asian avocado salad


Asian Avocado Salad (adapted from
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed romaine lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubed, seeded Thai guava or green apple (can use jicama, also called munkaeo in Thai)
2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes (for color)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and/or scallion, optional, for garnish

salad dressing
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (kosher salt in original recipe)
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (use more if more heat is desired)

Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic and light golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool.

Whisk salad dressing ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add lettuce or watercress, green onions, and guava or jicama; toss to coat. Add avocados and gently toss.

Sprinkle salad with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro/scallion. Chill and serve.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover; chill.

*Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Japanese markets.


grape salad with candied almonds


This is a light and refreshing salad. Surprisingly, it’s not sweet at all but tart, with crunchy lightly sweet candied nuts on top.

Grape Salad with Candied Almonds (adapted from Eating Well)

Candied Nuts
1/2 cup chopped nuts (e.g. almonds, macadamias, pecans, or walnuts)
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Grape Salad
1/2 cup Greek Style yogurt (I used yogurt instead of sour cream)
4 ounces (115g) cream cheese, at room temperature (original recipe: Neufchatel cheese)
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups seedless grapes, preferably red and green (about 2 pounds), washed and patted dry with paper towels

To prepare nuts:

1. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or foil; coat with cooking spray. Preheat
oven to 400°F.
2. Toss nuts in a bowl with water. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt; toss to coat well. Transfer to the
prepared pan. Bake until the sugar is melted and the nuts are barely starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Cool in the pan until the sugar hardens, about 6 minutes.

To prepare salad:

Meanwhile, combine yogurt, cream cheese, honey and vanilla in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Transfer sauce to a large bowl. If the sauce is runny,  thicken it by putting the bowl in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Add dry grapes and gently stir to coat the grapes in the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the candied nuts on top just before serving.


yum khai dao, a thai fried egg salad


I love the delicious irony that I live in Thailand but I find Thai recipes via the internet. This one is from Food 52. A yum (pronounced with the same vowel sound as in but) is a warm cooked salad, this one featuring two fried eggs. It is sour, salty, sweet and should have been spicy but I left out the chilies because I can’t eat anything spicy. I forgot the onion in this picture. This recipe calls for palm sugar, which is sold in small round cakes at Asian markets. If palm sugar is not available, substitute brown sugar.

You’ll need:
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Chinese celery, with stems and leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, with stems and leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar syrup (recipe to follow)
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 medium onion cut on the grain
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 fresh Thai chilies, thinly sliced (remove seeds if less heat is desired), optional
4 leaves romaine lettuce (also called cos), chopped

1. Fry the eggs. In a medium saucepan, fill the bottom with vegetable oil to about 1/4 inch level. Heat the oil until it is smoking. While the oil is heating, crack each egg open into a small bowl. When the oil begins to smoke, turn the heat down to medium at once. Carefully pour the egg as close as possible to the oil. It will crackle and swell. Pour in the second egg. When the edges turn brown, in about 45 seconds, use a slotted spoon to flip the eggs. The eggs will cook quickly, about 45 seconds, but go by appearance as to how soft or hard you want the egg yolks. Drain them on paper toweling and pat the top dry with another sheet.

Cook’s Note: Make sure the bowl is absolutely dry before you crack the egg open in it, because you are going to pour the egg into the hot oil and any water in the bowl will boil up when it comes in contact with the hot oil.

2. Make the salad dressing. Drain off the oil. Heat the pan over medium heat. Add the syrup, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, onions, and chilies, if using. Heat just 15 seconds then remove from heat.

3. Assemble the salad. Slice the cooked eggs into quarters and return to the pot. If the egg yolks are runny, fine, if not, don’t worry. Add the cilantro and Chinese celery. Mix thoroughly.

4. Serve. On a plate, spread the chopped lettuce. Spoon the egg mixture on top and eat the yum khai dao with hot rice.

Palm Sugar Syrup
1 palm sugar cake (substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar)
5 tablespoons water

Coarsely chop the palm sugar cake. Put it in a small pot with the water. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let it cool before using. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

grated cauliflower with lime and cilantro and roasted banana


I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste and it reminded me of a rice dish I had made in New York. It was tart and had the lovely flavor of cilantro. It also had plantains on it. Plantains have such an evocative name in Thai: kluay ngah chang or elephant tusk banana. But I could not find any plantains. So what I used instead was roast banana. The Thais roast a banana called  kluay numwa, a  short stubby banana that is very firm and not very sweet. It was the perfect accompaniment for this dish, a cross between a salad and a veggie side dish. In texture grated cauliflower is like couscous; it is slightly sweet, tart, salty, and has the added flavor of cilantro and banana. A note about the roast banana: I bought 5 skewers at Seri Market for Baht 30 which is less than US$1.00. I used three skewers of banana, and snacked on two!

