Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Glad to be back — I have been out of commission for the past week due to a gallbladder infection…ick.  December has been a riot thus far, first bronchitis then the gallbladder infection — thankfully the new year is only a few days away so I will be leaving all bad ju-ju behind. 🙂

I reviewed my resolutions from last year and realized that I have again only achieved a little less than half of my goals so this year opposed to making long-term goals (Running a 10K) I’ve made short-term, easier to reach goals (Run 1 mile/day for 5x a week).  One of my main goals for this year is to lead a healthier lifestyle, through exercise, a proper diet, and a peaceful spirit.  Seeing that I am only in my twenties and I frequently deal with malfunctions with my immune system, the only logical response would be to keep my body in better condition —Your body is your temple…

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?
I had a wonderful Christmas — I redecorated my kitchen so now it feels more like a real kitchen opposed to a small cramped horrible mess. I’ve been having a BLAST with my favorite present of all — my new Sony alpha 550 dSLR camera, all thanks to my one and only of course :)!! One of the upsides of being sick was being able to spend plenty of time with Collin’s family and grandparents (Hi Pearl!).  We spent time playing cards, watching movies, playing video games and of course, eating.

I did not have much time to cook but I did make this delicious soup from a leftover ham bone that Collin’s dad gave me!  Perfect for the weather we’re having here in Dallas, can you believe that it’s actually snowing? Anyways, the trick to making this soup delectable is making a stock out of the ham bone first — this is easily done by placing the ham bone and scraps in a large pot of water and simmering at a medium low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours with some onion, a bay leaf and for this stock I used turnips and carrots as well.

I always love using leftover bones, especially ham bones and chicken carcasses — they always make such a savory broth.  By keeping your broth at a low medium heat (the soup should be at a very slight boil), it slowly draws out the proteins (flavor) from the bones, thus ending in a rich decadent broth.  Because I am using mostly root vegetables in this soup, I simply used the scraps and remains of turnips, carrots, rutabagas and onions and later strained them out of the soup — this will add body and character to your broth as well. After straining your broth, don’t forget to reserve the ham meat for the soup!

Ingredients for Winter Vegetable Soup:

(serves 8-10)

  • 8 cups ham broth (see directions above)
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup carrots (I used baby carrots), diced
  • 1 cup cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced 1″
  • 2 turnips, peeled and diced 1″
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil at medium heat.  Place the onions in the pan once oil is heated and begin the “caramelization” process.  It is important to cook the onions at the prefect heat, do not burn them, it will ruin the flavor completely!  The key to caramelization is gradually cooking the onions down so that the sugar slowly begins to oxidize, producing a nutty and sweet flavor.  The onions will slowly turn a pale yellow, then eventually a rich brownish yellow or caramel color.  Once it reaches this state, remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat your ham stock at medium heat in a large deep bottomed pot.  Add the cabbage and rutabagas and turnips and cook for 30 minutes, or until very soft.  Next add the carrots and cauliflower and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  By adding vegetables in at different times, it will give your soup a range of texture opposed to soft goopey vegetables at the end.  Since cabbage, turnips and rutabagas tend to taste better when cooked very soft I chose to add them first, then kept a slight firmness and crunch through the carrots and cauliflower.

Add the cream and white pepper along with the caramelized onions, and cook for an additional ten minutes — season with salt and pepper to taste.  I cannot stress this enough, always add salt at the end of cooking soups, this helps keep the delicacy of the broth as well as avoiding the common sin of “over-salting” food.  I like to add salt literally pinches at a time, and taste after each addition until I achieve what I feel is the best flavor.  I always say its better to undersalt food than oversalt it! Garnish with some fresh parsley and you are ready to go 🙂

Aaaah, nothing hits the spot like a good hearty vegetable soup — many thanks to my neighbor Michael for the beautiful cauliflower, it was by far the best one I’ve had all year.  The best part about soup is that it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for a couple days, all the flavors marinate and develop into full and rich broth.  For once, leftovers taste better than they did initially!

This will probably be my last post for this year, I am looking forward to the New Year — I have good feelings about 2010 🙂  I hope everyone has a very safe and Happy New Year, see you next year yall!!!!!

