Spring Green Pad Thai

I am forced to watch one of two TV programs whilst sweating all the tacos out of my skin at the gym: politics and sports. If you know me at all, you know there are two topics of which I avoid ever discussing with others: politics and sports. I’m sorry, but I have to say that watching Trump win over another state is like watching a car crash in e-x-t-r-a S-L-O-O-O-O-O-ooooooooooooo-W motion. I find myself counting down the minutes until I can shut down the machine, rip off my sports bra, and head home to Netflix + chill…stag.

Also, me at the gym:

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Me when I get home from the gym:

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Every time I hear something new about Trump, it makes me upset and nervous and my stomach churns a bit and I just feel a general sense of ick. Aaaaand what is the #1 ultimate way I wind down, relax, and erase aforementioned ick?

COOKING, duh. With wine, duh. Pad Thai in particular, dawlings– feast your corneas:

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One of my guilty pleasures is this super greasy spoon hole-in-the-wall Thai spot in my hood. Thinking about their Pad Thai makes those extra gym sessions actually worth it. But what if I could have my Thai and like, eat it too? Enter: Lightened up, super green charged Spring style Pad Thai.

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With a sh*t ton of veggies (you’ve got heaps of green peas, asparagus, and ‘shrooms) a healthy-fat and plant-based sauce, eggs and tofu as for muscle-building protein, and oodles of zucchini noodles, this is a dish worth making any night of the week. Leftovers for daaaaaaays, babes. And delicious (warning: also spicy 😉 ones, at that.

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Spring Green Pad Thai

Makes 4-5 Servings

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 T tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T Sriracha or other hot chili sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 3 small Thai chiles (optional, for H-E-A-T)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (can also use warm water)
  • Shake of black pepper

For the Pad Thai:

  • 1 block tofu (~1 lb) pressed and drained
  • 3 zucchinis, spiralized into “zoodles” or you can also use 8 oz rice noodles, cooked according to package
  • 2 T coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, caps removed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup roasted & salted peanuts (for garnish)

 

  1. First, make dat sauce. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Thennnn, prepare that tofu. If tofu is as elusive to you as Bigfoot, peep my tofu tutorial on how to prepare this magical block of yum. When done preparing, slice into cubes and set aside.
  3. To make zucchini zoodles, if you’ve got a spiralizer…simply spiralize the crap out of the zucchinis.  Do the best you can. If you are void of this tool, you can grate these veggies or if you’re lacking a spiralizer but wanna feel fancy, julienne them. Or if using rice noodles, prepare according to package. Set aside when done.
  4. In a *Large* wok, heat 1 T coconut oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and red onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add in 2 eggs and stir to scramble. Cook another 30 seconds.
  5. Toss in asparagus, peas, and tofu. Cook for another 5 minutes or until asparagus spears start to become tender. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add in green onions and lime juice. Then pour in all the sauce and the noodles. Toss to combine and remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts and grab yourself a marg because you earned that mothaf*cker.

Thai Curry Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

There is a hole in my heart that only spicy can fill.

And when you combine it with creamy gooey coconut milk, I can’t help but believe in soul mates/true love/Hallmark cards that cost $5.99

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We came home from a short stay in wine country on Sunday and as we navigated our way through the car-clogged 101 South, I guess we were still riding that dreamy weekend-getaway-wave. It became evident that going out with a bang and stopping at a highly acclaimed hole-in-the-wall Thai place off Sunset Blvd was a necessity.

This isn’t just any Thai place–this restaurant understands an obsession with super hot food and caters to all of your fire-breathing desires with tender love and care. Their menu has over 300 dishes (hats off to them chefs sweatin’ in the back) and gives you ample warning for a particularly hot one.  My face when the waiter tells me a dish is going to be spicy:

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UMM. Abort eye roll in this case, I repeat, ABORT EYE ROLL. We each put like 5 full spoonfuls of “Hot Southern Curry” into our mouths and had to ask for the rest to go so we could limp home and slurp at our own discretion while crying tears of failure into the bowl.

When we got home, we ended up not even eating the rest just drinking wine.

