodles(my personal fav) and it is, most importantly, always delicious. 

I’ve said this before and I can not stress it enough, that a good soup is something that every single person can make. They are not hard and in my opinion the main contributor from taking a soup from good to great is merely the addition of time. For the most part, you can basically dump anything in a pot, add some seasoning, cover with water and if you let it simmer for long enough it will taste delicious. 

BUT. If you want your soups to go from great to INSANE, it does require a little bit of technical work so that you can layer flavors and build a soup that is so complex in it’s taste but simple in it’s appearance. 

To me, that is what this soup is all about. It is a combination of a chicken soup stock, layered with a mushroom broth and infused with Asian aromatics that gives this soup it’s absolutely addicting flavor. 

Since I make a version of Asian soups basically every week, I’m going to do you all a favor and give you my base recipe. From there you can either follow this exact recipe (which I highly recommend because it was the freakin bomb) or you can use whatever you have in your fridge to make your own incredible Asian soup bowl.

If you don’t have an ingredient I use, just leave it out or swap it for something similar. The only component that I would say you absolutely should include is the mushroom broth. It is very simple to make as it requires only dried mushrooms and water and you can freeze it in one cup containers so that you to can easily make these soups on a weekly basis from your leftover shabbos chicken soup.

I’m going to break this recipe up into 2 parts for those of you who just want the base. Please, please, please use this recipe as a jumping off point to create your own amazing Asian soups!!!!!

Happy slurping everyone!

For the printable Asian Soup base recipe click here

For the printable Asian “Pho” with Philly Sandwich Steak recipe click here

To watch the making of this soup and see how easy it really is click here (don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel while your there…)

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