cucumber water


A refreshing drink during the hot Thai summer: cucumber water! It needs no recipe, just a cupful of sliced cucumber and two liters of water. Optional add-in: several sprigs of fresh mint, about eight, if you want to be precise about it. 

Terra Nova whiskey sour


This was my very first drink as a teen. My father ordered me a whiskey sour as an apéritif when we were at dinner at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. I loved anything sour and this drink was just the thing; tangy from the lime juice and with a delicious light sweetness from the cherries. Ever since, I’ve had a fondness for this cocktail. I don’t know if this is the exact same recipe from the Terra Nova, but it certainly comes close enough that it brought back memories of that first sip. 

Whiskey Sour
Makes 1 glass

1 egg white, can use pasteurized egg white if preferred
1 oz lime juice, fresh squeezed (can use lemon but I like the lime better)
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz bourbon/rye (I used Thai whiskey)
3 Maraschino cherries on a toothpick, for garnish
1 teaspoon Maraschino cherry syrup
Crushed ice

Make the simple syrup. Put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil until the liquid is no longer cloudy. Let cool to room temperature and store in a glass jar or bottle in the refrigerator. Label and date.

Whisk the egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Pour in the lime juice, simple syrup, the whiskey, and the cherry syrup. Whisk until combined. Pour over ice in a glass, and garnish with the Maraschino cherries.

mango pastiche: in homage to mango and sticky rice

Mango Sticky Rice.JPG

Chef Joanne Chang’s Coconut Sticky Rice recipe pays homage to Mango Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง), the traditional Thai dessert.  One taste of Khao Neow Mamuang quickly asserts itself. It is at once delicious, delicate, fresh, and yet straightforward. The basic underlying principle of this dessert is textural:  the rice is chewy,  while the coconut cream is a light unobtrusive partner to the sweet smoothness of ripe mango in season. Chang did a riff on this Thai dessert, so rather than a horizontal dish, she layered it vertically. She serves it with a granita on top that recalls fresh ripe mango, and a mango-lime curd underneath that is at once sour, sweet, and tart.  A  coconut sauce was mixed into the sticky rice making it uncharacteristically heavy. So I decided to do a riff myself on Chang’s dessert. On top of a base of mango gently folded into that tart mango-lime curd I have spooned a sweet mango coulis to balance the sweet with the sour. And on top of that, the sticky rice, plain without any embellishment. With restraint, I spooned a coconut-pandan cream over the sticky rice. The Thais like to add a crunchy element on top, traditionally this calls for yellow mung beans, but you can add toasted white and black sesame seeds instead. Finally, the whole confection is topped off with a mound of sweet mango granita ice crystals, to remind you that here is refreshment. Hence, this Mango Pastiche pays homage to Joanne Chang and of course, to that anonymous Thai dessert inventor (blessed be whoever he/she was) to whom we are both indebted for the inspiration that is mango sticky rice.

Mango Granita
Yield: 3 cups
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Do Ahead: up to 1 week

2 cups/400g mango puree
1/2 cup/120g water
2-4 tablespoons sugar or to taste

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until well combined. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and freeze. One hour later, stir the mixture with a fork, bringing the frozen edges towards the center and breaking up any chunks. Re-freeze. Repeat stirring the mixture and re-freezing it until all the liquid turns to crystals, about 2 more hours. If the crystals are too hard, let the mixture sit on the countertop 5-10 minutes and stir again, breaking up large chunks of ice. If a finer texture is desired, use a metal bench scraper to break up the ice. Store in a covered container in the freezer until ready to eat.

Mango-Lime Curd
Yield: 3 cups
Time: 20 minutes, including prep
Do Ahead: 1 week

2 cups/400g mango puree
1/2 cup/120g lime juice or orange juice or a combination of the two
6 tablespoons/90g unsalted butter
1/2 cup/100g superfine or caster sugar
4 large/80g egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, heat the mango, juice, and butter over medium-high heat stirring frequently until the butter is melted and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. It will be a little grainy.

Whisk in 1/3 of the hot mango mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Whisk continually so the eggs don’t scramble. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the mango mixture and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Draw your finger through the curd layer. If it holds a line, the curd is set, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat. Whisk in the salt. Scrape the curd into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting it touch the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Sticky Rice
Yield: 3 cups
Soaking Time: 2-24 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

300g glutinous rice
360g water

Cover rice with cold water in a medium bowl. Soak rice at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. At least 3 hours before serving, cook the rice. Drain rice in a fine mesh sieve.

