Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.

Summer is almost done but we are officially in the middle of a heat wave. You know those shots in movies of a long, empty road, heat lines shimmering up from the pavement? Maybe a tumbleweed blows by, lazy and misshapen? That’s our living room right now. In this case the “tumbleweed” is Arya, our rescue dog who, for a pup who lived her first year on the streets of West Virginia, is hilariously particular about the range of temperatures she finds acceptable. 70º – 75ºF is fine, but a few degrees in either direction and get ready for dramatic sighs and woeful glances.

I hear you, puppy. I’m hot too.

Arya, hot and cranky
Arya, hot and cranky

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Easy Home-made Kimchi

Matt here. Emily’s going to come in with the important tasting notes and all that later in the article, but I just wanted to share an anecdote from our very early cohabitation. When we first moved in together, I remember I was clearing room in the fridge – and at the time, Emily had a really beautiful spacious fridge (I think it was even bigger than the one we have now) and there was plenty of room to hide stuff at the back of the shelves. I was clearing out room to fit in whatever we’d bought together at the store, and I spotted a jar whose contents were unfamiliar to me. I opened the lid and, I don’t remember now, but I probably cursed. I think I might have warned Emily that there was something really bad in there that needed to be thrown away right that second, and preferably triple-bagged. I warned her that we might have to replace the fridge. I warned her that we might have to move.

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Sesame Noodles with Crispy Baked Tofu

Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu

Revenge doesn’t have to be the only dish best served cold. We combine crispy baked tofu cubes with cold noodles in a spicy sesame – peanut sauce for a fantastic dinner or picnic recipe.

We’re adopting a new strategy to help us cope with the cold Northeast spring: we’re simply going to pretend that it’s summer. That’s right, readers: the tiki bar has been set out in the garden (which, incidentally, is BLOOMING), we’ve slathered on a healthy layer of SPF50, and we’re putting together all sorts of yummy goodies to take on our next picnic. Yes, it’s perfect weather to take a room-temperature noodle dish out on the deck or to our local park. Okay, all that may not be true, but this recipe is a perfect meal to make when you don’t need to serve up a hot dinner. 

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Japanese-style Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs (Tsukune)

Japanese-style Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs (Tsukune)

These Japanese-style chicken meatball skewers, called Tsukune, are grilled to a deep golden brown and brushed with a sweet soy glaze. Great for game day snacks or just when you feel like eating something on a stick (which is every day for us). 

Well, it’s finally that time of year. You know, when we can all go outside, hang out on the deck with friends, throw stuff on the grill, enjoy the warm summer’s evening because OF COURSE NOT, IT’S JANUARY, WE JUST GOT DONE WITH -10F TEMPS, ARE YOU CRAZY. And yet this weekend my inbox included an email from our favorite national home-improvement chain inviting me to shop all their grill options. Thank you, Home Depot, I’ll wait until I can defrost the patio furniture before I start thinking about firing up the grill.

But who are we to tell you when you can and can’t eat something? If you want to make a strawberry Pavlova in November, or roast a butternut squash in March, you do that, friend, and go with our blessing. If you feel like grilling meatballs on a stick in January, whether you brave the cold to man the grill, or use a grill pan on your stovetop, or forgo the grill entirely and opt for the broiler, is there any good reason you shouldn’t? There isn’t. There’s no good reason at all.

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce Fresh, light and delicious, Vietnamese summer rolls are a great appetizer or light meal any time of the year. Crisp vegetables, bright herbs and shrimp are rolled in a rice paper wrapper, with a side of sweet and salty peanut sauce for dipping. 

If you’ve ever eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant (or had the pleasure of traveling to the country, you adventurer), you’ve probably had summer rolls. They’re sometimes called “fresh spring rolls” or “salad rolls”, but not to be confused with traditional spring rolls, which are often smaller, fried, and filled with cooked vegetables and pork. These are the epitome of fresh and light, filled with finely shredded raw vegetables (we used purple cabbage, carrots, cucumber & scallions, as well as butter lettuce), lots of bright herbs like mint, cilantro and basil, rice vermicelli noodles and poached shrimp, all wrapped up like a translucent burrito in a rice paper wrapper.

We love the flavors of Vietnamese cooking (as you can tell by some of our previous recipes: Vietnamese-style baked chicken and Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa). I first made Vietnamese Summer Rolls over a decade ago and I’ve been wanting to make them again ever since. When we found out we were going to have a weekend houseguest, our 12-year-old niece Charlotte, who is an adventurous eater and a great cook in her own right, we thought these would be a fun dish to make together.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Charlotte making a Summer Roll

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Bulgogi Burgers with Kimchi Mayo

Bulgogi Burgers with Kimchi Mayo

When we want the flavors of bulgogi and the convenient outdoor grilling method of a burger, there’s an easy solution: combine them. By sticking with the tried-and-tested burger, glazing it with a spicy soy-ginger-garlic-gochujung sauce, and stacking it with kimchi mayo and pickled daikon radish, you can keep the best of both worlds without offending culinary purists.

This recipe was originally written for Serious Eats.

We’ve all experienced what I like to call “fusion fails”. Two culinary concepts which, taken individually, are perfectly respectable, but in combination create a whole that is … let’s just say less than the sum of its parts. For example, I love fruit, I love cheese, but bits of fruit IN cheese? No thank you. I love bacon, and I’m a fan of vodka, but bacon-flavored vodka (yes, this exists)? I’ll pass. The most successful fusions take two examples which aren’t so far separated on the food spectrum that you have to take a leap of faith that the result is even edible, let alone worth the trouble of combining them. Croissants and doughnuts can at least both be found on the bakery shelf, and thus we have the cronut. And bulgogi, the Korean staple, uses thin strips of beef that are marinated and seared, so why not apply those flavors to a perfectly grilled burger? To be honest, making up names like “cronut” and “flagel” isn’t our forte, so we’re simply calling this the “bulgogi burger”. If you’re as nerdy as we are, you might like to call this a “crossover episode” – where stars from two different shows team up to make a delicious dinner! (This is why we don’t write TV shows.)

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