Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Well, I’d like to say that my “first blog jitters" are gone … but no lol. However, I’m excited to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback! And of course, I am totally stoked to try all these recipes. It’s 3 am, the dogs are snoring, and the cats are sleeping and all I can think about is running downstairs to grab a lemon bar -don’t judge me lol, so now that I have grabbed my lemon bar, let me tell you about last weeks recipes.
The recipes were shrimp pad Thai and lemon bars, and I have to say that they were great! As with most “stir fry" recipes, the first thing to do is to get my mise en place ready. Mise en place is a French culinary phrase that means putting in place or everything in its place, I cannot express enough how important this is, trust me. As the noodles are soaking and I’m making the sauce, I eat a little tamarind and start to reminisce of Trinidad, sitting with my grandmother on the veranda peeling tamarind. The aromatics go into the pan, and now its go time. Noodles and sauce follow, then shrimp and eggs, finishing with sprouts and scallions and just like that, it’s done and ready to plate! There are a few things I would tweak with this recipe though. First and foremost, I recommend using an XXL cast iron or a nice big wok. The next few things I would change are; more tamarind in the sauce, normal tofu instead of smoked, I’d also add thinly sliced red chilli pepper (tossed in with the ginger mixture) to spice things up. To serve, pile into bowls, add the crushed peanuts, and top with a lime wedge. I would finish with a drizzle of hoisin sauce and sriracha -delicious! This makes for a quick and easy dinner or lunch, it's satisfying, saucy and the bean sprouts and scallions add a nice fresh crisp bite.
Lemon bars, oh lemon bars how I love thee lol but seriously you guys…so fantastic! Now… I may be a bit biased towards any type of lemon dessert, however, these are absolutely wonderful. The crust is made from basically icing sugar, butter, and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and it gives for a beautiful fresh bite. I would personally adjust it by adding more lemon juice, a little less sugar in the filling, and maybe putting the icing sugar on top when it’s still slightly warm or spritz with lemon juice before sprinkling with the icing sugar. These bars have a slightly crispy top that goes into a moist filling, that is followed with the lovely “cookie" bottom AND they are so simple to make! These dessert bars will definitely leave a lasting impression at your next dinner party! Fun fact! Roll your lemons on the counter! This will make them easier to juice and you’ll yield more juice.
This upcoming week's picks are Old fashioned Beef Stew with Mushrooms, Slow cooker Barbecue Brisket and a Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake, Yum! Thanks for reading and please subscribe for more homemade happiness.
Shrimp Pad Thai
4 ounces pad thai rice noodles
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
5 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar
4 teaspoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked tofu
1 small shallot halved, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces medium shrimp peeled and deveined
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions, cut into thirds crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons salted peanuts, finely chopped
lime wedges for serving
1. Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside until pliable and al dente, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: break the tamarind paste into bits and place in a small bowl. Cover with 1/4 cup boiling water and let stand 10 minutes. Mash with a fork to break up the paste, then press through a fine-mesh sieve with a rubber spatula over a bowl, discarding any seeds and tough bits. Stir in the sugar, fish sauce and a pinch of salt until smooth; set aside.
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil then add tofu, shallot, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring with a flat wooden spoon, until tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the noodles and a few tablespoons of the tamarind sauce. Cook, stirring and spreading the noodles around the skillet until the noodles absorb all the sauce, about 1 minute. Add a few more tablespoons of the tamarind sauce and stirfry 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
4. Push the noodle mixture to 1 side of the skillet and add the remaining 1tablespoon vegetable oil to the other side. Add the shrimp to the oil in a single layer and cook until mostly pink but not cooked through, 2-3 minutes. (occasionally stir the noodles to ensure they don't stick.) Add remaining tamarind sauce and stir to combine the noodles and shrimp.
5. Push noodle mixture to one side of the skillet add the eggs to the other side, stir briefly, let cook, undisturbed, until mostly set. Break into eggs into large chunks and mix into noodles. Remove from heat add bean sprouts and scallions and stir quickly to combine, top with peanuts and serve with lime wedges.
Recipe Credit: Food Network Magazine March 2018
Paula Deen's Lemon Bars
Makes about 16 bars
FOR THE CRUST
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature, plus more for the dish
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
FOR THE FILLING
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil and butter the foil.
2. Make the crust: Whisk the flour, confectioners sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers to make a crumbly dough; press into the prepared baking dish. bake 20 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling: mix the eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl with a fork. Mix in the lemon juice. Pour the filling over the crust and bake 25 minutes more; transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Lift out of the pan and cut into pieces.
Recipe Credit: Food Network Magazine May 2013