Rice Cooker Method:
Pour the rice into a rice cooker pot and add the water. Turn on the rice cooker. After the rice has cooked, unplug the cooker to shut off the keep warm feature, let cool, covered, to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Stove Top Method:
Drain rice in a fine-mesh sieve, or a colander lined with cheesecloth if the holes are too large. Place rice over a pot of rapidly simmering water, but don’t let the water touch the sieve. Steam rice, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove lid and stir the rice wth a wooden spoon. Continue steaming, covered, 10 more minutes until the rice is translucent and glossy. Taste to make sure rice is cooked. It should be slightly chewy but not hard. It could take up to 10 more minutes. Turn off heat. Fluff the rice with the wooden spoon. Cover and let rest 5 minutes at least. Serve at room temperature.

Coconut-Pandan Cream
Yield: ½ cup
Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes
Do Ahead: 1 day

½ cup (112 ml) coconut milk
1 pandan leaf
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tapioca starch

While the rice is cooling, make the coconut-pandan cream. In a small saucepan, mix together ½ cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon tapioca starch. Fold and tie a knot in the pandan leaf and put it in the cream. Bring to a boil, stirring, until the cream thickens. Off the heat and set aside. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pandan leaf and discard. The cream should be room temperature at serving time.

Mango Coulis
Yield: ½ cup
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Do Ahead: 1-2 days

½ cup/100g mango puree
½ tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water.

In a small saucepan, heat the puree, sugar and ½ tablespoon water. Mix together the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water. When the mixture is boiling, add the cornstarch and heat, stirring, until thickened. Chill in the refrigerator.

Assemble the Mango Pastiche
Serves 4-6

2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
Mango granita
Mango-lime curd
Sticky rice
Coconut-pandan cream
Mango coulis
100 g yellow mung beans ถัวเหลอง or toasted sesame seeds white and black
Lime zest and mint, for garnish, optional
4-6 glass bowls, parfait glasses, or pretty glasses with stems

Put about ½ cup mango cubes in the bottom of the glass then spoon 3-4 tablespoons mango-lime curd on top. Spoon 1-4 tablespoons mango coulis on top of the curd, depending on how much you want to balance the tart flavor of the curd. Layer about 2-4 tablespoons sticky rice into the glass, mounding it on top of the coulis. Spoon coconut-pandan cream on the rice letting it pool on the surface and dribbling down the sides. Sprinkle some of the yellow mung beans or sesame seeds on top. Spoon the mango granita crystals on top in a mound. Garnish with lime zest and mint, if desired. Serve immediately.

Top: Sticky rice layer with coconut-pandan cream and yellow mung beans;                                           Bottom: Mango coulis layer


dalgona coffee

Dalgona Coffee.JPG

Dalgona coffee. It’s all over the internet and on social media.  It’s a very simple recipe: a glass of milk over ice with a dollop of “magic whipped coffee” spooned on top. This magic whipped coffee is miraculous itself, containing no milk and no eggs, just coffee crystals, sugar, and iced water. 

Dalgona Coffee
Yield: 4-6 servings

ice cubes
Magic Whipped Coffee (recipe follows)

Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour over milk, filling the glass two-thirds full. Spoon whipped coffee on top. Serve at once with a spoon and a straw. Make another glass. This recipe for Magic Whipped Coffee makes enough for 4-6 servings.

Magic Whipped Coffee (@emmymadeinjapan)
1/3 cup/20g instant coffee freeze dried crystals
1 cup/200g granulated sugar (I used superfine sugar)
160 ml iced water

Fill a glass measuring cup with ice and fill with water to 160 ml mark. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the coffee crystals, the sugar, and the iced water. Mix together with a spatula. Turn on the machine to high speed and whip until the mixture begins to thicken and lighten in color. Stop periodically to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 3-6 minutes.

Magic Whipped Coffee.JPG
It’s a little grainy. Needs to be mixed some more to blend in the ingredients!

twice-fried smashed green banana

Cubano Sandwiches with Twice Fried Smashed Green Banana.jpg

This is a picture of my cubano, the Cuban roast pork sandwich, with the smashed green banana. Plantain would be the traditional accompaniment to the sandwich, but I couldn’t get any plantain here in Bangkok; it’s very difficult to find because it’s not a regular part of Thai cuisine. I ended up using four green bananas, two that were very green and two that were slightly sweet but still green. As a result, the very green fries tasted neutral like potato while the slightly sweet ones were reminiscent of plantain, banana’s bigger cousin. 

