Thai-Style Mixed Vegetable Stir-Fry

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This easy, healthy stir-fry is a welcome addition to any meat-heavy (or vegetarian) meal and best of all, it’s easily adaptable so you can use whatever vegetables are in season.

The dao jiao, or Thai fermented soybean paste, is necessary to achieve the characteristic salty-savory flavor. When I traveled through Thailand last year, it was in lots of the vegetable stir-fries I ate, especially in the north near Chiang Mai. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I couldn’t find dao jiao even at large Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch, but the local Southeast Asian market in my hometown had it. Shout out to Phnom-Penh Grocery in Santa Rosa for holding it down since childhood.

Thai-Style Mixed Vegetable Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 pound napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 pound snow peas
1/4 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon fermented soybean paste (dao jiao)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and toss in the garlic and stir-fry until beginning to turn golden. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soybean paste and mix well. Remove from heat, season with pepper, and serve.

Green Corn Soup

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Move over gazpacho. I have a new favorite cold soup celebrating summertime in all its glory.

Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe, this chilled dish is full of spinach, jalapenos, limes, and of course, corn. It’s all of summer’s bounty in vibrant, showstopping form. Make this a couple hours ahead of time to let the flavors develop. It’s perfect on a sweltering day.

Green corn soup

Ingredients:

8 ears of corn, shucked

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, sliced

salt
pepper
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves 

3 jalapenos; 2 stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped; 1 stemmed
 and thinly sliced

juice of 1 lime

1. Cut the kernels from the cobs; you should have 6 cups. Working over a bowl, scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to release the corn milk; discard the cobs. 


2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, 
stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups of the corn kernels and the corn milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is crisp-tender, about 
6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a blender and let cool slightly. Wipe out the skillet.


3. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the blender with the corn and puree at high speed until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Strain the puree through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing on the solids. Discard the solids. Return the corn puree to the blender and add the spinach, chopped jalapeños and half of the lime juice and puree until the spinach is finely chopped and the soup is green. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover and refrigerate the soup until cold, at least 2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, in the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer the corn to a small bowl and refrigerate until cold.


Step 5
Add the sliced jalapeños 
and the remaining half of the lime juice to the chilled corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the soup to bowls and top with the corn to serve.

Charred Shishito Peppers with Furikake

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♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year ♪: shishito season. Come summertime, I am all about putting shishitos in everything: in salad, in stir-fries, and simply by themselves. I usually give them a quick toss in a miso sauce after blistering them on the stovetop, but this quick and easy version inflected with lime and furikake is one of my new favorites. It’s the perfect summer app and comes together in about ten minutes.

Charred shishito peppers with furikake

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound shishito peppers
2 teaspoons furikake, plus more for garnish

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
1 teaspoon soy sauce

salt

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add half of the peppers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and peppers. 


2. Add the furikake, the lime juice and soy sauce to the shishitos and toss to combine; season with salt. Transfer to a seving plate and garnish with more furikake.

Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Antipasto

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Summer is finally here and I am all about it, y’all. Gimme all the greens, gimme all the corn, gimme all the tomatoes, gimme all the peppers. This simple vegetable antipasto is like summer on a platter. Best of all, you can make it ahead of time and let the flavors marinate. Now go outside and get some sun.

Roasted pepper and artichoke antipasto

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers
3 yellow or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
a few drops of hot pepper sauce (optional)
4 canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 garlic clove, sliced
salt and pepper
1 handful basil leaves, plus more to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place the whole peppers on the foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, until beginning to char. Remove from the oven, place in a heatproof bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

2. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Remove the core and seeds from the peppers and peel away the skins. Slice each pepper into thick strips.

3. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and hot pepper sauce, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss the peppers with the sliced artichokes, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Pour the dressing over and sprinkle a few more basil leaves on top.

Fried Eggplant with Spiced Cashews and Yogurt

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This recipe doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does, and brilliantly at that. Part Chinese, part Middle Eastern, buttery eggplant comes together with a kick of five-spice, vinegar, and yogurt. It’s a bit of work, but totally worth the super unique result. I cribbed the original recipe from Bon Appetit and adapted it to taste.

Fried eggplant with spiced cashews and yogurt

Ingredients:

2 pounds Japanese eggplant (about 3)
salt
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup full-fat Middle Eastern or Greek yogurt
Chopped green onions, for serving

1. Slice eggplant crosswise into 3-inch thick pieces. Cut pieces lengthwise into quarters. Toss eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit at room temperature 2 hours.

2. Pulse cashews in a food processor until you have some bigger bits and some finely ground sandy bits. Toss in a small bowl with cayenne, five-spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Evenly scatter sugar into a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula to help it melt evenly, until melted and light amber. While stirring, gradually add vinegar; the caramel will sputter, but keep stirring until it smooths back out. Let cool to thicken.

4. Pour in oil to come 1 inch up sides of a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high.

5. While oil is heating, drain eggplants and pat dry. Dredge in rice flour in a large bowl, shaking off excess.

6 .Working in batches, fry eggplants, turning occasionally and adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature, until cooked through and lightly golden, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

7. Spread some yogurt on a serving platter and place eggplants over the top. Drizzle with black vinegar caramel, spiced cashews, and green onions.