Posts Tagged 'peanuts'

Rice Noodle Salad with Grapefruit

I pretty much never go to the library while school’s in session. During the average week, I’d rather use my spare time for cooking, running, and hanging with Ellie. BUT there was no work and endless free time last week, so I walked down to the library with her to peruse the cookbook section.

Why I don’t have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian in my collection is beyond me. I’ve made every dinner this week from this cookbook and they’ve all been awesome.

Biryani and Urad Dal with Poppy Seeds last night. So good.

Last night also happened to be one of those nights where beer was necessary. Not sure why we had it in wine glasses, but it was much appreciated.

And now it’s pizza Friday, and I’m making Spinoccoli Pizza. Happy weekend to us all!

I made a double batch of this salad on Sunday night and we had plenty for lunches for days. Unless you’re feeding an army or you want a ton of leftovers, a single recipe is definitely sufficient. I added some pan-fried tofu to up the protein and make it more of a main dish. I can see the end of grapefruit season coming and it’s tragic, but for now, I’m eating them with reckless abandon, and they’re perfect in this salad!


(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)


Pineapple and Peanut Rice Salad

For the first time in over two months, I’m actually at work! Sort of… we have a two day workshop for teaching English Learners (which is at least half the school). I’m excited to hopefully learn some useful stuff for when I’m back in the classroom in a few months!

I had possibly the laziest weekend ever, but we got some much-needed stuff done around the house, including hanging pictures (FINALLY! It only took us 6 weeks of living here)

There are still a ton of bare walls, including above the crib, but we’re going to order a tree decal soon. (Yeah, it better be really soon considering I’m due in LESS than 3 weeks!)

We got a HUGE box of baby stuff from Amazon, including the Twilight Turtle, which I completely adore. I kind of want to order one for our room too.

It’s basically a fancy night light that projects stars onto the wall and ceiling in calming blue and green light.
Mike re-potted a ton of plants for our porch garden, and I sat on the front steps providing moral support. I’m really good at that these days.

I made this salad for dinner tonight because I knew it would leave enough leftovers for both of us to take to lunch tomorrow. It’s really similar to the pineapple quinoa I made a few months ago, but makes an excellent dinner when topped with a fried egg.

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

4 cups freshly cooked brown rice
3 tbsp peanut of vegetable oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple in juice (do not drain)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 green onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
leaf lettuce
fried eggs (1 per person)- optional

Whisk the oils, pineapple, soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar together in a large bowl. Toss with the rice, then cover and chill while you prepare the vegetables.

Taste the rice and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Stir in the green onions, celery, bell peppers, and peanuts. Serve over lettuce, topped with a fried egg (if you wish)

Snickery Squares

You know those people who, instead of asking a normal question like “How are you?” try to be edgy or hip or something and ask “What’s Good?” (Usually these people are male, in their early 20s, and haven’t washed their hair for a couple days. Just my experience).
I never know what you’re supposed to say to that. Everything? It’s all good? No matter what, it’s just kind of forced and awkward.

But now I have an answer. These Snickery Squares. The next time someone asks me what’s good, I’ll just wave one of these in his face. These are good.

I’ve had this can of dulce de leche sitting in the cupboard for a few months, but never really felt inspired to crack it open. I’ve never used it before, so I was just expecting caramel sauce, but it’s definitely not that. It’s not as sticky, and it definitely has a flavor reminiscent of sweetened condensed milk. Bridget suggested that I make Snickery Squares, a Dorie Greenspan recipe that has similar flavors to a Snickers Bar. After reading her post about them, I was sold.

I took her suggestions about reducing the sugar in the shortbread and scaling back the peanuts. I didn’t have any salted peanuts, so I just added 1/2 tsp salt to the caramel along with the peanuts and it still tasted really good. The candied peanuts were hard enough to stop eating on their own, but the fully assembled bars were absolutely divine. All the components come together perfectly, and as long as you cut the squares really small, they aren’t too overwhelmingly rich. Which of course means it’s easy to eat way too many of them, which I did.

