Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010...Hello 2011!

Happy new year!  Well, here we are looking back on 2010.  All in all, it was a pretty good year.  Can you believe we are closing out year ten of this new century?  My how time flies.  I've never been a New Year's Eve party-goer.  All the noise and festivities give me one big headache.  I really dislike going out to a restaurant on New Year's Eve because when we have gone out the experience has been a disappointment.  Restaurants don't seem to put their best foot forward on New Year's Eve.  Instead of going out, we have a simple celebration planned.  We'll start by stopping by the Ocean House in the afternoon for a celebratory cocktail.  Have you been to the Ocean House yet?  I hear they are having a big bash there tonight.  Later we will have a simple dinner at home with shrimp Pad Thai and molten lava cakes. Yum!  Not sure how authentic this is for a Pad Thai recipes because I have never actually ordered it in a restaurant.  All I know is that we love this dish!  Here's the recipe and a look at some of the essential ingredients.

 Shrimp Pad Thai
adapted from Food Network Magazine
Shrimp Pad Thai Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Thai rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shells and tails removed
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 radishes, cut into thin strips
  • 4 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced into strips

Follow directions on package for soaking the noodles in a bowl of warm water until soft enough to separate, about 10 minutes. Mix the fish sauce, sugar, chili sauce and lime juice in a separate bowl. When the noodles are soft, drain and return to the bowl. Have all the ingredients prepared and next to the stove (this dish cooks quickly).
Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the vegetable oil, then add the shrimp and stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl using a slotted spoon; leave the oil in the pan. Add the garlic and tofu to the pan; stir-fry until just golden. Add the noodles and 1/4 cup fish sauce mixture; stir-fry until the noodles absorb the sauce, about 3 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup water if the noodles seem dry, but don't let them become mushy.
Add the radishes, scallions and 1/4 cup peanuts; toss to combine. Stir in the remaining fish-sauce mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning (you can add more water, lime juice or fish sauce).
Return the shrimp to the pan and heat through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a platter; top with bean sprouts, jalapenos and the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Click the link for the printable Shrimp Pad Thai recipe.

Molten Lava Cake
The molten lava cake recipe is adapted for two servings from one I saw demonstrated by Ralph Rucci on the Martha Stewart show.  I have made this recipe several times and it always comes out perfectly.  If you haven't made it before you may want to practice a few times to get the cooking time down so it will have just the right amount of chocolaty, gooey deliciousness you want.  The directions will vary based on your oven so I recommend you do a couple of practice runs before serving to guests.

Molten Lava Cakes
Ingredients: Cake
Serves 2
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cocoa powder, for dusting molds
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners sugar, if desired for dusting finished cake

Ingredients: Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter the two 4-ounce ramekins and lightly dust the inside of each with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. You can heat the butter and chocolate together either in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water or in the microwave set at 50% power for a minute or two, until chocolate is almost completely melted. I prefer the microwave method.  Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg, egg yolk, and sugar until light and thick. Slowly add butter mixture to the mixer, add flour and mix until combined. Divide batter between ramekins. Place on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Cook for  10 minutes - sides should be set and center soft.

Let rest for 5 minutes and then invert onto a plate.  Drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce and a dollop of freshly made whipped cream.

One cool thing about this recipe is that you can make these earlier in the day.  I just cover and refrigerate them until I am ready to cook them.  That makes this a great dessert to impress guests.

Click the link for the printable Molten Lava Cake recipe.


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