Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Oozy Eggplant Stack

Still struggling through life without meat, I've been trying to get creative with some new vegetarian dishes.  Eggplant is a great meat substitute as it is a very hearty vegetable with a solid, meaty texture.  However, it does not contain any of the nutritional benefits of meat, so make sure you are getting your protein elsewhere. 

I wanted to achieve a different taste sensation in each layer - the sweet tomato sauce, the meaty eggplant, the creamy mozzarella, a hit of hot peppery arugula''.  I knew I was about to get a little piece of heaven when I saw the mozzarella come oozing out with my first cut.  I was not disappointed when I shoveled a massive bite into my mouth, it was absolutely delicious, DELICIOUS.


Although, eggplant is not as bitter as it once was, when I'm using a
large eggplant, I usually salt it to draw out the additional moisture.  Place the slices on a rack and generouslly sprinkle with course salt.  After 30 minutes, quickly rinse and pat dry.

Ingredients

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 14-oz can (400 g) whole tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
2 eggplants, sliced into rounds
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups canola oil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups arugula (rocket), chopped
2 mozzarella balls, sliced into rounds

Directions

1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cooks, stirring, until softened.

2. Meanwhile, blend tomatoes with juice in a blender until almost smooth. Add tomatoes, water, and sugar to saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and season.

3. Add canola oil to deep sauce pan over high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge eggplant slices, shaking off excess. Pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel.

4. Add remaining tbsp oil to a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook remaining garlic with red-pepper flakes, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir through arugula, and season.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). To arrange stacks, use 4 ring molds on a baking sheet. Place 2 tsp of tomato sauce on the bottom of each and top with a slice of eggplant. Arrange mozzarella over eggplant and top with 2 tsp of tomato sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and top with 1/4 of arugula mixture. Top with another slice of eggplant and 2 tsp of tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with basil strips and torn mozzarella.

Who needs meat?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I promise it tastes better than it looks!!

My Tiramisu might not be the most beautiful dessert you've ever laid your eyes on, but there's a reason why this popular Italian cake is seen on menus all over the world.  No one can deny the overwhelming sensation you get when you sink your teeth into this decadent treat.  It's sweet and rich while still light, cool and refreshing.  This heavenly dessert literally melts in your mouth! 

Basically, it is made of savoiardi bisuits (lady fingers) dipped in strong coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of mascarpone or custard, and topped with cocoa.  Follow these few basics steps and come up with your own rendition!  Make sure to allow enough time to chill (at least 4 hours).  This isn't a dessert that you can whip up right before dinner! 

Tiramisu


Ingredients

3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 cup caster sugar (superfine)
300 mL mascarpone cheese  (about 10 oz)
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1/4 cup brandy
1 20-count package of savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers)
1 tbsp dark chocolate, grated
1 tbsp cocoa, sifted

Directions

1. Beat egg yolk and sugar together until pale.  Fold in mascarpone and set aside.

2. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold into mascarpone mixture.  By beating the egg whites separately, you will keep the mixture very light and fluffy.

3. Mix coffee and brandy in flat bottomed bowl.  Quickly dip each biscuit to absorb the mixture without become soggy.  Line the base of your dish with half of the biscuits.  Choose an appropriately sized dish for this task.

4. Cover biscuits with half of mascarpone mixture.  Combine grated chocolate and cocoa and sprinkle over lightly.  Repeat with another layer of soaked biscuits and remaining mascarpone mixture Chill in the refrigerator for atleast 4 hours.

5. Just before serving, sprinkle with remaining chocolate and cocoa.

For my next tiramisu, I'm going to try out making my own sponge instead of using saviordi biscuits!  I think I might use Grand Marnier instead of brandy and throw in some orange zest for a fresh and summery taste!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Easy Lenten Meal!

No, it's not Friday, but in a moment of insanty, I chose to give up meat for Lent... this is not going to be an easy 40 days.  I almost always incorporate meat in my meals so this will force me to expand my horizons a bit and create some new meatless dishes that will still be satisfying.  Not that last night's dinner really 'expanded my horizons' but let me set the scene... can't eat meat, temperatures have cooled drastically for a couple days, slightly sore throat, fridge full of veggies, homemade chicken stock in the freezer... maybe you know where I'm going with this?


I absolutely love homemade soups and they are so easy!  I always make a big batch so we can enjoy some leftovers!  After a few easy steps, we had a hearty and healthy pot of soup to enjoy for a couple of days.  For this vegetable soup, I literally used all of the veggies that I could find in the fridge - celery, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, corn... there aren't too many standard veggies that won't fit the bill . I started the soup by sweating some onions and garlic, and stirred in the celery after a few minutes.  I then tossed in a big bowl of veggies, cooked for a few minutes, and covered with chicken stock.  After bringing to a simmer, I added a can of tomatoes (undrained), a can each of drained and rinsed red kidney beans and cannellini beans, threw in a couple bay leaves, seasoned, and simmered for about 30 minutes.  I had a few fresh tomatoes as well so I seeded, chopped, and threw those in last minute.         

I found some whole wheat pasta in the pantry so I decied to add it to the vegetable soup to make it a bit more filling .  I like to cook my pasta separately and add to each serving as I HATE mushy pasta in soup.  I threw in a few leaves of spinach just before serving so they would wilt slightly but maintain the shape and flavor. 

The point of this story is that you don't need a recipe.  Play around, use what you have, be creative.  I also find it very important to taste as you go.  As my stock was homemade, I added a bit more salt than I probably would have if I had used store bought stock that already contains quite a bit of sodium. 

I am looking forward to enjoying some delicious and healthy vegetarian meals over the next month or so.  Feel free to share your favorites!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Italian-inspired Salad

If you've ever been Italy, I'm sure you've tried or at least seen the very common antipasto combination of melon and prosciutto.  Before my visit, I had never experienced this delicious duo.  It initially seemed a bit strange to me, but the salty prosciutto couldn't ask for a better mate than the sweet juicy melon.

As is the custom at my Italian meals, we enjoyed a fresh salad featuring prosciutto and canteloupe after our main course.  This salad takes no time to put together and in one bite, you get a peppery, salty, sweet, and sour sensation.  What a workout for your taste buds!

Prosciutto, Melon, & Arugula Salad

Ingredients

1/4 canteloupe (rockmelon)
8 slices of proscuitto
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cups baby argula (rocket)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1.  Cut canteloupe into large cubes. Slice prociutto in half lengthwise. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned.  Set all aside.
2. To dress rocket leaves, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, and salt.  Slowly add olive oil while whisking to emulsify.  Toss with arugula. 
3. Arrage melon and prosciutto over salad and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gobi Masala

I must admit, I am not a big fan of cauliflower, I have never been a fan.  And it requires such much washing!  (That sounds pretty lazy.)  This is probably about the only way that I truly enjoy eating cauliflower, but boy do I enjoy it! 

I was definitely more pleased with this dish than the palak paneer.  As I said yesterday, I wasn't loving the textures but everything came out perfect with my gobi masala!  The cauliflower is usually fried before adding to the masala but to make it a bit healthier, I decided to braise/steam my cauliflower in the pan with the all of the spices and aromatics.  I couldn't ask for more in a flavorful and healthy dish.  The cilantro garnish added a hint of freshness on top of the spice and more savory flavors.

 Gobi Masala (Spiced Cauliflower)



Ingredients

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 green chilies, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Directions

1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add chilies, ginger and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
3. Add tomatoes and cook until you can see the oil separating from the mixture.
4. Once oil has separated from the tomato mixture, add the spices and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the cauliflower and 1 cup of water.  Mix well to coat the cauliflower.  Cover mostly allowing a slight bit of steam to be released and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionaly, until the cauliflower is tender.
5. Add salt to taste, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"I'm an Indian Outlaw..."

Not quite the same message as Tim McGraw's song, but that's what I felt like last night!  I am always wanting to try out some Indian recipes, but never allowed as my fiance has it engrained in his head that he does not like Indian food.  One not-so-great culinary experience in Bangalore and he has written it off completely!

