Thai Peanut Pasta

Al dente noodles covered with thai peanut sauce, parmesan, basil, oregano and fresh lime.
Al dente noodles covered with thai peanut sauce, parmesan, basil, oregano and fresh lime.

Al dente noodles covered with thai peanut sauce, parmesan, basil, oregano and fresh lime.

This quick recipe is tangy, spicy, and good as a hot meal or served cold as a salad.  As a meal, serves two.  As a side-dish, serves four.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of bite-size pasta (Rotini, Penne, Bowtie, etc)
  • 1/2 lime (keep other half for peanut sauce)
  • Grated parmesan
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • Thai Peanut Sauce (adapted from Blendtec’s recipe)
    • 1/4 cup milk (non-dairy is best, but not necessary)
    • Juice from 1/2 lime
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or one whole clove)
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
    • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha)

Procedure

Begin by boiling 1 quart of water.

Combine all ingredients for the Thai Peanut Sauce in a blender, and blend until smooth.  If you used non-dairy milk, you can put the sauce in a squeeze bottle for easy application (highly recommended).  Label and store in your fridge.

Cook the pasta to al dente (roughly 10 minutes).  Drain the pasta and return to pot or to a serving bowl.

Add enough Thai peanut sauce to coat the pasta.  Add Parmesan, pepper, cilantro and basil.  Toss to coat evenly.  Squeeze fresh lime on top.  Serve with more Parmesan, cilantro and basil to garnish.  Optionally, garnish with lime wedges.

Serve immediately, or to serve as a salad, refrigerate over night.

Speed up your routine: SMOOTHIE CUBES

I’ve done a lot of work engineering my morning nutrition to be easy and fast.  One of my particular innovations is borrowed from the people that freeze their fresh herbs in ice or oil.

I got sick of guessing how much spinach I was putting into my smoothies (it doesn’t measure well, and I don’t want to weigh it when I’m in a hurry).

Solution?  Pre-make some smoothie cubes.  Pack this into your blender (I use a Blendtec TotalBlender w/ WildSide Jar–and I recommend it highly).

  • 16 ounces of spinach
  • 16 ounces of carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups of orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 cup of oatmeal (not minute oats)

Blend until very smooth (three WHOLE JUICE cycles on a Blendtec blender). You shouldn’t be able to see oats or carrots in the final product.

Pour the blended mixture into ice cube trays and freeze over night.  I stack the trays with a sheet of parchment between each tray to prevent sticking.

Crack the cubes into a large, labeled zipper freezer bag.  Use two-to-four smoothie cubes per smoothie.  Yields ~48 smoothie cubes.

1 smoothie cube has roughly

  • 1/3 ounce of spinach
  • 1/3 ounce of carrots
  • 1.5 teaspoons of orange juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons of pasteurized egg white
  • 2 teaspoons of oatmeal

Two smoothie cubes contain recommended (based on 2,000 calorie diet) Vitamin A intake for the day.  Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so you should not exceed your recommended daily intake.  Talk to your doctor.

Smoothie Cube nutrition facts

via Wolfram Alpha

Brewing Iced Tea Properly

From http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/tazo-tea/black-shaken-iced-tea

Picture: Starbucks Black Shaken Iced Tea.  More info at Starbucks’ Website.

Subtle. Suave. Sophisticated. Our premium black tea gets a snappy little splash of citrus, and then is shaken – not stirred – with ice. We’d tell you more, but the details must remain classified. Still, you do have license to enjoy.

Tazo® Black Shaken Iced Tea, Starbucks.com

Bitch, please.  Classified?  Ha!  Iced tea isn’t hard…

Why the hell am I blogging about this?  Because I see a lot of fools trying to make tea, and they all suck at it.  It’s not hard, but there is a way to do it right to get the crystal-clear, refreshing tea you’re used to seeing/drinking at Starbucks or McAllister’s.

Black Iced Tea, Proper

  1. Boil 1 liter of water.
  2. Cover 4 cup-sized black tea bags (Lipton will do just fine; Starbucks uses Tazo Awake tea, FYI) with 1 liter of boiling water.
  3. Steep for four minutes.
  4. If you love sweet tea, add 2 cups of sugar to the liter of strongly-brewed tea and stir until dissolved appropriately.* (note: this is how McAllister’s Sweet Tea is made)
  5. Add 1 liter of cold water.  Do not refrigerate.  Refrigeration causes tea to go cloudy.  Cloudy iced tea is bad tea.
  6. Pour a glass as follows
    1. Add equal parts tea and water
    2. Add ice
    3. Shake or stir
  7. Drink that tea.

I prefer 1/3 tea, water, and ice.  Adjust to suit your tastes.

EXCITING FISCAL NOTE: this is roughly 12 cents per pitcher and pennies per serving, even if you buy Tazo Brand tea from Starbucks.

* Never assume that everyone likes black iced tea.  Sweeten your own tea with sugar or simple syrup.