Black Pasta in Shrimp Garlic Cream Sauce

Black Pasta in Shrimp Garlic Cream Sauce

Serves 2

This is a unique black pasta “ First Course “ for a dinner party. I think this black squid ink pasta course is so special because of the unique colors. I like to make different things for my guests, not many have ever tasted black squid ink pasta. It is sometimes hard to find, super markets usually do not carry it, I found it at a gourmet deli in Bangkok.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Black Squid Ink Pasta
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 frozen cooked Shrimp thawed, tails intact (61 – 70 count)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
  • 4 chive stems for garnish

Preparations

  • Prepare squid ink pasta according to package directions.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat melt butter, sauté garlic and shallots for 2 minutes; add white wine; simmer until reduced by one half.
  • Add broth and cream, lower the temperature and simmer until thickened.
  • Remove from heat; add nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Spoon sauce onto serving plates.
  • Twirl the squid ink strands around a long-tined fork, slide off onto the sauce plates.
  • Add shrimp, cheese, chives and serve.

Thai BBQ Chicken – An Authentic Tasting Thai Chicken Recipe

Next summer my only daughter with husband and their 2 kids will come from the Netherlands to me, to visit me and my wife here in the North-Eastern part of Thailand.

For one of those days I will prepare everything to have a Thai grill party at our home together with family members of my wife.

The following delectable Thai BBQ dish offers a great balance of authentic flavors that are sure to delight. Both, easy to prepare and cook, this delicious taste of Thailand eats just as well as it looks.

Thai Grilled Chicken Ingredients

  1. 2 tbls. red curry paste
  2. 1-2 dried whole dried chilli, chopped
  3. 2 tbls. chopped shallot
  4. 1 tbls. garlic, chopped
  5. 1/4 tsp. salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  9. 1/8 tsp. cumin
  10. 1/8 tsp. ginger powder
  11. 2 tbls. vegetable oil
  12. 2 1/2 tbls. palm sugar
  13. 1 tbls. fish sauce
  14. 1 tsp. tamarind concentrate
  15. 1 lb chicken cut into 3/4″ sized pieces
  16. 1/2 cup coconut milk

To cook the Thai Grilled Chicken

  • In a mortar & pestle, combine the first ten ingredients and crush them together to form a smooth paste. In a skillet over a medium heat, fry off the paste mixture in the vegetable oil, until the aromatic flavors are released.
  • Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind concentrate and then taste the mixture at this point.
  • You should find that the paste has a creamy consistency and has pleasantly rich flavor.
  • You may add more palm sugar if you want to make the it sweeter at this point.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Pour the mixture over the chicken in a plastic container and then allow it to marinade overnight in the fridge.
  • Place  the chicken pieces onto bamboo skewers and then grill on a low to moderate heat until done, basting it with the marinade lightly during cooking.

Tip: Spray the grill lightly and brush with vegetable oil prior to lighting up the grill as this will help to prevent the chicken from sticking and breaking up. You may serve the Thai chicken alone or accompanied with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables on the side. This wonderful Thai dish will easily stand up to being served on its own as it’s flavors are simply in a league of its own. For a more substantial meal you can serve the Thai chicken skewers with a spicy satay sauce if you prefer, though to be honest it really does not need it, it tastes that good!

Microwave : 5 Minute Artichokes

Ingredients

  1. 1 Artichoke
  2. Vegenaise or favorite dip
  3. Two microwave safe bowls (not tupperware!)

Directions:

  1. Trim the stem so its about 1/4 inch from the base of the artichoke.
  2. With a serrated knife saw off the tops of the leaves so there are no pointy edges, this will also prevent it from rolling around on your plate as you eat it.
  3. In the first microwave bowl, set the artichoke on its base (stem down, leaves up) and fill with about 2-3cm of hot water.
  4. Drizzle the water inside the leaves too. ( Thats 2-3cm of water WITH the artichoke in the bowl, and a little water pooled in between the leaves. )
  5. Cover the first bowl with the second and microwave on high ( leave a little space for steam to escape ), for usually a maximum of 5 minutes. Dont overcook! A small artichoke usually takes 3 min, a medium to large takes 5.
  6. To check if your artichoke is done, CAREFULLY pull out the bowl with hot pads and let steam escape. Dot get burned by the steam! Using tongs, flip the artichoke over and poke the base stem with your fingernail or the tip of a spoon. If its tender and makes a crescent impression , than its done.  ( If not done just nuke for one more minute. )
  7. Set artichoke base up on plate and pull off each leaf and eat, one at a time.

I dip each leaf in a sauce and use my teeth to scrape off the edible underside.

You can use a variety of dips, I think lemon butter is the most common, but I like Vegenaise!

Dont be discouraged if the first few leaves are tough. I usually discard the first 5-6 leaves because they are bitter.

When you get to the heart, I use a spoon to scrape off the extra leaves (to small to eat) and the furry stuff, then I eat the rest of the heart.  YUM!!

Once you perfect this method, you will never boil again!

