Friendly Food Snobs

salads

vietnamese style chicken + rice noodle salad

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I LOVE the flavour profile of Vietnamese food. So happy I finally figured out how to make this at home. Plus the recipe comes together in 30 minutes. This dish has so many layers. The rice noodles to slurp, the vegetables to crunch and the herbs and Vietnamese dipping sauce that make it so addictive. This used to be my favourite take out in my single-just-starting-my-first-real-job-days. Ten years later, I finally figured out the recipe and make a variation of it once a week.  Serves four.

Vietnamese style chicken + rice noodle salad

Ingredients for the chicken:
1 clove garlic roughly chopped
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Ingredients for the salad:
Half of a package rice noodles (makes four one cup servings)
2 grated carrots (or chopped red peppers)
½ cucumber cut into thin matchsticks
½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or mint)

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 tablespoon  rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons water to dilute the sauce (optional)
Juice of half a lime

Slice chicken lengthwise. Combine the garlic, hoisin and chicken and marinate for 20 minutes while you prep everything else.

Pour just boiled water over the noodles in a bowl. Let noodles soak for 4 minutes before straining. After straining well, pour a few drops of rice wine vinegar over top to keep them from sticking.

Scrape off a little of the chicken marinade. If it’s too saucy, it won’t crisp up. Sear it on either side until cooked through on medium-high heat in a non stick pan (or cast iron) or toss it on the BBQ. It cooks quickly because it’s so thin.

Plate the noodles, vegetables, fresh chopped herbs, peanuts and chicken with sauce on the side. Serve with soy sauce, siracha hot sauce and lime wedges on the table if you like. Dig in! Also very delicious the next day cold or warm as leftovers. [wink, wink]

italian potato salad

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Weather this weekend is all sunshine. So we’ll be eating al fresco, lighting up the grill and tossing the last of my summer basil plant all over our plates. Simple, mediterranean and fresh, I’ve been making this version of potato salad for years and this is my favourite variation of recipe. Serves four with leftovers.

italian potato salad

Ingredients:
8 small red potatoes cut in half or quarters
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
pinch red pepper flakes
1 onion cut into half moon slices
1 teaspoon brown sugar
8 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat two tablespoons oil in frying pan and begin to caramelize onions. Adding sugar and salt and pepper after ten minutes. Boil potatoes (skin on) in salted water until tender. Chop garlic and mix with remaining four tablespoons olive oil, pinch red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic and salt and pepper to create the dressing. Leave at room temperature. Drain potatoes when done cooking and mix into dressing while potatoes still warm. Stir in the caramelized onions. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with basil strewn across the top. Can be served at room temperature or straight from the fridge. Capers, feta or black olives make lovely additions too.

herb corn salad

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herb corn salad

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed chopped herbs like basil, parsley and chives
kernels from 3 cooked corn cobs
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine. Best eaten outside with meat from the BBQ. Serves four.

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