He has been out-of-town on business so I thought it made for the perfect opportunity to try cooking a few Indian recipes.  My first was Palak Paneer.  This is a very popular spinach dish from northern India.  It features lightly fried cubes of Indian cottage cheese.  There are many variations, and I made a fusion of a recipe that I received from my friend Vibha along with a spicier one that I found in magazine.  Flavorwise, it turned out great, but I was not too pleased with the texture.  I have refused to buy a food processor here as I have a nice one at home, but I am beginning to rethink this decision.  It really inhibits what I can make!  The spinach really needs to be processed so you can get that nice creamy consistency to the dish.  I also used lowfat milk instead of cream to make it a bit healthier.  Here's how I would make it if I could!

Palak Paneer


Ingredients

16 oz. package of frozen, chopped, spinach
7 oz package of paneer, cubed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 green chilies, chopped
2 tomatoes, pureed
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup lowfat milk
salt to taste

Directions

1. Thaw spinach and squeeze out most of the moisture.  In a blender or food processor blend spinach until desired consistency.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium high to high heat.  Add onion and cook covered stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
3.  Add the garlic and green chilies and cook uncovered for another 4-5 minutes.
4.  Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring continuously until almost the consistency of a paste.

5. While the mixture is cooking, pan fry the paneer cubes in the remaining tbsp of oil.

6. When mixture has reached desired consistency, add blended spinach and spices.  Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.


7. Add milk and cook for 2 more minutes.
8. Remove from heat and gently stir in paneer.


I have a head of cauliflower in the fridge just waiting to be attacked so I look forward to trying Gobi Masala  (a spiced cauliflower dish) tonight.  If anyone has any good Indian recipes to share, I'd love to be the recipient!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year as it is based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, fell on February 14th this year.  2010 is the Year of the Tiger.  The Tiger, the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, is a sign of bravery. It is thought to keep away the 3 main tragedies of a household - fire, theives, and ghosts.  Let's hope!

In honor of the New Year, I made a lunch creating my recipe based off Chinese symbolism in the ingredients.  I was actually inspired by a noodle recipe on Martha Stewart's Chinese New Year episode.  My recipe ended up quite different than what I saw, but turned out quite tasty nonetheless!  I used long uncut noodles as they represent longevity in life and added chicken which symbolizes health and prosperity.  I served the noodles on a square plate and topped with rings of fresh green onion as circles represent heaven and squares represent earth.  If you are looking forward to a healthy and prosperous 2010, try my recipe below!

Long-Life Noodles with Wok-fried Chicken and Vegetables


Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, julienned
1 leek, julienned
6 stalks green onion, julienned
1/2 cup shiitake mushroom caps pieces
1 1/2 tbsp Shao Hsing wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp chicken broth
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 8 oz package chinese long-life noodles, cooked

Directions


1. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in wok over high heat.  Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes until browned.  Transfer to bowl.

2. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to wok. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add celery, leeks, 2 tbsp broth, mushrooms, and wine and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with chicken.

3. To empty wok, add remaining broth, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt.  Bring to simmer and add noodles and cook, tossing until liquid is mostly absorbed. Return chicken vegetable mixture to pan, toss with noodles, and cook for 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

I also followed another tradition by cleaning  house which is thought to sweep away ill-fortune making way for good luck.  I was just trying to take advantage of my fiance being out of town on business. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grilled Swordfish over Braised Beans

We were BBQing with some friends last week and on a last minute whim, my girlfriend picked up a couple of fresh and very large swordfish steaks.  She called and asked me if it would be ok to still BBQ?  Ok?  OK!?!  That's perfect!  My absolute favorite way to eat swordfish is from the grill.  Swordfish was made for grilling.  Apart from the flavor that the grill imparts, it's very firm and meaty texture prevent the risk of falling apart on the grill.  I quickly braised some beans while the swordfish was grilling and in about 15 minutes, we were enjoying our hearty meal. 

