Thai Beef & Basil Stir Fry

Just a recipe to share on a gloomy Sunday morning. I don’t eat Thai food because there secretly are peanuts and other nuts hiding everywhere and I don’t feel like dying over some tasty food. Despite this, Thai food still appeals to me. It has such rich colours, flavours and spices. My solution: learn to cook Thai at home.

My first attempt at homemade Thai food was Thai Beef & Basil Stir Fry.

1. This was one  of those times where I don`t read the ingredients properly and then when I make the recipe, I have that moment of “Ugh, should I still make this or wait to make it later? Or should I go to the store? Which is just around the corner… Well I’m hungry…” Even with my substitutions it tasted amazing so I can only imagine what it will taste like next time. Instead of Thai basil leaves I used a combination of dried oregano and thyme. Instead of Thai bull’s eye chilies (which I didn’t use more  because of the fact I couldn’t find them) I used dried chili flakes.

2. This was so yummy. It was warm, and spicy, perfect for curling up on the couch with on a rainy day. The beef was tender and juicy, smothered in classic Thai flavours like fish and oyster sauces, garlic and chilies. The sauce was liquid without drowning the rice and beef. It had that caramel, sweet flavour of soya sauce. It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked but that came from using chili flakes instead of real chilies.

Both GC and I loved this dish and has turned me on to making more Thai food. The next Thai dish I am going to attempt is Pad Thai.

Recipe below the cut. Happy munching!

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Pumpkin Chili

Last Thursday I used my new crock pot for the first time to make Pumpkin Chili.

1. Does anyone see chili and think, “Yum, that looks appetizing?” Because I know I don’t. Topped with sour cream, cheese and some bacon, sure, that warrants that kind of response but not normally.  I also am not one to love chili but this recipe was so enticing I had to give it a try.

2. I got an ice cream maker last year for my birthday and still have yet to use it. And in August I finally put the bowl in the freezer so I can actually use it. The crock pot however, has already been used. I think this is an improvement and proves that useful is sometime better than fun.

3. When I was a kid, I hated the crock pot. I had a theory that everything that came out of the crock pot was terrible and disgusting. This was obviously not true as my mother is an amazing cook, I was just being a gremlin.

4. I actually didn’t have any of this chili, GC ate all of it (which is perfectly fine and he didn’t eat it all in one sitting so don’t judge him!). GC loved this chili – it was spicy, but not harmfully so. GC is a little bit of a wuss when it comes to spice but he was able to enjoy this, but he was sweating by the end. It had a subtle pumpkin flavour to it; notes of pumpkin rather than a slap to the face with a pie. The beans and ground beef added a heartiness to it, that was warm and comforting. The chili was filling but did not make him feel bloated or uncomfortable. It also kept him full for a long time. A perfect meal to be enjoyed on a cold, rainy day or a hard day at work.

Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

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Steak & Mushroom Florentine

Last week for dinner I made Campbell’s Steak & Mushroom Florentine.

1. Using actual grilling steak as suggested instead of stewing beef makes a huge difference. The steak is tender and chewy making it unnecessary for one to use a knife.

2. This recipe called for one small onion and I really need to learn what that means – I think the onion I used was a medium size onion which for my tastes, was great. Other might not have appreciated this as much as I did. I think on my next trip to the grocery store I will have to buy a bag of small, yellow/Spanish onions.

3. I hate wilted spinach. It makes me feel like Popeye and it has no flavour.

4. I think next time I would add chopped mushrooms to bring out that rooty flavour of the soup and then maybe I could eliminate the spinach with the justification that I am still eating vegetables? But then this wouldn’t be a Florentine anymore and would just be a stroganoff but there’s nothing wrong with that.

5. Serve over egg noodles – No Yolks – there is no alternative.