Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

We really felt like it was all of a sudden spring (finally!) last Saturday morning when we stopped by the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. Feeling creative, we decided to shop with the goal of figuring out a new dish to make for lunch. There were lots of farm eggs (and some duck eggs), plenty of greens, and all kinds of mushrooms, including some Pioppino. We chose some really nice oyster mushrooms this time around. Sprouts, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, and microgreens were available, too. We immediately started thinking maybe pad Thai, maybe quiche. But the El Mero Taco truck was parked outside Muddy's Grind House, so it was clear this dreamy new dish was going to be on hold until Sunday lunch.

The local flowers from we chose from Delta Sol made my grandmother happy because she always asks if we or someone we know grew the arrangements we do for her. We could tell her yes for the first time this year!

We're also thrilled that opening day of the downtown Memphis Farmers Market is on Saturday, April 1 (seriously, no joke) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

So what are you most looking forward to buying? Over at our house, we have tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and some nasturtium plants for the garden at the top of the list.

We'll definitely buy the ingredients for this Pad Thai again. Last night, we already made a similar version with other random vegetables we had in the fridge. Be sure to put a few pinches of sugar on top of the finished dish along with the sambal. Doing so balances out its spicy and savory nature and also makes it taste even better!

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

4 ounces pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
Pad Thai Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions (root end removed; cut into large pieces)
1 yellow bell pepper (sliced, stem and seeds discarded)
1 16-ounce package baked tofu (cut into triangles)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 small bunch cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 lime quartered
1 small bunch basil
Sambal (to taste)
A few pinches of sugar (to taste)

This dish comes together fast once you have everything chopped and ready. Make the noodles according to the package instructions and the Pad Thai Sauce according to the recipe below. Set aside with the rest of the ingredients.

Over high heat, get your large wok or frying pan hot enough that it starts smoking. Add the coconut oil and crack the two eggs into the bottom. Allow them to cook for about 2 minutes or until they're crispy on the bottom. With a large spoon, stir until the eggs are cooked through.

Add the mushrooms, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted. Add the noodles and the Pad Thai Sauce. Stir and cook until everything is throughly heated through; this will take about another 2 minutes. Place Pad Thai onto a serving platter and garnish with mung bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts. Serve the lime, basil, and sambal on the side. (Makes 4 servings.)

Pad Thai Sauce

1 fresno or Thai bird chili (chopped)
1 stalk lemongrass (tender center part of the stalk, the rest discarded)
4 cloves peeled garlic
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons soy sauce (We like Braggs Liquid Aminos.)
1 tablespoon sugar

In the bowl of a mortar and pestle, grind the chili, lemongrass, garlic, zest, lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar until well incorporated. You can also use a blender for this. Set aside until ready to use. 

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