Cooking Class #2

Last night I was really tired and so I posted some very cute pictures of our dogs. The reason why I was so tired was because after work my friend Donna, her mom, and I attended another cooking demo/class at Sobey’s.

Last night’s theme was Thai comfort food, I have to say it didn’t disappoint. Chef Patrick created a menu that is easy to replicate and tastes so divine. It gave me the chance to hear him speak about his experiences on Chopped Canada that aired this past Saturday night. Any regular reader of this blog will already know that I love all the behind the scenes info and I was glued to Chef Patrick’s every word about how it works off camera. The other awesome thing about last night was that I got to meet his lovely fiancee Andrea Lauren who was super sweet and I am so thrilled for the both of them, they are busy planning their wedding and planning a honeymoon in Thailand!

Last night’s dishes in order in which they were served were:

COCONUT AND LEMONGRASS SOUP WITH SHRIMP

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INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 thumb size piece fresh ginger, minced

1 stalk lemon grass, white bulb minced, stalk reserved for soup pot

2 teaspoons red curry paste

4 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 cans coconut milk

1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced

1 large tomato, chopped

1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined

1 lime, zested and juiced (need about 2 tablespoons of juice)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 cup chopped scallions

STEPS

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste in the heated oil for 1 minute until fragrant. Slowly pour the vegetable broth over the mixture stirring continually. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar and lime zest simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, mushrooms and tomato; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and states; soup should have equal balance of spicy, sweet, salty, and sour. Garnish with cilantro and scallions and enjoy!

I have to say that when I looked at the ingredient list, I had reservations about liking this soup. I’m NOT a fan of cilantro but for some reason the flavour of the cilantro did not over power the rest of the flavours. I would have eaten a huge bowl of this if I had been able to. I would love to make it at home but no one but me would eat it, which may not be a bad thing.

Nest up:

THAI GREEN MANGO SALAD

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INGREDIENTS

2 red or green Thai chiles, with seeds, chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

3/4 cup fish sauce

2 tablespoons avocado oil

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

4 green mangoes julianned

1 cup of bean sprouts

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup dry unsweetened coconut

2 tablespoons toasted dried shrimp (optional)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

kosher salt

STEPS

Puree chiles, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, and sugar in a blender until smooth.

Toss mangoes, bean sprouts, shallots, peanuts, coconut, cilantro, mint, basil, dried shrimp if using, sesame seeds, and dressing in a large bowl; season with lightly with salt, enjoy!

The hardest part about this is getting everything sliced and diced once it’s all tossed up it’s SO good. You can make the dressing ahead of time and it keeps for a while.

This salad was served alongside our next recipe:

THAI PORK SATAY

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The pork all marinated ready to grill (or in our case broil)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup coconut milk

3 tablespoons chopped lemongrass

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon chopped galangal or ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon yellow curry paste

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon fish sauce

2 limes, cut in half

12 oz. pork loin, cut into 1″-wide, 1/4″ thick slices

STEPS

Wooden skewers soaked (this is only for presentation so feel free to skip)

Puree 1/2 cup coconut milk, lemon grass, oil, galangal (or ginger), sugar, garlic, spices, fish sauce and curry paste in a food processor. Toss paste and pork in a large bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Don’t leave any longer than 4 hours as the the texture of the meat will change.

Set a grill over medium high heat. Thread a couple slices of pork on each skewer, brush with remaining coconut milk and grill turning once until charred and cooked through, about 7 minutes total. Remove from the grill and squeeze fresh lime juice all over satays. Enjoy!

These were simply fantastic!

Up next:

THAI DRUNKEN NOODLES

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INGREDIENTS

1 200g package pad Thai noodles

4 chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces

1 cup basil leaves, preferably Thai

2 shallots, chopped

2 scallions, white and green parts chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 Thai bird chillis finely chopped (if you can’t find these just use good old Jalapeno)

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons peanut oil

SAUCE

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 1/4 tablespoon mushroom soy sauce (or just plain Thai soy sauce)

1 1/2 tablespoons normal dark soy sauce

2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup Sake rice wine

STEPS

Cook noodles according to instructions on package. Drain when ready. Make sure to rinse noodles under cold water.

Put Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Heat oil in wok or pan over high heat. Add garlic and chilli and cook for 10 seconds. Add the eggs and cook stirring constantly until just set. Add chicken and fry until cooked partially through, about 2 minutes.

Add the shallots/scallions and about 1 tablespoon of the sauce and stir fry for 30 seconds, just to coat the chicken. Add the noodles and sauce and cook for a couple minutes until the sauce has coated the noodles completely and they start to brown.

Remove from heat and immediately add basil leaves, stir until just wilted, then serve immediately. Enjoy with a cold Tiger Beer.

Chef Patrick gave a great tip for this one, make sure ALL of your ingredients are ready to go, all cut up and the sauce is mixed ready to go. Don’t wait until the end to cook the noodles have those done before starting to fry.