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A win in my book. This dish is not as spicy at the above paragraph, pinky promise. But it’s got a gnarly kick- so be warned. Spaghetti squash is an excellent stand-in for spaghetti when you want some veggie-noodles but are lacking the proper equipment (ie. spiralizer). After roasting, its long fibrous strands are coaxed out easily with a sharp fork, falling into little piles of yellow squishy, slightly sweet bliss. This versatile veg has a ridiculous amount of Vitamins A and C that research suggests may reduce oxidative damage to your cells. And don’t skimp on the fat in the coconut….FUN FACT: pairing it with a fat such as coconut milk can actually help your bod absorb more of the vitamin A, as this vitamin is fat-soluble. Pair it with fresh grated anti-inflammatory-promoting ginger along with rich salty soy sauce…and this dish delivers a flavor punch TO THA MOUTH. Bonus: it’s pretty f*cking beautiful, so serve it up with plenty o’ dat chef pride.

Thai Curry Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste (for squash)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 eggplants, Chinese or Japanese, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T chili paste, I dig this kind: Huey Fong Sambal Oelek
  • 2 Thai chiles (because you should want to burn yourself 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • small handful fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  1. You’re going to want to start cooking the squash before anything else; that sucker takes a good hour or so. Follow steps 1-3 from a previous spaghetti squash recipe here but when done, do not fork out strands into a bowl. Instead, run a fork through the flesh to create spaghetti strands but leave them inside their squash shells.
  2. While the squash is roastin’ and toastin’, grab a large skillet and over medium, heat 1 T of the coconut oil. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 T of coconut oil, toss in eggplant, and cook until just tender (3-5 minutes).
  3. Pour in tamari/soy sauce and cook for another minute.
  4. Stir in coconut milk, chili paste, and Thai chiles (if using) and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in pepper. Scoop eggplant coconut curry into each spaghetti squash half, garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds, and squeeze some fresh lime over the whole ‘thang. Serve. Eat. Repeat.

Curry Charred Carrots + Carrot Top Pesto

Fun fact: the green tops of the carrots (the ones you tend to throw in the garbage) contain 5 times the amount of Vitamin C as the roots!

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And when you spontaneously decide to turn trash into treasure and whip them into a pesto, the flavor is unbelievably bright and complex.

Mind = blown.

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So if you just can’t bring yourself to bust out another damn iceberg-lettuce-laden-side-salad when someone puts you on dinner duty, feel free to sub in this delicious tray of roasted roots. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised at how well the refreshing, slightly bitter pesto paired with the mild sweetness of the roasted carrots and the earthy flavors in the curry and thyme. Match made in heaven, mis amigos.

Tinder got nothin’ on this polyamorous side dish.

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Food waste is a hot issue right now in the food world. I mean, not in my kitchen…trust me I do a pretty good job of like #eatingallthethings but that’s not to say I don’t get lazy from time to time and just toss out food scraps. However, it’s a new year and I’m trying to get my act together and trying to be a bit more creative with my leftovers. For instance, instead of tossing out orange or lemon peels, zest them and use them elsewhere.– not only are they loaded with citrus flavor, they’re teeming with cancer-fighting phytonutrients.  The leaves of celery have more calcium than the stalks– throw them in soups or smoothies! Keep the peels from fresh ginger and steep them in boiling water for some spicy tea with an antioxidant kick. Food scraps are so the new black.

Curry Charred Carrots

Serves 4-5 

  • 4 bunches fresh carrots with green tops intact (6-8 medium carrots per bunch, ~4 lbs…try to find thin ones because they’re better for charring)
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3-4 T balsamic vinegar (I use a thick reduction glaze, you can find it in most markets)
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, but recommended 😉
  • Sea salt + pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Chop the green tops of the carrots and set aside, then chop each carrot in half, lengthwise. Line a couple baking sheets with tin foil and spread out carrots evenly. I try to place them so they’re not fully touching one another…they’ll blacken more easily this way.
  3. Pour olive oil over the carrots, then sprinkle with thyme, curry powder, cayenne (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roast anywhere from 20-30 minutes, checking on the carrots frequently so they don’t burn. I like a little burnt crisp to my carrots, but that’s just me. I mean not like BLACK but yanno, a little charrin’ never caused any scarrin’. When done to your liking, remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  5. While the carrots are roasting, peep the recipe below. You can drizzle the pesto over the carrots, too. SO GOOD.

