Spicy Cashew and Coconut Snack Mix

Spicy Thai Cashews

What do my favorite snacks, i.e.  kettle corn, chocolate-covered potato chips, and Costco’s cashew, almond and pumpkin seed clusters have in common?  The irresistible combination of salty and sweet.

And while spiced, candied nuts are certainly nothing new (my previous go-to combined almonds, candied sugar, cumin and cayenne), this Thai snack mix ups the ante by combining cashews, dried coconut, honey and fresh red jalapeno chile pepper into an addicting and slightly spicy treat.

Spicy Thai Cashews

And unlike many of the spiced nut recipes out there, this cashew mix is made on the stove-top.  And why, exactly, is that important or noteworthy?  Well,  you could already be enjoying the fruits of your labor in just about the same amount of time it would take you to preheat your oven.  In my book, that’s a good thing.  Dangerous, but good.

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Ginger, Lemongrass and Thai Basil Sparkler

 

Ginger, Lemongrass and Thai Basil Sparkler

Despite my love of fun, non-alcoholic beverages (kombucha, tea, lemonade, hibiscus coolers, etc., etc.), I’m always dropping the ball when it comes to making them for dinner parties.  Folks usually only have one option: water.

But from now on, I’m going to try to up my drink game, big time.  And this ginger, lemongrass and Thai basil sparkler is pretty much guaranteed to be paired with all future Southeast Asian meals.

Ginger, Lemongrass and Thai Basil

The inspiration came from a  ginger and mint lemonade that a friend once made (and for you local folks, his inspiration came from the drink at Govinda’s).  But since I’m in Thai mode at the moment, my mind immediately translated it into something with Asian flavors.  The lemon morphed into lemongrass and the mint got subbed out for spicy Thai basil.  And the sparkling water?  Well, I just like the bubbles.

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Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

Ginger Lemongrass Syrup

It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but here’s the lovechild of my two favorite syrups: ginger and lemongrass.  The condiment shelves in my fridge are generally stuffed to the gills, and so I’m considering the consolidation of two bottles into one to be a step in the right direction.   I’m not sure why I didn’t take the leap years ago.

The syrup is surprisingly versatile… drizzle some into your tea, lemonade, or use it in place of simple syrup in your favorite cocktail to give it some Asian flair (a ginger lemongrass mojito sounds pretty fab).  It can also provide a base for one heck of a  fantastic mocktail.  Recipe is coming soon, but here’s a sneak peek.

Drink with Ginger Lemongrass Syrup

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Spicy Thai Green Curry with Chicken, Eggplant and Bamboo Shoots

Thai Green Chicken Curry with Eggplant

Back in my gluten-eating days, I lived near a great hole in the wall Thai restaurant.  Literally, the place is a garage with a retractable door.   Back then, each plate lunch or dinner cost less than $5, which meant than even an under-employed person like myself (I’d taken the summer off to surf… oh how I miss my carefree early 20s) could dine like a king.

While I loved trying new-to-me dishes like Thai crispy noodles, Tom Ka Gai soup, and Pad Kee Mao noodles, their green curry with chicken, eggplant and bamboo shoots (the #12!) was in high rotation.   I loved the thick, rich and spicy curry sauce that coated the chicken and veggies and seeped into the accompanying rice.  That curry also probably deserves most of the credit for building up my heat tolerance for spicy foods.

Thai Green Chicken Curry with Eggplant

I haven’t been to that restaurant in years and years (they use a glutinous oyster sauce in just about everything), it was easy to recreate the dish at home with the help of some store bought curry paste.  And although the paste alone will give you a perfectly decent curry, adding a couple extra items like fish sauce, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves and some Thai basil transforms it into restaurant-quality.

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