Thai Iced Tea

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Love this drink on a hot afternoon, or served with some spicy food. Cool and refreshing, and the color always surprises people. It’s made with black tea, and sweet spices like vanilla and cardamom. There are recipes to make it from scratch but for ease I buy a Thai tea mix from an Asian grocery store, or you can also find it on line*. I like mine just slightly sweet; feel free to play around with the sweetness level or also make it dairy free by using coconut milk.

 

2C boiling water

1/4C Thai tea mix

1 generous Tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk (or sugar)

1/2C half-and-half (or coconut milk)

 

Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and add the tea leaves. Let it steep for 5-7 minutes, and strain out the leaves. Add the sweetened condensed milk (or sugar) and the half-and-half (or coconut milk). Chill and serve over ice.

 

 

 

* http://www.amazon.com/Thai-Iced-Traditional-Restaurant-Style/dp/B000UPNK9S

April Newsletter

Finally spring is here,….well sorta-depending on where you live! This newsletter contains important knife information, my most memorable meal, plus a recipe that always reminds me of spring.

Enjoy!


A Sharp Knife is a Safe Knife
This old adage is very true. A sharp knife will easily and reliably cut thru whatever you are slicing. Whereas a dull knife is unpredictable and more accident prone. Plus with a sharp knife, if you do cut yourself at least it will be a nice clean cut (think the opposite of a serrated knife cut) and it will heal easily and quickly.

3 Easy steps to keep your knives sharp

1. Get them professionally sharpened once a year. Many grocery stores will sharpen 1-2 knives for free, you may just need to leave them overnight. Many culinary store will also sharpen them for about $1.00 an inch.

2. Use a honing steel. Get into the habit of using this tool before you use the knife or before you put it away. A honing steel doesn’t sharpen, it just maintains the edge of your knife. (Make sure you do step 1 before doing step 2)

3. Have a storage solution for your knives. It can be a knife block, a drawer organizer, or even just a knife sleeve to protect the blade. Do not just throw them in a drawer!

 


Tagliatelle with a Prosciutto and Orange Cream Sauce

 I’ve made this recipe for the past 3 Easters and the flavors remind me of Spring. This recipe is very fast, but maybe not the most “healthy”. I like to add a clove or two of minced garlic, a pinch of crushed red chili flakes and a sprinkle of thyme. I usually serve this pasta with roasted or grilled asparagus.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tagliatelle-with-Prosciutto-and-Orange-365161

 


Memorable Meal

When people first find out that I am a chef they always ask what my favorite dish is. Which for most chefs I know is an impossible question to answer; my favorite dish changes with the seasons and with my mood. So I prefer to answer, what is your most memorable meal. I’ve had so many memorable meals, my first dinner with my future husband, an amazing pizza in Cannes, mind blowing mezes in Istanbul…but my first memorable meal was from a family camping trip in MT. It was my mom, her best friend and all 6 kids piled in a van for a road trip. On the second night it rained and the kids tent leaked, the sleeping bags and clothes were soaked. My mom and I went to the laundromat to dry everything out. When we got back, a memorable dinner was waiting. It was just spaghetti with marinara sauce cooked over a fire, and a glass of grape juice but it was probably the best I’ve ever had. It was probably a combination of having someone else cook, the smokiness imparted by the fire, the great company, and the beautiful scenery. I can still taste it.

I would love to hear about your most memorable meal. Please share your story.

Meal Planning

What’s for dinner?

That is the worst question of most days; especially when you are strapped for time and energy, lacking creativity, and quite possibly hungry. I’ve decided that I would like to help. Let me plan your meals, find the appropriate recipes and create a grocery list for you. I’ll do the brain work, you do the fun cooking and eating part!

Check out all the details under the meal planning tab at the top of the page.

Savory French Toast with Tomato-Avocado-Basil Maple Syrup

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Last night I made my savory french toast with roasted red pepper-tomato maple syrup recipe, but with a slight modification. I omitted the red pepper and added diced avocados and fresh basil. Fantastic summer dinner!

Here’s the original recipe

http://cheflorelei.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/savory-french-toast-with-red-pepper-tomato-maple-syrup/

Quick Lentil Soup

In preparation for our big move, I’ve started to clean out the fridge. Perhaps it’s a bit hasty since we are here in Seattle for about 6 more weeks, but I’m getting excited! In the fridge I found a package of Trader Joe’s cooked lentils and a half eaten container of red pepper hummus, these got me thinking about my favorite curried lentil soup recipe by Molly Wizenberg. She adds pureed chick peas to the cooked lentil mixture right before serving, it’s a fantastic soup, I’ve included a link at the bottom of this post. So using her recipe as inspiration I made a quick lunch.

2C Cooked lentils

1/2C Hummus  (I used a red pepper hummus, but I bet most flavors would work well)

1 1/2 -2C Vegetable broth

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, stir together lentils, hummus and 1 1/2 C vegetable broth. Add more broth if you like a thinner soup. Season with pepper.

Optional: serve with lemon wedges and pita bread or chips.

Serves 2-3

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/12/curried_lentil_soup

Chicken Tacos

In the heat and humidity of summer I try not to turn the oven/stove on, so this means we end up eating a lot of large salads. Which is perfect for highlighting all the fantastic produce that’s available this time of year, but there comes a day when I want something hot. And since I don’t have an outside grill I generally turn to the crock pot. These easy tacos are a great way to use up any leftover produce, plus I can slip in a can of refried beans after the meat is done cooking and my husband is none the wiser!

2# Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

1 1/2C Salsa (any and every kind will work-green, red fresh, jarred….)

1-2C Vegetables diced (onions, peppers, mushrooms, kale…whatever you have in your fridge)

2 Cloves of garlic, minced

1tsp Ground cumin

1 Lime juiced

Optional additions after the allotted cooking time- can of refried or regular beans, or corn kernels.

Put all the ingredients into a crock pot and give it a little stir. Set it on high for 4hrs or on low for 8hrs. After the meat is cooked, use a large wooden spoon, or two forks, to gently break the chicken apart. (If the mixture is too liquidy at this point ladle some of the juices out and pour it into a small sauce pan and place on a medium-high burner until the liquid is reduced by half. Pour the reduced liquid back into the crock pot.) Taste the taco filling and add salt or some hot sauce if needed.

Place a few tablespoons in a tortilla and top with your favorite toppings: grated cheese, cilantro leaves, sliced avocados, sliced radishes, sour cream….

 

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