Bang Bang Shrimp

This is delicious, which makes it a winner in my books!  The biggest bonus is that the whole dish comes together very quickly with ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen anyway.  The dipping sauce is a bit sweet, a bit spicy and a bit tangy from the yogurt.

Bang bang shrimp 4

Grilling these outside would have been perfect, but the rain changed that plan!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1 pound shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined)
  1. Mix together the first four ingredients and set aside.
  2. Thread shrimp on skewers (if using wooden skewers soak in water for 30 minutes first).
  3. Brush the shrimp with some of the sauce and leave the rest for dipping after they are cooked.
  4. Grill shrimp until just cooked through – it only takes a few minutes so watch carefully to be sure they are’t overcooked.
Bang Bang Shrimp 1

I’m sure you have all these ingredients on hand, and the dipping sauce is amazing to just keep on hand so make enough for leftovers.

 

Bang Bang Shrimp 2

Smooth, creamy and absolutely delicious.

Bang bang shrimp 3

Grill just until cooked through – today it had to be on a grill pan because it was absolutely pouring out there!

If you’ve had these at a Chinese restaurant they are usually deep fried in a light batter, and the dipping sauce is a lot heavier – made with mayonnaise.  I prefer this version made with greek yogurt, and I bet you will too!

 

CREAMY THAI PEANUT PRAWN & NOODLES

Noodles 3

Creamy, tangy and full of crunch this Peanut Noodle Dish is really a one pot wonder.  One of the few peanut sauces I’ve liked, that didn’t require cooking!

My BFF Jean made a version like this when we met up in Osoyoos for wine tasting, and it was just perfect.  She made it into a one pot meal by using quick cooking Ramen noodles, which cooked in a large pot of boiling water, adding veg and shrimp at the appropriate times to get it all cooked.  Drain it in a colander and pour the sauce over – presto, deliciousness!!!
Ingredients:
These are really just suggestions.  Tonight I used broccoli and sweet coloured peppers.
  • 2 servings of rice noodles
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • vegetables, such as :
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ½ pound snow peas, ends trimmed and shredded
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • sweet coloured peppers
  • onions
  • garlic

Peanut Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • Toppings:
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped peanuts
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • lime wedges
  • sriracha sauce (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix ginger, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chicken stock and chili flakes in a bowl, puree and set aside.
  • Soak rice noodles in very hot water until just al dente, drain and set aside.
  • Remove the ingredients from heat and drain with a colander.
  • In saute pan, stir fry vegetables until just crisp tender.  Remove and stir fry prawns just until plump and tender.  Be careful not to overcook them – that can happen in the blink of an eye.

Noodles 1Return all ingredients to saute pan and stir to mix.  Add in enough noodles just to get the balance right.

Noodles 2

  • Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and mix well.
  • Top with cilantro, peanut, sesame seeds and lime wedges to serve.
You can use any noodle if you don’t want the rice noodles, just cook according to package directions.

Tart and Tangy Thai Pork Noodles

This makes for a quick and easy dinner, using one skillet (or wok), and just involves a bit of chopping.  As always, please please, taste your marinade before adding cornstarch.  If you don’t smack your lips and say yum yum, try adjusting.  Maybe you like it spicier?  – add chile flakes.  Maybe you like it more tart?  – add lime.  Any dish that has Thai in the title should be well balanced, with salty, sweet, spicy & sour in perfect harmony. Once you get that perfect balance add the corn starch.

Pork noodles

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb boneless pork loin,  cut into strips
  • tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • tablespoons soya sauce (reduced sodium)
  •  4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided use
  •  broccoli florets
  • carrot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • bamboo shoots (optional)
  • water chestnuts (optional)

Realistically – – – all the vegetables are optional, use whatever you like, just make sure you have a good assortment of color and crunch.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, cornstarch, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Remove enough just to cover pork and place in bowl.
  2. Add pork, marinate while preparing pasta and vegetables or up to overnight.
  3. Cook (or soak) rice noodles according to package directions, drain.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic & ginger for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables and saute until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm.
  7. Add remaining oil and pork mixture to skillet. Cook until pork is nicely browned.
  8. Remove pork, keep warm and stir in remaining marinade to skillet.  Cook until bubbly so the cornstarch is cooked through and thickens.
  9. Return pork & vegetables to skillet, add rice noodles, heat through and serve.

Garnishes:  sliced green onions, toasted and chopped peanuts and roughly chopped cilantro.

This dish works equally well if you want to make it a vegetarian dish, or decide to change up the protein, try:

  • sliced chicken thighs
  • prawns
  • seafood

We like rice noodles, but you could easily use any type of pasta you have on hand like chinese egg noodles or spaghetti noodles.

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls with Peanut Dressing

I’ve been trying to simplify some of my dinner plans ….. as much as I like puttering in the kitchen for a couple of hours after work (what I call kitchen yoga), there are times I just need to make a quick dinner.  This is one of my favourites …. quick, easy, healthy and most of all, absolutely delicious.  You don’t really have to make the peanut dressing to drizzle over, but honestly, isn’t everything better with peanut sauce?

coconut-curry-noodle-bowl

Tonight’s version of this bowl included prawns, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy and lots of colourful peppers.

