one pot garlic tomato shrimp pasta

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I halved this recipe to make enough for two–with leftovers. I swapped out the white wine for red and added half a  bouillon cube. Of course I ramped up the pepper flake effect. It is scrumptious!

One Pot Garlic Tomato Shrimp Pasta (adapted from Tasty)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

1/2 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, (if frozen then thawed, pat dry)
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 -2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, halved, thin slices
8 large cloves garlic, minced
588g tinned diced tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cans)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 bouillon cube
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a Dutch oven boil 2 quarts water with a teaspoon salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In the empty Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Lightly sauté the shrimp with a teaspoon salt and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook until just pink. Remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add additional oil, if needed, and fry the onion until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, a teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, oregano, bouillon cube, and wine. Stir and simmer 5-10 minutes. Taste. If the sauce is too sour, add 1 teaspoon sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Return shrimp to pot and add the parsley. Stir to combine. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pot and toss to coat evenly. Remove from heat. Serve hot with a salad on the side.

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plum upside-down cake

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I found this recipe on the Food and Wine website and just had to try it. A year ago I brought back some plums from Singapore to make a plum-apple pie. This year, I found plums at the Suan Luang Market at Baht 10 apiece (about 30 US cents). They were sour so I thought of putting them in this cake. In the end, baking the cake was easy; the recipe is simple and straightforward. The cake isn’t sticky and gooey because the caramel underneath the plums gets absorbed into the cake, turning it golden. The result is a cake that is lightly sweet, moist, and tender, and the plum flavor tart but mild.

Prep time: 60 minutes (includes cooling time)
Baking time: 55 minutes.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12-16 slices.

Plums
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water plus more for washing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4-6 medium-large plums, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges

Cake
1/2 cup crème fraîche* (I made my own as it’s not available in Bangkok)
2 tablespoons low fat milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 large eggs, beaten

Crème Fraîche for serving (Can use whipped cream instead)

*To make a quick crème fraîche, combine 1 1/2 cups milk with 1/2 cup Greek style yogurt and 2 tablespoons sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip until stiff peaks form. When the whisk is raised, the tips should slightly curl. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare the plums. Preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil without stirring. Cook over high heat 5-7 minutes. While cooking, wash down the sides of the pot with a silicone pastry brush dipped in water. Watch the color—the bubbles will begin to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and add the 2 tablespoons butter.

Immediately pour the caramel into a 9×2 inch round metal cake pan, spreading it with a silicone spatula to cover the base. Layer the plum wedges in a circle all around the base of the pan to cover the caramel. You should have 2 rows forming a single layer.

Make the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk 1/2 cup crème fraîche with the milk and vanilla. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low speed 30 seconds.

At low speed beat in the butter until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, another 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs also on low speed until just incorporated. Beat the batter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce to medium speed and beat in the crème fraîche mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape the batter over the plums in the pan, and gently spread the batter in an even layer. Pin a wet Magic Cake strip around the cake pan to keep the cake top from doming during baking.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven 55-60 minutes until golden and the cake surface springs back when lightly touched. Remove from heat and remove the Cake Strip. Cool cake in the pan on a wire cooling rack 30 minutes.

To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin blade around the edges to loosen it, then put the serving plate upside down on top. Invert the cake so that the pan bottom is on top. Holding the pan and plate together, gently shake them up and down. The cake will slip down onto the plate. Remove the pan. If a few pieces of plum have stuck to the pan bottom, slip them back into the cake. The plums will look black around the edges but they are not burnt. The color is due to the cooked plum skins. Slice cake into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche.

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spinach-potato crustless quiche

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Though the spinach and potato are the stars of this crustless quiche, they wouldn’t be stars if it weren’t for the garlic, feta cheese, onion, and herbs. They work their magic to make this egg pie the tastiest ever.

Spinach-Potato Crustless Quiche
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 medium potato, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled feta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray
Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray. Cut spinach into 2 inch lengths.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch pot. When the oil is hot, add the spinach and cook it down until it is bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the spinach. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups water with a little salt. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Mix spinach, potatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, rosemary, feta cheese and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.

Sift flour and baking powder in the workbowl of a food processor. Add milk, beaten eggs, salt, pepper, to flour mixture in the bowl. Process until well blended.

Combine flour mixture with spinach mixture, and mix well. Scrape into pie dish.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean when pierced near the center. Let it stand at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sriracha sauce.

thai curry shrimp

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Sometimes a curry is just too soupy and I prefer a dipping sauce. This dish is my response to a kaeng.  The shrimp is tender, the sauce salty and spicy, the salsa sweet, tart, and fresh.

Thai Curry Shrimp

1 – 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with or without tails
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 2 small limes
1/2 cup palm sugar simple syrup
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nam pla or fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2-1  teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (add more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil

To make the simple syrup, break up 1 1/2 cakes palm sugar in a small saucepan and add 5-6 tablespoons water. Boil until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, cooled syrup, cilantro, garlic, curry, turmeric, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and Sriracha sauce. Mix well. Add the shrimp. Let stand 1 hour. Don’t let it stand longer than that or the lime juice will “cook” the shrimp.

Heat a tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and put in the hot oil to cook for one minute without turning. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Add the marinade to the skillet and let it reduce until thickened. Return the shrimp to the skillet to finish cooking. Serve with mango-tomato salsa and white rice.

Mango-Tomato Salsa

1 large mango cut off the seed into 1” cubes
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup scallion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Juice of 1 small lime
1 Thai chile, chopped (optional)
sugar to taste

Mix together all the ingredients. Taste. If the salsa is too sour, add a bit of sugar to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

mooncake festival, emquartier, bangkok

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This month is the Chinese mid-autumn festival. The mooncake festival as it’s also called is about eating cakes filled with sweet nutty paste, sometimes with an egg yolk in the center.

DSC05841.jpg There are so many varieties of mooncakes to try. There are new varieties that include durian, chocolate, and honey.

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low sugar no pectin cherry jam

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My sister-in-law gave me a box of organic cherries as a gift. Fresh cherries in Bangkok are a rare and expensive treat. I decided to share the experience–and the love.

Low Sugar No Pectin Cherry Jam

5 cups pitted organic cherries
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 small lemons
pinch of salt

Put the cherries and sugar in a large 2-3 quart pot. Add the juice of one-and-a-half medium lemon and put the lemon rind halves in the pot. Cook over medium heat until the cherries soften. Mash them with a potato masher until they are chunky in texture.

Put three metal tablespoons in the freezer to chill.

Let the cherry mixture come to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces and thickens. Do a spoon test. Dribble a few drops on one of the spoons from the freezer then run your finger across the drops. If it separates, the jam has set.

Remove the lemon pieces and discard. Spoon the jam into three clean four-ounce jars. Refrigerate until the jam is cold and has jelled.