Saturday, January 29, 2011

Asian Noodle Salad... with Shrimp!

(Original recipe for Easy Asian Noodle Salad from Kraft)

This salad makes a delicious side dish to any meal. However, I make slight variations and add in some shrimp to make it stand alone as a main dish. As a meal, this will serve about 4-6 individuals (depending on how hungry your friends are). I usually use whole wheat thin spaghetti to make this scrumptious dish as guilt-free as possible. My husband usually skips the lettuce and just slurps up the delicious noodles, veggies, & shrimp . As far as wine pairing, this dish would do well with most light whites, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Soave.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cooking inspired by the Chinese New Year

I admit, I do not normally celebrate the Chinese New Year, but I was inspired by a newspaper article recommending recipes for Chinese cooking. The celebration of the Chinese New Year starts February 3 this year, and lasts for 15 days. I like the idea of cultivating an inspiration for a meal (such as taking a stab at Mexican cuisine and homemade margaritas on Cinco de Mayo) so celebrating Chinese cuisine this week sounds like a fun challenge! My husband loves Chinese food and in order to save us $$$, calories, and the risk of consuming unknown ingredients of unknown quality, I've become increasingly more experimental in making my own "Chinese food" at home. Call it a take-out fake-out.

I've learned through my kitchen experiments, if you want to make Asian cuisine you need some key staples in the pantry that you will use time and time again. Thus far, these ingredients for me have included soy sauce, hot chili sauce, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, brown sugar, sesame seeds, corn starch, and rice. There's other pre-made sauces you can purchase such as teryaki, sweet & sour, or you can be adventurous and make them from scratch (keep an eye out for my homemade sweet & sour sauce recipe - so easy!). Now, I do not, by any means, claim to be anything near an expert on authentic Asian food, but as a newlywed/new cook, I strive for delicious food that reflects the themes and tastes of the cuisine.

Over the next week, I'll post my favorite Asian cooking experiments so far. And I need to get into the kitchen and try a few more!
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