Tag Archives: dinner party

Pad Thai

24 Feb

By request, here is a great Pad Thai recipe. Don’t be intimidated: it’s really not too difficult. It’s going to require a bunch of ingredients, but the steps are not complicated. If you can have everything ready, so much the better as once you get cooking, things go quickly. I ended up making this dish twice in a week it was so yummy. Feel free to add more veggies if you want more crunch, or more chili powder if you want it to have more heat (or omit it entirely if you want no heat at all!). You can make it vegetarian by replacing the chicken with tofu or add shrimp for some extra protein: any way you make it, it’s going to taste great.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, sliced as thinly as possible
1 pkg 5mm rice noodles
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 ts cornstarch
1/2 c soy sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3c fish sauce
2 tb tamarind paste
1/4 ts white pepper
1/2 tb chili powder
1 tb vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 c bean sprouts
1/2 c crushed peanuts
6 green onions, sliced
1 c fresh cilantro
4 lime wedges, for garnish

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, stir the cornstarch and soy sauce together. Add the chicken, stir to coat and put in the fridge while you get everything else ready.
2. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Be sure to stir the noodles every few minutes so they don’t stick together. Drain and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind, fish sauce, brown sugar, white pepper and chili powder until thoroughly combined.
4. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Then toss in the chicken and its marinade. Cook for roughly 7 minutes.
5. Remove the chicken from your pan and add the eggs, stirring them constantly so they scramble. Once done, add the chicken back to the pan. Cook both the eggs and chicken together for 1 minute.
6. Add the noodles and sauce to your pan. Using two utensils, toss all the ingredients together so they are thoroughly combined. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the bean sprouts and repeat.
7. Divide the Pad Thai among four bowls. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Chef Butler

7 Feb

I love throwing dinner parties, big or small. Feeding family and friends is one of my great joys in life. Sometimes I stick to the well-worn (good) advice and make what I know; sometimes I opt to cook a brand new dish or two. Something outside my comfort zone but that I still feel confident I can pull off. Either way, there is grocery shopping involved and sometimes I end up with a whole bag of spice or a package of herbs that I’m not likely to use again any time soon. Enter: Chef Butler, a neat start up company that offers themed, monthly dry ingredient boxes that. Every month showcases three courses from different cuisine: Thai, Indian, Jamaican…it goes on. Each box contains pre-portioned spices and sauces that you might not have in your cupboard as well as three detailed recipe cards with instructions. Enclosed in the Thai box with which I cooked were recipes for a spicy cucumber salad, classic Pad Thai and fried bananas. While it’s true I had things like soya sauce and chili powder in the house, I definitely didn’t have tamarind or just the right size of noodle.

While three courses for a regular weeknight dinner might be a bit much and the dishes are a bit labour intensive, Chef Butler does take out some of the prep work with the portioned out sauce ingredients. Just cut open the packages and mix! The dishes – especially the Pad Thai – were a hit and, in fact, the Pad Thai was so good I made it again a couple of days later using the recipe provided.

So if you’re looking for a service to take some work out of your next dinner party or just want to try something new while cooking with friends, head on over to Chef Butler and see what they have in store! They ship anywhere in Canada and while they are based in Toronto, do not charge shipping fees. They are always testing out new recipes, looking to expand their horizons and yours!

Chef Butler

Sweet Pea Crostini

17 Aug

Without fail, this is a major crowd-pleaser courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis. It makes enough for a full baguette, depending on how generous you are. I made this for a family dinner and it was a huge hit. I’ve been making it since and passing the recipe on. It will take about an hour a bit, but only because you need things to cool before you can work with them.

Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – this is just enough for a bit of heat. Feel free to add more!
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 ounces finely diced prosciutto
1 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic

Directions

1. Warm the broth and chili flakes in a medium pan over medium to high heat until it boils. Add the peas and cook roughly 5 minutes or less, til bright green. Drain the peas with a sieve, catching the flakes.
2. Place the peas, mint, salt & pepper in a food processor or hand blender. Process until smooth. Taste to make sure seasoning is where you want it. Cool for 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Meanwhile, slice the baguette & preheat the oven to 375.
4. Place the baguette slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer & bake for 10 minutes.
5. Drizzle the crostini with olive oil and rub with garlic cloves.
6. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the pea puree.
7. Top each crostini with a spoonful of the mixture and a few pieces of prosciutto.

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