Twice-Fried Smashed Green Banana
Time: 30 minutes (at most)
Yield: 2 dozen disks

4 green bananas
salt and pepper
Rice bran or vegetable oil for frying

Special Equipment: a pair of wooden chopsticks or silicone coated tongs

Wash the bananas and cut off each end. Using a sharp knife, slit the banana peel from top to bottom but don’t cut all the way through to the fruit. From the slit, pull off the skin with your hands, as if you are unwrapping it; don’t peel it like a yellow banana. Now, a very “young” green banana will not do this so you will have to cut off the skin. Save the skins.

Cut each banana into 1 inch thick rounds. Set aside.

Heat a 1/2 inch of oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Carefully put the banana rounds into the oil. I find a pair of wooden chopsticks works very well for this step. If you haven’t got chopsticks, use silicone coated tongs as metal tongs will bruise the fruit. Fry banana until brown on the underside then flip and fry the second side, about 5 minutes. Remove bananas from the oil with a spider and drain on paper toweling. Meanwhile fry another batch until all bananas are done. Reduce heat under the oil to very very low.

Remember those saved banana peels? Put a single layer of fried banana rounds on the inside of a banana peel. Top with a second peel, the inner part touching the tops of the fried banana. Press down evenly and lightly until the bananas are slightly flattened. Repeat. Set aside smashed banana.

Heat the oil again on medium high heat. Put the smashed banana into the skillet in a single layer. Fry again until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain while you do another batch. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with Cubanos.

cuban style citrus roast pork with mojo sauce

Cuban Style Citrus Roast Pork with Mojo Sauce.jpg

For this recipe, I used a one-pound boneless pork shoulder roast and scaled all ingredients accordingly. The pork turned out tasty and tender, with a cumin-citrus flavor. The citrus juice helped tenderize the meat as well as add complexity. Putting the roast on a bed of onion rather than a roasting rack was inspired, adding onion flavor to the meat and the sauce around it. The mojo sauce was delicious and needed no other seasoning, just the orange-lime juice. But it took a long time to cook because it was wrapped—it took 1 hour and 40 minutes for a 500g piece of pork shoulder, wrapped. I should either cover the pan rather than the roast or cook it in a slow cooker all day. I made this roast for the express purpose of making cubanos, Cuban roast pork sandwiches, which were served with twice-fried smashed green banana.

Cuban Style Citrus Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce (adapted from Elizabeth Germain, Milk Street)
Time: 10 hours
Yield: 4 servings (one-pound roast)

For the Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
4-5 pound bone-in pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/4-1/2 inch

For the Herb-Garlic Paste:
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup orange juice of 2-3 oranges
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/3 cup lime juice of 2-3 limes
1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-4 medium-large onions, depending on the size of the roast
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges, to serve

In a small bowl, mix together the salt and paprika. Using a paring knife and a twisting motion, make twelve 1-inch deep cuts all over the pork. Rub pork all over with salt mixture then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8-24 hours.

Heat oven 400˚F/200˚C with the rack in the lower middle position. Zest the orange and limes and set aside. In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup, combine orange and lime juice. In a food processor, combine orange and lime zests, oregano, garlic, oil, cumin and pepper. Process until the garlic is finely chopped, 1 minute. Add ¼ cup of the juice and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Set aside.

Using 18-inch wide heavy duty foil, make a foil sling in a large roasting pan. Leaving a generous amount of overhang on either side. Gently press 1 sheet of foil into the pan lengthwise. Press a second sheet over that crosswise, again leaving ample overhang. Using kitchen parchment, repeat this process, setting the sheets over the foil. Cut onion(s) in half and put them in the middle of the parchment.

Unwrap the pork and rub all over with the herb-garlic paste. Place fat side up on the bed of onions in the prepared pan. Pour ¼ cup of the juice around the bottom of the roast, avoiding the roast itself. Save the remainder of the juice for the sauce. Loosely fold the excess parchment around the pork, then fold the excess foil up over the pork. Crimp the foil together to create a loose sealed packet. Roast until the meat is tender and registers 190˚F, about 3 ½ hours (about 50 minutes per pound).

Cook’s Note: Because of the way it was wrapped, the 500g roast took 1 hour 40 minutes to come up to 190˚F. Must try covering the pan instead or putting the roast in the slow cooker all day.

Transfer the pork to a carving board, tent loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes.

Make the mojo sauce. Pour the juices from the pan into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then add the remaining ½ cup citrus juice. When the sauce is hot, remove the pot from heat and stir in the cilantro. Cover and keep warm.

