Wise and Wonderful Cookery Brings Us: Simple Pad Thai

Leighanna Lucas lives in Chicago with her husband and two very personable cats.  A brilliant food-maker and generally sweet, hilarious human being - she’s also the brains behind Wise And Wonderful Cookery.  Big thanks to her for her contributions to Young Mary’s Record - as we would microwave the Thanksgiving turkey if it was an option.

If I have learned anything valuable in my short life, it is the dang truth of this little cliche: variety is the spice of life.

All those things people have uttered over the years, those worn-out sayings about life, they are all so true. There is a point in youth where you believe none of them apply; I’ve found the place now that laughs at the idea of defeating the cliches of life, because I know how futile it is. The sayings wouldn’t be so worn, like an awesome old leather jacket, if they didn’t fit the lives of most people. So friends, if the shoe fits, buy it—fake it till you make it— and then make pad thai at home.

Making a dish that is completely outside your realm of flavor understanding is a good thing. Being comfortable all the time, after all, never makes for anything spectacular. Lewis and Clark could not revel in exploring the west by staying at home. Sometimes we have to stick a toe out, then a whole foot, and by that time we realize how un-scary trying a new thing really is, and we are running for more. This is true for all you home cooks! The usual is great—it is fantastic to have to go recipes and flavors that let you exhale, as you sink into the comfort of your familiar couch. But not all the time! We have to throw some variety into our cooking, something that whacks your tastebuds across the face with awesomeness. (If a tastebud had a face…this could get interesting..)
I found this recipe on another blog, tweaked it a little to what I had available (and I always double the amount of veggies in most recipes) and it is so EASY. Whipped it up in like twenty minutes tops. And it was DELICIOUS. Having the exact ingredients on hand is one thing that I believe stops a lot of us from trying recipes—I must confess that Google has been my best friend sometimes (I search substitutes for things I don’t have all the time.) Don’t have sesame oil? Try peanut! No peanuts? Use slivered almonds (I did, and it was darn tasty!) No rice noodles? Use another noodle, it will be fine! You won’t end up having a perfectly authentic dish, but that is okay. Perfection of authenticity is so much less important than making something that tastes good, and feeds your family.
Today, lets all promise to mix it up a little. Go and start doing one of the things you’ve always dreamed of doing— buy that dress that you love, but looks a little too daring— try something new. Shake it up a little, friends! It will renew your love for life, and at the same time, remind you of why you love what you already have in this world.

Easy Pad Thai:

You will need:

  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (wide, flat noodles are typical of pad thai but I used what I had lying around)
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 2 large eggs, light beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts (I used slivered almonds because I didn’t have peanuts on hand; worked fine.)

Directions:

1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

3. Heat sesame oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and corn cook 1 minute. Add eggs and cook, constantly stirring and scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. Add soaked noodles and prepared sauce to skillet. Cook while frequently tossing until noodles are tender, about 1 minutes. Add eggs to mixture and toss together. Serve, top with cilantro and peanuts.



Wise & Wonderful Cookery Post: Ginger and Molasses Cookies

Young Mary’s Record is fortunate enough to be featuring guest posts from the lovely Leighanna at Wise and Wonderful Cookery.  Today’s post is for her ginger and molasses cookies - perfect for the soon-to-be fall or really anytime you want something yummy.  Slightly handicapped myself at making much of anything in the kitchen - Leighanna’s posts keep me inspired and educated to try to whip something up myself.  I hope she’ll do the same for you!

Sometimes a day goes wrong.

For me it began with waking up exxttrraa late for work (I get upset when I’m late), followed by an extremely slow paced day waiting tables (being bored is sort of not profitable, which is frustrating), and then finally ended with me spilling a garbage bag that smelled SO BAD all over myself and the 19th street sidewalk (please just imagine me wearing my husbands big floppy sandals, dragging this huge bag, when it all of a sudden bursts and engulfs half my body. The worst.)

When I write it out it doesn’t sound so bad.

In reality, it wasn’t. I easily get caught up in what I want to do, and when none of it seems to be going the way I planned, I get a little discouraged. And there’s nothing like feeling discouraged   b e f o r e   you spill a pile of wet garbage on yourself. The way you feel after involves a lot more swear words.

How do I make a comeback from profanity-studded frustration?

It took a few things…

#1: Kick the wrought iron gate reeeaally hard

#2: Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix

#3: Bake these cookies

As I’ve said in the past, baking is not my forte. And my focus is always on giving my body nutritious food.

Something about that hot garbage just made me want the real deal: decadent, chewy cookies.

So I did it. I baked a batch of cookies with regular AP flour (NOOOOOO), regular old sugar, and lots of other tasty things.

You know what I realized? Its okay. ITS OKAY! A few terrible, fattening, sugary, chewy, gingery, crunchy, amazing cookies won’t end me. It won’t end my dedication to a healthy lifestyle either. In moderation, a good dessert is a great thing.

We should all enjoy a little sweet every so often. And when most things in my day didn’t want to go as planned, it was nice to be able to create something that did, even if its only a teensy tiny little bit of control. That little bit was all I needed.

These cookies were easy to make. The recipe is simple, molasses is an amazing ingredient, and I ate like four. Or five.

So when I most often sign off telling you to run off–leave your computer immediately– try this recipe now! I don’t want to tell you that this time. NO! Don’t go make this right away! WAIT. Store it somewhere safe in your mind (or your email, pinterest, twitter, whatever) and remember it when you need a little pick me up. When the only thing that will make you feel better is the sweet, molasses crunch of an awesome cookie. It will be there for you.

Ginger & Molasses Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus extra for rolling
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
Directions: In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, & ginger; set aside. With electric mixer on low speed, blend together the melted butter, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in molasses. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to molasses mixture; mix until completely combined. Cover and chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into walnut sized balls (use cookie scoop, if available); roll each ball in remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes just until tops are cracked all over, but cookies are still a bit gooey inside the center cracks. Cool on wire racks. Makes roughly 20 cookies.