Pad Thai

Ingredients:
1 egg lightly beaten
1 TBS sliced shallot
1 TBS chopped salted radish
1 handful rice stick noodle
1/4 c plus 2 TBS water
1 c fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c fresh chives, cut into one inch long pieces
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS chopped roasted peanut
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Rinse the radish several times under cold water, gently squeezing off the water. Chop it and add a little bit of sugar to sweeten, mix well.
2. Soak the rice stick noodle in warm water for about 15 minutes, leave in water until you are ready to use.
3. Heat 1 TBS of oil in a wok at medium-high heat. Add egg and cook it quickly, scrambling into small pieces. Remove, set aside.
4. Add 1 TBS oil to the wok. Add shallot, radish and tofu fry until aromatic. Increase the heat of your wok. Add a handful of soaked noodles followed with water. Stir-fry this mixture for about 5-6 minutes. The noodles will start to get soft. Add 1/4 c of pad thai sauce and mix well. Add sugar, cooked egg, bean sprout, and chive. Stir well for another 1-2 minutes until everything blends together. Turn off heat, transfer to serving plate with sliced fresh lime, roasted peanuts, and more bean sprout on the side. Now dazzle your friends with the fact that your pad thai looks and tastes just as good as any restaurant.
5. You may add Thai chili powder, sugar, and crushed peanuts at the table on the side.

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Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yields: 24 bars

Crust:
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c sweet ground chocolate and cocoa
1/2 c butter, melted
2 TBS sugar

Topping:
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c sugar
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
3 TBS flour
4 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 bar (2 oz.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1″ pieces
1/2 tsp vegetable shortening

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust:
1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground chocolate, butter, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
2. Press the mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
3. Bake 8 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Topping:
1. In large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter, and flour until well blended.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixture well after each addition.
3. Blend in the milk and the vanilla extract.
4. Pour the topping into the crust and bake 40 minutes.
5. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.
6. Melt the chocolate pieces and vegetable shortening in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water.
7. Stir occasionally until smooth.
8. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cooled bars.
9. Chill approximately 10 minutes, just until the chocolate layer is partially set.
10. Score the chocolate layer with a sharp knife, forming squares, and return the pan to the refrigerator.
11. Chill 30 minutes, or until firm. Ct through the bars and serve. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
2 bars (8 0z.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1/4″ pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9″x5″ pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually, stirring until moistened.
6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate pieces.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
8. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
9. Cool the bread in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
10. To store, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze.

Pecan and Caramel Chocolate Clusters

(Yield: 24 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 c pecan halves
1 c sugar
1 c dark corn syrup
1 c butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 bars (6 oz.) milk chocolate baking bars, melted

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. Cut the pecans in half lengthwise and arrange to form small circles (about 1 1/2″ in diameter).
3. Cook the sugar, dark corn syrup, butter and 1/2 c of cream in a saucepan.
4. Stir occasionally over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
6. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining cream.
7. Heat again and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 245 degrees F.
8. Pour the caramel mixture into a 9″ pan lined with foil and let it cool approximately 2 minutes.
9. Spoon caramel mixture over each pecan circle.
10. Melt chocolate according to melting instructions.
11. Spread melted chocolate over each cluster.
12. Chill 10 minutes, then let stand at room temperature until the chocolate is firm.
13. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Chicken Hekka

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c soy sauce
3/4 c mirin (japanese sweet wine)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
3 carrots, julienned
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 (14 oz.) can shredded bamboo, drained
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c trimmed and coarsely chopped watercress
1 (8 oz.) package rice noodles, soaked and cut into 2″ pieces

Directions:
1. Cut chicken meat into bit size pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin wine. Mix well, and set aside.
2. In a skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Squeeze juice from grated ginger into wok, add grated ginger, and stir fry until brown. Discard ginger fibers. Increase heat to high, and stir in chicken. Season with soy sauce mixture, and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. One at a time, add the carrots, onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and watercress. Stir after each addition. Add rice noodles; cook, stirring, for about 3 more minutes, or until done.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
1 TBS butter
3/2 c almonds, blanched and slivered
1 lb spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 c dried cranberries
2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bit-size pieces
4 c sliced strawberries
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
2 TBS sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.