Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spicy Asian Noodle Salad with Lobster #Giveaway #AdventuresInComfortFood

AKA Vacation in Your Mouth
With spicy dressing, juicy lumps of lobster and fragrant bean thread noodles, this salad is like a vacation in your mouth. There’s just something special about lobster but you can also sub tiger prawns or shrimp. 

Yes, please to Comfort Food
When someone offers to send you a copy of a cookbook called Adventures in Comfort Food: Incredible, Delicious and New Recipes from a Unique, Small-Town Restaurant, you do not turn them down. You say, “Yes, please!” After all, here we are coming into the cool season and comfort food is what it’s all about. This particular cookbook is full of recipes from chef and owner, Kerry Altiero, of the small town award-winning Maine restaurant Café Miranda, which brings comfort food up a whole bunch of notches, serving favorites like Lobster Mac and Cheese and Brussels Sprouts in Cream and dressed up hot dogs.

As Chef Altiero says in the introduction; “We offer a huge menu that mixes traditional American fare with Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai, vegan . . . whatever strikes our fancy. Our motto is “Because We Can.” We serve wonderful, surprising, innovative food that defies expectations and wins over all kinds of eaters. This cookbook will help you do the same at home, whether you are cooking for world-weary sophisticates or picky toddlers. Your kitchen may never be the same.”

And while I am under no obligation to tell you only nice things about this book, I must admit that I have only nice things to say. Most of the recipes have just a handful of ingredients and the simple preparations let the freshness and quality of those ingredients shine through. If that appeals to you as much as it appealed to me, I am pleased to tell you that I also have one copy to give away! Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post and enter the drawing.

Vacation in My Mouth
How these cookbook blog tours work is that we are given a list of recipes that can be shared. I was most intrigued by the dish called Vacation in Your Mouth, from the Party Food chapter, so that’s the one I chose. I mean, really. With a title like that, how could I resist?

Years and years ago, when I was living in Brazil, a dear Burmese friend taught me how to make a fresh and refreshing salad with softened bean thread noodles, crispy fried ground pork and dried shrimp, all tossed in a lime vinaigrette with chilies and cilantro. I used to make it all the time in a great big bowl, because it was a family favorite and then, because I struggled to find the dried shrimp, it got out of rotation. This beautiful dish from the Adventures in Comfort Food cookbook reminded me of what we had been missing, albeit it on a fancier, smaller scale. And I realized that the dried shrimp are not absolutely essential. Lobster works too! Okay, I admit we may not have it with lobster every time, but I will definitely be serving this again, perhaps with shrimp or even crab meat.

I made the recipe pretty much as written, except for substituting a spicy pepper for the poblano, which was one of the chef’s suggestions, and I couldn’t find baby romaine so I bought a local green for scooping up the salad.

Serves 2

Ingredients
For the salad:
4 oz or 113g cooked lobster meat
1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced (Or sub a spicy pepper of your choice.)
2 scallions, green and white parts, sliced on the bias
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons or 30ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon or 15ml Thai fish sauce
6 leaves basil, preferably Thai, shredded
4 sprigs cilantro
1⁄4 cup or 44g Thai bean thread or rice vermicelli noodles, soaked and chopped (I about doubled this because I couldn’t for the life of me get the bean thread noodles apart to weigh out only 44g.)

For garnishing:
Pinch kimchi flakes
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 sprigs cilantro
2 thin rounds of lime
10 leaves romaine lettuce

Method
Mix together everything but the garnishes.



Spoon the mixture into martini glasses.

Make sure to include all the good limey, salty juice. Sprinkle with the kimchi flakes, black sesame seeds and cilantro.


Garnish with a lime round on the edge of each glass. Place the glasses on a plate and arrange the romaine leaves around them, attractively.



Fill leaves with mixture—crunch!

The chef’s drink suggestion: A nice Moscato with a little bit of sweet goes well with the spicy flavors. Or perhaps enjoy with a nice simple beer such as a Sebago Saddleback Ale.

Tell me that doesn't look like a Vacation in Your Mouth?! 

Enjoy!

Win your own copy! 
The rules: If you’d like to win a copy of Adventures in Comfort Food: Incredible, Delicious and New Recipes from a Unique, Small-Town Restaurant, please leave a blog comment telling me your favorite comfort food then click on the Rafflecopter widget for other opportunities to enter. Not leaving a comment will disqualify your other entries. Please be aware that the publisher will only ship to US or Canadian addresses. The winner will be randomly picked by Rafflecopter and will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, another winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


*This post contains affiliate links. I received a copy of the cookbook for review purposes with no other compensation.*



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