FoodBuzz 24,24,24: Discovering a Hidden Gem – Dallas Farmer’s Market

I think one of the most important things to remember in cooking is picking good quality ingredients–fresh produce, grass fed beef, wild-caught seafood, fresh pastas–the difference in flavors are unbelievable.  I started venturing to farmer’s markets on a weekly basis when I lived in Tucson,AZ for a short period of time with my fiance.  Every weekend we’d go to different farmers’ markets across town sampling products and produce as well as talking to the farmers who grow and sell them.  It was a nice change of scene from your usual florescent lit, mass warehouse grocery store where you have little information as to where your produce comes from, or how it’s grown (and did I mention the difference in quality and taste is unbelievable?).  I believe it is nice to have a personal relationship with your food — doesn’t it put your heart more at ease when you can actually put a face to who is growing and producing the food you are putting into your body?  One must wonder where their food originates from.

When I read about FoodBuzz’s 24,24,24 assignment, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to encourage big city residents to become exposed and take part in the wonderful hidden gem that is Dallas’ Farmer’s Market.  Living in Dallas, it is easy to venture to your local Wal-mart or Kroger to buy groceries but why not round up a group of friends and discover an open market where you can take your dogs along, sample fruits and vegetables, meet with local farmers and discover all the wonderful goods that Dallas has to offer.

So that is exactly what I did 🙂 Yesterday afternoon, I took a group of my friends, whom many have not discovered the farmer’s market before, and together we walked through looking and tasting all the beautiful spreads of fruits and vegetables — along with baked goods, food stands, organic meats, homemade goods, the options were endless!

The farmer’s market is divided into 3 sheds, shed 1 and 3 sell fresh fruits and vegetables along with miscellaneous baked and homemade goods and shed 2 (which is indoors) features seafood, meats, sausages, cheese, and other homemade goods.  Most all of the produce are from local Texas farmers and not only are you bringing top quality goods home but you are also supporting local farmers and their businesses.  We picked the freshest ingredients available and went back to my place and made a wonderful dinner all made from the beautiful seasonal treasures we found at the market.

We started our adventure in Shed 1 and the first stop we made was at this cookie stand (are you really surprised?) with the eccentric and hilarious Paul Wackym of Wackym’s Kitchen.  His company bakes cookies and treats all created from original artisanal recipes using fresh, natural ingredients.  The flavor that stopped me in my footsteps as I was walking by was called “Salted Caramel”.  Words cannot describe these tiny morsels of heaven — each bite begins with a buttery caramelized goodness that melts in your mouth and ends with a delightful salty bite — the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  I had no other choice but to buy a tin and tore into the box immediately.  They are SO GOOD in fact that I will be going back and buying them for Christmas gifts.  Margarita was also extremely good — I was hesitant about this one at first but upon tasting the bright lime flavors combined with the sea salt, the combination was absolutely exquisite.  They also had various other flavors like:

  • Mocha Chocoalte Chip – double chocolate with espresso nibs
  • Lemon Butter – buttery with a fresh lemony burst
  • Oatmeal Walnut Raisin – rich with old-fashioned honey
  • Margarita – key lime and sea salt
  • Peanut Crunch – crunchy with whole peanuts and peanut butter
  • Chocolate Snicker-Doodle – crunchy with a sweet and spicy finish
  • Rosemary Cornmeal Shortbread – fresh rosemary and a buttery cookie

You can find Paul at Shed 1 on Saturdays and Sundays (He is easy to spot with his colorful hats) from 9am or until he sells out.  AND TRUST ME, he sells out fast.  These cookies are so good you honestly will be hesitant about sharing, you just want to hoard the entire box and savor the perfection by yourself.  Selfish? Maybe. But once you taste them, you wouldn’t blame me.

I also purchased some marvelous oyster mushrooms from a local mushroom farmer (also in Shed 1).  He also sold fresh white button mushrooms, portabellos and even fresh shiitakes!  The farmer adjacent to him was selling fresh pecans both shucked and unshucked, and the nuts were full and flavorful. 