Last but not least:

THAI FRIED BANANAS WITH COCONUT CREAM

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 can coconut milk, well stirred

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 egg yolks, at room temperature

vegetable oil, for frying (don’t use olive oil, use a neutral flavored oil)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 cup hot water

3/4 cup rice flour

1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted

1/2 cup coconut milk well stirred

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

8 ripe baby bananas or 4 large normal bananas

1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped.

STEPS

FOR THE COCONUT CREAM SAUCE: Toast the desiccated coconut in a small saute pan over medium heat until just browned. combine the coconut milk, toasted coconut, whole milk, and kosher salt in a small saucepan and bring up to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then turn off the heat and steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the coconut mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and into another small saucepan, using a wooden spoon or spatula to press down on the solids. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks in a mixing bowl, and then whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to temper the eggs. Gradually whisk in the rest of the hot coconut milk and transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl and place plastic wrap directly on to of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool at room temperature while you make the fried bananas.

FOR THE FRIED BANANAS: Fill a wok with 3 inches of vegetable oil or a large dutch oven with 2 inches. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F over medium-high heat.

Put the brown sugar in a small bowl, add the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. In a baking dish whisk together the rice flour, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, all-purpose flour, baking powder and the sugar/water mixture to form a thin batter. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes while you prep the bananas.

If using baby bananas, simply peel and slice each lengthwise, if using normal bananas slice each in half and then again lengthwise. Dip the sliced bananas in the batter, shaking off any excess and fry the bananas until golden brown and crispy, turning occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes. Place the fried bananas on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve with chopped peanuts and coconut cream sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

I would eat this meal again in a heartbeat! So good. please let me know  if you end up trying any of these, I would love to see your pictures and know what you thought.

Me, Twitter, and TV

This post be the start of many that explore the role of Social media, this one in how it has changed how I view content. I’m sure there have been studies done on how Social Media is changing how we view content and what influence it has over the general public. Not seeing those studies I will be speaking from personal experience.

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When I joined Twitter in May 2007 it wasn’t the beast that it is today, I had no followers for a number of years so when I tweeted things out I didn’t realize that no one could see it. Once it became apparent I was only talking to myself I stepped away from it. I figured I could talk to myself in real life no need to show people how crazy I truly am!

Fast forward to a few years ago and now it’s pretty popular and just about everyone is using Social media in some way. For me I think it’s been a great resource and tool that allows me to be able to communicate with people I normally would never have had the chance to talk to. With 140 characters I have talked with William Shatner, Montel Williams, Jann Arden, and have been super lucky to have long conversations with Lennox Lewis.

One of the best things that twitter has helped me do is talk to others’ about television shows that we connect with. Live tweeting during an episode of your favorite show adds a whole new dimension, to be able to instantly connect with others to share the shock, awe, excitement, and in some cases sadness creates friendships and connections that you otherwise miss out on. If you watch a show and have found that your close family and friends are not into that one show and you are just itching to talk about it with someone Twitter will fill that void. It’s changing those conversations we have always had with family and co-workers about “OMG what just happened” we can throw ideas back and forth through social media and become more connected.

For me the first show that I really connected with in live tweeting is The Listener (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1181541/), I would sit down once a week and “twatch”, (ok I know that word looks bad and sounds bad but get your mind out of the gutter this word is TWEET + WATCH aka twatch) with not only other fans of the show but with the stars as well. The stars like Ennis Esmer, Rainbow Sun Franks, Lauren Lee Smith, and later when he joined the cast Anthony Lemke would interact with the fans of the show and allowed us to ask questions, and have fun. They gave us behind the scenes information and shared tears and laughter. The group was pretty close and at the very sad end of an amazing run they had a viewing party at Rainbow’s bar in Toronto. I was so sad I couldn’t be there but to see how much they connected with the fans through Twitter to throw that kind of party is truly amazing.

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I have been able to have the same experience watching current shows such as Murdoch Mysteries, Saving Hope, Haven, and one of my favorite shows Chopped Canada. A special shout out and HI to the Chopped Canada Twitter group and whom ever is responsible for live tweeting with us!

I would have to say that the people I have been able to chat with while watching mutual shows have become my friends and some, I have become friends on Facebook with and have been able to connect outside of the shows we watch to become true friends even if we have never met.

Growing up we watched TV without barriers, not having any friends I was able to come home to my safe haven and watch TV and play outside with my sister. Today I’m lucky that I can call on friends both here where I live but now on various social media platforms, I’m very lucky that so far I haven’t had very many negative experiences with Social media and I as I continue to explore how it can become a great tool not only for me to connect with all of you but for all of you to connect with other like minded people in the areas that you enjoy. Whether that be TV or a hobby such as knitting, painting or even reading there.

Have you ever sat down with your phone or tablet and live tweeted with your favourite show? Would you be open to trying it if you never have? If your on Twitter feel free to give me a follow @PLoker.