Summer and seafood goes hand in hand. Growing up near the beach paired with countless trips to New England for summer vacations have spoiled me with delicious seafood year after year. I find myself craving all things from the sea as soon as the warm weather starts to appear. One of my favorite dishes to make is mussels. When bought fresh they are so tender and sweet. Mussels also soak up flavors very well. It’s so fun and easy to play around with the palate of flavors that can be paired with these morsels. Let’s not forget that the broth is what will be sopped up with crusty bread as the meal’s “side dish”.
During the summer I tend to eat a lot of salads. They are a cool and crisp relief on those sticky summer nights. With salad the possibilities are endless. Yet, I tend to fall into the same hum drum everyday salad routine. This year I have tried to break out of the monotony. First came, the Watermelon and Arugula salad (which was a big hit with all of you!) and now…. the Crab Cobb Salad Stacks.
A little over a year ago a co-worker of mine introduced me to i heart keenwah. They were a snack company on the rise with the launch of their quinoa clusters. These sweet and crunchy little snacks were so addicting that I personally reached out to the company to share my love for the brand. They reached out to do a partnership and giveway post with Behind the Plates which I happily took them up on. When I recently received an e-mail from them notifying me that their newest snack product had hit the market; I jumped on the opportunity to give them a taste.
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.
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!).
Everyone has their holiday meal traditions. One Italian customary meal that many families still partake in on Christmas Eve is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This dinner celebrates the wait for Jesus’ birth. This commemorative meal became popularized in many Italian American homes and then began to spread. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is not something that my family participates in every year. However; we do have one seafood dish that is always included on Christmas Eve, calamari. My uncle hosts this night’s party and calamari marinara started to show up on the dinner table a few years back. Now I can’t picture Christmas Eve without it. Today’s recipe is my take on this symbolic holiday meal.
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.
Hot sauce, especially sriracha, is all the rage these days. I know that my own boyfriend has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the sauce pouring it on everything from eggs to pasta ( While I enjoy sriracha I don’t share in his impulses to put it on every meal we eat) . Restaurants and food trucks have been capitalizing on the trend by coming up with new inventive ways to incorporate the Thai specialty into just about everything you can think of.
My Mom’s birthday was a few weeks ago and it has been a tradition the past few years that I cook the birthday meal. Leading up to the big day I called her to find out if she had anything in mind for this year’s dinner and she responded right away with…Shrimp and Grits. I had made this dish for her last year from an awesome recipe I found on Pinterest. The only problem was my prized pinned recipe could no longer be found on Pinterest. I hunted the internet to try and track down this recipe with no success.
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.