As we walked further along, I was captivated by this man in a bright yellow bee get-up.  Where did he find that awesome hat?  It turns out that this man, Brandon Pollard along with his wife Susan, are professional Urban Beewranglers.  That’s right folks!  They raise their own bees, and I was instantly drawn to the fresh honeycomb he was selling from his stand.  I had never tasted honeycomb before but Brandon described it as one of the best things in the world — he told me it was “nature’s chewing gum”.  They sold jars of raw honeycomb for an amazing price of $8/jar and the health benefits of raw honey is endless: high in antioxidants, it helps to  free radical buildup in the body, decrease aging, promotes a disease free healthier body and mind and reduces unwanted fat deposits.  He also had beautiful hand carved candles made from beeswax, impressive to say the least.  Happy bees = sweet luscious beautiful honey, I always enjoy placing a spoonful of honey in my tea in place of sugar or drizzle it on top of some fresh fruit 🙂 Yummy!!  You can find Brandon in Shed 1 on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-5pm.

Our last stop was at this wonderful little pasta shop called Pastabilities.  A beautiful little shop with a bright red door shared by owners Ed Greer of Pastabilities and Mike Koster of Koster Cattle Co.  The suppliers of Pastabilities,Pappardelle’s Pasta Company,described as the “Michelangelo of Pasta”, has been shaping colorful, flavorful pasta dough into edible art since 1984.  They offer a variety of gourmet frozen & dried pasta, pesto and sauces and other miscellaneous goods like jams and marinades.  All of their products are all natural and they use time-tested traditional methods like slow drying to ensure protein and vitamin integrity.  They have over 45 delicious dried pasta flavors ranging from Basil Tangerine to Porcini Mushroom, Spanish Saffron, and the one we purchased, Lemon Chive.  You can taste them by snapping off a dried piece of pasta and sampling the different spices and flavor combinations, it really is hard to just choose one.

Not only does Pastabilities sell a wide array of pastas but they also offer beautiful cuts of meat like filet mignon, ny-strip, sirloin, flat irons just to name a few from Koster Cattle Co.  Mike raises most of his Black Angus livestock on pastures near Ladonia, Commerce and Prosper and all cattle are natural grain and grassfed.  The quality of the steaks are impeccable, you really can taste the pastures that the cows graze on in every bite of meat, simply a mouth-gasm for all beef lovers.

The Dallas Farmer’s Market has officially been around since 1939, but started in the late 1800s when farmers came to town to sell from wagons and set up in various locations.   It is one of the largest public markets of its type in the country, open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, 362 days a year.  Over the past six decades, the Dallas Farmer’s Market has provided the organization and facilities that connect communities to local farmers, producers, artisans and other vendors and also provides wholesome family activities and educational programs.  You can find more information as to what produce is in season as well as the list of vendors on their official website.  Here are some helpful tips listed on the website:

Smart shoppers know how to get the most out of their visit to the Dallas Farmers Market, and here are some useful tips:

  • For the best selection, come to the Dallas Farmers Market early; for the best deals, come late in the day.
  • Bring your own bag, preferably a sturdy, cloth, reusable bag, which will help keep ripe produce from getting bruised. Examine all the vegetables or fruit in a basket to make sure you’re getting what you want.
  • Plan to do a lot of shopping? Bring your own cart to carry everything.
  • Ask about bargains. Sellers often have bruised or overripe vegetables and fruit that they will discount and that are perfect for pies, cobblers, sauces, or jams.
  • Bring cash, particularly dollar bills, because many vendors have limited change.
  • If in doubt, ask if the produce is locally-grown or where it is from.
  • If the Market is one of several stops you’ll be making in a day, bring a cooler for your purchases, to keep them fresh.