Serves: 1

Preparation time: 5 min

Diabetic-Lifestyle Cooking Tips

Diabetic-Lifestyle Cooking Tips – web-site: http://www.diabetic-lifestyle.com – features useful ways to cook with more flavor, using less fat, salt, and sugar. Diabetic-Lifestyle offers recipes, menus, medical updates, entertaining – practical information enhances life while managing diabetes on a daily basis.

Planting Herbs for Cooking

Soon enough it will be time to plant your garden. To us, that means making sure our herb garden can supply your needs for the various styles of cooking that you use in developing recipes for this website and our cookbooks. Sure, you can buy fresh  herbs at the supermarket, but they are expensive and not as fresh as that just picked from the garden.

Whether you plant your herbs in the ground or in pots, they are amazingly simple to grow. With just a little bit of attention, you’ll have plenty of herbs until well after the first frost next fall. Look at the list below so you’ll know what to plant: Make sure to have plenty for what you make most.

Salads:

  1. arugula,
  2. chervil,
  3. chives,
  4. dill,
  5. dwarf basil,
  6. red basil,
  7. flat-leaf parsley,
  8. mustard,
  9. nasturtiums,
  10. sorrel,
  11. summer savory,
  12. and tarragon.

Italian:

  1. arugula,
  2. basil,
  3. bay,
  4. dill,
  5. fennel,
  6. garlic
  7. chives,
  8. marjoram,
  9. flat-leaf parsley,
  10. rosemary,
  11. sage,
  12. and thyme.

French:

  1. basil,
  2. fennel,
  3. lavender,
  4. marjoram,
  5. rosemary,
  6. sage,
  7. summer savory,
  8. and thyme.

Mexican:

  1. annatto,
  2. bay,
  3. chile peppers,
  4. cilantro,
  5. garlic,
  6. Mexican oregano,
  7. and thyme.

Thai:

  1. basil,
  2. cilantro,
  3. chile peppers,
  4. garlic,
  5. lemon grass,
  6. ginger,
  7. mint,
  8. and tamarind.

Moroccan:

  1. cardamon,
  2. cassia,
  3. cumin,
  4. nutmeg,
  5. paprika,
  6. and saffron.

Fish:

  1. bay,
  2. dill,
  3. fennel,
  4. lemon basil,
  5. lemon grass,
  6. lemon thyme,
  7. parsley,
  8. rosemary,
  9. sage,
  10. savory,
  11. and tarragon.

Salt Substitute:

  1. basil,
  2. bay,
  3. dill,
  4. lovage,
  5. parsley,
  6. rosemary,
  7. sage,
  8. savory,
  9. thyme,
  10. and tarragon.

Herb Tea:

  1. angelica,
  2. bergamot,
  3. borage,
  4. caraway,
  5. chamomile,
  6. hyssop,
  7. lemon balm,
  8. lemon geranium,
  9. lemongrass,
  10. lemon verbena,
  11. lovage,
  12. marigold petals,
  13. marjoram, mint,
  14. pineapple sage,
  15. rosemary,
  16. sage,
  17. thyme,
  18. and sweet woodruff.

Spice It Up! Boosting Your Health with Cloves

I hope you had  an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas last week.

In keeping with the spice theme ( cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg), this time a focus on cloves, another type of spice that is often part of holiday fare.

The word “clove” comes from the Latin word clavus, which means “nail” — appropriately named if you’ve ever looked at a whole clove. It’s actually an unopened flower bud from the clove tree, an evergreen that can grow as tall as 40 feet. Like nutmeg, clove originates from the “Spice Islands,” which are located off Indonesia, but it is also grown in various other locations, including the West Indies, Brazil, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, and Sri Lanka.

Cloves were big in the Chinese Han Dynasty — visitors of the emperor were required to hold cloves in their mouths for breath-freshening purposes while speaking with him (clove is still used today in some mouthwashes!). Commercial trading of cloves began in earnest with traders from the Middle East; cloves soon became a precious commodity, much like black pepper.

Health Benefits
Source of manganese. Interestingly, cloves are super-rich in manganese, a trace mineral necessary for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, proper functioning of the thyroid gland, blood glucose control, and bone health. Cloves also contain, in lesser amounts, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.

Anti-inflammatory. Eugenol is a substance found in clove oil that has anti-inflammatory properties, possibly making it an anticancer agent (however, anyone who has cancer is advised not to use cloves because some animal studies indicate it may also have slight tumor-promoting properties). Eugenol also contains flavonoids that help boost its anti-inflammatory abilities.

Dental pain reliever. In addition to its anti-inflammatory ability, clove oil has anesthetic and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, too. Clove oil or ground clove is an old remedy for toothaches. Dentists use clove oil in temporary fillings to not only help alleviate pain but also as an antimicrobial agent. If you have a toothache, you can moisten a cotton ball with a little bit of clove oil that has been diluted with olive oil and put it on the affected tooth for temporary relief.

Reliever of digestion woes. In ancient Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, clove tea has traditionally been used to help relieve digestive problems, including stomach ulcers, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea. Cloves also help to calm down the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.

Insulin sensitizer. A small number of studies have shown that clove extract capsules (in the amount equivalent to taking one to two cloves per day) boost insulin function and lower glucose (along with cholesterol and triglycerides) in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent. Cloves can kill off intestinal parasites and treat fungal infections, including athlete’s foot. In some countries, cloves are used to treat malaria, tuberculosis, and scabies.

