Kid Friendly Chicken Pad Thai – Gluten Free and Packed with Nutrients

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I’ve made this 12 times over the last six months and both of my daughters still adore it.  I pack it with whatever vegetables are in season, so what’s not to love?

My 16 year old especially asks for this every time I cook.  As I’ve written before, my daughters both love Asian food, and I am much more of an Italian food flavor person.  However, the virtues of this dish are endless.  It is very healthy, low fat, gluten free (if you use gluten free soy sauce), packed with veggies, easy to make, can be eaten hot or cold and reheats beautifully.  This is an all around winner, but you have been warned, if you make it once you will get to make over and over again.

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Ingredients for the Sauce:

2 Teaspoons sesame oil

4 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce – stock

3 Tablespoons lime juice or 2 limes squeezed in pan

3 Tablespoons tangerine juice or 2 tangerines squeezed in pan

2 Tablespoons chopped or grated fresh ginger

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

Pad Thai

Ingredients for the Pad Thai:

8 oz. Pad Thai noodles

½ lb. thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

½ Tablespoon sesame oil

2 medium carrots purchased grated

1 red pepper chopped

1 head broccoli chopped into bite size pieces

1 zucchini diced Salted/roasted peanuts (optional)

2 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Preparation:

1. In a glass bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. You can cook the rice noodles by submerging them in a bowl of warm water until they are tender or let them sit while you do the following steps.

3. Heat a large wok and add sesame oil. When oil is hot add the chicken and ginger and cook until chicken is white.

4. Add vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes so they are still crunchy. Remove the pan from heat and toss in the noodles and sauce. Toss well to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts and serve warm.

*I do not use egg in my Pad Thai because my children do not like it, but if you would like to add it then scramble one egg along with the chicken and ginger in step 4.

Summer Entertaining – Oyster Cup & Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

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On a recent week-end we enjoyed the Argentinian cooking of the catering crew on the polo fields of the 2014 Oyster Cup benefiting the Emergency Fund for Breast Cancer.  The Cerro Pampa Polo Club has such a  beautiful setting and a very family friendly environment.    One of so many things to love about this event apart from the food is that after the polo matches everyone dances together.  Adults, kids of all ages, and a handful of dogs.  It is always so much fun for me, but I was pleasantly surprised this year to find that my teenagers still enjoyed going.  The afternoon also proved that you don’t need a kitchen to feed a large group of people.  Raw oysters, grilled meat and some chimichurri is all you need.

Argentina is known for high quality meats and they did not disappoint serving grilled steak and Chimichurri sauce with lots of crunchy bread and side salads to the hungry spectators and players on the polo field.   This dinner complimented the oyster bar that was open during the polo match.  Both the dinner and oysters were delicious.  No recipe required for raw oysters of course, but this is the recipe from the master’s at Food Network for Steak Gaucho-Style with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce.  I make my own Chimichurri, but use whatever herbs I have on hand and love it with lots and lots of fresh basil from my garden and like it served over anything (see it over grilled chicken above).  Traditional chimichurri is comprised mostly of parsley, but like many things in life, chimichurri requires that you experiment a little to suit your own tastes.

Sydney’s Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup lightly flat leaf parsley

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium size shallot minced

1/4 teaspoon chille pepper flakes

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 of a lime (use other half for garnish)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Wash and remove stems from herbs.  Then using a Bullet or food processor blend all ingredients until still a little bit chunky.  Serve immediately.  Store remaining sauce in an airtight container,  but note that this sauce will not last more than a few days and is best as soon as it is made.

 

ABOUT CERRO PAMPA POLO FIELDS

Cerro Pampa Polo Club, located in Petaluma, California, is a full-sized, fully-boarded Bermuda Grass Polo Field with and exercise track and on-site boarding. Cerro Pampa, made famous by the Oyster Cup Tournament enjoys a younger polo crowd with a laid back atmosphere. It’s a fun place to learn and play polo and is the San Francisco bay area’s only polo club.

Caprese Pasta Salad

This recipe is dedicated to Pauline, a little girl on our volleyball team, who loved this salad and asked me personally for the recipe (love that).  I am always trying to make yummy food for the parking lot where we congregate between games during all day volleyball tournaments.  Kids don’t typically love the traditional pasta salad recipe so I decided to try this instead.  I think it was a hit because of the simple fresh ingredients and the Gemelli (Barilla) pasta that stays al dente.

1 box or 16 oz of Gemelli (twisted pasta)

1 small basket cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 bunch fresh basil

8 oz package of fresh monzzarella cheese in bite size pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt & fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

Put pasta water on to boil and prepare as package directs.  Wash and dry tomatoes and basil.  Cut tomatoes in half and tear basil leaves from stems.  You will need a nice size handful of basil leaves.  Use a good size bowl so it will be easy to toss and coat each pasta piece.  I like to add my ingredients to the bottom of the bowl while the pasta is cooking so they can begin to incorporate.  So, add olive oil, halved tomatoes and a sprinkling of sea salt to the bowl.

Rinse pasta in a colander and allow to cool completely.  Add pasta to the ingredients in the bowl, then add the fresh monzzarella.  You can use smaller balls or chop a larger ball into bite size pieces.   Add fresh basil and another sprinkling of salt over the cooled pasta.

Gently toss all of the ingredients together as the basil and monzzaella can be very delicate If the pasta looks dry add another teaspoon of olive oil.

If you are serving this to young children omit the black pepper and just add it to the individual portions for the adults who will appreciate it.

This is delicious cold, naturally, but left overs can also be heated in the microwave for a light lunch.

If you are not doing a picnic you can serve this with a grilled steak.  It would be an easy dish to make ahead for company.

Real Food for Real People

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Sydney Chaney Thomas –
Real Food For Real People
Coming to Amazon March 2014 (photo by Christina Shook)

Several years ago, I found the time in tiny intervals to write a little cookbook.  I self published it and give it to friends.  A few months later, I was invited to present it at the State of California Food Conference, where it was very well received.  I was encouraged to expand it and get it published, but life intervened and I let it go.  Over the summer of 2013 it kept whispering to me, “Sydney, you need to finish the cookbook”.  Now finally, it’s done, or as done as any creative endeavor can ever be, and will be available on Amazon (Kindle) in the Spring of 2014.  It truly has been a labor of love.  My dearest wish and greatest hope is that it will help other people.

I’m proud of the fact that my food is very simple to execute and as a result of that I had a number of different titles that conveyed that, but my editor (Neo Garaby) recommended that I not call the book,  Easy Food for Lazy Moms, or the even more controversial, Easy Meals for Drunk Moms, but all joking aside, the book is created for people who may be distracted and/or drinking a little wine while cooking.

In these pages you will find not just my recipes, but other topics that I hold most dear.

Blessings to the kind souls who have encouraged me every step of the way.   I love you all.