Here are the seasonal products from the Dallas Farmer’s Market that I ended up selecting for our feast:

  • 1/2 lb of Lemon Chive Pasta
  • 2 large cuts of NY strip
  • 1/2 lb of fresh Oyster Mushrooms
  • Fresh Gulf Shrimp
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries

and from those ingredients I made

  • Cucumber Tomato Salad marinated with Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • Lemon Chive Pasta Salad with Asian Pear, Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Toasted Pinenuts
  • Braised Collard Greens
  • Roasted Root Vegetables – Rutabagas, Turnips, Sweet Potatoes, Onions
  • Flank Steak in a White Wine Sauce with Oyster Mushroom and Fresh Oysters
  • Skillet Shrimp
  • Mixed Berry Cake Crumble

I will feature a couple of my favorite recipes, if any of you want any of the recipes I did not mention in this post, please feel free to contact me and I can send you the ingredients/recipes!

The Roasted Root Vegetables was the favorite for the night, it really showcased the peak flavors of these seasonal vegetables.  By roasting vegetables, you bring out the natural sweetness in flavor and the carmelization that happens from the natural sugars from the vegetables add a nice touch as well.  The rutabagas were probably my favorite, I have never had them before!

Ingredients for Roasted Root Vegetables:

(serves 6)

  • 2 medium sized rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 medium sized turnips, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 medium onion, pelled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de provence
  • 1 tablespoons chevril
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

For the Roasted Root Vegetables, in a large pot boil water to blanch the vegetables (except for the onions).  Once the water is boiling, place the vegetables in the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Quickly drain and shock with cold water, this will stop the cooking process.  Line a large roasting pan with foil and place the blanched vegetables inside along with the raw onions.  Using your hands or a large mixing spoon, mix the dried herbs, garlic and olive oil with the vegetables, making sure each piece is evenly coated.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are softened and browned.  The last 15 minutes, bake the vegetables uncovered so they can be nice and browned around the edges.  Mix the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.   Serve immediately.

The next recipe was a nice simple pasta salad that was bright and refreshing from the lemon flavors of the pasta which paired well with the creamy goat cheese and bright and crunchy flavors from the Yali pear.  With minimal fat this would be a perfect dish for lunch or dinner!

Ingredients for Lemon Chive Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese, Toasted Pinenuts, Asparagus and Yali Pear:

(serves 6)

  • 1/2 lb of Lemon Chive Pasta, boiled to al dente
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and blanched
  • 1 Yali pear, cored and diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, place the cooked pasta and toss evenly with the olive oil.  Lightly season with salt and pepper and then add half of the goat cheese, pinenuts, asparagus and pear.  Mix together evenly and finish by adding the remaining goat cheese with a dash of cracked black pepper.  Refrigerate and serve when ready.

Would you check out that amazing spread?  Is your mouth watering yet?  We ate so much that I literally went into a food coma, I simply melted into the couch afterwards and could not stand up.  The best part of making a glorious meal is the silence that follows as people are eating it, nothing makes me happier than looking around and watching my loved ones eat with such intensity that it leaves little time for conversation, the sound of smaking mouths and the occassional MMmms and aaahs is music to my ears.  And of course what better way to end a feast of epic proportions than with a Fresh Mixed Berry Crumble Cake?  For those of you who have yet to try the recipe, I highly encourage you to try it, it is BEST with fresh berries.

Even my friend who is not a fan of cake has fallen in love with this recipe.  I actually left out the sugar for the berry mixture in this recipe because the berries were already so sweet — by baking them down it releases all of the brilliant juices nestled inside these little berries of wonder.  MMMmmm and once again, there were no leftovers!

I hope you guys have enjoyed the tour of the Dallas Farmer’s Market.  I highly recommend it to anyone who has not tried it out, or to people who just haven’t gone in a long time.  It is such a great way to find good quality ingredients and a fun event to share with friends and family.  Somtimes we all just need to take a break from the hectic life of a big city and enjoy a relaxing and enjoyable activity, like venturing to your local Farmer’s Market :)! (And guys, did I mention this would probably score you major brownie points in the girl department if you made this into a fun and romantic date?)  It’s a great way to meet new people, support and discover what local farmers are growing, and reaping the benefits of beautiful quality food and ingredients.  Bon Appetit my fellow food lovers and until next time: keep warm, eat lots and I hope you all are enjoying this Holiday season!!

