I really, really enjoy the flavor of Thai Basil. It’s such a fresh tasting herb with a slight almost licorice kind of flavor to it. I try to grow it every summer along with a wide variety of other basil plants. Last year, I had a huge snail problem in my garden and they began to feast on my Thai Basil before I could. It made me so mad. I tried all kinds of tricks without having to use harsh chemicals. Like beer. Yes, beer. I heard that snails were attracted to beer. According to a friend of mine, if you put some beer in a shallow pan near plants you want snails to avoid, they climb into the beer and drown. So, I went to the store, bought some really cheap beer in several 6-packs because I wanted to really drown the suckers. I had pie pans all over my yard with beer in them. I found a few drunken snails but not the horde that I was expecting. My friend suggested that my beer was too cheap. Seriously? They were expecting micro brewed ale? I was not about to throw a Keg party for the snails. I tried “organic” snail bait and ground glass, didn’t work. This year, I’m planting basil in flower pots all over my patio. Maybe that will work. Snails are gross, but this recipe rocks. Hey, if you have any snail genocide ideas, please let me know. …
Thai Style Beef with Basil
1/2 pound beef, thinly sliced ( I used chuck roast)
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp soy sauce
1 big bunch of Thai basil
2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
5 whole garlic cloves, minced
Red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp sambal olek
2 tsp fish sauce
Vegetarian thin noodles or you can use glass noodles
Thinly slice some beef. Half frozen beef is great because then you can really slice it thin. Mix beef with soy sauce and corn starch and set aside. In a wok or large skillet heat the oil. Add garlic and ginger and then add the beef. Stir fry for 2 minutes or so until meat is no longer pink. Add bell pepper and onion and continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add in sambal olek, sweet soy sauce, fish sauce and 1/3 cup coconut milk. The sauce should be thickening up within a minute or two. Take off heat and add in Thai Basil. Stir to mix in and wilt all the basil. Serve over noodles or with some brown rice!
As a dietitian, I get asked about food related things all the time. Usually at parties or social situations. “Do you have a special diet to reduce gas?” “What should I cook for my kids who are allergic to peanuts, dairy, gluten and corn?” My personal favorite, “I don’t like to exercise but do you have a diet for me to lose about 20 pounds?” Contrary to popular belief, dietitians don’t go around making up “diets” or prescribing magic food pills. It’s still a good idea to eat things in moderation and to exercise regularly but I guess that advice is just not sexy enough. (I feel a rant coming on….)
In the last several years people have been diagnosed with a lot more food allergies or intolerances. Gluten (the protein found in wheat, rhy, spelt and bulgar and wheat by-products) allergies are becoming very common as well as various nut allergies and a hyper sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup. A typical western diet is very high in gluten and processed sugars. There are two simple solutions to these dietary dilemmas: Learn to eat and actually try a variety of foods and cook something! Whenever we buy pre-packaged foods, we deliver control of our life to someone else and it costs more, not only the food but long-term health related costs. I know sometimes it can’t be avoided but I’m not willing to trade convenience for the sake good taste or health!…..official END of rant here.
Most people who live in the U.S. have never thought of cooking tapioca (which is actually a starch from the Cassava plant) in savory dishes. It is reserved mostly for puddings or the ubiquitous “frog eye salad” (not really a salad but a Jello concoction). Tapioca can be eaten in a variety of savory dishes. Here’s a Sobudhana kitchuri ( Sobudhana means Tapioca and Kitchuri basically means a “hodge podge” or “mixture”) made out of tapioca. I made a kitchuri out of Quinoa not too long ago and this is very similar. It’s a tasty alternative to rice or pasta and it’s totally gluten free and vegan. Besides the soaking of the tapioca (just do it overnight) everything comes together in 8 minutes. I timed it!