I promised some recipes a few days ago, so here it goes. The first one has been the staple snack in the Dworkin household for a few weeks now. The last time we went to Carrefour (Egyptian wal-mart, as you may recall), I bought some popcorn kernels. I could see the skepticism on Ira's face. "What are you going to do with those?" he was thinking. That night I made my first attempt at the spicy popcorn to which we are now addicted. It was pretty good, a little burnt and I overshot the spices a little bit. I made it again a few nights later and this time it was a little too salty. The night of my birthday party (or the morning after my birthday party, depending on how you look at it) I made some for the lingering guests. It was very popular. The next time Amanda came over for knitting night, I made some for her, and the Ira and I had some last night while we watched "Burn After Reading". It's so simple and it tastes so good, it really makes me wonder why we ever made popcorn in the microwave...
first, you need a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid
about 3 tbs. olive oil
about 1/2 cup kernels
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Sprinkle the Old Bay on top. Dump the kernels in the pan. Over med-high heat, let them do their thing! It only takes about 3 or 4 minutes. I shake the pan every minute or so to make sure they're all getting a turn. You can experiment with different spices and herbs. This just happens to be the one that we like the best. After you hear the popping slow down, take it off the heat and place in a big bowl, salt to taste. However, a good movie or some bad reality TV are required to make this recipe taste its best.
And speaking of TV, one of good things about Egyptian TV is, well, European TV. I love watching all the British fashion shows and the BBC news, of course. But the cooking shows are by far the best. I know that the food network in the states has both Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, but over here they each have like 5 shows. So the other day I was watching Nigella and she was making something with glass noodles (rice noodles or vermicelli) and shrimp. I thought to myself "I know I can find both glass noodles AND shrimp at the market!" So off I went. Not only did I find those two ingredients, but I found basil for the first time. I bought two bunches because I couldn't resist. Cleaning the prawns was a huge (and smelly) pain, but the resulting meal was delicious, and there was a enough for leftovers which almost never happens around here. While at the market, there weren't any veggies that looked exciting to me, you could add some snap peas or green beans and I'm sure it would be great.
Super Fragrant Noodles with Shrimp
one package vermicelli noodles
1 lb. shrimp (preferably fresh)
big handful chopped basil
big handful chopped cilantro
for the sauce:
1 tbs. minced garlic
1 tbs. minced ginger
2 tbs. minced scallions
2 tbs. peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sesame oil (plus a little more to saute the shrimp)
one sliced chili pepper for garnish
Because you have a few things going at once here, I would make the sauce first. Place the garlic, ginger, scallions, peanut butter, soy sauce, and oil in a bowl and whisk together. This is the ratio that tasted good to me, but you can adjust it if you need to. Set the sauce aside. Next, boil the water for the noodles. While that's heating up, clean the shrimp (or have the dude at the store do it, which is what I should have done!) Saute with the sesame oil over medium heat until pink. Remove from the heat. Once the water has come to a boil, turn off the heat and drop in the noodles. Only leave them in for a minute or two and then drain. Toss together the shrimp, noodles, basil, and cilantro. Place in bowls and top with sauce and chili peppers. It's also good cold the next day!