To make it you’ll need:

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5 large cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 1/2 to 2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup roast banana

Remove the cauliflower florets from the stem. Put half the florets in a food processor and pulse 5-7 times until the cauliflower is the texture of couscous or rice. Remove and repeat with the remainder of the cauliflower.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. When it is hot add the garlic. When it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds) add the grated cauliflower all at once. Cook stirring until the cauliflower begins to cook, about 5-6 minutes. It’s okay if it turns brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Add the juice of 1 1/2 limes and the cilantro and toss. Taste and add more lime juice if desired. Top with the roast banana and serve at once.

Port Tenderloin with Cucumber-Mango Salad


pork tenderloin with cucumber-mango salad

Pork Tenderloin with Cucumber-Mango Salad (from Better Homes and Gardens)
Flavorful and delicate, this tender juicy pork tenderloin makes a light supper with a salad and vegetables and some jasmine brown rice.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Roasting time: 425°F 20 mins
Standing time: 5 mins
Servings: 4


2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver
4 green onions
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 small English cucumber, sliced and/or chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced (optional)


Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Make the rub. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, five-spice powder, and salt.  Set aside 1 teaspoon brown sugar mixture. Rub remaining brown sugar mixture into pork tenderloin. Place tenderloin in a foil-lined baking pan.

Roast the tenderloin. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees F. Cover with foil and let stand for 5 minutes (meat temperature will rise to 160 degrees F).

Make the salad. Meanwhile, slice the green portion of green onions into thin strips; chop the white portion. In a medium bowl combine green onions, mango, cucumber, jalapeno pepper (if using), and the reserved brown sugar mixture.

Serve. Slice pork and serve with mango salad.


thai grilled beef salad (yum neua)

DSC02049 Thai Grilled Beef Salad (America’s Test Kitchen) America’s Test Kitchen has come up with another adaptation of a Thai recipe that tastes authentic. Even my husband says so, and for a Thai, that is true praise indeed. I was aiming for the beef to be undercooked  because putting it in the sauce after grilling cooks it further. It’s a combination of resting plus the lime juice that completes the cooking, I think. This salad serving suggestion is with cucumber, which lessens the heat of the chile. You can also serve it with tomato slices. Another idea is to plate the salad on shredded lettuce or serve it with lettuce on the side to made steak “sandwiches.” The Test Kitchen folks say to pass the paprika-cayenne and roasted rice at table, but this is never done in Thailand. Yum Neua always arrives at table ready to eat, juicy tender meat in a sauce that’s a perfect balance of sour, salty, minty and spicy. Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon white rice (You’ll only use 1/2 tablespoon. I used roasted rice available in small jars at Asian groceries) 3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes) 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons water 1/2 -1 teaspoon sugar 1 (1 1/2 pound) flank steak, trimmed (I couldn’t find flank steak so I bought London broil instead) Salt and white pepper, coarsely ground 4 shallots, sliced thin 1 1/2cups fresh mint leaves, sliced into slivers 1 1/2cups fresh cilantro leaves, minced 1 Thai chile, stemmed and sliced thin into rounds 1 seedless English cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch thick on bias Instructions

  1. Heat paprika and cayenne in 8-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, shaking pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl. You will only use 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika mixture. Put up the leftover for another day.
  2. [Cook’s Note: Skip this step if you have roasted rice in a jar] Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat, add rice, and toast, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to second small bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  3. Whisk lime juice, fish sauce, water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon toasted paprika mixture in large bowl. Taste. If too sour, add another 1/2 teaspoon sugar and set aside. Lightly salt and pepper the steak.
  4. ATK’s directions FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. Place steak over hot part of grill and cook until beginning to char and beads of moisture appear on outer edges of meat, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook on second side until charred and center registers 125 degrees, about 5 minutes longer.
  5. ATK’s directions FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). Place steak over hot part of grill and cook until beginning to char and beads of moisture appear on outer edges of meat, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook on second side until charred and center registers 125 degrees, about 5 minutes longer.
  6. Foodie Joanie’s directions for an indoor grill: On my George Foreman grill, I found that 5 minutes was too long. The meat came out medium-well done and I wanted it medium rare. I recommend 2-3 minutes instead.
  7. Transfer to plate, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. Slice meat against the grain  into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with fish sauce mixture. Add shallots, mint, cilantro, chile, and 1/2 tablespoon rice powder; toss to combine. Transfer to platter lined with cucumber slices. Serve, passing remaining rice powder and toasted paprika mixture separately.  I forgot the cucumbers and served this dish with two old favorites–sesame rice and tom khaa or coconut milk soup— and one new favorite, Thai cabbage salad.

tomato avocado mozzarella salad

tomato avocado and mozzarella salad

This salad can be served on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce too. I used fresh mozzarella cheese because it tastes better, and kalamata olives because the salad needed something sour. Emeril Lagasse’s Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette is easy to make too, full of flavor–I do love garlic. I made one addition to the vinaigrette– a tablespoon of Dean Ornish’s Little Italian Seasoning.

