Pad Thai Oh My!

When I go out to a restaurant the last thing I order is something I can already make at home; you’d be hard-pressed to see me ordering some basic salmon or grilled chicken. Why pay a premium mark up when it’s something I can make for a fraction of the cost? Nope, I tend to frequent restaurants that make time consuming dishes that I don’t have the ingredients, patience, or cultural prowess to whip up. Case in point: Thai food. I was introduced to Pad Thai sometime in high school. I dabbled around on Thai menus—some drunken noodles here, some yellow curry there—but I always found myself returning to the “spaghetti and meat balls” of Thailand.  Thankfully, Pad Thai isn’t expensive (I don’t think I ever have paid more than $12 for a heaping dish), but I always wanted to try it out in the kitchen. You could imagine my discontent when I pulled up a recipe and was greeted with an ingredient list that rivaled the one I would put together for Santa Clause. Jeeze Louis. Not to mention many of the spices you need for Thai food aren’t necessarily going to be found in a bulk bin or be very cheap.

For months I thought I could only get my Pad Thai fix at the local restaurant…and then I met Pinterest. I was doing my daily peruse of the platform, pinning DIY projects I know I’ll never get around to, when I spotted an easy (and apparently more “authentic”) version of my favorite, noodle dish. If only I had a fainting chaise. I didn’t need to buy any bean sprouts, I could easily leave out the peanuts, and I finally could snub my nose at the long parts of scallions that I always picked out and unceremoniously wiped on my napkin. But would it taste good or be a subpar version of those “DIY Pad Thai Kits” you can get in the International aisle of the grocery store?—do yourself a favor and never, ever get those.

I won’t leave you with baited breath through the pictures and ingredient list, wondering if this recipe made me swoon. I’ll be upfront: it did. I’m officially in love. True, it tastes very little like the Pad Thai of restaurants, but the new flavors were refreshing, muted, and a welcome change. Not to mention it was so easy to pull everything together. Major plus: it reheats far better than the restaurant kind, which is great because they always give you such massive portions, and  I’m always stuck with deciding if I should bring it home and try to reincarnate it the next day, or shovel it all in and accept the inevitable food baby. So many problems are now solved!

Pad Thai

Serves 4 (more like a meager 4 or a hearty 3)

8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, light beaten (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

  1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer eggs to a plate.
  5. Add noodles, scallion greens, and sauce to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
  6. Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

I happened to have some fish sauce that I’d just bought for another recipe this week, so I did 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a little less than 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Leave it as is or add some chicken or shrimp.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Don’t Mind Me, Neighbors, I’m Just Shooting Some Food Porn on the Porch.

The best part of eating healthy the majority of the time means that when you do decide to splurge you generally have a lot less guilt. You’ll also find yourself returning to the same indulgent, greasy, stick to your inside’s foods, which is nice. My favorite “naughty meal”, aside from Amy’s (yes Amy’s, not Annie’s) Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese, is a nice rack of ribs. This week I decide to go with some boneless pork ribs. I hands down like the rack of ribs way better—the boneless version wasn’t quite as juicy—but they were still pretty good, and I used the same rub recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman.

This craving for rib couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had just bought this really cool plate set to do some more shooting on. From looking at other food blogs, I can tell one method is to get out all the ingredients used to make the dish, line up the boxes, jars, and canisters, and take a picture. Alas, my kitchen is rarely clean enough to do this, so I’ve latched onto the other “photo-of-thought” where you take a small amount of spices used and “haphazardly” arrange them on a chopping board. Lemme tell you, there was no haphazard. I was in there with my basting brush trying to wrangle everything into neat little piles.

Spices

Paprika

Garlic Salt (a must have in the kitchen! Throw that on some homemade Mac and Cheese and you’re in business, baby)

Salt

Pepper

Brown Sugar (don’t forget to add a heel of bread to wherever you’re storing it so it doesn’t harden up)

Dijon Mustard (to rub on the meat before sprinkling with the spices)

Summertime and the livin’s easy

^^ See this movie!

Summer break is here! I’ve sufficiently caught up on some much needed rest, thus it’s time for me to do what I assume many a blogger is doing and write the “my summer” post!

Read like a fiend

I have absolutely no excuse not to. Summer is great for reading and hobbies. Even if you are putting in mad hours at a job, you don’t have all that pesky paper work known as homework to consume your life when you’ve finished for the night. As you can see, I have a few books to preoccupy myself with. I have this habit during my breaks at The Goodwill of buying books that look interesting and then I never getting around to reading them. No longer! I’m really excited to take a peek at the two Carl Hiaasen books. I love his work! I even studied him Fall Semester during Literature Seminar. He never lets me down. Middlesex is a book I read in high school, but it was so good I’d love to read it again, which means a lot because I rarely give books a second go-around. I also have some cool yoga books in there (no, not EAT-PRAY-LOVE), and I hope to start reading bits and pieces of the Gita. It’s kind of a heavy read, so maybe I’ll chew on it like a sweet  bovine might munch on a clump of grass—slowly and deliberately. Sorry, the writer inside me likes to be silly, but really, I’ll probably do 2 pages a day and reflect back when all is finished. I also have a guilty read in there, you know, the kind of thing you bring to the beach. Bet you can figure out which one it is!  I also plan on keeping up with my poetry and writing a piece a week and submitting to a few places every month. Oh the toil’s of us writer folk.