Grilled Swordfish over Braised Beans


Ingredients

2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs swordfish steaks (4 medium sized)
salt and pepper

Braised Beans:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 rosemary sprigs
2/3 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients for marinade.  Season fish with salt and pepper and add to marinade.  Turn to coat.


2. For beans, heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.  Add shallot, garlic and chili and cook for about 4 minutes until starting to color.  Add beans, rosemary, and stock, and simmer for 5 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and discard rosemary.  Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.


3.  Grill fish over medium high heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Swordfish should still be a bit pink in the middle.  Serve over braised beans.

 


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Like a Hammer to a Carpenter

It's so important to use sharp knives while in the kitchen.  I cannot stress this enough and believe me, I have learned the hard way... several times.  That being said, last year I invested in some very good quality knives.  I love my knives, I miss them when I am away.


Now I'm not trying to say you need to run out and buy a full set of W√úSTHOF knives (don't get me wrong, I use these knives, they are fantastic and I would recommend them to anyone), but I do have a few suggestions for keeping your kichen safe and efficient.  Why?

Most important, safety.  You have much more control over a sharp knife.  A dull edge can slip when slicing and requires much more force.  I could attach a few pictures that would support these statements but I'll spare you my past injuries.  Yeah, it might be a bit strange that I have taken pictures. 

With a sharp knife, you can also cut much more efficiently.  You will be able to work faster and cut much cleaner.  Cleaner slicing allows you to cut without crushing and damaging the food as well as create very thin slices when needed.  Your food will actually come out better looking using a sharp knife. 

That being said, I suggest anyone who is regularly in the kitchen have a good quality chef's knife for your all-purpose cutting, a paring knife for more intricate work, and a knife sharpener.  While a lot of knife sets come with a steel, I suggest that you avoid using the steel a buy a sharpener, which are actually very inexpensive. Unless you maintain the correct angle of the knife in 2 directions throughout your swipe against the steel, you can actually ruin your knives by either creating edges so fine they will break or eating away at the edge and dulling the knife.  Why not just let a sharpener do the job? There's my two cents.

Overall, have fun with your cooking but be safe!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuna Two Ways

Yesterday I went to the market to pick up some snapper for dinner, but when I saw how beautiful the tuna looked, I couldn't resist!  I picked up a couple sashimi-grade tuna steaks and was on my way!  I was craving some grilled tuna but being that these were so high quality, I wanted to take advantage of their sashimi-grade.  Since I never finish my whole piece of fish anyway, I cut mine in half and decided to make Tuna Tataki as an appetizer and Honey Soy Tuna for dinner with steamed bok choy and brown rice.  Both turned out delicious and I am still receiving accolades from the fiance!  I think I made the right choices for the fate of this tuna!


Tuna Tataki with Citrus Ponzu


Ingredients

1/2 lb sashimi grade tuna
1/4 cup ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp black sesame seeds (I used all regular b/c I didnt have black)
1 tbsp fresh cracked pepper
salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Ponzu:
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 small chilli, sliced halfway up lengthwise

Directions:

1. For ponzu, whisk all ingredients liquid ingredients together.  Let the chilli sit in the sauce while you cook the tuna.  Remove before serving. 
2. Using sharp knife, cut tuna into long rectangular pieces.  Combine ginger, sesame seeds, and pepper in a shallow dish.  Salt tuna and roll into mixture making sure to press mixture into the tuna.
3. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat.  Sear tuna for 30 sec - 1 min on all for 4 sides.  Place in refrigerator to cool.
4. When tuna has cooled, slice using a very sharp knife and drizzle with ponzu. 



As I said, we both LOVED this healthy and delicious appetizer.  I made a quick salad of shaved cucumber, carrot, and snow peas sprouts tossed with a ginger dressing (ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil).  This would make a great appetizer for entertaining as it can be made a bit ahead of time and cooled in the fridge.  On to the next course...

Honey Soy Tuna
  

Ingredients

For 2 servings
2 tuna steaks, equal in thickness
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed

Directions

1. For marinade, combine soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic.  Marinate tuna for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare grill for cooking over medium high.  Oil and grill tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side until desired degree of doneness.

