Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Tonight I made Larb for dinner.  And it was marvelous!  Larb is a Thai dish that is often served as an appetizer.  It is a luscious blend of ground turkey, red onion, Serrano pepper and a delicious sauce - served in tender butter-lettuce cups.  A dinner serving was two cups with a side of Japanese rice made in our rice cooker - a must for any authentic Asian meal. 

I have made other Larb recipes, but none compared with this one.   My son and I both loved it.  He ate the leftovers today - cold - and said they were delicious.  The recipe was from one of my new favorite cooking magazines:  the Food Network Magazine.  I confess that I am an avid fan of the Food Network and the magazine features recipes by many of the cooks I have come to know and love, and even had an eye-opening article on how the show Chopped (my favorite TV show) is filmed.    The recipe for Turkey Larb was in the May 2013 issue and is as follows:

For the dressing:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1-3 T. fresh lemon juice (I used 2)
2 T. fish sauce (can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket)
2 T. Honey

For the Larb:
3 T. vegetable or canola oil (I used 2 T. canola)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 4-inch piece lemongrass, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Thai chile (such as prik kee noo) or Serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced (I wore gloves to stem and remove the seeds from my Serrano chile)
Kosher Salt
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (I used 1 pound ground breast meat)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated

1.  Make the dressing in a small bowl; whisk the lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce, and honey, and set aside.
2.  Make the larb;  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, shallots, lemongrass, and chile, and salt to taste.  Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the turkey and season with salt..  Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat and vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Add the dressing to the pan and cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the mint leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Spoon larb mixture into lettuce leaves and serve. 

I hope you will try this healthy and satisfyingly delicious meal.  Until next time, happy and healthy eating!

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Been a Long Time!

These past few months have been busy!  My baby got into college.  Yes, my "baby"!  Read:  applications, essays, recommendations, deadlines, and headaches. He also got a scholarship to the college he will be attending.  Read:  another application, more essays, recommendations, deadlines, and headaches.  His prom was about a month ago - tuxedo rental, party bus (yes, you read that correctly), pictures, and more headaches.  We threw him a graduation party with his 3 best friends - lots of fun but it took us over 3 months to plan it.  My oldest son is home from college for the summer, which is nice.  But both boys will be getting their wisdom teeth out in a couple of weeks, which is not so nice.  For these and various other reasons, it has been a LONG TIME since I have posted on my Blog, something I once did daily.  Consequently, there is so much I want to share with you.  Alas, "headlines" are going to have to do.
I have a favorite baker who happens to be 100% vegan.  She is my go-to person for cakes and cupcakes.  She made a German chocolate cake for my husband's birthday and it was luscious.  Her "cookies and cream" and "the pretty" cupcakes were so delicious that when I recently shared them with some friends, they could not believe they were not loaded with butter and cream.  They are honestly the best cupcakes I have had   I have a Blog post about her.  She is My Vegan Baker.  Please check her site out when you get the chance.
Ethiopian cuisine has become one of my favorites.  I just got a cookbook by Marcus Samuelson that features African cooking and I am dying to try some of the recipes.  I found a restaurant that sells Injera down the street from where I live and took it as a sign that I am, in fact, to embrace this new cuisine.   (Note:  Injera is the spongy flat bread with which one scoops up the saucy dishes that comprise Ethiopia's incredibly complex dishes). 
A wonderful winery has opened just up the street from us.  It is called The Winery at Bull Run and features some of the best red wines, including one called Meritage, and probably the best red dessert wine I have had.  I buy a bottle of it almost every time I go there and, as decadent as it sounds, I often sip on it while I cook.   The picture (above) was taken when the winery first opened.  It is a view from the back patio/grass area.  Now, whenever I go there, that area is PACKED with people sitting at picnic tables, playing various games, and sipping on their favorite wines. 
I still try to keep fiber way up and fat way down in my diet, which has become challenging with some of my new cravings and all of the wonderful graduation parties I have been attending.  To supplement my daily walks, I plan to increase my flexibility by taking a Yoga class.  Speaking of my daily walks, just up the road from my favorite winery are some beautiful, historic hiking trails.  I try to hit one of them at least once a week to add some variety to my routine.   
Well, that's it for now.  I am trying to decide what direction to take with my Blog now that my "nest" will soon be empty.  I hope life has been treating you all well.   Until next time,  happy and healthy eating!