Making Flavor Out of Nothing At All

Okay, so I am not the best lyricist (and I don’t sing in Air Supply), but what I do well is put together ingredients on the fly and make a simple tasty dish.

With that in mind, I came home after a brutal day at work with dreams of having a few beers and putting together a dish that would be just above edible.

What I came up with was a mixture of sweet and spicy, crunchy and soft that was better than I could have imagined.

What You’ll Need:

Linguini Noodles
1/2 of a potato
1/2 of a red onion
6 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs of butter
4 Tbs of Sesame Oil
Jar of Banana Pepper Rings
Soy Sauce
2 handful of frozen mixed vegetables (green beans/carrots/corn)
tsp of Basil
1/2 tsp of Oregano
Small handful of dry roasted peanuts
Mae Ploy for drizzling

  1. Start by cooking the linguini noodles to your desired doneness.  I prefer mine to be al dente.
  2. Next chop the potato, onion and garlic.
  3. Add the butter and 2 Tbs of oil to a pan or electric griddle(which is what I used) on medium low heat.
  4. Once the butter has melted and the wonderful scent of sesame oil fills the air, drop your potato, onion and garlic.
  5. After 5 minutes throw in some banana pepper rings (as many as you would like) and two healthy splashes of soy sauce to add that “kick.”
  6. Stir and simmer for 5 more minutes then add your frozen mixed vegetables.
  7. After 5 minutes toss in two generous handfuls of noodles and your spices (basil and oregano).
  8. Let those ingredients mingle for a few minutes before adding the peanuts just long enough to heat them up.
  9. After adding to the plate drizzle your noodles with some Mae Ploy for the sweet chili taste and salt/pepper as necessary.




Sweet Mae and Spicy Sambal

I was fortunate to learn from one of my culinary heroes, Kevin McElroy, at his two restaurants, The Local Table and Tap and Barrio Kitchen, that he co-owns with Rich Watt in White Lake, New York. Chef Kevin is CIA trained, no not the spy agency, and Chef Rich also has culinary training as well. Both men were able to give me many tips throughout my many visits to the restaurants.

One of the many things that they did teach me about was expanding my palate. As someone who walked into a professional kitchen with no experience, I learned extremely quickly how demanding the job can be. But I also learned how rewarding it can be for the chefs when they push out over a hundred covers on a slow night. Quickness was one of the key skills they preached but using that speed wisely was more important.

One of the smallest recipes I learned from the two men was a recipe for a burger/fry dipping sauce that combined the spiciness of Sambal Oelek, the sweetness of Mae Ploy and the richness of mayo. An Asian Aioli that can be modified for spiciness or sweetness depending on your palate.

What you’ll need:

Two cups of mayo

1 jar of Sambal Oelek

1 bottle of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce

Mix all three ingredients together in a bowl. If you want a spicier sauce use more Sambal Oelek or more Mae Ploy for a sweeter sauce. You are looking for a sauce the color of French dressing. Be sure to taste the sauce as you mix and add, you don’t want it too thick but not too drippy either. Is good on sandwiches or anything else you would like to enjoy it on!