PEANUT DRESSING:
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping Tbsp natural salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
splash of lime juice
scant 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
splash of very hot water (only if too thick)

COCONUT CURRY:
1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 ½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

BOWL: (These are suggestions, use whatever veg you have on hand)

4 ounces rice or egg noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
sesame seeds & chopped peanuts for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh basil & cilantro for serving

I’ve also used snow peas, zucchini, sweet peppers & bean sprouts.

To prepare your peanut sauce combine all ingredients except the hot water, blend well and stir in just enough of the hot water to allow everything to become smooth and creamy.

Preparing the curry sauce is pretty easy.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and stir in shallots and fresh ginger, saute briefly just until translucent and stir i the curry paste.  Fry curry paste for 2-3 minutes, just to allow flavours to wake up.  Stir in the coconut milk, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes just to allow flavours to get to know each other…… Taste …. if you can handle a bit more heat stir in the hot chili paste.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Taste again and adjust.  Remember, every brand of these ingredients will have a slightly different profile, and you need to make adjustments for that.  Last thing is to add the lime juice.  It should wake everything up and make you want to keep tasting …..

The method is fairly flexible, saute your veg in a wok with the oil just until crisp tender and set aside.  Alternatively, if you are using egg noodles, once you have removed the egg noodle from the boiling water, plunge the veg in for just 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and remove.

SERVING TIME:

Place noodles in the bottom of your bowl, layer on the veg, and sprinkle with toppings.  Gently pour over the coconut curry.  You can make this as saucy as you like by doubling up the curry sauce if you want more of a soup.  Drizzle over the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Capers and Tomatoes

This pasta is quick, light and easy. Most of these ingredients are things I have on hand anyway, so as a last minute dinner it always works – add a fresh, crisp green salad and some garlic toast and your meal is perfect.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Put on a large pot of water to boil – salt only once it has come to rolling boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat a fry pan and stir in:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Once melted, stir in
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
when lightly brown, stir in
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, stir for 30 seconds and add:
3 pounds large shrimp – shelled and deveined
Stir occasionally and cook only until shrimp are cooked through – around 3-4 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper
Finish with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a knob of butter.

Stir well and set aside.

By now your water has come to a boil and you are ready to cook your angel hair pasta – add a generous amount of salt to water, then pasta (enough for 4). Cook for time listed on your pasta container – being careful not to overcook. Drain – reserving 1 cup of the pasta liquid.

Return the pasta to the pot, toss in the shrimp mixture, including and juices, along with:
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp capers
green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir well, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce up a bit and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have any frozen shrimp on hand, this works really well with chicken too!

Shrimp Cocktail

I love shrimp cocktail ….. so why not make it at home instead of buying that frozen ring with the canned cocktail sauce??  I get it, when you are in a hurry, or just need to pick something up – those work.  If you have a few minutes though, and really only a few moments, make your own at home, infusing the shrimp with flavour along the way ….

Soooo delicious!

Soooo delicious!

Poached Shrimp

3 cups water

1 cup your favourite white wine (dry)

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

1 1lb bag of frozen shrimp

Pour all ingredients except shrimp into a medium saucepan, and heat to boiling.  Turn down the heat and allow flavours to simmer and blend for about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp, stir, and cover with a lid.  Remove from heat and allow shrimp to poach for 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to do any more than turn pink. Strain the shrimp out and put in fridge to completely cool.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup (heaping) horseradish

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

juice and zest of 1 lemon

 

Combine all ingredients and set aside to serve with shrimp

 

Shrimp Stuffed Sole with Caper Butter Sauce

I felt like making a special dinner tonight …. will be away for 9 days without Grant, in Phoenix.  Nope, not for shopping, or golf, or even the spring training going on at the ball diamonds.  No, Hayley is having surgery again, and we are putting our trust and all our hope in the physicians that we have grown to know and love at the Mayo Clinic.  

I often make a rolled, stufed sole dinner but this one was so delicious it had to get on the blog before I forget what I did … something I am known for….

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Serves 2, but of course, feel free to adjust for however many people you are serving.

Preheat oven to 350

2 good sized sole fillets (of the same size)

4 large fresh shrimp (or prawn)

1 shallot (minced)

2 tbsp capers

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (or whatever herb you have on hand that you feel like using)

1 tbsp olive oil

butter

In a small saucepan soften minced shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp butter.  When softened, remove half the shallots to a small bowl.  To the rest of the shallots, add 2 tbsp good, dry white wine and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar.  Allow to cook just enough to reduce a bit, and add the capers.  Add another 1 tbsp of butter and allow to keep warm.

To the reserved shallots add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley.

Season the sole fillet with salt and pepper, lay the shrimp/prawn down at the thick end and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on.  Roll up tightly and allow to rest.

