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Mu Shu Pork

Mu Shu PorkMu Shu Pork is a Beijing dish and is typically served rolled in Mandarin pancakes but I chose to serve it as a side dish.  Dishes like this pull me back to our time spent in Asia.  For a western newcomer, the Asian culinary experience delights and at the same time shocks the senses.  I recall my first time in a wet market in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (1999).  A wet market was, by far, the biggest eye opener for me and my memories of them are still vivid to this day. Continue Reading →

Braised Eggs with Pork

braised eggs & porkEggs for dinner?  You betcha!  This dish gently cooks the eggs while sitting atop a glorious, well-seasoned ground pork surrounded with dollops of yogurt and pan-seared cherry tomatoes.  Braised eggs take center stage.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi.  In the past I’ve cooked eggs in a chunky tomato sauce, sliced chorizo sausage with local cheese curds and baked in the oven – that’s a weekend breakfast treat for us.  Continue Reading →

Asian Inspired Beef Short Ribs

beef short ribsI never knew there were so many braised short rib recipes on the web and it seems a good portion are dedicated to slow cookers.  I eyed a package of two meaty-looking beef short ribs and couldn’t wait to get home and decide how to cook them.  I did not want a typical braise with wine and tomatoes.  Instead, I yearned for something more Asian-infused.  Ribs come in a few styles (English cut, flanken cut, kalbi cut) and the ones I chose resembled the kalbi (traditional Korean cut).   Koreans love their meat.  Continue Reading →

Smoked Salmon Spaghetti

smoked salmon spaghettiSmoked salmon is well loved in our house.  It’s so versatile and delicious on scrambled eggs, as a creamy pâté, in sushi rolls, tarts, chowder or soups, blinis, quesadillas and so forth.  Some enjoy smoked salmon in spaghetti carbonnara which I was almost tempted to make but felt I wanted the salmon to be center stage and leave the creaminess (ahem calories) behind.  This dish can be ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta…I kid you not!  Continue Reading →

Lentil and Vegetable Stew

Lentil & Vegetable StewStews can take a while to cook but this lentil and vegetable stew can be ready in 35 minutes.  It’s loaded to the brim with vitamin and mineral goodness and will fill you up and keep you satiated for hours.  Lentils are slow-burning, high-fiber, and lean protein food.  Continue Reading →

Citrus Salad with Pork Tenderloin

citrus salad with pork tenderloinOn wintery, cold days a citrus salad is an easy way to bring a bit of sunshine to your dinner table.  Add roast pork tenderloin (aka fillet) and you have a meal that’s light, scrumptious, and can be easily made any night of the week.  Pork tenderloin, a very tender cut of meat, is a good source of protein, low in fat, and more B vitamins than many other types of meat…check! for all who are into the New Year with weight loss goals.  Continue Reading →

Fish Taco Recipe

fish tacoLooking to serve fish in a fun, slightly messy way?  Tacos have been around for hundreds of years and we all have our favorite fillings but have you tried using fish?  Baja California is considered the birthplace of the fish taco – Continue Reading →

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Pasta

chanterelles with pastaThe glorious golden child of the mushroom world, chanterelles, have a short growing cycle and are only available July through to September.  Their deep yellow color (think apricot), a trumpet-like shape, and hints of sweetness can be easily enjoyed simply by sautéing in butter and dressed with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  I did not know this but chanterelle mushrooms are picked in the wild – which explains why they’re expensive – and are usually found growing around trees and shrubs.  But before you go out there looking for these golden beauties, take along a knowledgeable forager.  They’ll help you to identify the real deal and keep you from getting food poison if you happen to choose what you think ‘look’s like a chanterelle mushroom. Continue Reading →

Honey Garlic Chicken Kebabs

honey garlic chicken kebabsKebab, meat on a stick, is a middle Eastern dish and the traditional meat was lamb but you can use just about any meat, chicken, fish or vegetable. Chicken kebabs are easy to make and are appealing to most.  If you don’t have a barbeque, use the broiler in your oven. Continue Reading →

Pad Thai

Pad Thai by The Culinary ChaseLiving overseas provided us with an opportunity for our palates to mature and enjoy food we never would have tried back home either because it wasn’t being offered or the ingredients weren’t available (that was 15 years ago). I was never a big fan of spicy foods but that changed over time and I now seek out foods with heat, not over-the-top fiery heat, but ones that generate a bit of sweat.  Our first real Pad Thai experience was in Singapore in a hawker center.  These centers are typically outdoor food places where you can experience Singapore’s rich heritage of food dishes consisting of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai influences.   Pad Thai originated with street vendors in open air markets.  Thai food has four fundamental taste senses in each dish: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.  Thai dishes are served with a spoon and fork.  The use of fork and spoon were introduced by King Chulalongorn after his return from a tour of Europe in 1897.  The fork, held in the left hand, is used to push food into the spoon. The spoon is then brought to the mouth.  Traditionally Thai people ate with their right hand just like the people of India and therefore chopsticks were never used and still aren’t.  I’ve incorporated spaghetti squash in lieu of rice noodles and this dish is about as close to the real deal as you’ll get.

Serves 2
inspired from Bon Appétit

1 small spaghetti squash, cut in half (seeds removed)
vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
8 medium shrimp, peeled (optional)
small container of pressed or firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 to 2 cups mung bean sprouts
5 tablespoons tamarind water, or tamarind paste mixed with 3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1  tablespoons simple syrup (palm sugar or brown sugar)
4 chives, chopped
crushed red chili peppers
chopped roasted cashews (or peanuts)
lime wedges
Pad Thai ingredients by The Culinary Chase

  1. Cook squash in a covered microwavable dish 5 to 8 minutes. Fluff and easily remove the strands with a fork; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until they turn pink. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add tofu and cook until slightly browned – remove from wok and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil if wok is dry and stir in egg.  Cook until it is the consistency of a wet scrambled egg. Add spaghetti squash strands and cook until heated through. Add sprouts, tamarind water, fish sauce, and simple syrup and stir-fry until sauce is coats the spaghetti squash. Toss in chopped chives, pinch of crushed chili peppers and 1 tablespoon cashews and toss well.
  3. To plate, garnish with crushed red chili peppers, cashews, and lime wedges (squeeze this over the top).  *The traditional way to serve Pad Thai is with all the seasonings ON THE SIDE, together with more fresh bean sprouts and chives.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use traditional rice noodles (8 oz.) if you’re not a fan of spaghetti squash.   If you can’t find tamarind paste, use lime juice mixed with an equal quantity of brown sugar (omit simple syrup).  Omit the shrimp and it becomes a delicious vegetarian option.  Enjoy!