Sugar Donut Muffins

Sorry for being MIA lately, I’ve found myself very busy during the holidays all of a sudden.  I had a wonderful time in Michigan, which I still need to post pictures for and I just started my new job as a pastry chef/line chef at a wonderful little place called Mealtime Market.  Also I have not started any Christmas shopping and I still have two rounds of gifts to make!

This Saturday I will be doing my event for Foodbuzz where I will be touring with friends on a trip to the Dallas Farmer’s Market where we will discover locally farmed produce as well as meet with farmers and learn how to pick out good quality fruits and vegetables.  This will be my first 24,24,24 experience so I am really looking forward to it!

Here is a beautiful portrait of my fiance and family, I am not only fortunate to have a supportive,loving, perfect partner but I have been blessed with his wonderful family as well.  They have become my second home away from home and I am so lucky to have them in my life.  I love my Wells!

When I saw these delectable little treats from Ju, who has a delightful blog at The Little Teochew, I couldn’t help but jump in and make these for myself.    I mean the name alone made my mouth water, Sugar Donut Muffins.  Speaking of donuts, one of my very best friends Tam adores donuts.  It’s one of her favorite foods so I would like to dedicate this post to her! 🙂

I really enjoyed these a lot, sometimes I feel like muffins/cupcakes are too heavy and granted they may be delicious going down, afterwards I always feel guilty and end up hating myself as a result.  Well fear no longer folks, these muffins are delicious and quite “light” in my opinion.  It’s a simple moist yellow cake and you dust it with a little bit of sugar at the very end.  The texture and flavor is very consistent to that of a cake donut.  It goes great with coffee and I even put some in the freezer so I can warm them up in the mornings — what better way to start the day than with a delightful treat?

Ingredients for Sugar Donut Muffins:

Makes 1 dozen muffins
(from Baking Bites)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 large egg
– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 2 tsp baking power
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I didn’t have this, unfortunately)
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 3/4 cup milk (low fat is fine)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the sugar frosting

– 2 tbsp butter, melted
– 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350F (about 175 degree celsius). Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

4. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine.

5. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

6. Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. While muffins are baking, melt butter and pour remaining sugar into a small bowl.

8. When muffins are done, lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in sugar. Cool on a wire rack.

Nom nom nom — hope you guys enjoy this one!  Many thanks again to Ju who shared this wonderful recipe and props to Nicole from Baking Bites who originally posted the recipe.  Stay tuned for my 24,24,24 — discovering Dallas’ Farmer’s Market and MORE homemade holiday presents 🙂

Simple Delicious Holiday Gifts Pt.1- Truffles

I think the best kind of gifts to give people during the Holidays are ones from the heart, and what better way to express your love than homemade EDIBLE presents?  Nothing beats a happy belly 🙂 I will be featuring 3 different types of edible holiday gifts to give to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc.  Part one are these beautiful and decadent Holiday Truffle Sampler Box.  You can choose any toppings you’d like to roll your truffles in, I chose toasted pecans,coconut, cocoa, and peppermint.

These were not only easy to assemble but really fun to make.  I bought some chocolate boxes and wrappers from my local craft store and finished the packages with some ribbon and cute little christmas decorations.  If you make these in large batches, they become really cost effective.  I was able to make 64 truffles, 8 per box, and it averaged out to be only $4/box!!

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Truffle Base:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 24 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate (preferably Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream at medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Place the broken up dark chocolate pieces in a large bowl and pour the hot cream ontop.  Add the brandy and vanilla, and allow mixture to sit for 1 minute.  Using a rubber spatula, mix ingredients together until the chocolate is smooth and shiny.  Make sure all chocolate is thoroughly melted, if needed pop it in the microwave for 20 sec intervals if you find chocolate pieces still remaining.

Be sure to Place chocolate mixture in the fridge for 1 hour, or until very firm.  Once it is set, you can either use a tablespoon or a melon baller and scoop chocolate onto parchment paper.  Return to the fridge for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare your toppings for the truffles.  I used a meat mallet to crush up my candy canes and nuts –I cut up a paper grocery bag and put the nuts and candy inbetween the sheets of paper so that pieces of nuts and candy wouldn’t be flying all over the place 🙂 You can also use a towel and if you do not have a meat mallet use a heavy jar.

