We read that there are 450 Thai restaurants in Las Vegas. While we couldn’t confirm that number, it does seem that every corner, block and strip mall has a Thai eatery, no doubt the result of a sizable
population of Thais who have immigrated to Clark County. If you are ever in Vegas, stand outs Lemongrass on the strip or Le Thai in downtown are worth the visit.
But if you can’t make it there, you can always try making Thai Basil Chicken. Basically a stir fry, this dish whips up very quickly as stir fries do. Try to find Thai holy basil which has a peppery kick, but if you can’t, regular basil will work. You can also omit the chili peppers if you don’t like heat.
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Thai Basil Chicken
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 small chili peppers (such as red fresno or jalapeno), deveined and deseeded and diced
- 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cubed
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup Thai holy basil (can sub other basil)
- Olive oil
In a wok or shallow sided pan, add a bit of olive oil and sauté garlic and chili peppers until fragrant, careful not to brown garlic. Add more oil, and then chicken. Sauté until chicken begins to brown. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to combine (if mixture seems too dry, add additional oyster sauce and soy sauce by the teaspoon). Add basil and cook one minute longer, or until it begins to wilt. Serve with rice.
St. Louis loves their regional specialties including toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake, but now comes the Gerber Sandwich. This sandwich, first created by Ruma’s Deli and supposedly named after a
customer, is nothing more than an open faced ham and cheese on garlic bread with a sprinkling of paprika to jazz it up. The entire thing is broiled so the bread gets brown and toasted and the cheese gets warm and melted. Fancy? No. Delicious? Yes.
What kind of ham? Doesn’t matter, use whatever is on sale at the deli. What kind of cheese? In St. Louis, provel is used (a processed cheese food that is a combination of Swiss, provolone and cheddar), but because it is hard to find outside the region, we used provolone. The StateEats Kitchen churned these out for a few days last week and we were met with nothing but raves and kudos.
Check out the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow, a magnificent holiday light display, featuring a million lights and unique installations, now through January 1.
- 4 or 6 inch section of French or Italian bread
- 2-3 teaspoons butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2-4 slices of ham
- 2 slices Provolone cheese
Slice French bread long ways. In a small dish, mash garlic with butter. Spread on bread. Add ham, then cheese. Top with a sprinkle of paprika. Broil open faced on top rack of oven until cheese is melted and just begins to brown.
We’ve lived in the Chicago area for almost 20 years and have come across some delicious versions of Chicken Vesuvio. Harry Caray’s makes a mean version that they assert dates back to the 1920s, as does the venerable Gene & Georgetti. Although some people argue
that Chicken Vesuvio has its roots in New York, New Jersey or even southern Italy, we are swayed by the claim that this dish was invented at Vesuvio Restaurant which was located on Wacker Drive in the 1930s. That, and the fact that we never heard of this dish until we moved here.
The components of Chicken Vesuvio are pretty straightforward. Bone-in chicken pieces are pan seared. Potatoes are added, usually with a generous amount of garlic. Oregano (or some other herb, sometimes rosemary) is sprinkled throughout the dish, and a white wine sauce melds all the flavors together. Sometimes additional vegetables are added, like mushroom (like we did) or artichokes. The dish is finished in the oven and peas are added at the last moment. Where ever it came from, no one can argue that this dish is delicious at every bite.
Hurry to get your tickets for Chicago Gourmet 2016, September 24-25, 2016. This premier food festival has an impressive array of celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations and tastings.
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 3 potatoes, quartered and then sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 pounds chicken pieces, bone in
- 8-10 baby portabella mushrooms, quartered
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2-3 teaspoons oregano
- 1 cup frozen peas
In a large, oven proof pan, heat ¼ cup of the cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and garlic and cook until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup olive oil to pan. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken pieces. Cook skin side down until browned. Turn skin side up, then add mushrooms. Cook 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are browned. Return potatoes to the pan. Add stock, wine and oregano. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Place pan in oven to finish, about 40 minutes. Add the frozen peas during the last five minutes of baking.
Lobster is not the official state food of Maine, but it should be, with the love of the crustacean evident from lobster shacks that dot the coastline from Portland to Bar Harbor. We’ve talked before about
how lobster is a major component of the Pine Tree state’s economy with 121 million pounds landed in 2015 with a value of over $495 million, according to the state’s Department of Marine Resources.
So rich and delicious, lobster is a once-in-a while pricy indulgence that usually marks special occasions. However, if you want to fancify your next dinner or cocktail party without shelling out the major bucks, this recipe is perfect. One cup of lobster meat goes a long way with these stuffed mushrooms. Since it’s chopped finely, you can opt for the claws rather than the more expensive tail meat and no one will be the wiser.
The Maine Science Festival takes place March 18-20, 2016, in Bangor. Enjoy free lectures, demonstrations and exhibits on everything from brain anatomy to aquaculture.
Lobster Stuffed Mushrooms
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 12 large mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked lobster (about 1/2 lb.)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Parsley, chopped (optional)
In a small sauté pan, add olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add chopped shallot and garlic and sauté until shallot becomes translucent. While the shallot and garlic is cooking, gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and set on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, add cooked lobster, cooked shallot and garlic, oregano, breadcrumbs, and parmesan. Mix well and then season with salt and pepper. Stuff each of the mushrooms with the breadcrumb lobster mixture. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Add small slice of cheddar cheese on top of each mushroom and parsley if using. Bake five more minutes or until cheese on top is melted and bubbling.
At first blush, fish sauce wings do not sound particularly appetizing. After all, this pungent Southeast Asian sauce made from anchovies and fermented in wooden barrels is intensely flavored and
something of an acquired taste. But diners in Portland, Oregon, have been clamoring for fish sauce wings ever since Andy Ricker maxed out his credit cards in 2007 to open Pok Pok restaurant. Insanely popular there, Ricker opened outposts in NYC and LA in the intervening years.
These wings are a bit sweet, a bit salty, a bit crunchy and a bit spicy, and have been described by Ricker as “umami bombs.” We bet that you too will become strangely addicted before you can finish the batch and lick your fingers.
What goes great with chicken wings? Beer! Head on over to the Hood River Hops Fest, September 26, 2015, which showcases fresh hops beers from 36 Northwest breweries.
Fish Sauce Wings
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 cup warm water
- 2 lbs. chicken wings, separated
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup tempura batter
- Vegetable oil
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (optional)
For marinade: Combine garlic, salt and warm water in a small bowl. Let set for a few minutes. Combine fish sauce and sugar in a deep dish or marinade tray. Using a mesh sieve, take garlic mixture and mash garlic through the sieve into the marinade tray until all the liquid is gone. Scrape out any leftover garlic that did not go through the sieve and reserve in a small dish for later. Add chicken to the marinade. Marinate for 6-8 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.
For frying chicken: Heat oil to 325 degrees. Fry garlic until golden brown, remove with a slotted spot and reserve. Combine rice flour and tempura batter. Remove chicken from marinade and reserve the marinade. Coat chicken in flour mixture. Fry in batches for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. While chicken is frying, take leftover marinade and add to a wok along with ¼ cup water and Sriracha sauce if desired. Boil mixture for 1-2 minutes. Keep warm. As chicken finishes, remove pieces with tongs and place in sauce, tossing each piece completely. Remove chicken and sprinkle with half of the fried garlic. Fry remaining batch of chicken, tossing in sauce and then adding garlic. Serve immediately.