Highly Recommended Website Resources, plus Thai Recipes!

Dr. Foodie Recommends!

(not a real doctor)

Normally during the course of the week, I have time blocked out for blog writing. However, some of the time, other projects crop up and take over. This week, I’ve had two big projects. One was writing a mammoth guest post (about a borderline “magical” pie) for Karen at LowCarbOneDay.com (which you should all read in a week or two), but here’s a sneak peek:

Salted Brown Butter & Pecan Pie with Chocolate Ganache

Salted Brown Butter & Pecan Pie with Chocolate Ganache

The other project was updating my recommendations page. This was a LONG overdue project. I highly recommend looking into it, if you ever need some information, inspiration or a recipe that simply doesn’t come from me. While I’ve got a few good ones, I am FAR from the only game in town. What lies ahead are some of my favorite websites and blogs, as well as the people that run them. Check out some of these other fantastic sites!

DJ Foodie's Website Recommendations

Also, feel free to email me some of your favorite resources. I’ll add them to this list, the next time I update it!

This Week’s Recipes!

I LOVE Thai Food, but I don’t cook it very often, and I’m really not sure why! Since I cooked the following 7 recipes, I’ve had the odds and ends lying around and it’s been like a Thai extravaganza around Casa Foodie. I’ve been making all sorts of Thai inspired goodies, since making these dishes. Hopefully some of them will inspire you to look into things like fish sauce, kabocha squash, lemongrass and galangal. Good times!

Kop khun mak krap!

DJ

Thai Pumpkin Seafood Stew

Thai Pumpkin Seafood StewHere is kind of a fun one. There are all kinds of seafood soups and stews, from all cultures with land near the sea. Thailand is no different!

First of all, this recipe is somewhat based around a “pumpkin”, but … not the wondrous pumpkin we all know and love from Cinderella. This is a type of pumpkin most Westerners usually refer to as the “kabocha” squash (called “Fak Thong”, in Thailand); this squash likely originated in Cambodia.

It’s amongst one of the lowest carb winter squashes (although can usually be found, year round). It’s WONDERFUL! One place where it can almost always be found is in a Tempura dish at your local Japanese haunt … fried! The rind for a kabocha softens as it cooks and is completely edible, but I confess to cutting it off, anyway. It’s a habit I developed from avoiding the rind in tempura. It’s actually quite lovely and totally fine to eat (plus doesn’t require the extra effort!). I leave this to you, to decide.

The taste is something like a cross between a russet potato and a sweet potato, but with significantly less carbs. It takes a bit more work to get to and is a little harder to find, but … the effort can be worth it!

Pairing this amazing “pumpkin” with seafood, coconut and many of the Thai aromatics creates a fresh, clean, slightly sweet, healthy, creamy and smooth blend of flavors. It’s a truly special dish and can be served as is, or served with some cauli-rice. Either way, you’re in for a treat!

Image lifted from SnackingSquirrel.com

Nutrition Note: Kabocha info is based off of 4 cups of kabocha cubes, for 1/2 cup per person. Nutrition info is not in USDA database. It is an educated guess, but one which is close and honorably presented.

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Thai Red Curry Paste

Thai Red Curry PasteThis recipe is a bit different than most on my site. There are no real tricks to it, and it’s not directly “low-carb” in any specific way. However, like any good spice blend or potent ingredient, it packs a lot of punch, for very little effect on blood sugars. A little goes a long way!

A curry paste is a fresh and vibrant blend of ingredients, most dominantly chilies, spices and herbs. This can form the backbone or a backdrop (depending on the usage) for MANY different recipes. Plop a little into a peanut sauce to give it some more depth of character. Sauté some chicken and eggplant with it, just plain, and you’ve got a NICE flavorful kick of flavors! Heat up some shrimp in some coconut milk with some lime juice, a little more fish sauce, some fresh cilantro and a blend of tomatoes, peppers, squash and mushrooms for an out of this world shrimp and coconut soup!

Probably the most difficult part of this recipe is finding the ingredients. I’ll list substitutions in the ingredient list, where I can. Ultimately, the closer to the true ingredients you get, the more authentic your paste will be. Outside of ingredient procuring, the rest of the process is simply “throw it in a food process and … process!” I wish I could recommend a mortar and pestle, but I doubt many of you have one of this lying around.

