Shrimp in Yellow Curry

I have difficulty getting together the energy to cook after a long day at the beach. Life is rough! 😉 I’m always looking for new fast and fabulous meals to try.

This is a bright, flavor-packed, quick, and delicious weeknight dish. Perfect after a long day outside. It could be prepared any time of year as well.

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I modified the proportions, used Maharajah curry, and incorporated spinach and a red bell pepper into the dish. We ate it over brown Basmati rice. Wonderful!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used 7 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon minced galangal or ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced hot chili, or crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste (I used Penzeys Maharajah curry)
  • 13.5 oz fresh or canned coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds medium-to-large shrimp, peeled with tails intact
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro or mint leaves
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving (I used 1 1/2 cups rice to 3 cups stock)
  • naan, for serving, optional
  1. Place the oil in a large, deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. (I used enameled cast iron.)
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture pasty.
  3. Add red pepper slices and sauté until starting to soften.
  4. Add the curry and cook, stirring, another minute.
  5. Add the coconut milk and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is nearly dry.
  6. Add the shrimp and spinach, a few pinches of salt and a little black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp release their liquid (the mixture will become quite moist again) and turn pink, and the spinach is wilted.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, stir, then taste and add the rest if necessary.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

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Stir-Fried Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive SO much baby bok choy in my CSA share… especially because the friend I split my box with gives ALL of it to me! I actually really like bok choy. 🙂 I usually sauté it with other greens, or incorporate it in my husband’s favorite Thai dish. This time I wanted something new…

This simple stir-fry recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I rarely make stir-fry, so it was “something new!” I doubled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used 8 baby bok choy. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice. Quick and great.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, about 5, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 8 baby bok choy, trimmed and thinly sliced (can substitute other green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, or spinach)
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 leeks (1/2 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • pinch chile flakes
  • coarse salt, as needed
  • cooked brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour half the mixture over the chicken, along with half the ginger and half the garlic. Let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over high heat until extremely hot, about 5 minutes. (Open the windows and put on the exhaust fan!)
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and the chicken. Cook, stirring constantly, until meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining peanut oil to the skillet. Add the bok choy and cook 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the onions and chili flakes; cook, tossing frequently until bok choy and onions are tender, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the marinade and a pinch of salt. Move vegetable mixture to the border of the pan.
  7. Add remaining ginger and garlic to center of pan and cook, mashing lightly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Return chicken to skillet and combine with ginger, garlic, and vegetables. Serve immediately, over rice.

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Thai Pork Tenderloin Salad with Napa Cabbage

I received the most beautiful Napa cabbage in my CSA share this week. The leaves are so tender, and yet crunchy, they are absolutely perfect for a salad. This dish caught my eye because it was so colorful, bright with flavor, healthy, and a little bit “out of the box” for me.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I am bringing it to share at Fiesta Friday #88, co-hosted by Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. Happy October!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the Marinade & Dressing:

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
  • ⅔ cup minced shallots (about 4 shallots)
  • ⅔ cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, separated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced in a garlic press
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
  • Juice and zest of 4 limes
  • 3-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 to 2 Thai bird, serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and minced


For the Salad:

  • 8 cups Napa or regular cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a large head)
  • 5 whole scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 ½ cups mint leaves (I omitted the mint)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 ¼ cups roasted cashews or peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut chips or large flakes, toasted, optional

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine shallot, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, garlic, soy sauce, peanut or grapeseed oil, lime zest and juice, grated ginger, fish sauce, salt and chile. Pulse to mince the shallots, cilantro, garlic, and chiles- as well as to combine the mixture.
  2. Remove three-quarters of the mixture; reserve to use as the dressing. Add the remaining 3 T sugar and purée until a smooth, loose paste forms. This is the marinade.
  3. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Place tenderloin in a large bowl and spread the paste all over pork. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours; turn the tenderloin occasionally. (I marinated the meat for 12 hours in the refrigerator.)
  4. Light the grill or heat the broiler and arrange a rack at least 4 inches from the heat. (Mine was about 6 inches away.) Grill or broil pork, turning occasionally, until well browned and meat reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees, 4 to 10 minutes per side depending upon the heat of your broiler or grill. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook. Let meat rest while you prepare the salad. (Or, cook the pork 1 or 2 hours ahead and serve it at room temperature.)
  5. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, reserving the herbs, cashews and coconut. (I omitted the coconut.)
  6. Whisk the dressing and use just enough to dress the salad, tossing to combine. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld, then right before serving, add herbs and toss again.
  7. To serve, slice the pork. Arrange salad on a platter or serving plates and top with sliced pork. Scatter cashews and coconut on top, drizzle with a little more of the remaining dressing, to taste, if desired.

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Coke-Brined Fried Chicken with Biscuits & Gravy

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Springtime brings the obvious pleasures of green grass, flowers, fresh air, eating outside, etc. But every year at my house, we also have a little house finch who builds her nest (with her significant other) next to our door. She sits there so sweetly. She sings. She drives our cat crazy! 🙂

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We also usually struggle with Canadian geese all over our lawn… but this year our yard has been claimed by a duck couple.  They walk side by side in conversation completely fearless of the real homeowners! They swim side by side on our pool cover. Such a nice change from the geese. I am assuming we will be welcoming ducklings soon. 🙂

Another springtime event in my world is my husband’s birthday dinner. It requires a lot of thought (on his part), a lot of cooking (on my part), and usually a lot of indulgence. This year was no exception! But, I am going to have to tell you that it was really really good.