Mosquito repellant. Clove oil has been shown to repel mosquitoes for up to two hours; however, undiluted clove oil can be irritating to the skin in some people.

Possible Side Effects
As always, when taking spices or herbs for medicinal purposes, it’s important to check with your health-care provider. Cloves are no exception. Eugenol can cause allergic reactions (some quite severe) in sensitive people, including rashes, itching, shortness of breath, and hives.

The amount of clove that you might use in cooking is considered safe. But large amounts may cause vomiting, seizures, difficulty breathing, and kidney and liver failure. Children and pregnant women should avoid taking clove supplements.

Drug Interactions
Clove can interact with blood-thinning medicines, including aspirin and clopidogrel (brand name Plavix), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen (Advil and others) and naproxen (Aleve and others), and antifungals, antihistamines, and cardiac medicines.

Using Cloves
Sure, you can stud your holiday ham with cloves. But branch out a little. Stick whole cloves in an onion to flavor soup. Sprinkle some ground clove into apple cider, mulled wine, barbecue sauce, or a favorite curry recipe. Ideally, buy cloves whole and use a coffee grinder to grind them into powder.

Note: For great ways to incorporate cloves into your diet, check out the recipes at Homestay Hong Saeng

Spice It Up! Boosting Your Health with Turmeric

If you like curry dishes, no doubt you’re familiar with the bright yellow or orange color of the sauce. This vivid color is due to turmeric, a spice that comes from the rhizome, or underground stem (similar to ginger!), of the Curcuma longa plant. Turmeric has been used for more than 5,000 years for food, medicine, religious purposes, and as a dye. It’s native to Southeast Asia, and currently is grown in a number of countries, including India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Haiti, and Jamaica.

Turmeric is always used as a ground-up powder. It used to be called Indian saffron because its color is similar to that of saffron. However, turmeric shouldn’t be substituted in recipes that call for saffron. And in case you think you’ve never eaten turmeric before, chances are you have if you’ve ever used yellow mustard — turmeric is what gives mustard its bright yellow color! Turmeric is sometimes used to color cheese and butter, too. The substance responsible for turmeric’s yellow color is called curcumin.

Health Benefits
Like many spices and herbs, turmeric has been used for thousands of years, primarily in India, for medicinal purpose to help digestion, improve liver function, and as a pain reliever. Lately, researchers have discovered that turmeric may be helpful for some other diseases, too, although many studies have used turmeric in lab animals and not humans. Here are some of the possible health benefits of this brilliantly hued spice:

Inflammation. Curcumin might just give prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines a run for their money — and with fewer side effects such as ulcers and decreased white blood cell count.

Arthritis. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In fact, studies have shown that people who have arthritis who eat turmeric on a regular basis have fewer symptoms, such as joint swelling, stiffness, and shortened walking time. Curcumin is an antioxidant, which may also explain how it exerts its effects.

Inflammatory bowel disease. Mice given a substance that normally causes ulcerative colitis were protected from the condition when given curcumin: They lost less weight and their intestines showed decreased signs of the disease compared to mice who were not given curcumin. People with ulcerative colitis who were given curcumin had a longer remission period compared to people who were given a placebo (inactive treatment).

Cancer. It’s thought that curcumin’s antioxidant properties may help protect against DNA damage that leads to cancer. Curcumin may also prevent the development of blood vessels that are necessary to promote the growth of tumors. In animal studies, curcumin works to prevent or kill prostate, breast, colon, and skin cancer cells, but these findings have yet to be duplicated in humans. Fortunately, researchers are beginning to study the possible anticancer effects of this compound in humans.

Heart disease. Curcumin seems to increase the number of LDL-receptors in the body, which means the liver is able to clear more LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the body, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. One small study showed that curcumin increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which is even better news!

Alzheimer disease. Curcumin seems to slow the progression of Alzheimer disease in mice by preventing the buildup of amyloid plaque, a key sign of Alzheimer. It also seems to dissolve existing amyloid plaque. And studies looking at humans who eat curry dishes a few times per week have a lower risk of dementia. Human studies are underway (but in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to include more curry in your eating plan!).

Precautions
Turmeric is safe, but eating large amounts may cause stomach upset and possibly ulcers. Those with gallstones should go easy with turmeric. There’s a chance that turmeric supplements taken with certain diabetes medicines may cause hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). And avoid turmeric supplements if you take blood-thinner medicines.

How to Use Turmeric
Turmeric comes in the form of a ground spice and in capsules, tea, and a liquid extract. If you’re a purist, use real turmeric instead of curry powder when cooking (be careful because this spice can stain). Add turmeric to your diet in the following ways:

  • Make your own curry dishes
  • Add it (along with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) to rice to make yellow rice
  • Stir some into egg salad to boost the color
  • Stir turmeric into your potato salad
  • Sauté cauliflower florets in a little olive oil and add turmeric; season with pepper

A little turmeric goes a long way, so use it sparingly!

Continue with another spice to morrow!