This particular blend is a scaled down and “basic” red paste. There are regional variations that can be explored. My thinking, when developing this recipe, was to keep it simple, while still holding true to a red curry paste. This way, the peripheral ingredients could be added for specific and unique dishes. Some of the common additions to various red pastes are: white peppercorns, cinnamon, fish sauce, mace, nutmeg and cloves. For an even more basic curry paste, you can eliminate the cilantro roots, coriander, cumin and peppercorns.

Storage Tip: This has a lot of fresh ingredients in it, so it’s perishable. It’s got some acid in it, which helps it to last a little longer, but I wouldn’t leave it in the fridge for more than a week. I have mine in series of tiny freezer safe containers … in the freezer. They hold up well, in there!

Serving Size: Recipe makes about 1 cup of paste. Serving size is roughly 1 tbsp.

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Thai Red Pork Curry

Thai Red Pork CurryI used to live in a part of Seattle called “Fremont“, about 15 years ago. I’d bet over 10,000 people lived in the fun little neighborhood. There were pizza places, greek food restaurants, ice cream establishments, etc. However, it was undeniable that Thai restaurants were the big presence in a town billing itself as “The Center of the Universe”. At that time, there were roughly 27 Thai restaurants. I just drove through it the other day. Looks like maybe 28!

Thai restaurants and Thai food have become almond ubiquitous on the restaurant landscape. They are everywhere! Yet, somehow, the food still manages to hold a level of mystique in homes.

I remember taking classes on Asian cuisine in cooking school. The teacher was an adorable and quick talking little Chinese woman, who would CONSTANTLY say, “GGS!” Everything Chinese, it would seem, begins with “GGS!” (Ginger, Garlic, Scallion). Don’t get me wrong, Chinese food is AMAZING and possibly the richest of all culinary lore (Sorry, France!), but I tend to believe certain corners of the Chinese cuisine have been brought into most Western homes … in the form of stir-frys, fried rice, ginger-soy marinades on meat, etc.

Thai, with what feels just as strong of a grasp in the restaurant scene, doesn’t feel to have made as many inroads in the Western home kitchen. It’s a shame, too! So many amazing flavors! Let’s start cooking with these ingredients, folks. Some AMAZING flavors to be had, here!

What follows is my interpretation of a Pork Curry recipe that I would get at a favorite Thai haunt just up the street from my battered old San Francisco apartment, in the Lower Haight district. It’s thick and gloppy, while being RICH with flavors, dense with coconut milk, spicy and complicated. It’s also little more than a quick stir fry. If you have the stuff, the actual CURRY is mere minutes away. Go get the stuff!

Note: Photos taken with Miracle Caul-Rice and was cooked with a Thai Red Curry Paste.

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Thai-Inspired Beef Salad

Thai-Inspired Beef SaladOn Sundays, as a kid, our family would take the hour long drive to a city called Fresno, somewhere near the center of California. This was “family day” and was spent shopping, eating out, going to the movies, etc. The little mountain town we lived in didn’t have much to offer, in those days.

One of my favorite places to go was “The Thai House”, a restaurant that opened in the early 80’s. It is, apparently, still there, too! It is the singular restaurant that has defined “Thai Food” for me. Everything bit of Thai food I’ve had, since childhood, has been compared to the amazing cuisine served at The Thai House, in the mid-80’s.

One of my ABSOLUTE favorites was their BBQ Beef. It was little more than a well marinated piece of beef, which was then grilled (hard and scorched), but maintaining its juicy innards (juicy innards? YUM! … sometimes I question my choice of words).

Ahem …

I’ve taken what I remember of that flavor profile and somewhat simplified it, turning it into the inspiration for a spellbinding warm salad! Don’t fear the fish sauce. It’s delicious! This is a super simple, partially cooked/partially raw and deeply flavored dish. Give it a shot!

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry PasteAmongst my favorite of all Thai flavors is that of a “green” curry. Frankly, there isn’t a huge difference between a green and red curry paste. Most of the ingredients overlap, but there are some key differences:

  1. It’s green. It uses green chilies, instead of red ones.
  2. It tends to be MUCH fresher, with fresh chilies (rather than dried) and fresh herbs.
  3. It’s got less of a shelf life … use it quickly!
  4. It also tends to be a little bit sweet!