My husband grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and has a real love for southern food. It’s just hearty and comforting – and good. 🙂 After he decided on his wish list menu, I searched far and wide for the perfect fried chicken recipe. This Coke-brined version was adapted from Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans, Louisiana by way of John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi via the New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. (Credit needs to be paid when credit is due!) The Coke tenderizes the meat but also results in deep-mahogany brown, sweet, super-moist chicken. I modified the recipe to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs- of course! Delicious- and the leftovers were wonderful cold as well.

My husband’s wish list menu also included biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese (a side dish in the South!), caesar salad (yes- there was actually something green), and vanilla bean birthday cheesecake. (I mentioned it was an indulgent meal, right?) I made the fabulous giant biscuits I had made in the past for Fried Chicken Biscuits. Why mess with perfection? The milk gravy recipe was adapted from The Pioneer Woman.com. Yum!

This dish is the “grand finale” of my chicken thigh “festival”!! (for now, anyway…) Happy Birthday, Mr. Brookcook! 🙂

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Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Coke-Brined Fried Chicken:

For the Brine:

  • 5 cups Coca-Cola (I used 3 12-oz cans)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 4 teaspoons mild hot sauce like Sriracha, Crystal, Texas Pete or Cholula
  • 10 to 15 boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Seasoned Flour:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For Frying:

  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 1 cup lard, optional, or replace with peanut oil

For Serving:

  • Hot sauce, optional
  1. Make the brine: Combine cola, salt, thyme, garlic and hot sauce in a large glass bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken thighs, cover and refrigerate 3 to 5 hours. (Longer will break down the meat.)
  2. Make the seasoned flour: In a wide, shallow bowl or pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put the peanut oil in a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees on a candy thermometer. While the oil heats, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. (I did this in batches.)
  4. Dredge the thighs in the flour and shake to remove excess.
  5. Working in batches of 2 or 3 at a time, carefully lower thighs with tongs into the hot oil. The oil temperature will plummet when the cold chicken goes into the pan; turn up the heat and carefully monitor the temperature. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on one side, 3 minutes on the other, and then a final 2 minutes on the first side. Remove to a wire rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  6. The juices should run clear when the chicken is poked with a knife. If necessary, transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees on a instant-read thermometer. Serve hot or at room temperature with hot sauce, biscuits, and gravy, as desired.

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and flour in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Mix in buttermilk with a fork, then gently knead just until a shaggy dough comes together.
  3. Pat out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1¼” thick. Cut out biscuits with a 3” biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps once.
  4. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes (on convection) or up to 30–35 minutes.

For the Milk Gravy:

  • 3 T fried chicken pan drippings
  • 2-3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add pan drippings and flour. Whisk immediately. It should be smooth.
  2. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to brown, 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup of milk. Cook until desired thickness is achieved- adding more milk if desired.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut biscuits in half and pour gravy over the top to serve.

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Pad See Ew #2

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I have made several versions of Pad See Ew, otherwise known as my husband’s favorite Thai dish. 🙂 I have never been able to replicate the sauce from his tasty take-out version. Months ago, when I saw this version from Nell’s I Need a Feed on Fiesta Friday, I knew that I had to try it. When I received 6 baby bok choy in my CSA box, I knew it was finally time! (My next box had 3 additional bok choy which I sautéed and added to the leftovers- great timing!)

The most exciting thing about making this dish – besides eating it, of course- is that I am able to purchase fresh wide rice noodles from one of our local Oriental Grocery stores. They are brought in fresh from Queens several times a week. JUST like the noodles from the Thai restaurant! The problem is that the packaging doesn’t have any cooking instructions. I tore the large noodle(s) into pieces and soaked in them in boiling water for 5 min– WAY too long! When mixed into the finished dish, the noodles broke down into small pieces. Next time I would soak them 1-2 minutes, or maybe just add them to the dish as is!?! (I modified the instructions below.)

The wonderful news is that this sauce was spot on. Loaded with salty-sweetness. My husband loved it! 🙂 Thanks, Nell!

Serves: 4 to 6

  • meat from 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken, shredded into large pieces
  • 2- 12 oz packages fresh wide rice noodles, torn into large pieces (at room temperature)
  • 2 T peanut oil
  • 6 baby bok choy, leaves sliced into 2-inch ribbons, stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces (plus more, to taste)
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Shred the chicken meat. Cut and wash the bok choy. Break up the rice noodles. Lightly beat the eggs.
  2. Make the Sauce: Combine the soy sauces in a measuring cup; add the sugar and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Noodles: Place torn noodle pieces into a pot of boiling water (off the heat). Let sit for 1 minute, or until pliable. (*Alternatively, consider adding the torn noodle pieces to the dish without soaking.*)
  4. Heat large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil. Add the bok choy stems and sauté for 2 minutes, or until tender. Add the leaves and cook for an additional minute, or until wilted.
  5. Add the chicken to the pan with noodles and sauce; stir until heated through.
  6. Make a well in center of the noodle mixture and add the egg. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the egg starts to set. Stir the bits of cooked egg through the dish; serve.

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