Thai Spicy Curry Noodle Soup

1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 deboned chicken thighs (~1 lb.), skin fried cut into 1-inch chunks*
1 TBSP Garlic, run through a small grater
1 TBSP fresh Galanga or Ginger, run through a small grater
1 red bell pepper, diced
¼ red onion, thinly diced
1 small shallot, thinly diced
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup cubed eggplant, salted and sweat, then rinsed**
1 green Serrano pepper chopped
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 (13.5-ounce) can chicken broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 (8-ounce) package vermicelli rice noodles
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar or Shoaxing Wine
3 green onions (Scallions), thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh Thai basil leaves
Cilantro for garnish
2 slices of lime

*Boneless Chicken Thigh – trim the skin.  Slice the meat above the bone on the back side.  With poultry shears cut the knuckles.  Remove the final small piece of bone.  I use a sharp curved boning knife. 

** Eggplant salted and sweat, then rinsed.  Each year I grow Eggplant.  Cut several slices.  Add salt to both surfaces to sweat the eggplant to remove the bitterness. Then rinse in cold water to remove the salt.

Salt and pepper chicken.  Brown in veg oil.  Then fry the chicken skin side up for 3 minutes then skin side down for three minutes.  This releases fat from the skin.  Remove the skin.  Cut chicken into cubes.

Add onion, shallot, red bell pepper, garlic and galanga (or ginger).  Sauté ~2 minutes on medium low.   Add a dash of Shoaxing Wine to deglaze the pan.  Add the red curry and stir in and cook another 2 minutes.  Add the can of coconut milk.  Use that can to fill it with chicken broth and add that. 

Add the chicken, eggplant, Serrano pepper and scallions.  Bring it a nice gentle boil.  Reduce about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile boil the noodles separately 12 minutes.  I once tried cooking the noodles in the soup, but the soup got too thick from the starch and the flavor was reduced from the boiling. 

Add the noodles, Thai basil, soy sauce, Shoaxing Wine, fish sauce to the pot. Stir.  Cook covered another 5 to 10 minutes on gentle boil.  Serve in a bowl with slices of lime and cilantro.


Baked Cod with White Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese

2 cod fillets
½ cup mayo or Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise)
2 green onions
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated White Cheddar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix mayo, green onion, Parmesan, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce. 

Oil small 8” square baking dish cook the fish.  Bake oven to 400°.  Baked fish 15/20 min.

I served this with garlic and olive oil couscous.


Smoked Cupcake Chicken in Garlic Honey Sauce

4 chicken thighs
4 TBSP butter


4 cloves garlic crushed
4 TBSP honey
1 TBSP chicken broth
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce


In a small saucepan reduce the honey glaze until thick.

Cut the knuckles off the chicken with poultry sheers or trimming sheers.  Cut away any excess skin and fat.  Place the chicken in the cupcake tray and add one TBSP of butter on top.

Smoke chicken thighs in apple wood for 2 hours at 250° smoke.  Remove and install the chicken after draining away the excess juice and oil in the pan.

Place the chicken back in the muffin tin and cook in a 450° oven and another 20 minutes.  Add the honey sauce and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes let the honey glaze


As of 8/15/21

Stuffed Bell Pepper du Jardin (of the garden)

5 green bell peppers (from the garden)
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
1 cup of rice cooked
1 can of your favorite tomato soup
1 onion finely chopped
½ bell pepper finely chopped (from the garden)
1 celery stalk finely chopped
3 scallions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves (from the garden)
1 stem fresh sage (from the garden)
1 stem fresh thyme (from the garden)
1 stem fresh oregano (from the garden)
1 stem fresh rosemary (from the garden)
Olive oil
White Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan cheese

Cook rice.

Lightly brown meat, then drain and rinse.

On medium low heat sauté green bell, celery and onion.  Add the meat and mix. Add the can of tomato soup.  Add a little water (1/4 cup).  Mix the remaining ingredients, salt and pepper and mix well.

