Green Papaya Salad (Vietnamese Style)

Not my photo! I didn't get one of mine because I ate it too fast ;)

Not my photo! I didn’t get one of mine because I ate it too fast 😉

So I’ve been meaning to post this recipe – I first made it when I got my mandolin slicer for Christmas (!!). But with summer just around the corner, weather in the 90’s forecasted this week, and lots of available, fresh produce, I decided that now would be the perfect time to share such a refreshing recipe.

 

Green papaya (unripened papaya) is shredded, and tossed with a salty-sweet dressing, and topped with fried shallots, beef jerky, and crushed peanuts. This dish comes originally from Laos, but I’ve been familiarized with it through my Vietnamese mother.

 

It’s helpful to have a mandolin to shred the papaya quickly. Also, any beef jerky will work (I prefer spicy), and you can find green papaya at your nearby asian grocer. Most western grocery stores DO carry papaya, but sometimes even though it looks underripe, it’s not. It’s best to go to an asian grocery to eliminate any doubts.

 

in the making...

in the making…

Green Papaya Salad (Vietnamese Style)

  • shredded green papaya
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar OR agave nectar (or any neutral, dissolvable sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup beef jerky, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup thai basil (or regular basil), sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, or more to garnish
  • sliced serrano or jalapeno peppers (optional)

Shred the green papaya with a mandolin or knife into fine strips. Place in a colander and toss with a pinch of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to remove sliminess and some of the excess water. Rinse, and pat dry. In a seperate bowl, mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and sugar until all are dissolved.

Toss the papaya, dressing, basil, half the beef jerky and half the peanuts in a large bowl just before serving. Put onto a large plate, garnish with the remaining peanuts, beef jerky, and optional peppers. Serve immediately!

 

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSeriously, who named them Snickerdoodles? I guess it is a fittingly whimsical name for a nostalgic cookie – little round drops of dough, rolled in a mixture of cinnamon sugar, and baked until delightfully soft and the smell wafts through your entire household.

I’ve decided to do a little upgrade on the good old snickerdoodle – I’ve replaced white flour for whole wheat to amp up the fiber, subbed coconut oil for butter (a healthy saturated fat with a wonderfully floral flavor!) and I’ve also subbed date paste for the sugar. Still delicious, and now you won’t feel guilty eating a cookie at 11 am.

What is date paste? It’s a great sugar substitute made from pure, dried dates. Add some whole pitted dates that have been soaked in hot water to a blender or food processor, and use it easily to substitute sugar. Date paste has a wonderful caramel flavor and is loaded with all the benefits of dates (fiber, potassium, magnesium, & other antioxidants). Here’s a great recipe for it if you want more directions.

Without further ado,

Pre-oven, rolled in sugar & ready to go!

Pre-oven, rolled in sugar & ready to go!

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup date paste (can sub brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • sugar & cinnamon for rolling

Preheat oven to 350ÂșF. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, & baking soda. In a separate bowl, melt the coconut oil, and beat in the date paste on medium until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Pour dry into wet and stir with a spoon until just combined. Chill the dough in the fridge or freezer until it firms up.

Roll each ball in a 1:2 mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 9-10 minutes. They will appear underdone, but they will firm up after cooling. Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk!

New Ingredient: Beet Greens

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If you’ve ever bought beets, you’ve probably noticed that they’re often sold with their leafy tops attached. More often than not, these leafy heads get tossed away, but don’t let them wilt in the compost bin!

Beet greens are 100% edible. They can easily be substituted for another dark, leafy green, like rainbow chard or spinach, but they have their own distinct flavor. They shockingly taste a bit like beets!
The first time I discovered beet greens could be eaten, I was addicted! The hearty flavor of dark greens, paired with a subtle sweetness in the stems – sautĂ©ed in a little olive oil and garlic, it’s a simple delight that showcases the beauty of using kitchen scraps.
This humble green is also extremely versatile; you can:

  • quickly sautĂ© in olive oil & garlic
  • blanch & add to eggs or a vegetable hash
  • chop and stir fry in a wok with mushrooms
  • add to borscht (duh), minestrone, or vegetable soups
  • toss with grains to up your vegetable intake

There are also recipes for beet green, kale, & cauliflower salad, simply sautéed with their roots, or even in a beautiful mushroom frittata!

What you do with beet greens is really up to you! Just make sure they don’t end up in the compost 😉

Japanese-style Steamed Fish

Sometimes its nice to just have something simple.

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Clean, crisp, light flavors are like a cleanse for the palate, and after my dad and I had three nights of heavy eating, we were really craving a simple dinner for Sunday evening.

 

With some fresh ginger from the farmers market and beautiful fillets of cod from Whole Foods, what better way to use them than with Japanese steamed fish. Seasoned with only soy sauce, mirin, and ginger, this dish steams conveniently in the oven for those of you who don’t have a nice steamer.

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Japanese-style Steamed Fish

Adapted from Allrecipes

  • 24 oz. true cod, cleaned and cut into palm-sized fillets
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced
  • Handful of sprouts for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a round or square glass baking dish, place fillets of fish in one even layer. Mix the marinade in a seperate bowl. Carefully pour over the fish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until fish is opaque as it will continue to cook in the hot liquid.

Garnish with fresh sprouts and serve with rice or a grain and steamed fresh vegetables for a truly simple meal. Enjoy!

Pranks a lot, April Fools’ Day food jokesters

Happy April Fool’s! Eatocracy has done a wonderful article on the most epic of food-related pranks, from left-handed burgers to spaghetti trees. What will you do today? 🙂

Eatocracy

Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine’s restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart’s desire, we listen up.

For some people, April 1 is just another day. Others see a world of possibilities on April Fool’s Day. You can make this the day to: Install an air horn as a door wall protector, or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish. Then there are the food-inspired pranks. For instance, replacing Oreo cream filling with toothpaste, or experimenting with mayonnaise-filled doughnuts. (Thanks to boredpanda.com for these inspirations.)
 
Of course, I want to hear any brilliant April Fool/Food jokes that anyone has perpetrated. In the meantime, let’s salute some truly epic ones.

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