Using tongs and a knife or carving fork, cut and shred the meat into chunks, discarding the bone and any fat. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with ¼ to ½ cup of the warmed sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce and lime wedges.



hangzhou sweet and sour pork


We were in Hangzhou two years ago when we went down to the West Lake on our first evening to watch the fountain, light, and music show. Afterwards, we went into this restaurant called Grandmother’s Kitchen for dinner. That’s when I first tasted sweet and sour pork,  Hangzhou style,  and I was surprised by its honest fresh flavour. The sauce wasn’t sticky, sweet, and dense, like the Chinese- American restaurant version, but lightly sweet with tart notes and a pleasant sour base that made you want to eat more of it. This recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop’s cookbook Land of Fish and Rice brings me back to that night in Hangzhou.

Hangzhou Sweet and Sour Pork
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: serves 2 if a main meal

For the pork:
10 oz/275g pork tenderloin
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons potato starch
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
A handful of scallions, green parts only, cut into 1 or 2 inch/2.5-5cm lengths
Rice bran oil or vegetable oil for deep frying

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (can substitute Balsamic Vinegar)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon potato starch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water

Split the tenderloin in half lengthwise then cut each half into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Put pork into a medium bowl and add the salt and wine/sherry. Mix well.
In a large bowl, mix together potato starch and flour with 5 tablespoons water. Stir with chopsticks to make a thick batter. Add pork to the batter and stir well to coat. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a wok, heat about an inch of oil to 350˚F/150˚C. Using a pair of chopsticks, drop the pieces of pork into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pan. Fry in batches 3 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reheat the oil to 375-400˚F/190-200˚C. Fry the pork again until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel lined plate. Carefully pour off the hot oil into a heat-proof container. Wipe out the wok.

Return the pork to the dry wok over high heat. Give the sauce a quick stir and immediately pour it all over the base of the wok. When the sauce starts to boil and thicken, stir quickly to coat the pieces in the sauce, which will reduce to a sticky glaze. Remove to a serving plate and sprinkle scallion greens on top.

eggs benedict breakfast salad

Eggs Benedict Breakfast Salad.png

A lighter caloric version of eggs benedict, heavy on the salad, with a lemony dressing instead of Hollandaise sauce, and half a slice of toasted homemade multigrain bread standing in for the traditional English muffin. In keeping with the spirit of cooking while quarantined, I made substitutions for whatever was available in my pantry.

Eggs Benedict Breakfast Salad (adapted from Food Network)
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Splash of white vinegar for poaching the eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (for white wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, sliced thinly
5 oz pork jerky cut into 2-4 inch strips (instead of bacon)
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons plain, lowfat yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
5 ounces mixed greens
½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 thick slice of multigrain bread, cut in half (for the English muffin)
2 large eggs

Fill a medium pot with 3-inches of water and a hefty splash of vinegar. Bring to a low simmer—you will see large bubbles around the bottom and sides of the pot.

In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onions, jerky, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions wilt and the jerky is heated through. Remove from heat and let cool.

Make the dressing. In an 8-oz glass jar with a screw top lid, put the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, ½ the lemon zest and juice, yogurt, 1 tablespoon water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar, if desired, to balance the flavors. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. Taste. If needed, add more zest, vinegar, salt, or sugar. The dressing can be made a day before. Shake well before serving.

Crack 1 egg into a ramekin. Swirl the simmering water with a silicone spatula. Slide the egg into the middle of the swirl. Cook 3 minutes for runny yolk, 4-5 minutes for jammy yolk. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon or spider, and let it drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the second egg.

In a large bowl, toss the greens, tomatoes, onion-jerky mixture, and 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Add salt to taste. Divide between two bowls.

Toast the bread and cut it in half. Garnish each salad with an egg and a half-slice of bread. If desired, sprinkle salt and a few grinds of pepper.

low sugar banana bread


Is it a bread? Or is it a cake? I’m not quite sure. It’s a loaf certainly, but the texture is so light, like a chiffon cake. This recipe contains very little leavening (just a half-teaspoon baking soda), and relies on whipping eggs with sugar to create structure for the banana bread. The method is very similar to the grated apple cake I made last month, which didn’t use any leavening at all and relied on whipped eggs for structure, lightness, and flavor. This recipe is adapted from Chef Joanne Chang’s book Baking with Less Sugar.

Better than Flour Banana Bread

Yield: one 9-inch loaf, 4 6×3-inch loaves, or one 8×8 inch square cake pan

75g/walnuts or sliced almonds, optional
175g/1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
75g/6 tablespoons sugar
70g/1/3 cup rice bran oil or vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium very ripe, black, spotty, and soft bananas*
90g/6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (crème fraîche in original recipe; can use plain yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*or 4 large frozen bananas, defrosted, and drained of excess water.

Heat oven to 325˚F/165˚C. Adjust rack to the middle of the oven. Butter and flour one 9×5 inch loaf pan or 4 6×3-inch mini loaf pans.