Cut the tops off the bell pepper and hollow out the ribs.  Stuff the pepper.  Bake 50 minutes at 350° and remove.  Add the cheese on top and bake another 10 minutes.



Cajun vs Creole

My mom was Cajun, born in south Louisiana near Baton Rouge and spoke mostly French until she was in the first grade.  Her descendants came from France, not Canada.  However, many Cajuns did come from Canada hence Acadian (Canada) or Cajun.  They were essentially thrown out of Canada by the English and settled in south Louisiana.  Creoles mostly live in New Orleans and their heritage is from Italy, Spain, Africa, Germany, Caribbean, Native American, and Portuguese.  There is a difference.  Cajun food is more traditional French cooking and Creole adds more spice, peppers and tomatoes.  Both are Louisiana in equal measure.  NeoCreole is another layer different in that they are Creole plus seafood and all the current cooking styles and in my view probably the most memorable of styles of cooking.  It is anything and everything and lots of it.  It is not primarily a black or white thing.  It is the true melting pot – literally.  All are perfect but there are NeoCreole these days knocking the ball out of the park – total goodness.  See Rosalyn and Dizzy’s.  Love them too much.

In the early days all land east of the Mississippi River was part of the Spanish West Florida Territory and ruled by Spain.  The French Territory west of the river was ruled by France.  However, the iron railings and arch doors in New Orleans are Spanish architecture. 

In the old days the Cajuns had to hunt for meat.  They grew crops like corn and okra, but the food was more roux gravy rather than spice and heat.  Not much spice and heat available further up the river.  They had to be able to take a duck and make something good.  This usually involved flour.  These dishes were cooked over a wood fire in cast iron.  I have my grandma’s cast iron skillet that must be 100 years old and is still killing it.  As it turns out this is the healthiest pan to cook on.  The non-stick and aluminum can be bad for your body.  This pan is so old it doesn’t have the manufacturing stamp on the bottom.  It also has a lot of pits on the side when she rested it over hot coals and the water droplets pitted the handle and sides.  I also have my most used pot an iron Dutch oven that is also from Louisiana and it also does not have a stamp.  They are the best non-stick as they are seasoned just right.  It takes nothing to clean either except a few extra muscles because they are heavy.

When it comes to gumbos every house has a different gumbo.  My aunt makes the best Creole Gumbo I ever ate.  I videotaped her making gumbo just to preserve it.  Her gumbo is a Creole style gumbo with okra and tomatoes.  Her sister, my mom, made a traditional gumbo without tomatoes and okra and she added Filé powder with Tasso (a Cajun ham).  That was good too.  Turns out Filé powder is a little on the carcinogenic side.  Oops! 

Did I mention New Orleans also has a rich Italian and German cooking culture?  In fact, Andouille sausage, a spicy New Orleans sausage, was first made by Germans who settled along the Mississippi river.  Remember, New Orleans was founded in 1718.  The pilgrims landed in 1620.  New Orleans was established by French explorers Iberville and Bienville.  It is truly still one of the most cosmopolitan places in North America (Cosmopolitan: Including or containing people from many different countries.)

I think most of New Orleans is influenced more by Caribbean settlers.  There, a lot of peppers and other seasonings that were imported. 

Finally, the French start a dish with a sauté called a Mirepoix, which is sautéed chopped onion, carrots and celery.  The sugars are released into the food.  The Italians call it a Sofrito the same as the French but sauté with olive oil instead of butter.  The Germans call it a Suppengrün, which uses leeks instead of onions.  New Orleans uses what is called a Trinity, which is chopped onion, green pepper and celery.  Seems like small changes but they make a world of the difference when creating initial aromatics.  The Trinity will always be my heart and soul of aromatics.  Trinity means three but some folks add even four or five herbs.  When we get to five herbs I think that would be called a pentad.  Not trying to be a smart ass.   Just sayin’.

As of 8/11/21