Hone my food photography skills

This summer I’m buying a new camera and lens, but I swear I’m going to learn how to use it properly. I’m going to be sticking with the Canon family, so I’m very excited to get that security deposit check back so I can go shopping. Until then, I’ve been playing around with my little guy and seeing how I can tinker with lighting, aperture, and the “f” function.  I’m not sure what the “f” function means, but I know when I fiddle with it things get either lighter or darker in a very cool way. My user manual is AWOL so I’m kind of figuring stuff out for myself, which is honestly the best because its keeping me from becoming technologically overwhelmed.  So, I’m more of less ditzy-dancing my way into the world of photography! This blog post was SUPER helpful, and anyone else looking into food photography should go there. Taking some sage advice from the blogger, the first thing I did was go out and buy some white plates to shoot my food on. It really does look a lot cleaner. When I move into my new place I’m going to buy a little end table that is for my food photography and food photography only and plant it right in front of the window. I’m starting to realize I need to start making my fun meals for lunch so I can utilize the natural light #foodbloggerproblems.

Some shots I’ve been playing around with

 

Write a book

Yup, I’m writing a yoga book for my Capstone project, which isn’t due till next spring, but it obviously takes a few months to write, edit, and photograph a book. I’m thinking ahead! It’s going to be about arm balances and inversions, because I like living life on the edge and upside down (can you sense a possible title brewing?) Next week I start figuring out what poses I want to feature, and I’m sure you readers will all be my guinea pigs!

Besides devoting more time to the blog, those are my three biggest priorities, and I imagine keeping the list short and sweet will make these hopes more obtainable. Plus, I honestly want the chance to kind of relax this summer. I’ve been busting butt for a year, and a little chill time would be much appreciated.

I’d love to hear everyone’s plans for the summer!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Food Porn: The Best Kind of Porn

Lately I’ve been playing around with my camera. In my Food Gone Wild section I didn’t really give it enough credit. And then I started looking at reviews of it online, and I found out that for the size and price it’s a pretty impressive camera. I’ve been playing around with all the different aperture settings and making the best of the morning light. Here are some recent pictures that have been minimally edited.  I pray the kitchen in my next apartment has amazing lighting as well! I call this series, A Typical Morning– hehe

 

Recently I’ve been photographing a lot of citrus, because it looks so delicious with the right lightening. Well, eggs are also yellow (and delicious), so I thought I’d try my hand at shooting them as well. Look at that yolk! Shout out to Shadow Farms eggs for making me super happy every morning.

 

Greek Yogurt & Blueberries

As you can see, I go pretty heavy on the protein in the morning. Typically I have two eggs and a little cup of Greek yogurt with berries. For the weeks I buy my Udis gluten free toast, I would do eggs, a slice of bread, and a piece of fruit. Last night for dinner I wasn’t feeling very hungry, so I had a berry cup and a glass of red wine (pump up the antioxidants!) I couldn’t get through all the berries, so these were the leftovers. As you know, I’m a huge proponent of plain yogurt, be it Greek or regular, with fresh or frozen berries. That way you aren’t consuming the 20g-29g of sugar you would be getting with the fruit flavored kinds. Your waistline (or wherever you pack on the pounds) will thank you!

 

Breakfast of Champs!

 

Full Fridge.

For the first time since we signed our lease, Chris and I starved. Okay, I use the term starve lightly, of course (I’m not that first world insensitive…), but for someone who eats many mini meals a day, the one day of scrounging around for food was torture. Not to mention, I spent a lot of money buying three meals out. I was so excited to have a full fridge again! The lower section has essential been turned into my greens-for-juicing shelf! Those three kiwis are a little overripe, so I plan on making some kiwi sorbet. The smaller Mason jar is my green tea and lemon toner, which has been working phenomenally! The six pack of beer is actually cider. If you are gluten free (or a hater of beer, which everyone should be—yuck), cider is your best friend. As a Vermonter I was all about the locally made Woodchuck, but recently I’ve branched out to Angry Orchard. We like to stock the fridge with lots of produce!

 

Take some pictures of your food! If you are interested, leave a comment here or in my Food Gone Wild section and I’ll feature your pics with a link back to your blog!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn