Looking Forward to Fall

As usual, summer is over and I never had time to enjoy it.  But here are some new books and international recipes to take you into the fall season.

Chicken With Thai Basil Kai Pat Horapa

Two of my friends and fellow authors have finally written a cookbook about a cuisine that I love.

From “Nong’s Thai Kitchen: 84 Classic Recipes That Are Quick, Healthy and Delicious” (Tuttle) by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley

This simple recipe is probably one of the most popular dishes on any Thai menu. The beautiful aroma of the Thai basil makes it one of my favorite dishes, and it only takes a few minutes to prepare.  To make the dish spicier, chop the hot chilies rather than slicing them; that way, more chili flavor will spread throughout the dish in the final step.  You might remember Chef Nong’s name from “Food Network’s Pad Thai Throwdown Challenge” where she won over celebrity chef Bobby Flay, proving her mastery and skill in preparing Thai cuisine.

Nong is the executive chef and owner of the Thai Basil Restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia.  She is also the author of several Asian cookbooks.  Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, cookbook author, editor and freelance writer, and was a staff food editor for Vegetarian Times magazine.  Both women are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Makes 4 servings.

Seasoning Sauce

1/4 cup (60 ml) chicken stock

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce

Chicken Mixture

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 lb (500 g) thinly sliced chicken breast

1/2 yellow onion, peeled, halved and cut length-wise into 1/2-in (12.5-mm) slices

2 cups (200 g) thinly sliced fresh

mushrooms

1 cup (130 g) cut green beans, blanched

2 green onions (scallions), cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces

1 cup (30 g) fresh Thai basil leaves

3 fresh hot chilies, chopped or thinly sliced on the diagonal

Combine all seasoning sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it turns golden, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry the meat until it turns white, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the seasoning sauce, stirring a few times. Stir in the sliced onion, mushrooms, green beans, and green onions. Finally, add the Thai basil leaves and chilies and stir until well mixed. Serve hot.

Eggplant Rolls With Honey, Mint, and Sesame Seeds

Fresh mint and honey are complemented by the soft texture of the eggplant.  Serve as an appetizer or as part of a mezze with other small dishes.

Spices make it possible to travel far and wide on a culinary plane and also open an extra dimension in cooking that can transform dishes from ordinary to sublime.  “The Spice Kitchen: Flavorful Recipes from Around the World” by Michal Haines (Interlink) unlocks the best-kept secrets of culinary traditions from around the world.  Talented chef Michal Haines has developed an impressive knowledge of and genuine love affair with these precious ingredients.  Coupled with stunning photographs, this book will inspire new directions in your culinary repertoire, and the full A-Z guide in identifying, storing, and cooking with spices will help demystify the art of using them.

2 large eggplants, tops trimmed, cut length-wise into 1/4-inch strips

vegetable or grape seed oil for baking

1 teaspoon iodized salt

6 tablespoons good quality honey

6 tablespoons well-washed, finely chopped mint

6 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan until brown

juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350°F, Arrange the eggplant strips with a little space between each on a rimmed baking sheet.  Moisten each with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake until browned and soft, 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, patting them with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Drizzle the eggplant strips with the honey, then sprinkle with some of the mint and some of the sesame seeds.  Roll up each strip and place on a serving plate.  Sprinkle lemon juice over the top and scatter strips with the remaining mint and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

From Chef William E. Jones, executive dining chef for the B.F. Saul Company who  began his culinary adventure in 1981 when his parents moved from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, to Daegu, South Korea, to do contract work for the United States military. As a seven-year-old in a completely new environment, he looked for fun and exciting things. The local open-air markets and small dive restaurants captivated him, and living in Micronesia gave him a unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best seafood. He looks back often, referencing his experience overseas and using it to inspire fresh, bold flavors in his food.  Now he has the privilege of serving a fantastic group of executives for the B.F. Saul group of companies.

1 ounce extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. quinoa

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon raw sugar juice of 4 large limes, divided

2 ounces chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon raw sugar

2 1/2 cups water

2 ounces chopped cilantro, divided

2 cloves chopped fresh garlic

Add olive oil and garlic to a medium sauce pan over medium/high heat. Sauté garlic until lightly browned and then add quinoa. Stir quinoa until coated; add salt, sugar and 2 1/2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and add 1/2 of the lime juice and 1/2 of the cilantro. Continue to stir while simmering for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and let it rest covered on the stove for about 10 minutes.  Once quinoa is fully cooked, add the remaining lime juice and cilantro and mix. Quinoa is now ready to reserve chilled for service. To reheat, use a small sauté pan over low heat and a little water for 2 minutes or until hot.

Editor’s note: For more edible delights by Sheilah Kaufman, go to www. cookingwithsheilah.com.

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