Pad Thai is one of the dishes that first comes to mind among Canadians when thinking of Thai cuisine. Sadly, most North American restaurant versions are little more than a big plate of uninspiring saucy noodles. A good pad Thai will be a medley of carefully matched ingredients that combine to create a plateful of sweet, sour, and salty flavours. If your wok or skillet is small, you may need to make this recipe in two batches.
6 oz (170 g) thin rice noodles (vermicelli), preferably brown rice
1/2 block firm tofu
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped tamarind pulp (or equivalent rice vinegar)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut palm sugar or honey
2 dried Thai bird chili, crushed, or 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried red chili flakes
1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed or peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) bean sprouts, plus more for garnish
3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried shrimp (optional)
1 lime, sliced into wedges
Place noodles in large bowl, cover with boiling water, and let soak until tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Drain noodles and slice the bunch in half. Set aside.
To remove excess moisture from tofu, layer cutting board with two layers of paper towels and place tofu on top. Lay fresh towel on top of tofu. Place weighted object on top of tofu and let sit 15 minutes. Slice pressed tofu into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) cubes.
In small bowl, mix tamarind pulp with 1/4 cup (60 mL) boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Press mixture through fine sieve and reserve tamarind water. Stir together tamarind water (or rice vinegar) with soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar or honey, and chili.
In wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu and stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add noodles and stir-fry for 1 minute more. Stir in sprouts and tamarind mixture and stir-fry until noodles have absorbed the sauce, about 1 minute.
Push noodle mixture to one side of pan; add eggs and cook, stirring, until eggs are scrambled. Add peanuts, green onions, and dried shrimp if using and combine with noodles and egg. Stir-fry for 1 minute more.
Place on serving plates and garnish with additional peanuts and bean sprouts. Serve with lime wedges.
Each serving contains: 302 calories; 12 g protein; 11 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 39 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 3 g fibre); 501 mg sodium
source: "Stir-Up Delicious Thai Food", alive #364, February 2013
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.