Basil basil basil. I love seeing it flourish in my garden and it is truly a sign of the season when I start looking for ways to use it. In the northeast, basil is sometimes hard to come by during the winter months but makes more than a cameo appearance in the produce aisles when the ice melts, and the flowers start blooming.
I love recipes from Epicurious, but sometimes they have ingredients I have no way of getting and luckily for me and my palate, the internet sometimes gives reliable information about what I can use instead. With the Epicurious / Bon Appetit partnership recipe EBlasts and regular similar emails from NY Time cooking, I feel like I am given permission to peer into a a food world I might have been nervous to enter from my humble galley kitchen. This recipe called for Fresno chiles, which despite my lookingest looks in the grocery stores in my zip codes, I could not find. I read the Fresno is similar to a jalapeño except the jalapeño is hotter, so I cut down on the amount and my jalapeño bravely went where only Fresnos had gone before. I jest, but honestly, I am so glad I decided to make this recipe anyway. At the urging of my inbox, I frequently to decide to “Cook this now” (the title of the eblasts) or make a recipe because my email I received told me “what to make this week.” I am in no way suggestible, and nobody has ever tried to sell me a bridge in Brooklyn so I must exude at least a little saviness, but I like learning recipes which I might not even know to seek out because they are from unfamiliar cultures or seem, when I’ve had them in restaurant, beyond my humble cooking abilities. In addition to this blog I encourage people to seek out places and spaces where they try recipes which might seem a little daunting or unfamiliar. If I cooked according to my existing repertoire always, as most people without a food blog do, I would eat many many many rosemary boneless pork chops interspersed with vegetables and “Puerto Rican eggs”, so called because they are liberally seasoned with Goya Sazon con Cilantro and Tomate. Chuckle chuckle, Luckily, I have a food blog.
For people not so familiar with fish sauce, it is as potent as it sounds. In Thai and Vietnamese food sometimes it is used on its own for the brave as a condiment, and as an essential part of sauces for the people who love the hint of its flavor but who might otherwise be bowled over by its pungency. The marinade, which becomes a sauce in this recipe, is the perfect compliment to shrimp and I would totally make this again. The peas where my vegetable craving heart’s addition, and it was honestly a gamble which paid off. You could serve this recipe over soba or rice noodles, or as the recipe originally called for, rice. I am still trying to master the cooking of rice noodles, but I am planning on keeping on keeping on when it comes to cooking them, because I know I am on the bring of cooking them to perfection.