Recipes

Steve’s Recipes: Pad See Ew, Cake Pops and Fresh Homemade Pesto

Pad See Ew

For most of my life, I believed I didn’t like Thai food.  In the last few years I’ve realized how wrong I was.  My favorite Thai dish is pad see ew (pronounced “pad see you”).

Pad See Ew is made with rice noodles, sweet soy sauce, egg, vegetable of choice, and protein of choice, and it can range from mild and sweet to very spicy.

 In restaurants I order chicken.  At home, I use tofu, because it’s different and it’s a fun challenge to try to cook it well.  The vegetable is always broccoli because that’s practically the only vegetable we eat in this house.

The biggest change I made was how I was cooking the tofu.  The first few run-throughs, the tofu was awful.

It was soggy, it was mushy, it fell apart, and it tasted like, well, mush.  Now I dry fry the tofu and use a marinade.  The tofu is now flavorful and has a much more pleasing texture.

Also, I cut the recipe in half.  I don’t have a pan big enough to make the whole thing so I always ended up cooking in stages and dumping it all into a mixing bowl.

It’s not the best strategy.  The original also made at least 8 servings.  There are only two of us so we were quite sick of pad see ew by the time we finished it all.  This is the smaller version that I now use.

pad see ew

Ingredients

  • 7 oz extra firm organic tofu
  • 1 crown broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package rice noodles
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons black soy sauce, dark soy sauce, or thick soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature

Preparations

First, put the noodles in a bowl of hot water to soak.  This time I forgot that step so I used a pan of boiling water instead at the last-minute and rinsed the noodles afterwards.  Both methods work, but soaking is preferable.

Next, mix your marinade in a shallow bowl.  I used a 9×9 baking dish.  Combine the soy sauces, white pepper, red pepper flakes, and sugar.

Now, drain and press your tofu between two clean dish towels or paper towels to remove as much water as possible.

When your tofu is dry, cut it into pieces of desired size (just remember, you have to flip each one) and put them in the bottom of a frying pan on medium-low heat.

Make sure to use a single layer with space in between each piece.  Do not use any oil.  Fry the tofu on each side until it turns golden, like this.

When the tofu is done, add it to the marinade.

While the tofu marinades, check the noodles and add more hot water if needed.  Then cut the broccoli into florets and place them in the hot tofu pan with a bit (about 1/4 cup) of water.  Cover them until the water evaporates.

Push the broccoli to the side of the pan (or pour it into your nearby mixing bowl like I did) and put the sesame oil and garlic in the pan to brown.

Increase the heat to high.  Then pour in the drained noodles and the tofu and all the marinade.  Stir fry.

Make a space in the middle of your pan to scramble the eggs and add them to the stir fry.  Add the broccoli back in if you took it out (or mix it all in your mixing bowl) and you’re done.

Note, there are no pictures of the last part because I didn’t have time to stop in the middle.  The stir frying only takes a couple of minutes all together.

Getting Ready to Bake the Cake Pops

The Cake Pop instructions said to use cake mix (strike two! on their way to storage).  So I chose a recipe from The Moosewood Book of Desserts. Specifically the Festive Celebrations Cake.

So I could use  the egg whites I had in my frig from another baking project. That recipe makes cake for 50.

 cake pops

Ingredients

Here’s the recipe adjusted to make 36 cake pops:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (I always measure scant on sugar)
  • 2 cups flour (I used whole wheat. I meant to buy white–in honor of all things fussy–at the store,but my subconscious must have revolted and picked up the whole wheat flour instead)
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter  at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I make my own: 4 vanilla bean pods chopped and soaked in 1 quart brandy for 6 weeks)

 

Preparations

In a large bowl,  combine the sugar,  flour,  baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer on low speed,  beat the butter into the flour mixture.

Add 1/4 cup of the milk and continue beating for another minute or so. In a medium bowl,  lightly whisk together the rest of the milk,  the egg whites and the vanilla.

Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture at a time into the butter mixture,  beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Spoon the batter into the greased cake pop cups. Fill evenly to the top edge. If you underfill they won’t rise enough to make a perfect sphere.

If you overfill,  the dough spooges through the air hole in the top pan–leaving your children with yummy tidbits to nibble when you pull them out of the oven. So I’d err on overfilling.

Put the top tray on,  fasten with heatproof clips. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool on racks for about 10 minutes and then remove the top tray. Loosen the balls in the bottom tray and temper some chocolate.

Dip the plastic lollipop sticks into your tempered chocolate and gently insert into your lovely cake balls. Let set. Then provide more tempered chocolate,sprinkles and what not for children to decorate.

 

Fresh Homemade Pesto

Choose your favourite crusty bread as the base for this Italianized veggie version of the “croque-monsieur,” the bistro classic grilled cheese.

Fresh homemade pesto is always best, as red peppers roasted in your own oven, but store-bought versions will be fine in a pinch.

Any of the brands of shredded soy mozza we tested will be delicious. Make sure you give them time to melt well and brown.

Serves four

homemade pesto

Ingredients

  • 4 slices crusty bread, minimum ½ in. thick
  • 4 tbsp. basil pesto
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and sliced ( see Note)
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella flavoured soy cheese
  • 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped (opt.)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Preparations

  • Pre-heat the broiler.
  • Combine oil and garlic and let infuse for 10 minutes. Place the bread slices on a heavy baking sheet and brush with oil. Broil for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Remove and repeat on other side (can be prepared ahead)
  • Top each toasted slice with 1 tbsp of pesto, and cover with strips of roasted red pepper. Cover completely with shredded cheese and return to broiler.
  • Broil five to 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is lightly browned.

 

Serve immediately.

 

Note: To roast red peppers, rub each pepper with olive oil and place in a shallow baking pan. Broil, turning frequently until the skin is black and blistered.

Transfer the peppers to a small plastic bag, seal and let steam 15 minutes.

Using the back of a knife, pull away the charred skin, interior veins, seeds and stem. Store in a dish of olive oil (with garlic, if you like) until use.

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