Remove the truffles from the fridge and shape into balls using your hands.  If you have vinyl/latex gloves, you may use them during this process.  Roll the tuffle balls in the different toppings and place them on a large pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all truffles are coated.  Return chocolates to refrigerator  and allow to sit for at least 1 hour.  Place chocolates in wrappers and assemble in boxes.  Decorate them however you’d like and they are ready to go!

You can also choose to do milk chocolate if you are not a fan of dark and you may also used flavored liqours like Grand Marnier or flavored extracts like peppermint or cinnamon.  Be creative!

I’ll be going to Michigan to visit honey’s grandparents tomorrow — I can’t wait for the snow!!! I have been hearing crazy stories about the temperatures being in the single digits and that frightens me a little bit, I pretty much own zero winter clothes since I live in Texas so wish me luck hahaha.  Happy Holidays yall!

Pad Spaghetti Kee Mao

Back when I lived in Austin, I’d always go to this Thai restaurant called Madam Mam’s.  It was cheap, delicious, and they always gave you enough food to have some left over to take home.  Now I am not a huge fan of leftovers, but when it came to Madam Mam’s, you better believe that I got territorial over people sneaking my food (mainly honey).  Since being away, I have not yet found a Thai restaurant in Dallas comparable to the simplicity and goodness of Madam Mam’s so I decided to reproduce one of my favorite pasta dishes at home: Pad Spaghetti Kee Mao.  It’s basically a linguine tossed with thai basil, thai peppers and mushrooms, and it is quite spicy (or at least that’s how I always ordered it, extra hot please!).

I love this dish for many reasons -it’s vegetarian but you don’t even notice because of the meaty taste of the mushrooms, it is light and refreshing with the Thai basil, the flavors are simple yet complex and it was really easy to make!  I am sure I probably fudged the ingredients but I have to say the end result was pretty darn close. I think because I used less oil it didn’t taste as epic as I’d want it to be, but seeing that my pants barely fit because of the holidays it was probably better this way 🙂  I also used three different types of mushrooms: King Oyster, Shiitake, and Porcini — it really gave the dish a more earthier and meatier flavor and of course plenty of umami.

Ingredients for Pad Spaghetti Kee Mao: (serves 2)

  • 1/2 package of linguine
  • 1 cup thai basil, rinsed – 2/3 chopped, 1/3 whole
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup king oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup porcini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 2 thai peppers, minced
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper (you can use less or omit if you do not like spicy food)
  • 2 tablespoons water (only use if pasta is too dry)
  • salt to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil.  You can add about 1 tablespoon of  salt to the water to add flavor to the pasta if you choose.  Once water comes to a boil, place the dry linguine and cook until al dente, about 7-8 min.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil at medium heat.  Sautee the garlic, shallots, peppers, and crushed red pepper until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Next add the mushrooms, and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Place pasta into pan and mix well with spices and mushrooms, add soy sauce and increase heat to medium high.  If the mixture is too dry, simply add more water, if it is too wet, cook until it dries out a little bit.    Add the chopped basil, mix well and season to your liking with salt. Remove from heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with remaining basil leaves.

See how simple that was?  I am dedicating this post to my best friend Karolina, this is actually her favorite dish at Madam Mam’s.  I miss you Karol and wish you were here to eat this with me 😦

I have also made some minor changes with the layout — and added some SNOW to be festive ^_^ (wordpress tells me it is only available til Jan. 4)!!! I will continue making changes throughout, I am very web script illiterate so the process is quite slow, so please bear with me.  Also, if anyone has any Thai recipes, do share! I have always wanted a good Pad Thai recipe — tried making it at home once and it turned out pretty not good, it had the Pad but lacked the Thai.  Anyways, I will also be posting easy to make gift ideas (soon-ish) since Christmas is literally a little over two weeks away, WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?! Til then, happy eating everyone — don’t hold back, it’s the holidays!   We all need a couple extra pounds to keep us warm during the winter 🙂