Do you ever have a taste of somethin’ new & delicious and just know that it’s going to make its way into your own kitchen at a point in the very near future?!

That’s what happened with this new-to-me spicy chili paste called sambal, which I tried just a few short days ago…

Have you ever had this stuff before? 

If not, I highly suggest you try it.  Seriously.

If the smell of fresh sweet yet spicy chilis isn’t enough to entice you, then I can almost guarantee that the spicy sweetness that this chili paste delivers in the taste department sure will.

I can’t get enough of this stuff.  But really.

Especially when used to top this sweet coconut chicken and rice soup. 



Fresh mint and green onion too. 

I can’t even explain how much fabulous flavor that these lend to the sweet hearty coconut soup.  I love incorporating herbs into dishes like this!

This soup comes together so easily, and delivers so many different flavors that just make it irresistable in my opinion!

So let’s do this, shall we? 🙂

Fresh garlic.  Chopped. 

Added to a hot soup pot with a bit of coconut oil (or any oil), until fragrant.

Shredded chicken.  Which I simply boiled in a few cups of water, shredded and seasoned with sea salt & black pepper.

Reserved chicken cooking liquid.  Which when combined with homemade (or store bought) chicken stock, creates the soup broth.


Coconut milk.  Not sure how full fat would work here, but the light version was the perfect level of richness for this soup.

Jasmine Rice.  So fragrant!

Into the pot we go.  Cooked until fluffy & soft.

Finished with a handful of fresh green onion and additional salt and pepper, as needed.

Something about chicken and rice is just so warm & comforting now isn’t it? 

And here, somehow the traditional becomes exotic and tropical with the addition of unconventional flavors like coconut and mint…

To serve – now this is the important part! – top with additional fresh green onion, fresh mint and spicy Sambal.

And stir it up!  The heat from the soup brings out the flavor of the mint and onion too, so serve this sucker h-o-t 😛

These toppings are what really bring this soup to a whole ‘notha level my friends.

Fresh mint, sweet coconut, spicy chili and tangy green onion.  Ooooo oooo ooooo was this good!!!

And probably my favorite recipe of 2012 thus far…. even though it’s only the 8th day of the month yea yea yea 😉

But seriously, if you’re feeling like something different in the kitchen then I would totally recommend trying this soup.  Exotic flavors with ingredients that you can find at pretty much any grocery store too.  How’s that for easy n’ flavorful?

And yea, sambal.  Put it on the “must try” list for the new year.  Trust me, you’ll be glad ya did!!

Have you ever had Sambal before?

P.S. You can find sambal at any Asian market and I even spotted it at our local World Market.

Another zucchini recipe is comin’ right at ya! 😀

This time with a Greek flavor twisttttt.

A refreshing summer salad that is great to make ahead of time.  In fact, it’s going to taste better if made ahead of time!

I threw it together Sunday night so the flavors had the chance to get friendly overnight.

This made for a super easy Monday dinner side dish…

Which kinda worked out nicely since I spent THREE HOURS of my life last night watching Bachelor Pad 2.

Whatever lol, I don’t want to talk about it 😛

This wonderful salad recipe came from a blog that I just found recently and am really loving!

Of course, a few tweaks:

  • dill omitted, because I (1) don’t really like it and (2) didn’t want to buy it
  • garlic omitted, because I just wasn’t in the mood for it *gasp*! 
  • other ingredients measured to suit my tastes 

Fabulous recipe I must say.  Lookin’ forward to trying some more from this great new-to-me site 🙂

Greek Style Zucchini Salad courtesy of Closet Cooking

Serves 3-4

Original recipe here

  • 3 small zucchini
  • 3 tblsp sliced green onion
  • 3 tblsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup crumbed feta
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Using a mandolin slicer I created thick shreds of zucchini.  The original recipe called for using a grater.  So use what ya got.  


I just thought the thicker shreds would hold up more to my liking during their overnight stay in the fridge 🙂

Fresh mint, chopped.  Juicy lemon, squeezed.  This mint plant is just the gift that keeps on givin’!  Can’t say I’m complaining 😉

Green onions, sliced.  Speaking of “gifts that keep on giving”…

Anyone remember this little experiment??

Plant magic.

Simply chop/prep all of the ingredients.  Then combine with a good stir!


And resist devouring for at least a few hours…

 Hey, I didn’t say it’d be easy 😉

But definitely well worth it!!! 

As most things that end up well worth it usually are.  Right?

What I liked about this refreshing salad were the bursts of fresh mint combined with tangy lemon, zesty green onion and smooth olive oil. The salty feta really took it to the next level in both creamy coolness and also delicious flavor.

And I mean if we really want to talk about “gifts that keep on giving“….

Pretty sure that 10lbs of feta qualifies for that category 😉


Have you discovered any new-to-you recipe sites that you are currently loving?


Remember this guy?

It’s backkkkkkkkkkkk! 😉

This time incorporated into what I would say ended up turning out as one of my favorite deliciously unique flavors that has come out of the CookinFanatic kitchen! 

Jalapeno, Mint & Feta Zucchini Cakes

Makes 8 large zucchini cakes

  • 3 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 russet potato, grated
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • cooking spray

Start by preheating oven to 400F.  Then grate the zucchini & potato. I used a mandolin slicer but you can use a regular cheese grater, thick setting, as well.

Place zucchini and potato into a sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible.  Allow to drain in the sieve for another 15 minutes or so.

Next combine the drained zucchini & potato with the diced jalapeno, chopped mint, crumbled feta, eggs, bread crumbs, sea salt and black pepper.  Combine thoroughly.

Then form the mixture into 8 large zucchini cakes, about 2/3 cup each.  If the batter is too wet, add some additional bread crumbs.

Place zucchini cakes onto a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.  Spray the tops of the zucchini cakes with cooking spray as well.

Into the 400F oven they go for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can flip them.  They should be nice and browned on the bottom at this point too.


Once flipped, bake for another 10-15 minutes until browned on both sides and easily able to come off the baking sheet.

As you can see I got a bit impatient and flipped too early!!!  Do not follow my example haha 😛

The finished product.

Served with my new favorite curry chicken thighs and a cool, crisp cucumber and tomato salad.

What I loved about this zucchini cake was the seriously fun flavor mix of tangy feta, cool mint and zippy jalapeno.  Each bite got more and more interesting with the combo and I just couldn’t seem to get enough?!

 It turned out crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle too, the feta definitely played a role in that.  I like adding in the potato factor too, not only does it help the zucchini cakes to bind better during baking, but I also think assists in creating a nice “crust” to the outside too?

I already can’t wait to make these again, they were so good and the leftovers were just as tasty served outta the fridge the next day!

That mint plant o’ mine sure is getting quite the workout this summer I’d say 😉

Have you ever cooked with mint before? What’s your favorite way to use it?

 “Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.”<– loving this one today 🙂