recipe 8/52: jeff’s drunken noodles

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i have a treat for you all! this week i’ve got a recipe made by my boyfriend, jeff! he’s a devoted lover of anything spicy, which usually doesn’t mesh well with my taste buds – i’m very sensitive to spicy food. but since i’ve known him he’s helped me build up a tolerance to some mildly spicy dishes. what can i say? i grew up on polish and italian food. spicy sausage was as far as i’d go up until a few years ago.

lately jeff’s been on a thai food kick, specifically drunken noodles (pad kee mao). he tried out a few variations until he found a combination he liked. and he toned the spice factor WAY down for me. (the first incarnation he cooked had TWELVE thai chiles in it, and he downright TOLD me NOT to eat it.) so this recipe below is for those of us with sensitive palettes. feel free to add more thai chiles based on how spicy you like your food, though even jeff recommends not adding twelve thai chiles. ;)

jeff’s drunken noodles: (adapted from epicurious, makes 4-6 servings)

ingredients:

  • 2 14-ounce packages of 1/4-inch-wide flat rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper infused olive oil (we did this ourselves a while ago- you can just use regular olive oil)
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 thai chile
  • 1/2 pound beef bottom round, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup golden mountain sauce (might also be called thai sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 cubanelle pepper or 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup romaine or basil leaves

tools:

  • medium pot
  • large wok
  • wooden spoon

steps:

1. cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water until tender but firm, stirring frequently. drain.

2. with all your ingredients prepared and ready to go, heat oil over medium heat.

3. add garlic and thai chile(s) and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. add beef, all three sauces and sugar and sauté until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. add cooked noodles, tomatoes and peppers until just warmed.

4. on individual plates, lay down a bed of romaine or basil. transfer individual servings of the mixture on top of the bed of greens and serve.

recipe 7/52 – giada’s chicken scaloppine with saffron cream sauce

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hey all! today i’m sharing with you another delicious giada de laurentiis recipe. seriously, that girl knows what’s goin’ on. here we’ve got chicken scallopine with saffron cream sauce. sounds fancy, right? it’s actually really easy – cook chicken in olive oil, and then transfer it to a plate to keep warm while you make the sauce.

the sauce consists of just combining things in a sauté pan and letting them simmer. after about 20 minutes, you magically have an amazing sauce to serve with your chicken. best thing of all: you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already, save for the saffron threads. (though you might be surprised – i discovered saffron threads hiding in the back of our spice cabinet!) they can be expensive, but they’re worth the cost if you know you’re going to use them.

i paired this rich and decadent dish with giada’s spicy parmesan green beans and kale. it’s a colorful meal filled with much variety. the chicken can be whipped up within a half hour, so even if you don’t want to take the time to prepare the green beans, just steam some broccoli and you’ve still got an awesome meal! you’ll have barely spent 30 minutes cooking and those you share this meal with will be wondering just how you made this so tasty. it’s all in the sauce, friends.

art 7/52 – postcard collages

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some fun collages i made on postcards i’ve been hoarding. that’s mr. claude monet on the left, y’all. he’s a cool guy. i got the left and right postcards while i was in france four — oh excuse me, FIVE years ago. (where does the time go?) the middle postcard came from an awesome place in greensboro, nc called elsewhere collaborative. then i embellished them with stickers, stamps, and paper. it was a silly fun project, and super relaxing amid an approaching deadline…

 

recipe 6/52 – real simple’s gouda burger with fennel onion relish

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i was a bit defeated after my real simple recipe from last week wasn’t a hit, so i thought i’d give them a go again. i needed to prove to myself that real simple is awesome! and boy, they did not disappoint! this is another recipe pulled from my binder of to-try recipes. yeah, it’s a keeper. yes, it’s red meat and yes, it’s sweet potatoes slathered in olive oil…not the healthiest. but i bought lean ground beef and whole wheat burger buns, so it kind of evens out. right? right.