If using, put the nuts on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Chop the nuts coarsely, by pulsing them 2-3 times in a food processor.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until pale, light, fluffy, and thickened. When the whisk is raised, the batter will fall back into the bowl in thick ribbons.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil. Don’t pour the oil at once, add it slowly so it has time to incorporate and doesn’t deflate the eggs.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, mash all but one of the bananas thoroughly with a fork. Microwave bananas on high power for 60 seconds or until they are hot. Cool slightly. Add the remaining banana and mash it in.

Using a whisk, whip the whipping cream and vanilla in a small bowl until thickened to the consistency of a thick puree. Add the thickened cream mixture to the cooled bananas.

On low speed, add the banana mixture to the egg mixture until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Gradually fold in the flour mixture and nuts, if using, by hand, gently folding so as not to deflate the eggs. Scrape along the bottom to make sure the flour is combined and there are no flour streaks in the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Fill the pan(s) just under the rim(s). No worries, the batter will not rise and overflow during baking. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top(s). Shift the pan(s) lightly back and forth on the countertop to dislodge any air bubbles. Run a skewer in a zigzag motion through the center of the batter to smooth it, being careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan(s).

Bake the 9×5-inch loaf 50-60 minutes or until the top of the banana bread is pale golden brown, and springs back when pressed lightly in the center. If your finger leaves an impression, bake for 5 more minutes then test again. Bake the mini-loaves 35-40 minutes on a baking tray. The top of the bread will be flat and will not have the dome characteristic of banana breads made with leavening agents.

Remove the pan(s) to a cooling rack. Using a thin blade, release the sides of the loaf from the pan(s). Turn the pan(s) upside down on the rack. Cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and slice. Serve at room temperature.

Storing banana bread: bread can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or stored in the freezer tightly wrapped in plastic then wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight at room temperature.

green rice noodles with pesto and crunchy oven-fried fish fillet

IMG_0629.jpgRecently there have been a lot of recipes and tips for using ingredients already in the pantry and freezer. Call it quarantine cooking. It’s also a good idea not to waste food and use up what is there before it passes its Best By Date. This pesto recipe was a marvelous find for I never use up all the herbs and greens I buy. I can whiz all the leftover greens and freeze a batch for later use. And since I keep frozen fish fillets on hand, it’s a no-brainer to just bring out the panko breadcrumbs because I seldom have white bread in the house. I didn’t use the tartar sauce that came with the recipe, instead I had on hand some Thai chili-lime sauce. This being Lent, I paired the noodles with fish, but you could substitute grilled shrimp or chicken or pork tonkatsu. 

1 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 cup chopped basil
1 cup chopped parsley or spinach
1 cup chopped chives or arugula (rocket salad)
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 Thai chile seeded and chopped (add seeds if you want more heat)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice bran oil or vegetable oil
2-4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
8 oz rice sticks (pad thai thickness)

In the workbowl of a food processor, add the greens, garlic, lime juice and zest, chile, olive oil, rice bran oil, and salt to taste. Process until pureed and emulsified.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and toast the sesame seeds until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Boil a large pot of water. Add the rice noodles and bring to a boil again. Cook 5-7 minutes or until the noodles are soft but pleasantly chewy.  Drain them in a colander and rinse in cold water. Drain. Pour the drained noodles in a large bowl and pour 1/3 of the pesto over them. Gently toss. Add more pesto to taste. Plate the noodles and top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Note: The pesto freezes well if you’re not going to use it right away.

Crunchy Oven-Fried Fish (from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 4

4 haddock or cod fillets, 1 1/2 inch thick
Salt and pepper
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (sub 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 minced shallot
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (I used wasabi)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons flour

Tartar Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced capers
2 tablespoon sweet pepper relish
1 minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare to bake. Heat the oven to 350˚F. Put a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Make the crumb coating. In the bowl of a food processor, put the bread pieces, melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse 8×1 second bursts until you get a coarse crumb. Spread the crumbs in an ungreased rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes then put into a pie plate. Add 1/2 minced shallot and parsley. Mix well and set aside. Increase the oven heat to 425˚F.

Make the egg wash. In a large bowl, put the eggs, mayonnaise, horseradish, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add 5 tablespoons flour. Whisk until well combined. Scrape into a pie plate and set aside.

Dredge the fillets and bake. In a third pie plate, add 1/4 cup flour and set aside. Pat dry the fillets and salt and pepper them lightly. Dredge each fillet in the flour, then the egg wash, and finally the crumb coating. Pat generously with crumbs. Put on prepared rack. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the fish fillets reach an internal temperature of 140˚F.

Make the Tartar Sauce. While the fish is baking, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.