From Shrimp Pad Thai to Cashew Chicken Salad

9 May

From cilantro and garlic to fish sauce and garlic chili sauce to cashews and curry powder, it’s been a week of flavor explosions in our home.  Give me overspiced, overspicy food over bland, underseasoned food any day!

I’m trying to be more intentional about flavoring our food with herbs and sauces, rather than adding additional salt.  The Little Guy will be getting big enough soon to have finger food, and I would like to be able to serve him the same food we eat.  We shall see how that goes.  If I’ve learned anything in my first 7 months of parenting, it’s that you should not make too many rules for yourself – or pass to many judgments on the way other people parent.  Eating crow is not super-fun.

Cilantro-Garlic Shrimp Rotini

Cilantro-Garlic Shrimp Rotini…  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  After all, I was the one who put in the teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, even as I thought, wow, that might make this particular dish rather spicy.  And it did.  It blew our socks off.  The sauce’s flavor was excellent, other than being so fiery.  Next time, I’d double all the sauce ingredients except the red pepper.  I did also add a diced plum tomato, toasted pine nuts and freshly grated Parmesan – and use an entire bag of medium frozen shrimp rather than the 20 specified.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai…  Yummmmmm.  We loved this dish.  After several recent poor results from new recipes, I was so ready to serve a hit – and this was it.  I used fish sauce for the first time in this dish, and if seeing that ingredient makes you a little leery, let me vouch for it – you can’t smell it, and you don’t get an overwhelming “fishy” taste – just a magical deepening of all the flavors.  Note:  I used frozen shrimp and regular rice noodles because I can’t find the wide sticks around here.

Cashew Chicken Salad & Yukon Golds with Fresh Herbs

Cashew Chicken Salad…  served on thin sandwich buns with the last of our homegrown leaf lettuce, this was delish.  It’s creamy and mellow with the curry, a little flavorful bang-pow from the green onion, and nice nutty crunch from the cashews and celery.  I’m reneging on my old opinion that one should be embarrassed to admit they follow a recipe for something as simple as chicken salad.  This is worth following.

Yukon Golds with Fresh Herbs…  This dish is billed as a “potato salad,” but if you’re serving it to traditionalists, I would caution you to call it something else.  No mayo, no mustard, no celery.  It’s just potatoes, herbs and a light little vinaigrette.  Call it by my new (and oh-so-original) name, Yukon Golds with Fresh Herbs.  It’s a delightfully simple side dish – the lovely little potatoes are at their creamy, untainted best, and the fresh herbs whisked together with olive oil and vinegar are a perfect blend.  By the way, I didn’t have champagne vinegar, so I used 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar as a substitute.

What’s next in my kitchen?  A marinated flank steak (the same marinade we used for our wedding reception steak bites), Key West grilled chicken, grilled cabbage wedges with a spicy lime vinaigrette, crockpot chicken tacos, and a Mother’s Day spread for 15.  Gotta go.  Dishes to do.

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