Pad Thai

Silly Kitchen Helper...

For years and years and years I was very limited in what I ate. Every time my family went to dinner I would order a ceasar salad, a diet coke and cheesecake for dessert. I was a coniseur of the cheesecake and cesar salad. I could write a blog souly about ceasar salad and cheesecake. Ok... maybe only enough posts to last a week... but that is still pretty impressive.

Luckily, in the last ten years I have slowly started to come out of my food shell. No, I still don't like spicy food or scallops. And please don't throw anything at me, send me hate mail or tee pee my house, but I still really don't like lasagna. That's right! I don't like LASAGNA. Get over it. Regardless of my dislike for lasagna, I have tried a lot of new foods that I really enjoy. And on the top of that list... Pad Thai. I had never had Thai food until a little over a year ago and even though I still haven't had that much Thai food since I don't like spicy... I fell in love with Pad Thai. But with out peanuts... because Jeanelle is allergic and that is who got me hooked.

I have been doing New Food Tuesdayz for about seven months now and I felt like I was getting a little too comfortable. Key word "felt." Tonight was seriously challenging. Not just because I've never made it before, but because I've never used a majority of the ingredients.

Like fish sauce, sliced pork, rice noodles and tamarind juice (what?!)

If the foreign ingredients weren't red flags, the fact that the recipe had ZERO... count them... ZERO... time suggestions should have been. Oh wait... that is a lie. It did tell me to soak the noodles for one hour. But the box told me 8-10 minutes in hot water. Now I can't tell if the first would have been right, but the second one for sure wasn't. While the flavor was absolutley fabulous, we were pretty much eating flavored mush. But I did manage to make it look pretty :)

And of course I had to have a yummy asian inspired salad to go with.

I promise when I figure out how to cook the noodles I will share the wealth.

Love and Beer Floats

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dried shrimp, optional
1/2 cup sliced pork
1/2 cup whole shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon (shredded) preserved radish
1/4 pound medium-size dried rice noodles (soaked 60 minutes in cold water and drained)
5 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce, recipe follows
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground hot chiles, or more to taste
2 tablespoons ground roasted peanuts
1/2 cup sliced garlic chives or green onion
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed, plus more for garnish
1 wedge lime

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden brown. Add the meat and shrimp and keep stirring until the shrimp changes color. Remove the shrimp to prevent overcooking and set aside.
Add the noodles. They will stick together so stir fast and try to separate them. Add a little water, stirring a few times. Then add the Pad Thai sauce, and keep stirring until everything is thoroughly mixed. The noodles should appear soft and moist. Return the cooked shrimp to the wok.
Push the contents of the wok up around the sides to make room to fry the eggs. If the pan is very dry, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the eggs and spread the noodles over the eggs to cover. When the eggs are cooked, stir the noodles until everything is well mixed-this should result in cooked bits of eggs, both whites and yolk, throughout the noodle mixture.
Add chiles, peanuts, garlic chives and bean sprouts. Mix well. Remove to a platter. Serve with raw bean spouts and a few drops of lime juice.
A viewer, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

Pat Thai Sauce:
1 cup tamarind juice
1 cup palm sugar plus 3 tablespoons
1 cup water
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 teaspoons salt
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan for about 60 minutes until it is well mixed and syrupy. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Cook's Note: If you want to double this recipe, DO NOT double the ingredi ents, for the bulk will be too much to work with. Rather, make the dish twice. If you plan to make this for company, cook noodles ahead of time and add bean sprouts and garlic chives when you heat it up. If it is an informal gathering, it is fun to let your guests cook their own noodles.

You can buy premixed tamarind concentrate or make your own tamarind juice. Buy a package of compressed tamarind pulp at any Asian market, cut off 3 tablespoons of paste and soak in 1 1/2 cups of warm water for 20 minutes. Squeeze out the pulp and discard; the remaining liquid is tamarind juice.