Remember this classic scene from Seinfeld?

Well, thanks to Mr. N we now know that this would be illegal in Thailand. Yep. That’s right – there’s no going commando in this part of the world. You see, as promised, Mr. N is going to share little facts about each of the countries we visit through our culinary adventures. First we learned that three common ingredients in Thai food are green onions, cilantro and lime. Thai ingredients

And thanks to his new book from Friend Sue, we also learned that leaving the house without underwear is in fact illegal in the Land of Smiles. As you can imagine this made for a nice little chuckle around the dinner table. Not only did it raise the question, how do they know if you aren’t wearing underwear, it also reminded us of little Mr. N.

You see back when he was just three years old and learning to count he would often forget the number 15. He would go from 14 to 16 without fail, no matter how many times we tried again. It also just so happened, that around this time, Mr. N was learning to dress himself each morning. Well, without fail he would forget his underwear. He’d have shorts, t-shirt (usually backwards), and socks. So it became a little inside joke that Mr. N’s underwear were “fifteens.” So every morning we’d remind him, “Mr. N, don’t forget your fifteens!” Not only did this make him chuckle, but he started to remember every article of clothing! It was fortunate for him that this wasn’t illegal in Minnesota.

Needless to say, we had some fun conversations around the dinner table with our first recipe from Thailand. And what did we opt to go with first? The decision was easy – at least as far as Mike was concerned. He’s been waiting for this dish since we began our adventures – a Shrimp Pad Thai. Now with every new cuisine we add all kinds of different ingredients to our kitchen, and while cilantro, lime and green onions aren’t really newcomers, these next few ingredients certainly were. The first up…palm sugar. Palm sugar

We found palm sugar sold in a cone and sliced off what we needed. Next up, fish sauce, IMG_6460

and tamarind concentrate, which is a little bit sticky (think molasses). tamarind concentrate

We dissolved and mixed everything together with a some garlic and red pepper flakes to create our pad Thai sauce. Pad Thai Sauce

In the meantime, we soaked our rice stick noodles according to the package directions in some water. rice stick noodles

Next, Miss A took care of cooking our shrimp. Or should I say our rock star (note the outfit change – the third of the day). cooking shrimp

We removed the cooked shrimp and set it aside. Then Mr. N swooped in and cooked the onions, garlic and noodles. making pad Thai

Next we tossed in some of the pad Thai sauce along with the shrimp which we then moved to one side of the wok, then cracked and scrambled an egg on the other side. egg in pad Thai

Finally we tossed in some cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, green onions and mung beans. We tested the noodles and were good to go. Shrimp pad Thai

We were really excited with how our first Thai dish turned out. It smelled great and was even pretty to look at. We didn’t even get any groans from the kids – I’m guessing thanks to the shrimp on the plate. pad Thai

So how did the new cuisine fair? Well, Mike and I both enjoyed the dish. The tamarind flavor comes through with intensity and there are all kinds of texture and flavor sensations happening. It’s definitely a complex dish which rang in at 3 spoons for both Mike and I. Thai food

Surprisingly Mr. N, our resident Asian food lover, wasn’t as thrilled with this dish. It was 2-1/2 spoons for him. And Miss A, well, she gave the shrimp 10 spoons and the rest 1 spoon. These ratings kind of baffled us. It wasn’t the flavor because they both enjoyed the shrimp. So perhaps it was a texture issue? Or maybe the sprouts that soured them on the dish as a whole. Still they ate up their dinners and didn’t complain and that’s always a win in my book!

Print this recipe: Shrimp Pad Thai Pad Thai Shrimp

All-in-all, not bad for our first Thai cooking adventure. Next up, another well-known and renowned Thai dish. Until then, we’ll leave you with this philosophical thought of the day: As to why a three-year old Mr. N always put his shirts on backwards… “It’s so people will know it’s me when I’m walking away.” Out of the mouths of babes…


It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Well, here we go! It’s time for our next international adventure. This time we’re heading back to Africa for a culinary visit with Mozambique. Mozambique is in southeast Africa and borders the Indian ocean. Now what I was surprised to learn is that the official language of Mozambique is actually Portuguese; and like the language, the food is infused with Portuguese influence.

For our first recipe, we went with one that had a high chance of success around here – Shrimp Mozambique. Not only did it promise to be simple, but we’re all big shrimp fans. We started today’s recipe by melting some butter in a large skillet and then tossing in some diced shallots. Continue reading


A younger Mr. N enjoying Florida’s Gulf

To Miss A that is. We held off on shellfish for both of the kids until they reached the age of three. It’s a highly allergenic food to which we have a family history, but now that she’s nearing her third birthday we’re making the slow introduction of shellfish starting with dad’s stateside pick for the night – Florida.

Dad really wanted to make alligator bites tonight, but unfortunately (Read: Shwoo!), we couldn’t find alligator. So we decided to use this as an opportunity to give Miss A a taste of shellfish – something we dined on quite a bit in the Sunshine State. We wanted a tropical kind of selection too, so we chose Coconut Shrimp with an Orange Dipping Sauce (It’s Florida – we have to incorporate oranges!). The kids, both big fans of Florida even though Miss A’s never been there (except when she pretends she’s flying there in her Nana’s kitchen cabinet), were on hand and excited to help tonight, especially with the dipping.

Continue reading

Seafood Pasta with Cloves? You Bet!

This weekend we are wrapping up our Egyptian adventure with another winning recipe. When dad first picked Egypt a few weeks ago, we knew little about the local cuisine. We figured we would come across some traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as falafel or babaganoush – and we did. But we also discovered that Egyptian cuisine has influences from the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and offers a lot of healthy, flavorful cooking options.

Tonight’s recipe is one of the first that we came across for the region and we instantly knew we had to try it. This recipe for Egyptian Seafood Pasta is very similar to an Italian dish that dad and I used to eat a ton of when we were dating. So going in it already had a lot to live up to.

We began our pasta dish by sauteing a chopped onion with some olive oil. Once the onion was softened we added bacon, garlic and ground cloves – yes cloves! This was new to me. Continue reading