(adapted from Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, via The Way the Cookie Crumbles”)

1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp powdered sugar
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup salted peanuts (or 1 cup unsalted peanuts plus 1/2 tsp salt)
1 13.4 ounce can Dulce de Leche

7 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces butter

To make the crust:
Grease an 8″ square pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Toss the sugars, salt, and flour together in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Stir the egg yolk in and mix with a fork just until combined (the dough will be crumbly), then press into the prepared pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake for about 12 minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the edges.
Removed and set aside to cool.

To make the filling:
Put a Silpat on a baking sheet and set aside.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan gently until the sugar dissolves. Let the sugar boil until a bit of brown appears, then stir in the peanuts (and salt, if using unsalted peanuts) and mix well, using a wooden spoon. Once the coating is uniformly caramel-colored, spread the nuts on the Silpat, keeping them from clumping together as much as possible. Let cool, then divide in half. Keep half whole for the filling, and chop the other half to go on top of the chocolate.

Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the cooled shortbread, and sprinkle with the whole peanuts.

To make the topping:
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. When it’s completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the butter, mixing until smooth. Spread evenly over the nuts and dulce de leche, then sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Chill for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

I’m a fraud. I tell people I’m vegetarian but I still eat fish sauce, and I probably always will. I just can’t imagine the rest of my life without eating things like this salad, and they would NOT be the same without that pungent liquid that so many people can’t stand.

I wasn’t always so into fish sauce. The first time we went to Thailand, the smell was so overpowering I swore I’d never eat anything that contained it. But then I realized that the flavor it adds just can’t be matched. Yes, it stinks and it is pretty in-your-face fishy, but in small doses it’s downright close to perfection.

Besides, I gave up meat because I hate all the hormones and drugs and inhumane factory farming practices that seem to be rampant in this country. I realize fish products aren’t entirely without controversy, but I’m okay with being 99% vegetarian. If I ever find vegetarian fish sauce (I know it’s out there) I’ll probably try it, but in the mean time, I’m just going to stick to my slightly fraudulent proclamation of vegetarianism. (And no, I won’t call myself pescatarian because I don’t eat fish. Just fish sauce.)

I think I ate this stuff just about every day when we were in Thailand. There’s just something so alluring about the fresh crunch of the green papaya, the hot-salty-sour-sweet dressing, and the cool smoothness of tomato that I will never get tired of. I like to make it so spicy it brings tears to my eyes, but you can definitely scale way back on the chiles. This is one of those recipes that can be tweaked so it’s just how you like it – taste as you go and adjust the fish sauce, lime, and sugar accordingly.

I make mine in a large wooden mortar and pestle that we brought back from Thailand, and I definitely think that’s the best way to do it, but I’ve given directions for people who don’t have one, because they aren’t exactly a common sight in most American kitchens (and they take up a ridiculous amount of counter space). I think palm sugar (which you can find in little round cakes in Asian grocery stores) is best – just whack away at the little cake with a cleaver til you have about 1 tbsp – but of course white sugar is an acceptable substitute.

If you have a box grater, that should work to shred the green papaya. If you want to be just like the lady that made the best papaya salad I ever had (in Bangkok), use a cleaver in your right hand while holding the papaya in your left (I don’t know how she still has all her fingers). If you can find one of these, buy it immediately; it’s my favorite way to create long, even pieces:

2 cloves garlic
as many Thai chiles as you like (substitue: a serrano or two)
1 tbsp palm sugar (substitute: granulated sugar)
1/2 lime
10 green beans, cut into 1″ lenghts
1 roma tomato, diced
3 cups shredded green papaya
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (essential!)
2 tbsp chopped peanuts

If you have a large wood mortar and pestle: Cut the 1/2 lime into about eight pieces. Mash the garlic, chiles, lime, and sugar together until nicely mixed. Add the green beans and tomatoes, and mash a few more times. Stir in the green papaya and fish sauce, and pound about a dozen more times, stirring in between so everything is mixed well. Taste and adjust seasonings, then serve topped with chopped peanuts. (You can remove the lime peels if you want, or people can just eat around them)

If you don’t have a large wood mortar and pestle: Juice the 1/2 lime. Finely chop the chiles and garlic and mix with the sugar. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce and set aside. Toss the shredded papaya with the green beans and tomatoes, then add the lime juice mixture and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings, then serve topped with chopped peanuts.


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