For almost eight years we lived in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington. And let me tell you...I miss the food. I don't miss the rain. I don't miss the darkness. I don't miss the traffic and I certainly don't miss the moss that grows on EVERYTHING. (Even mailboxes!) BUT THE FOOD? I long for it. Dining there was heaven and we did a LOT of it. Why, at any point during the week, Ron and I would generously patronize one of our many favorite Asian restaurants and pig out! And once you've had Pacific Rim food in the Pacific Northwest, you're pretty much ruined for it anywhere else in the lower 48.
One of the things I learned about Asian cooking is that it isn't just one thing. It is complex, and full of layered flavors. It can be regional, fresh or simmered, bright or in the background ... and the sauces! Oh, the sauces. They are the best. I could just take a spoon and get lost in some of them. They come in many versions. Some are creamy and luxurious, others are acidic and sharp, and still others are fruity and smooth. They're full of whimsy and history.
Cooking is about love I always say, (something I would have stamped on my forehead if it didn't require matching earrings,) which is why every restaurant has a recipe with their own signature flavors front and center. You know what the easiest thing is to love? They're SO EASY TO MAKE.
So, when I have to impress-in-a-hurry, especially when I'm using leftovers, I love making an Asian sauce. Here's one with heat, creaminess, herbal notes and umami. (Which sounds a lot like saying, "Oooh! Mommy!" An appropriate comparison.) It's best over my Chinese 5 Spice Meatballs but you can serve it over chicken, seafood, even just vegetables.
If this is sounding good; the whole, "amazing Asian sauce in no time," thing, then check out this quick Sriracha, Thai Chili Coconut Sauce right now. And then check OUT of whatever you're doing, and start cooking!
RECIPE: Quick Sriracha, Thai Chili Coconut Sauce
16 small turkey meatballs, thawed
1 T spice mix, like Tastefully Simple’s brand of Howlin’ Horseradish dip mix (contains paprika, garlic, onion, peppers, and horseradish spices)
3 T rice wine vinegar
1-2 T Sriracha sauce, to taste
2 T Thai sweet chili sauce
Juice of ½ a lime
½ C low fat coconut milk
½ C rough-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 T mild olive oil
In a small bowl combine the spices, vinegar, Sriracha, Thai chili sauce and lime juice. Let sit for about an hour so spices can soften and incorporate.
Heat oil on medium high in skillet, place thawed meatballs in pan and toss to coat, turning and sautéing in oil until warm which only takes about a minute or two. Add the sauce, turn heat to low, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the coconut milk, stirring to blend. Simmer on low for 2-3 more minutes. Add half the parsley and stir to blend, then serve over rice and alongside my grated garlic roasted jumbo asparagus spears. Garnish with the rest of the parsley and a sprinkling of kosher salt. (Note, you don’t need to add salt or pepper to this. The spices have enough saltiness as does the Sriracha. But you can season to taste.)
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.