Thursday, June 16, 2016

Larb Lovin'

Summertime has arrived.  And with it comes the desire to look good in a bathing suit.  Me?  I am starting to realize that I love food and I'm never going to look like a supermodel with my 5'1" frame.  I'm always going to have a pot belly.  But I do like to eat healthy.  Sure I won't pass up a piece of fried chicken or some biscuits and gravy, but I do try to choose healthier options, seeing as how 40 is quickly approaching.  And I love me a good Asian-style lettuce wrap.  Minced meats, onion, spices and sauces that heat things up.  The fresh crisp of the cold lettuce wrapped around this mountain of melt-in-your-mouth meat.  Sign me up!  And it's healthy.  It really is.  Maybe a little sodium ridden, but damn it... it's good for you.  Salt is a preservative.  When you eat a lot it preserves your insides.  Right?  How can that be bad? (Don't answer that.  I have Google too.)

We recently went to Las Vegas and ate at a Thai Restaurant that I'm sure you've seen on many food shows.  It's called Lotus of Siam.  It's Northern Thai cuisine.  And let me say, it was the best Thai food I have ever eaten, smelled, looked at, photographed, etc.  It was so good.  If you're ever in Vegas go.  But make a reservation.  So me, being the craving-driven person that I am, felt a strong desire to eat something similar once we got back home.  I have made Larb before (Pinterest "Authentic Larb" or Google it).  It entails toasting rice and grinding it into a powder.  This creates a crunchy texture in your meat mixture that I loved, but it was labor intensive.  And I felt that the lettuce was enough crunch for me.  

I've never met an Asian food I didn't like, so I usually have a lot of the staple cooking supplies on hand.  And I'll be honest with you.  After following a recipe one time, you begin to figure out what you like and what you want to add to make it your own.  So I'm going to give you the first recipe I ever tried for Larb in a link, but then I'm just going to tell you what I do when I make this.

This is the recipe I used when I first made this dish. So try this recipe and then you will know what you need to add to make it how you like it.  I personally use this as a base.  But then I tend to be a flavor floozy, so I also add in garlic (a lot), ginger (only about a tablespoon), lemongrass (if I have it, again, a tablespoon), soy sauce (a few squirts), sesame oil (a few more squirts), Thai red curry paste (a spoonful), Thai chilies or jalapeƱos (enough to make it super spicy)...and I think that's it.  

I often look like a mad scientist when I make this because I'm jumping from the fridge to the spice cabinet to the stove and I'm squirting things here and there and I'm tasting the whole time.  It's a very unplanned process that never fails. I've done it with ground turkey, chicken and pork.  They all work great. Sometimes I forget to add lime or sugar.  So it's kind of fun because each time it tastes different, but it's always delicious.  Serve on some crispy, cold lettuce (I like iceberg or butter), top with some freshly chopped Thai basil, cilantro and some green onion, and then add a little Sriracha or some chili garlic sauce.  If you're a spice slut, like I am, you'll be very happy with this dish. Makes really good leftovers too!  


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My Delicious Balls

So let me tell you a little bit about my balls.  This little sack right here full of balls saves me in many ways.  It saves me when I have nothing made for breakfast and I have 10 minutes until I have to leave for work.  It saves me when I just worked out and I have a million errands to run and don't have time for lunch.  It saves me when I'm dying to make 100 cookies and eat them all in one setting, but I am trying to be good and not eat a bunch of sweets.  These balls are amazing because you can add whatever you like to them... so that they will save your ass too.

Here's What I Did:
1 cup of whole grain quick oats
1/2 cup of peanut butter (you can use any kind of nut or seed butter; i just happen to love peanut and have a ton in my pantry)
1/3 cup of honey
Dash of salt

Now here's the fun part.  The above will be your base.  You can now just add whatever you like.  This time I added toasted flax seeds (about 1/4 cup), toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1/4 cup), 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (the darker, the better).  But you can add whatever you want.  Dried fruit, nuts, spices, extracts, etc.

Now, mix it all together.  It is going to seem like it doesn't want to form into balls, but it does.  It just needs a little coaxing.  Wet your hands a little, get in there.  You might have to wet your hands each time you make a ball.  The balls will still be good.  Don't be afraid.  When they come together into nice little bite sized balls, put them in a bag and place them in the fridge for an hour.  The colder the better, in my opinion.

There ya go.  Enjoy my balls.  Enjoy your own version of my balls.  Just make the balls for crying out loud.  They go quickly around my house.