Thai Beef avec Basil

Lately I have been getting into ethnic cuisines – thai, indian, japanese, etc.. There is so much fun to be had when going outside of the generic American recipes. I love the international aisle in all grocery stores. I’m not one to favor basil (other than with caprese salad), however a recipe from Bon Appétit really stood out to me. The other night I made a thai beef with basil recipe and it couldn’t have turned out better! I also finally got the presentation right. I am constantly whipping random meals but while they taste delicious, they don’t turn out very pretty. To create the carrot slaw I used a vegetable peeler over the entire carrot, rather than taking the time to julienne the carrot with a knife (I also don’t own a julienne peeler yet). This recipe is great when you have ground beef on hand that you need to use before it goes bad. Initially before delving into international recipes, I was under the assumption that they required so many random sauces and spices to create such different and distinct flavors. It turns out, they are nearly easier to whip up than a french recipe! When making the rice, use coconut milk. This recipe is super quick, satisfying, and on the healthier side – enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chiles, thinly sliced, seeded for less heat if desired, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned or coarsely grated
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Steamed rice and lime wedges (for serving)

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and 1 chile and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8–10 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups basil and cook, stirring, until basil is wilted, about 2 minutes.
    2. Toss carrots, scallions, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and remaining chile, 1 cup basil leaves, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.
    3. Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in another small bowl until sugar dissolves.
    4. Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing. Serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.
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Straw-Nana Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to start the day when you aren’t very hungry in the morning, and also serve as a great mid-day snack. They’re better than juicing because you get to digest the fiber of the fruits and vegetables added, which means they tend to be more filling! Simply place all of the ingredients below in a blender and blend until smooth. If you like your smoothie a little thicker then add less almond milk. Adding spinach is a great way to increase hidden nutrients because you can’t even taste it when blended with everything else. The following serving is for one.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 strawberries
  • Handful of ice
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp quick oats

Watermelon Martini

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Summer means watermelons, and watermelons mean bring out the vodka! One night my friend, Catherine, and I were feeling a stay-in night but we also wanted a good cocktail. We have an affinity for dirty martinis but couldn’t get our hands on olives since it was past 10 PM. Luckily, I had randomly bought a watermelon earlier that day and had some Rose’s Lime Juice and Tito’s on hand. I started experimenting with different measurements and eventually concocted the best watermelon martini I have had to date. I like them strong so you may want to go with less vodka. Before I share my secret recipe with you, I’ll fill you in on the barware I use.

Bar Tools Guide:

  • Shaker – as for the shaker, any stainless steel insulated shaker is great – I use the Insulated Cocktail Shaker from Williams-Sonoma
  • Miscellaneous – I use the Stainless-Steel Hammered Bar Tool Set from Williams-Sonoma which includes a double-sided jigger(shot-measurer in other words), ice tongs, cocktail strainer and a long stirring spoon

Ingredients:

  • Double-shot of vodka, I recommend Tito’s 100%
  • 1 shot fresh watermelon juice
  • Splash of Rose’s Lime Juice
  • 1/4 wedge of lime for shaking & garnish
  • Ice
  • Watermelon for shaking & garnish
  • Splash of club soda

Directions:

  1. Cut open the watermelon and scoop out watermelon chunks and place in a bowl; also, scrape the watermelon into liquid form (basically make half of the watermelon a hollow bowl
  2. Gather the supplies and throw in the vodka, watermelon juice, Rose’s, a big chunk of watermelon, and squeeze the fresh lime in and add the wedge to the shaker
  3. Fill with ice covering the contents and shake
  4. Using a cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass
  5. Add a scoop of watermelon and a lime wedge, and top with a splash of club soda!

Pizza for Breakfast

My friends and I planned to do a pot-luck brunch on our apartment’s rooftop, so my first thought was what can I possibly make for breakfast with a grill?! My love for pizza combined with my love for grilling made it quite clear – why not grill a breakfast pizza. Short on time, I decided to buy store-bought dough (making your own wouldn’t be too hard and you could use a healthier alternative), and I bought some produce favorites: parsley and scallions! Just about anything can be used as toppings, however below is what I used and how I did it.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: ~10 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Prepared pizza dough
  • Olive oil, for drizzling on pizza dough
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 5 strips cooked bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 whole scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Dust the surface of your kitchen counter with flour and roll pizza dough to a ¼-inch thickness
  2. Drizzle both sides of dough with olive oil and set aside on round baking sheet
  3. Cook the bacon and chop it up
  4. Gather all the toppings and dough and move outside to the grill
  5. Set the grill to the highest heat setting, once it is nice and hot place the pizza dough onto the grill
  6. Once the grill marks appear, flip it and crack the three eggs onto the dough and cover for 3-5 minutes
  7. Once the eggs are just about set, sprinkle the cheeses, bacon and salt and pepper; cover for an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted
  8. Sprinkle with parsley and scallions, and enjoy!

Hidden Oats: Banana Almond Oatmeal Muffins

On the morning of my college graduation as I ran recklessly (& maybe still a little tipsy) out the door, my brother’s girlfriend handed me a muffin for the road. I was skeptical of it given her love for oats and *all* things natural, however if it weren’t for that muffin I wouldn’t have made it through the four hour long ceremony in the blazing heat on the National Mall. She passed along the recipe and I ran straight for the grocery store to gather the supplies!

It is a ‘Vegan Banana Almond Oatmeal Muffin’ and is my first step towards incorporating oats into my diet. The muffin is great for an on-the-go breakfast when you need to hit the snooze button one too many times, and is great for an afternoon snack. It’s filling yet delicious and tastes just like good ole banana bread! Below is my version of the recipe:

Yields: 12 generously sized muffins

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time: 22-25 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3 smashed ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (any flavor works!)
  • 1/2 cup slivered strawberry slices
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds (save some for topping the muffins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease muffin tin with coconut oil
  2. Make sure that the almond butter is runny, microwave if necessary
  3. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and stir thoroughly until combined; spoon into muffin tins and top with almond slivers
  4. Place on center rack of oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes
  5. Take out and let cool – the muffins should pop right out of the tins!

Other Options: Adding egg whites is a great source of additional protein! Just make sure to keep the muffins refrigerated if adding egg whites. I also added mini chocolate chips to half of the muffins to satisfy my chocolate sweet tooth!

Hello!

My name is Blair, and I am a recent graduate from The George Washington University. While I majored in economics and business, I have a passion for hosting and all things food and drinks! I love to re-create recipes, as well as try out my own. When it comes to cocktails, I love to experiment on my own and rarely reference any recipes. I will be posting recipes as well as reviews of farmers markets that excite me!