Tomato Avocado Mozzarella Salad (inspired by Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —
Servings: 2-4


2 ripe Italian plum tomatoes
2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste


Chop the tomatoes and avocados. Put them in a medium bowl. Chop the cheese into 1 inch pieces and add to the bowl. Top with olives. Pour the vinaigrette over all and gently toss. Add salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Vinaigrette (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Little Italian Seasoning (recipe to follow)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar


In a small bowl or two cup measure, add the vinegar and oil. Use a garlic press to squeeze the garlic into the bowl or measure. Add the Little Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Whisk to emulsify the mixture. Store remainder, covered, in the refrigerator.

Little Italian (adapted from Dean Ornish)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —

2 tablespoons each of:

  • dried basil
  • dried marjoram
  • dried oregano
  • ground coriander
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary
  • dried savory

2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice


Blend all spices together and store in the refrigerator. Use it to flavor salad dressing, meat, chicken, or fish.

ricotta-egg salad

ricotta egg salad

Ricotta Egg Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

3 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons fat free ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Mexican cheese mix
1/3 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Chop eggs in a large bowl. Add cheeses, celery, mayonnaise and mix all together. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  • Add chopped onion, scallion, or cilantro
  • Substitute cheddar or mozzarella cheese


humpday supper, gluten free too

gluten free chicken tenders with cabbage salad with miso-ginger dressing

What’s not to like about humpday? The temperature went up to a very spring-like 54 degrees today! So of course (why not?) I tried these two new recipes. The chicken was juicy and tender. I loved the taste of the Parmesan cheese with the almond flour.  But the coating unfortunately, was soggy. Hmm. I need to work on that one. Anyway, this meal is also delicious with roasted vegetables: zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and baby bellas tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I always do the veggies first, because I never want to forget chicken breast tenders in the oven.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing
(Adapted from a recipe by Weird & Ravenous via Food52)
The miso-ginger dressing was full of flavor, but I couldn’t taste the ginger very much. So, if you love ginger as I do,  ramp up the flavor.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: —

Serves 4

1-2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
2 tablespoons miso paste  (I used 1 tablespoon Chinese soy bean paste)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar, your preference)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
3 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1/2 a small cabbage)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted (I used white—the black would have made a pretty contrast with the white cabbage and the orange carrot)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon scallion, sliced thin on the diagonal

In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and water. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds together with the dressing. Serve immediately if you like it very crunchy or let it sit covered in the refrigerator for up to a few hours if you prefer it more slaw-like.

Garnish with cilantro and scallion.

Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Tenders in Almond Flour (adapted from
For this recipe I swapped 1/2 cup of butter for the egg dip. To save even more calories, I recommend using 2 egg whites. To solve the problem of a soggy coating, I read somewhere that if you let the breaded chicken dry for a few minutes on a wire rack before baking, it will bake up crispy. I haven’t tried this at all so I don’t know how well it works.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

1 cup almond flour
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F (200˚ C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Mix almond flour, Parmesan cheese, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the egg and water.

3. Dip chicken strips in the egg mixture; press strips into almond flour mixture until completely coated. Transfer coated strips to the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack until strips are golden brown and no longer pink in the center, at least 20 minutes or until the tenders reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.

leek potato soup

I’ve been so busy lately, too busy to blog. What sacrilege. But I’ve a good excuse;  I’m writing a final paper for my summer reading teacher course. I was very ambitious and started a new course at the same time I started a new job. The course is almost over and I can breathe easier now that summer academy is over. So I whipped up this soup from a recipe courtesy of Irene Phaksuwan. I love my new soup bowl! I bought it in Chinatown because I needed some deep Chinese soup bowls to replace the shallow soup plates that I have. You have to dig into a soup, if you’re Chinese because Chinese soups are hearty and full of noodles, meat, and vegetables; we don’t skim soups delicately with a spoon. This Leek Potato Soup is hearty–and it’s all vegetarian.

Leek Potato Soup

2 leeks, washed, and outer leaves removed, chopped into 1 inch lengths
2 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, chopped with leaves
3 small carrots, scraped and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 sprig thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Head the oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat. Put leeks, potatoes, celery, carrots and garlic in the oil and stir-fry until tender about 3 minutes. Add the broth, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

If you wish, thicken the soup. Spoon half the vegetables into the work bowl of a food processor and process until the vegetables are the consistency of thick soup. Return processed vegetables to the soup. Serve hot with a salad on the side or a hot crusty whole grain bread.