If I were being truly honest with myself, I think I tend to lean towards green curries BECAUSE they are a bit on the sweeter side. The tongue really only has 5 senses, and as various ones raise and become more pronounced, the overall sensation is enhanced. I could almost go so far as to say … the flavor is better! I do believe all humans seek out sweeter things (not JUST humans, but us “too”). Adding a little sweet tends to enhance and improve flavors, up to a point. There does come a point where sweet becomes sickening, or it becomes “dessert”. In the case of green curries, we’re talking about something with a slightly sweet taste profile, with a very fresh flavor, wild aromas and a good amount of heat.

I LOVE green curry. This is the paste that starts it all!

Storage Tip: This has a lot of fresh ingredients in it, so it’s perishable. It’s got some acid in it, which helps it to last a little longer, but I wouldn’t leave it in the fridge for more than a week. I have mine in series of tiny freezer safe containers … in the freezer. They hold up well, in there!

Serving Size: Recipe makes about 1 cup of paste. Serving size is roughly 1 tbsp.

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai Green Chicken CurryThis is my favorite Thai dish, hands down. I LOVE IT! It’s action packed! It’s fresh, brightly colored, filled with veggies, soft and scrumptious chicken, a little sweet, a good deal spicy and outrageiously aromatic. Making this at home, especially with a fresh and homemade curry powder, will cause your home to smell better than any home has ever smelled …

… ever. It’s true!

This is a thick and gloppy curry, which is fantastic on miracle cauli-rice. I do have a confession, which is a bit odd, but … I use ice cream (sorbet, actually) to make this, when I’m in a pinch and I’ve got it lying in the freezer. I use about equal parts sorbet, with coconut milk and a bit of lime juice. I do this in place of the chopped aromatics, as they’ve already been infused into the sorbet! The end result is a decidedly sweet green curry, but I LOVE it that way, and without any real impact on my blood sugars, only my tongue is the wiser (and happier!).

Any which way you look at it, if you’re at home whipping up a batch of green curry, you’re home is a happy home. Yum.

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

Lemongrass Scented Coconut-Lime Sorbet

Lemongrass Scented Coconut-Lime SorbetThis recipe is part of a “pack” of recipes devoted to Thai Food and Thai flavors. If there are any ingredients which are used repeatedly, they are: kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, galangal and coconut.

More often than not, these ingredients are used in savory dishes. Curries, soups, salads, noodle dishes, etc. I’m not sure if a “sorbet” is common with the Thai world, but those flavors lend themselves VERY well to a sweetened frozen treat!

This is actually really quite easy to make. It just requires “steeping” the aromatics in the coconut milk, with the sweetener. It’s heated, then left to sit for about an hour. Finally, it’s strained, cooled and placed into an ice cream machine where it is churned into a frozen treat!

Texture Note: The absence of real sugar slightly changes the texture of frozen desserts. The mouth feel is just a little bit “off” (but FAR from unpleasant). You can approximate that sensation by adding vegetable glycerin and guar and/or xanthan gums. This will give you a texture and mouth feel closer to the sorbets you’re familiar with. If you leave them out, the end result will be very delicious, but will be harder to scoop, a little more crystallized, and the melting sensation in your mouth will have a little less viscosity. I like to place them in the fridge for about an hour before I eat them. This softens them, without melting them. MUCH more pleasant!

Portion Control: I’m a big fan of portioning, especially when it comes to this kind of “sweet treat”. I simply load them into little freezer friendly dishes (mine are 6.5 oz cups), and load them into the freezer, like sweet little dessert cartridges. When I want one, I just grab one. When I see glass, I know I’m done!

Oddity Note: I had some green curry paste in the fridge, some chicken, and a variety of vegetables. I also happened to have some of this sorbet in the freezer, when I received an unexpected visitor. Oddly, my mind snapped to that bit of sorbet! I quickly whipped up some miracle cauli-rice, sautéed my chicken and veggies, finished off with some green curry paste and a block of sorbet! It melted, grabbed the paste and enveloped all the chicken and veggies into a thick and aromatic gravy. Sure, it was a bit sweet, but I’ve always loved a good sweet green curry, anyway! Having these little pucks of pre-steeped and flavored coconut milk has actually come in handy several times, since! Robert Ripley says, “Believe it or not!”

[ VIEW RECIPE ]

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

1 thought on “Highly Recommended Website Resources, plus Thai Recipes!”

  1. Thank you for this great site and inspiration. I am a physician starting a low carb weight loss program in my clinic and have my first group of patients this week. I will definitely direct them to this site. great job and thanks!

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