Heat an oven proof saute pan, melt a little butter with oil and gently place the rolled fillets in.  Place in preheated oven (350) and cook for 25 minutes.  Be watchful for this – depending on the size of your fish, and your stuffing, it could take as little as 20 minutes, or as much as 30.  Do not overcook your fish – as soon as it flakes easily it is done.

Remove from heat, stir the remaining parsley into the butter caper sauce, and season with freshly squeezed lemon juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the fish.

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

This is easily one of the simplest noodle stir fry dishes I have made, and packs lots of taste in every bite.  I think the secret is the spicy vinegar for the finishing touch!

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¼ cup vegetable oil

½ red onion, julienned

1 sweet red pepper, julienned

2 cloves garlic, chopped

⅓ cup oyster sauce

⅓ cup water, mixed in with oyster sauce

2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped

1 bunch green onion, chopped

Flavoured Vinegar

½ cup rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons palm sugar (or natural sugar)

1-2 tablespoon chili oil

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

salt

 

Stir all vinegar ingredients together and set aside – really important to do this to your individual taste – SOME LIKE IT HOT …

Mix oyster sauce with water

Soften egg noodles according to package directions, but be careful not to overcook them.

Heat oil in wok, add onions and saute until softened and translucent, add ginger, garlic and red pepper.  Stir fry until just softened.

Add some of the oyster sauce and stir until well combined – add most of the rest of the sauce and stir in the noodles.  Stir fry until all the noodles are well coated and heated through – finish with the last drizzle of the oyster sauce.

Serve with chives to garnish.  I served the vinegar on the side for everybody to add as they pleased, but it could easily be added as soon as the dish is finished.

This dish is really made for you to experiment with – go green instead of red and stir in chopped fresh spinach or sliced snow peas right before serving and garnish with cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts.

For a complete meal add some prawns or thinly sliced chicken – stir fry with the onion/pepper mixture before adding the noodles.

Backstrap Venison ….. Thai style!

We had the good fortune to have backstrap venison grilled at our good friend Rob and Mandy’s ….Rob being the hunter … and further good fortune as they sent us home with the leftover, rare grilled venison.  It was amazing the first time, and just as fabulous as a “leftover”  … repurposed as a Thai style salad.

The instructions for this are VERY loose.  It involved what I call creative cooking, or clean out the fridge.
Thai Style Backstrap Venison

Pan roast some peanuts, and if you are fortunate enough to have a mortar and pestle, grind them up a bit with about 1 tsp chili flakes (obviously to your taste).  Add tamarind, palm sugar (2 tsp?) freshly squeezed lime juice, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, roasted sesame seeds and even a bit of peanut oil.  A little of this, a little of that.  Keep doing that until your taste buds sing and you can hardly wait to dress your salad.

Thinly slice red onion, and pour boiling water over.  10 seconds later, yes, TEN SECONDS, pour the water off – add a bit of kosher salt, a few chili flakes, and cover with freshly squeezed lime juice …. (if you run short top it up with regular vinegar)

Cook up a few ramen noodles, or rice noodles, or whatever you have on hand.

Lay the cooled noodles over a serving platter, and build your salad on top of that with whatever strikes your fancy. (and is in your fridge)   Add some thinly slivered protein – i.e. the venison, or you could use cooked chicken, steak, and prawns.  Again – totally up to you!  (and if you are looking for a vegetarian option – do some tofu!)

Top with the quick pickled red onion, some of your roasted peanuts, sesame seeds – and although I didn’t have any today – I would have loved some bean sprouts and fresh cilantro over it all …..

Family Style Indian Curry Chicken

I know the title says chicken curry - but the sauce made an awesome  Prawn Masala another day!

I know the title says chicken curry – but the sauce made an awesome Prawn Masala another day!

I don’t know how I have managed to forget about getting this recipe on here!  It is a tried and true favorite, and as delicious as it is the first day – even better the 2nd.  I always find my curry recipes make more sauce than needed on the first night and so the sauce will show up with a different protein or vegetable a couple days later – tasting amazing.

1/3 cup canola oil (or ghee)

2 cups finely chopped onions

3 inch piece of cinnamon stick

3 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 large can)

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 lbs chicken thighs, bone in

1 cup sour cream

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In large pan, heat oil or ghee on medium heat until shimmering.  Add onions and cinnamon – saute for 5-8 minutes until they have reached a rich, golden yellow color.  Add garlic and saute for another few minutes.  Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne.  Cook this over medium heat until the oil separates from the masala.

Wash chicken thighs well and add to the masala.  Stir well and cook chicken thighs until they look cooked on the outside (about 10-15 minutes).  Add sour cream and water – stir well.  Increase heat slightly until it starts to boil,then turn down to gently simmer.  Stir occasionally, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through.  (at least 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thighs)

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

Stir in cilantro just at serving time and serve with basmati rice.  We also love it served with Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Cilantro chutney …. yummmmmmy.

Try this with cooking the masala, and then stirring in a vegetarian option of tofu or vegetables! Also amazing with any number of seafood options – pictured today here with prawns.