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"To read a book about a country's cuisine isn't simply to go looking for 'good things'; it is also to better know - by means of the recipes - the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast."

~ Ginette Olivesi-Lorenzi, La Cuisine Mentonnaise



Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking (The Savoring Series)
by Lori De Mori

Part of the Savoring Series, which is one of my favorite series of books about Regional Cuisine, Savoring Tuscany is a beautiful book filled with sumptuous recipes and delectable writing about the cuisine and culture of Tuscany. As with all the books in the series, Savoring Tuscany is put together beautifully and all of the recipes are well written and presented. The recipes that we tested were all superb and the book is an excellent source for fans of Tuscan cuisine.


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Recipe - Phad Thai for Two
by Wen Zientek-Sico

This classic noodle dish that is found in almost every Thai and Thai-American restaurant in the states and on every street corner in Bangkok is one of the best tasting dishes in the world. Filled with the hot, sour, salty, and sweet tastes that are the building point for so many Thai recipes, it is surprisingly easy to prepare…even for two.

Ignazio Dante - Mappe Delleuropa Centrale
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Phad Thai for Two

This classic noodle dish that is found in almost every Thai and Thai-American restaurant in the states and on every street corner in Bangkok is one of the best tasting dishes in the world. Filled with the hot, sour, salty, and sweet tastes that are the building point for so many Thai recipes, it is surprisingly easy to prepare…even for two. I have included directions for firm and soft noodles, which really does change the whole appearance and taste of the Phad Thai. I like it both ways really, so I included both methods. The firm noodle method results in a Phad Thai with very separate and al dente noodles while the soft noodle method makes a Phad Thai that is very soft and uniform. This is one dish that is served as fast as possible right out the wok right after it is finished or the noodles start losing their texture and can become a bit mushy.

1/8 pound rice noodles
1/2 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons tamarind juice
2 teaspoons palm or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/3 cup matchsticked firm tofu
2 minced garlic cloves
1 minced shallot
6 medium chopped cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
1 tablespoon chopped pickled radish
2 Thai bird chiles or serrano chiles (or to taste)
1 well beaten egg
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup minced scallions
Lime wedges

For firm noodles, soak the noodles in room temperature water for 40 minutes to soften. Drain well and set aside. For soft noodles, cook in boiling water according to the package directions, drain well, and set aside. Mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce, tamarind juice, and palm sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Set the sauce aside. Heat the wok and 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil until very hot. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the cooked shrimp, dried shrimp, pickled radish, and chile peppers and heat through. Add the noodles and toss well to coat with the sauce. Move the mixture to the sides of the wok and clear a space in the center. Add the remaining oil and heat until very hot. Add the egg and scramble until softly set. Break the cooked egg into small slivers and then toss with the noodle mixture in the center of the wok. Add the fish sauce mixture and toss well to coat. Add the bean sprouts, carrots, and scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Spoon onto a serving dish or individual plates and serve with the lime wedges.

Makes 2 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Soaking Time: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1 hour