Might be quite a bit of tuna for one day but that's just how it worked out for us and I didnt mind one bit!  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Get 'em while you can!

I am already fearing the end of 'peach season'... when they start to get dry and grainy... then just vanish from my life altogether!  Oh the misery!  That being said, I want to incorporate them into as many dishes as possible while I still can!!  Breakfast, snacks, desserts, mains, SALADS!!  By tossing a few simple ingredients together, you come out with a sweet yet peppery summer side dish.

Rocket, Peach, & Pinenut Salad


Ingredients

2 peaches, stoned and sliced
2 tbsp pinenuts
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 handfuls rocket
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Toss peaches with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.  Lightly toast pinenuts in a dry pan making sure not to burn.
2.  Combine peaches, pinenuts, red onion and rocket.  For dressing, whisk remaining ingredients together.  Toss with the salad and serve.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Ingredient: Sumac

Very common in Middle Eastern cuisine, in it's ground form, it adds a great lemony flavor to your dish.  It's rich color also makes for nice presentation when sprinkled on top.  Prior to lemons, Romans actually used this as a souring agent.  I had never given this spice much attention until my friend Kelly expressed her undying love for the purple powder.  I figured that I must be missing out and I sure was! 

Using sumac, I made a tangy spice rub for my grilled chicken and served it on top of a funky salad.  Turned out great and was the perfect dish for a hot summer day!  Healthy too ;)

Sumac-rubbed Chicken


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
3 tbsp sumac
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salad:
1 can chickpeas
1 cucumber, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 chili, finely chopped
1 handful arugula (rocket)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
S&P

 Directions

1. In large plastic bag, combine chicken and all ingredients for the marinade.  Marinate atleast 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
2. For salad, combine all ingredients through arugula.  For dressing, whisk lemon juice and sugar together.  Gradually add olive oil while whisking to emulsify.  Combine dressing and salad and season to taste.
3. Grill the chicken over medium high heat 4-5 minutes on each side until cook through. Slice and serve over salad.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Colorful Cacciatorre


Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish with many variations.  Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian and when referring to cuisine, "alla cacciatora" is a meal prepared "hunter-style" with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, bell pepper, and wine.

After picking up an array of colorful bell peppers at the market, I decided to make my own colorful version of this basic dish.  Served over whole wheat pasta, it was both healthy and delicious.  Thank goodness I made enough for leftovers for lunch today!

Colorful Cacciatore

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each
1 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow bell pepper sliced into strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp capers
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp basil, roughly chopped

Directions

1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat.

2. In a large heavy saute pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium-high. Cook the chicken pieces about 3-4 minutes on each side to brown.  Remove from pan.


3. Add remaining tbsp of oil and onion.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add bell peppers and garlic and cook until peppers soften.


4. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by at least half. Add the tomatoes with their juice, capers, oregano, chili and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.  Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. 


5. Transfer the chicken to a platter, spoon sauce on top and sprinkle with basil.  Serve over pasta if desired.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Salad with an Asian twist!

 

I was making a roasted pork rack basted with a honey soy glaze and I wanted to stick with a somewhat 'Asian theme' in my salad.  I made a mixed green salad accenting it with ingredients typical of an Asian dish. 
The salad turned out great and had nice kick to it!  It was perfect with the sweet and succulent pork. 

Ingredients
Large handful of mixed greens
Small handful of snow peas, halved
1 mango, chopped
1/2 baby cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
1/4 cup cashews, toasted 
1 hot chillies, sliced 
 1/4 cup thai basil leaves, torn

Dressing:
1 cucumber, seeds only
2 tsp ginger, chopped 
1 hot chilli
splash of mirin
splash of fish sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients for salad in large serving bowl and set aside.
2. For dressing, use a mortar and pestle to smash all ingredients together.  Halve cucumber and scrape out seeds with a spoon.  Add all ingredients through sesame oil and smash. 
3. Spoon over your salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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