Carrot Top Pesto

  • ~3 cups carrot tops, stems removed and rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  1. Whiz all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender. Taste and add more salt or pepper if chu think it’s lackin’.
  2. Get to snackin’. K. Done with the rhymes. Swear.

Pad Thai Tacos

Last weekend I started feeling really sick. Like, really sick. I felt alternating intense hits of hot and cold passing through my body in undulant, slow waves. Each limb attached to me suddenly weighed 800 pounds and was throbbing uncontrollably. All my muscles became so heavy, I couldn’t manage to pick them up long enough to take a single step. Surges of nausea swept over me with a vengeance. I was prepared to lay in bed and just binge watch Sex and the City for the duration of the day until it passed when I looked down and noticed a gigantic purple rash spreading over my chest. Vibrant, bursting circles began multiplying by the minute. That was it. I gathered all my strength and headed to the doctor’s office.

The nurses ran some tests, took my temp, collected some blood, and assured me the doctor would be back in a few minutes to diagnose my symptoms.

Chewing my nails and going out of my mind with anxiety, I waited alone in the cold fluorescent lit room until I heard a couple knocks on the door. THUD. THUD. THUD. The doctor entered the room, sat down on his stool, and sighed heavily. “Cory,” he began…

My heart sank. Was I dying? Would I live to see 27? ……WHO WOULD WATER MY HERBS?!??

He took out his pen and clipboard and asked, “When is the last time you had a taco?” I racked my brain, searching for a legitimate answer…but nothing. When when WHEN??? Oh god, I clutched my heart. It has been at least 2 weeks. Holy shit how did I let this go on for so long? How could I have done this to myself?? I reiterated my answer to the doc, letting out several sobs that contained equal parts shame and pure terror.

He gave me a prescription for Vitamin T, one of the most crucial nutrients known to man, and thus, I went home and made some pad thai tacos to ease the pain and bring the fever down.

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It worked. I was feeling better within minutes. These gems are an exotic twist on an essential staple of my diet; tacos. But tofu…in TACOS? QUE? Friends, take it eassssssy. Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein…for you dairy-free peeps it’s also full of calcium and so easy to prepare– if you’ve never ventured into tofu-territory, check out my post and edu-micate yo’self.  The tofu is fried up in a spicy, extra tangy soy sauce & peanut butter crema (loaded with monounsaturated fats which are key for heart health). The tacos are finished off with vitamin-B-rich sauteed shiitake mushrooms for a delicate chew and topped with fresh zesty (and antioxidant heavy) cilantro. Ole, pad thai style.

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Pad Thai Tacos

Makes ~6-8 tacos

For the sauce: (recipe adapted from my boyfriend’s mama 😉 )

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup water + more if you a thinner consistency is desired
  • 5 garlic cloves. peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1-in piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 T tamarind paste (can also use sugar)
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T peanut, sesame, or hot chili oil
  • 1 thai chili, unseeded (omit if you’re too wiener for some spice)

For the tacos:

  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 14-oz block firm tofu
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 red/yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • corn tortillas
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (for cooking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. First make dat peanut sauce. Throw all ingredients into a food processor or a high-powered blender and whiz them all up until you get a smooth creamy sauce. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the tofu and chop into cubes. If you’re standing there scratching your privates in bewilderment, check out my post on how to prepare tofu.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the tofu in a baking dish oiled with a bit o’ olive oil and cover with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tofu is a bit browned on the edges. Remove from oven and spoon a few more spoonfuls of sauce on top.
  4. While the tofu is cookin’ whip out a medium skillet and heat up a teaspoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add shitake mushrooms. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until they start to get tender. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-low until flimsy, spread a few baked tofu cubes on each one, douse in more peanut sauce, and garnish with ‘shrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and cilantro on top. Taco bout derrrricious.