Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

Green papayas are big and solid-- a foot long. They're not like sweet breakfast papayas. When you cut one open, they're filled with little white seeds of the weight and density of styrofoam peanuts. They get everywhere!
I peeled, seeded, and julienned the firm green flesh.
To the ~ 6 cups of matchstick-sized green papaya, I added 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, and 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves. This mixture can sit in the fridge for a week and still be good! I served it with sauteed shrimp and a handful of chopped dry roasted peanuts. This recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay's, found here: This recipe is delicious, and I plan on using it again and again. I can't wait to prepare this dish for a potluck.

Lemon Basil Chicken with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce

I love lemon basil! A few months ago, I bought a little plant from Home Depot for $1.98. When a branch looks like it's ready to flower, I snip it just above where a set of leaves shoot off, leaving six inches of stem. Now this plant is bushy and prolific! I harvest it more often than I can keep up with. Here's one recipe for using the lemon basil in a lemon-butter-white wine sauce over chicken (on a bed of caramelized onions).
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp dried (or fresh chiffonaded) lemon basil
2 tbsp butter
Put wine, lemon juice, and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce by half, then throw in the lemon basil. Pour over chicken.

Lemon Basil Tea

The harvest is going nuts! To dry lemon basil leaves for tea, heat your oven to 200 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off. Place the lemon basil leaves in a single layer (if the leaves are touching, they don't dry) and leave the leaves in the oven overnight. Each leaf dries into a crinkly little thing. Put those crinkly leaves into your teapot for concentrated fresh lemon flavor!

White and Fuschia Dragonfruit Coconut Sherbet

Check out this thing: dragonfruit! It's nature's drag queen. Fabulous!
This is what the white one looks like on the inside. The flesh is easy to scoop out. The texture of this fruit is just like kiwi-fruit, but the taste is not nearly as sweet. It's more of a neutral and almost bland flavor.
This is the white dragonfruit coconut sherbet, made by combining (in a food processor) the flesh of two dragonfruit, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the juice of half a lime. Place this mixture into an ice cream maker and run for 30 minutes. The sherbet actually came out too sweet, probably because of the coconut milk I used, which was already sweet. Next time, I'll omit the 1/2 cup of sugar. This recipe is adapted from this one:
Here's the fuschia dragonfruit, cut open. . . .
. . . and the fuschia dragonfruit coconut sherbet.

Pan-Seared Ahi with Lemon-Butter-Galangal Sauce

Willie and I bought an ahi sashimi tray from Costco. Some of the ahi pieces were not sashimi quality anymore, so we decided to sear those pieces. We placed the seared pieces on a bed of fresh baby arugula and poured a lemon-butter-galangal sauce over the whole thing. It tasted like one of those fancy French sauces you might get at a restaurant! Very tasty. The recipe was adapted from the Lime and Galangal Butter sauce recipe, found here.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced galangal
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup butter, cut into 1 tbsp-size pieces
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
Wash baby arugula and mound onto a plate. Pam-spray a small sauce pan. Salt and pepper the ahi pieces. Put pan on medium heat. Sear ahi pieces, 1-2 minutes per side. Arrange seared ahi pieces on the mound of arugula.
Place the garlic, shallot, galangal, and white wine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce the wine to 2 tbsp. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, adding each piece after the last one has melted. Once the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro. Pour over the ahi and arugula and serve immediately.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lemongrass Galangal Tea

Look at this knobby thing I picked up at the Fort Street farmers' market! It's galangal, or Thai ginger. It is spicier than ginger, with citron notes. I made a lemongrass galangal tea out of it tonight. The tea is like a mix of hot and cold: zingy heat from the galangal, but cooling and refreshing from the lemongrass. It's also easy to make:
Put 5-6 cups of water into a pot. Bruise two lemongrass stalks, cut them into two-inch pieces, and throw them into the pot. Peel a 2-3 inch piece of galangal and cut it into thin disks; throw these into the pot. Bring pot and contents to a boil, lower heat, then simmer for five minutes. Steep lemongrass and galangal in the water until it cools. I steeped mine for about an hour. Serve over ice.
Cheers! Galangal, like ginger, is supposed to be good for the digestive system.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lemongrass Panna Cotta

Making panna cotta is so easy! Heat up 2 cups of heavy cream over medium heat in a sauce pan. Dissolve in 1/4 cup of white sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, add in 1/2 cup of chopped lemongrass stems (use the greener parts), turn off the heat, and steep for half an hour. Remove the lemongrass stems.
Bloom one packet of gelatin powder in 3 tbsp of cold water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Add the still warm lemongrass cream to the bloomed gelatin and stir until the gelatin dissolves.
Pour into containers. You can Pam-spray the containers beforehand if you want to unmold the panna cotta onto a dish for serving. If you want to serve the panna cotta in the dish in which it was chilled, pour the panna cotta into pretty glasses (wine glass, martini glass).
Chill for at least two hours. To unmold, run a knife along the edge of the chilling dish. Garnish with fresh berries, lemon basil, mint, etc.
Here's the link from which this recipe was adapted: http://