Saltine Toffee Candy

I prepared the following recipe for my Book/Movie club. You can read about my event and view other links to recipes I made for it HERE.

The Saltine Toffee Candy has been popping up in a few other blogs I frequent. I thought this was a perfect dessert to use up the extra package of saltines my husband bought. There are numerous sites and blogs that provide the recipe, including AllRecipes & Recipezaar. Both are similar and here’s the recipe I used: 1 stick butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
saltines – enough to line your baking sheet
1-2 cups semi chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts)

Preheat oven to 400.
Line your baking sheet with foil.
Neatly place your saltines on the foil lined baking sheet.
In a sauce pan, melt butter and add brown sugar.
Allow butter & sugar to caramelize and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Pour mixture over the saltines.
Bake saltines in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the saltines.
Allow it to rest for 2 minutes – enough for chocolate chips to melt.
Using a rubber spatula or spreader, spread the melted chocolate over the saltines to evenly coat.
Sprinkle the top with chopped nuts.
Refrigerate to harden the chocolate.
Break into random pieces and enjoy!

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Papaya Salad

The following recipe was featured for my Thai Cooking Class. You can read and view other recipes from the class HERE.

Papaya Salad
Joelen’s recipe
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1/2 shrimp bouillon cube
2 cups shredded green papaya
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons fried garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped & seeded
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped holy basil (Thai basil)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and mix to dissolve for vinaigrette.
Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Pad Thai-riffic!

One thing I love about our new neighborhood is the close proximity we are to asian markets. There is a thriving neighborhood called “Argyle” that is home to many Vietnamese and Thai Chicagoans. I’m in heaven while grocery shopping within the Argyle neighborhood… because so many of the asian ingredients I use can be found at much better prices here.

While shopping in Argyle, I decided to make some Pad Thai. Making pad thai sauce from scratch is often a lengthy process involving lots of ingredients to get the perfect sweet and spicy flavors reminicent of traditional pad thai. So while shopping in the asian markets, I found a pre-made pad thai sauce that looked promising. With it, I made chicken pad thai.

Pad Thai is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts and cilantro. Its normally servied with a lime wedges – the lime juice added to the dish really freshens it up! In Thailand, it is also served with a piece of banana flower.

There have evolved two different styles of Pad Thai: the version most often found in the streets of Thailand, which is relatively dry and light; and the Western version which may be covered in a red oil and can be heavy tasting.

Outside of Thailand, Pad Thai is one of the best-known Thai dishes, and is very popular in Thai restaurants in America and Australia.

Here is my cheater’s recipe for Chicken Pad Thai:

1 bottle pre-made pad thai sauce

1/2 package of bahn pho noodles (small or medium width)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup carrots, sliced in matchsticks
1-2 boiled chicken breasts, chopped
1 block tofu, diced
2 eggs, cooked & scrambled
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 stalks green onion, sliced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
crushed peanuts
lime wedges

In a pot, boil water and add rice noodles.
Cook noodles until softened; drain & set aside.

In a large pan, add oil and prepare scrambled eggs.
Remove from pan; set aside.

In same pan, add oil.
Add garlic, onions and sliced carrots.
When softened, add cooked chicken.
Add entire bottle of sauce; stir to coat.
Add tofu; stir to coat.
Add cooked noodles & scrambled eggs.

To serve, plate noodles and top with cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, peanuts and lime.