Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Rice Noodle Salad

David and I have been trying to eat healthier, we are going to Maui in a month so we are VERY motivated! I found this recipe in Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite and thought it looked delicious so I gave it a go.

Here's the recipe:

  • 3 1/2 oz thin rice noodles
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • 7 oz snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 1 large  red sweet pepper
  • 1 large sweet yellow or orange pepper
  • 2 green onions
  • 7 oz peeled, cooked shrimp
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • 1tbsp toasted black or white sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 small red chile, seeded and minced
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp jaggery (or soft brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

I changed a few things:
  • I added carrots.
  • I skipped the yellow/ orange bell pepper. The red bell pepper was enough for me.
  • Was out of lime so used lemon instead. Yes, I know they don't have the same flavor but I'm working with what I got people!
  • I was out of cilantro so I used basil. Please see above comment and don't judge my lack of ingredients!
  • No chile for me! Those who know me, know I have never developed an immunity or love for chile. So instead I used red pepper flakes. 
  • The recipe called for jaggery or brown sugar. Instead I used organic coconut sugar. I figured it went with the Thai theme and David assures me it has more nutritional value than regular sugar. *Okay Baby, whatever gets you through the day ;)*
First I chopped the veggies, 'a la julienne:

I then boiled (2-3 minutes in boiling water), blanched (ice cold H20) , and chopped the sugar snap peas. BTW sugar snap peas taste so much better cooked! I've tried  to eat them raw on multiple occasions and I'm just not convinced that's the best way to eat them.

Then I soaked the rice noodles. I've never used rice noodles before and Albertsons only had rice sticks. I'm gonna assume they are the same thing. But you know what happens when you assume! You make an ass out of you and me! Hahaha I crack myself up! *Wipes tear away.*

I boiled water in a tea kettle. Placed the noodles in a heatproof bowl and soaked them in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and coat with a drizzle of sesame oil.

I then chopped some green onion. (I forgot about them when I chopped the other veggies.) I also made the sauce. Another first for me: I used fish sauce! Notice the ominous feel of the picture below? It correctly reflects how I felt about using fish sauce! Surprisingly the smell and taste were milder than I expected. If I can do it, you can do it! Just mix all the dressing ingredients together.

I then cooked the shrimp. The recipe assumes you have cooked shrimp laying around your fridge or freezer. I do not. Actually, I NEVER use precooked shrimp! So I used a little lemon zest, salt and pepper to season the raw shrimp. Of course, it goes without saying, I cleaned their poop line. *That's right I said poop on a post about food!* In other words I deveined them. Then off to the skillet to cook. *You better watch those crazy little bastards cause they cook really, really fast and there is nothing worse then rubbery shrimp!*

Mix all the ingredients together. I first sauced the noodles and then added the veggies. You can refrigerate the salad and let the flavors meld, as a refined lady with self control would. Or you can dig in, like I would! Tastes good either way. :)

Here is the final product:

Lessons Learned
  • Pay attention to the amount of rice noodles/ sticks you use. I may have over done it!
  • Keep the shrimp and veggies separate from the noodles until it is time to serve. Think topping pasta with pasta sauce and meatballs. 'Cause it is way too hard to try to properly mix all those veggies and shrimp with the rice noodles. Note the one lonely shrimp that made it to the top of the mixture. *Or it could have something to do with the fact that I used way too many noodles. Who's to know?* **Shrug**
  • Enlist help from David! Take a look at all the dishes I had to wash afterwards:

To be fair those dishes aren't all from this meal preparation. Note the blender that was not used in the making of this meal. I'm just a notoriously messy cook! It took me like 30-45 minutes to make the salad, which isn't too bad. If you employ mis en place *Look at me and my Food Network lingo. Fancy Lady Alert!* and don't cook your own shrimp then it will be even faster.

FYI David loved the salad! Let me know if you loved it too!

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