gouda burgers with fennel onion relish. that just SOUNDS good, doesn’t it? the fennel onion relish is a really unique touch. it’s all just tossed in lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. i had actually never touched let alone cooked a fennel in my life, so it was fun to figure it out and use a totally new ingredient. it’s amazing how much they smell like licorice (but they don’t taste like it…otherwise i would hate them with a fiery passion). all the flavors complement each other really well and the sweet potato fries are just perfect. i didn’t peel the skin off because i love when sweet potato fries in restaurants still have their skin…it makes them extra crunchy.

so besides this meal being AWESOME, guess how long it took me? from start to finish, including all the vegetable cutting and ingredient measuring, it took me exactly 30 minutes. talk about fast. and talk about how i’m gonna make burgers more often. oh yes please.

note: i didn’t realize how similar the styling of my photo was to theirs…whoops! i promise i wasn’t trying to copy, i was just trying to get the best angle to feature the juicy burger! i’ll be more careful with that next time. :)

 

art 6/52 – sparta fold v camera

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sparta fold v – 8″ x11″, conté crayon on cardboard.

okay, so i guess we like cameras in this house! i own four functional cameras, my boyfriend has a digital camera (…somewhere), and we bought two vintage cameras just like this one at a flea market quite a while ago. i’m not sure if they work, although i suppose it would be possible to get them working. either way, they’re pretty cool! we like displaying them on a weird shelf that we have that sits just below our kitchen ceiling. we keep photographs and small pieces of art up there as well. as for the materials used, i saved these conté crayons from a drawing class i had in freshman year of college, but i’ve barely used them since the class. but i love how they look! i also keep pieces of cardboard to draw/paint/play on and of course i’ve barely experimented with them until now.

i’m happy with this little piece. it’s just a sketch but it was fun and relaxing to do.

recipe 5/52 – asparagus ricotta pizza

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if i ever want to make a recipe that i KNOW is going to be good, i immediately go to the well-known magazine real simple. i can’t complain about a single meal i’ve made using their recipes, and my favorite vegetarian chili hails from their pages. i’ve ripped out a number of pages to save for future meals, and their asparagus ricotta pizza is one of them.

surprise: honestly, i can’t say this was my favorite. although i love each ingredient individually, it wasn’t too memorable when put all together. in my opinion it was missing one vital thing: sauce. the recipe didn’t call for anything of the sort- just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. i’ve tried making pizza a few different times without sauce and i never seem to be satisfied…i guess i just love red sauce way too much! to remedy this disappointment my boyfriend suggested adding whole peeled tomatoes, and that did the trick. it added that trademark acidy tang. the topping of arugula drizzled with lemon juice did help in the flavor department…but i think next time i’ll add some red sauce.

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but i can’t say it was BAD either. i mean, how tasty and fresh does that look? and my boyfriend made whole-wheat pizza dough from scratch. can’t go wrong there.

veredict: the recipe is a great base — elevate it with your own personal touches and enjoy some darn tootin’ good pizza! if you try it out, let me know what different ingredients you add!

photo 5/52 – where i work

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this is my tiny studio viewed from my (also tiny) kitchen. it’s where i spend most of my waking hours. the light coming in from the window inspired me to get out my tripod and play with slower shutter speeds and the ioshutter remote/app i got for christmas. i love that it conveniently connects to my iphone, since that thing hardly leaves my sight.

where do you spend most of your time? have you ever photographed it? somehow this photograph slightly changes my perspective of this humble room.

photo 4/52 – finally winter

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it’s finally winter here in washington dc. it seems like winter hit the entire east coat at the exact same time. we’ve had two separate snowfalls in the last 48 hours and it’s left us with about an inch of snow each time. i know this is hardly accumulation compared to some areas of the country…but i’m still diggin’ it! i love hearing the crunch under my boots.

i hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! i will be posting my recipe at some point during the weekend…sunday is my birthday and i’m going to bake something awesome! i haven’t decided what yet…but i’m going to do some recipe research and post it here by monday morning. :)