Peanut Sauce

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This is the best peanut sauce – sweet from the coconut milk, salty from the peanut butter and spicy from the chile garlic sauce. It goes great with spring rolls or chicken.

Ingredients:
3/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 c chunky all-natural peanut butter
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
2 tsp chile-garlic paste
1 TBSP lime juice

Place everything but the lime juice in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are evenly combined, about 3 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and transfer the sauce to a small bowl to cool.

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Spring Rolls

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Spring rolls seem a little intimidating, but they are quite easy to make. The rice paper is very forgiving, it stretches quite a bit and if you tear it, just ping it back together. This was my first attempt and by the third one I had a grasp of the situation! Be sure to pull the rice paper tight when wrapping it.

As far as ingredients go, the combinations are endless! I did a veggie version, but feel free to add cooked chicken or shrimp and what ever veggies you have on hand. You can get rice paper in the Asian aisle of your grocery store. I just used my food processor to shred everything. The key is to have all your ingredients prepped. If you are not going to eat them right away wrap them in damp paper towels.

Ingredients:
Rice papers
3 carrots, shredded
1 english cucumber, shredded
1/4 daikon, shredded
Thai basil leaves
Bean sprouts
Mint leaves
Green onion, thinly sliced
Peanut Sauce

Fill a large pie pan about 1/2 way with hot water. Soak the rice paper for 20 seconds until they are soft and pliable.

Lay out rice paper, place 3- 4 basil leaves in the middle, top with bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, daikon, onions and then mint leaves. Fold the side towards the middle pulling tight, then pull the top over and roll tight. Remember the rice paper will stretch so you can be a little aggressive.

Repeat until you have the desired number.

Serve with peanut sauce.
Makes about 6.

Spicy Salmon Ceviche with Avocado Salsa

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I’ve been on a raw salmon kick lately – it’s so good why stop? This recipe combines a couple of my favorite things, salmon, sriracha, avocado and spicy radish sprouts – the perfect meal for a hot summer day!

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh salmon, skinned and cut in 1/4 inch dice
2 TBSP Sriracha sauce
1/2 TBSP Mirin cooking rice wine
2 TBSP Ponzu
1 1/2 TBSP toasted sesame oil

Combine above ingredient and let the salmon marinate in the fridge for 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Salsa:
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 ripe large avocado, cut into1/4 inch dice
1 green onion, sliced thin
3 red radishes , cut into small dice
1/4 cucumber, cur into small dice
1/4 tsp sea salt
Radish sprouts – 1/4 c

Combine lemon juice, salt, avocado, cucumber, green onions and radish.

Place salsa on the bottom of a plate or in a bowl, top with ceviche and garnish with radish sprouts.

Serves 2 – 4.

Coconut Cupcakes

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I love coconut and cupcakes! This recipe is adapted from a recipe on the William-Sonoma website. I replaced the sugar for coconut palm sugar and the butter with coconut palm oil to make these the ultimate coconuts cupcakes!

For the cupcakes:
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c coconut palm sugar
1/2 c coconut oil
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c coconut milk
1 c sweetened dried coconut flakes

Frosting
1/2 c sweetened dried coconut flakes, toasted
4 oz cream cheese, spftened
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 confectioners’ sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the sugar and coconut oil until the mixture is light in texture, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the coconut milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping down the bowl as needed, beating just until smooth.

In another bowl, using the mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving some whites visible. Gently fold in the coconut flakes. Divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin cups, filling them about three-fourths full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out of the pan onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Leave the oven on.

To make the frosting, spread the coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

In a bowl, using the mixer on low speed, beat together the cream cheese, coconut oil and vanilla. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the icing is smooth. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes, dividing it equally. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, then serve.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Padron and Sausage Pasta with Goat Cheese Sauce

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This is one spicy number! Pasta with spicy sausage, padron peppers and goat cheese – yum! The goat cheese adds a nice zing to the zip of the peppers and sausage. You could use Italian frying peppers if you don’t have padrons.

Ingredients:
2 spicy sausages, casing removed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb peppers, sliced
1/2 c chicken stock
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 lb pasta

Cook pasta according to package.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onions, mushrooms and peppers until sausage is cooked through, break up sausage while it cooks. Add stock and simmer for 5 minuets. Stir in cheese, add pasta and serve.

Serves 2 – 4.

Sun Dried Hummus

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I love hummus! Spread it on bread top with some sprouts and I’m one happy lady. It is great as a snack too. This one is pretty light on the fat – and heavy on flavor!

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
1/4 cgrated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP olive oil
3/4 – 1 c water
salt and pepper to taste

Grind the garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and Parmesan cheese together in a food processor or blender.

Add about 1/4 c water; grind another 15 seconds. Pour in enough additional reserved liquid, a small amount at a time, and grind; repeat until the consistency is like chunky peanut butter.

Pour in the olive oil; grind for an additional 15 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 – 6.

Asian Turkey Salad

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This recipe was inspired by Food & Wine Magazine. This is the perfect salad for summer – spicy and healthy! Served it with some brown basmati rice and you have the perfect meal.

Ingredients:
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, minced
2 lemon grass stocks, center past only, minced
1 lb ground turkey
2 TBSP plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
Salt & pepper
3 Thai peppers, thinly sliced
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
Lettuce leaves, torn
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c torn Thai basil leaves
1/4 c torn mint leaves

In a large skillet heat oil add garlic, jalapeño & lemon grass, cook for 2 minutes. Add turkey and brown. Add 1 tsp fish sauce and a little chicken stock if the turkey gets dry.

Combine 2 TBSP fish oil, lime juice and Thai peppers. Toss with lettuce.

Serve turkey on lettuce with onions, basil and mint.

Serves 4.

Grilled Okra with Lemon Basil sauce

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I love grilled okra. The trick is to get the small ones, under 3 inches, then slice them lengthwise so they don’t explode on the grill. This week I whipped up a guilt free sauce to accompany them.

Ingredients:
1 lb okra, sliced lengthwise
Canola oil
1/2 c Greek Yogurt, fat free
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c basil, finely chopped
Zest of on lemon
2 TBSP lemon juice
Cayenne pepper to taste

Toss okra in canola oil and grill until nicely charred about 7 minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salt okra and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.

Quick Coleslaw

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If you’ve seen my last couple blog posts of pulled pork and BBQ sauce, you probably guessed cabbage was coming next. This is another one from chow, with some changes. More veggies, less mayo, fat free sour cream – I think it makes for a healthier and tastier slaw.

Ingredients:
1 small head of green
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt,
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 – 8 carrots, grated

Slice cabbage in half through the core. Cut a V-shaped notch around the white core on each half; discard the core. Slice each half lengthwise into quarters and thinly slice each quarter crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

Place cabbage in a large colander set over a large bowl or plate, sprinkle with measured salt, and toss to coat. Place a heavy bowl on top of the cabbage, then place a heavy can or two in the bowl to weigh it down. Let sit until cabbage has released about 1/4 cup of moisture, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place onion and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let sit until cabbage is ready.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, caraway seeds, and measured pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.

When cabbage is ready, squeeze large handfuls to release any excess liquid and place in the large bowl with the dressing. Add grated carrots and reserved onion-vinegar mixture and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 day.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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This recipe is from Chow.com. This day is perfect for a work from home day, toss everything in the pot in the morning and let it go till dinner time. OK so it’s not real BBQ pulled pork, but its still good!

Ingredients:
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 TBSP packed dark brown sugar
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 c barbecue sauce (optional)

Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Serves 8 – 12.