I recently had a craving for a dish that I can probably count on less than one hand how many times I have ate it. I thought that was the weirdest thing to get a craving for something you haven’t consumed any time in recent history (honestly I cannot remember when I even last had this meal). But, I guess that’s how hankerings work, they come when you don’t expect it. The dish I am talking about is cold sesame noodles. From my memory I remember them having a distinct bitter yet creamy flavor from the sesame and peanuts. Because I had all the ingredients in my house to make these, I decided to fulfill my craving without calling for take-out delivery.
If you’ve been reading the blog for a few months now you’ll notice that there have been a good handful of Asian inspired recipes. I’ve really enjoyed fooling around with these flavor profiles in the kitchen. Once I “discovered” Thai curries and coconut milk my mind has run wild with delicious stir fry ideas, casseroles, and in today’s case noodle dishes.
Lettuce cups are such a fun vessel to get creative with the fillings. The bright, crisp lettuce can take on pretty much any flavor combination you fill it with. While using Thai ingredient is far from outside the box for lettuce wraps, it really does make for a delicious meal.
I’m so excited to bring all of you today’s recipe. A few months ago my mother called to tell me she saw a recipe blogger challenge in the newspaper and she thought I should enter. It was sponsored by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends. After reading up on this company,founded by Shelly Wolcott, I found that its purpose was to bring healthy and affordable spice blends to households. Her spices are free of fillers and preservatives, most have no salt or sugar added, and there is no MSG in any of the blends. After reading about this small woman owned company and her initiative I knew I would love to help support its mission (And of course try to win the contest along the way!).
It’s officially cold and flu season…*cough cough, sniff sniff* I thought I was making it by this season with no cold symptoms on the horizon. That was until the day before I had to return to work after my two week winter vacation. All of a sudden I was achey and all around under the weather. Maybe my subconscious was running wild with the thought of returning to my desk…but whatever the reason I still was feeling pretty crummy.
During my moments of recipe conceptualizing (which I have referenced before predominantly happen during my long commute to work) I’ve noticed that my brain gravitates towards specific food groups. Italian food ideas are my most dominant brain default and I could probably create a new pasta every day for 365 days. But, the other food group I tend to think most about is Asian cuisine. I love the exotic, bright, and spicy flavors in Malaysian, Vietnamese, and especially Thai cooking. Thought clouds of ginger and chili peppers are always dancing in my head. I have been experimenting quite a bit in this area so expect to get a handful of Asian inspired meals in the upcoming months!
Ten months ago I was listening to my favorite podcast on my drive home, The Splendid Table . As a quick side note, If you have never listened to the show I highly recommend it for anyone who loves food culture or cooking. The host, Lynn Rossetto Kasper, is an acclaimed food writer and cooking teacher. Her wealth of knowledge is infectious. Getting back to the story, during my weekly listen on that drive I heard a call that would spark my idea for today’s recipe. There is a segment where listeners can call in to ask food science, cooking or baking questions to the host (which by the way, she ALWAYS has an answer, it’s impressive). One listener said she had an idea to make a Thai basil pesto and asked if using Thai basil, coconut oil, cashews, and chili peppers sounded too outside the box for a dish. Before Lynn could even answer I was mentally taking note. I have been a Thai food addict for a few years now but have not attempted too many of my own dishes at home. After hearing confirmation that this ingredient combination sounded fantastic I rushed home, wrote down the four ingredients so I would not forget, and put it on my refrigerator.
After what seems like the longest winter we’ve ever had the warmer weather is finally trying to peek through. Two weekends ago we had a true spring weather weekend and I was so happy to soak up every minute of it. One of the reasons I love springtime is the new food palate that begins. I start to slow down on making heavier comfort food dishes and start to mix in some lightened up meals. That weekend was the perfect, and really the first, opportunity of the new season to break out of the winter mold.
During the work week I try to make quick and easy meals that take less than 30 minutes or so to prepare. Between the commute home, errands, workouts, etc it makes it hard to make elaborate meals. But, this doesn’t mean I like to sacrifice flavor or creativity either. I’m not someone who is pleased to live on grilled chicken and vegetables every night. I need to spice my weekly menus up.