Pad Thai Woonsen offers a tangle of glass noodles with traditional toppings.
On its surface, 3 month old zesty Thai seems approachable, American-palate-friendly and familiar. With a cursory glance or even after a delicious curry or pasta dish, it would be difficult to distinguish it from other restaurants in the city.
All standard dishes are available and perfect to serve based on our selection of an item from each menu category. Had the cook / owner Ingrid Fejeran not walked out of her kitchen towards the end of our meal to introduce herself (which would have led me to fire up my usual litany of background questions), we would have gone so far from ours with no convincing reason Home base for Thai food especially with many other fine options served near us.
It’s actually what we didn’t have – just got a taste of it – that forced me to return; some sort of promissory note taken in faith, or perhaps more like an invitation to adventure. Why? Because the five dog-eared sheets of menu paper in front of me are just a starting point, the staples that customers expect. Fejeran explains why she regularly leaves the kitchen to touch tables. She tells us that she likes to adjust food orders, and surprisingly for this usual storefront location, she says that she wants to target three to five course kitchen tables with rarer and more exotic dishes like in an upscale setting. (A liquor license should come in the summer of 2022 to strengthen this.)
To understand this model, it is helpful to know that she has been with The Broadmoor for 14 years (including back-of-house work and front-of-house service, mostly between the central kitchen and the Lake Terrace Dining Room). During that time, she also had a full-time tech job in database processing; She has a degree in computer informatics. She also graduated from the International Hotel and Tourism Industry Management School in Bangkok, specializing in a culinary arts degree. “I’m trained in both East and West styles,” she says. “I grab from each and I can cook over both. My slogan is ‘authentic aroma with a modern twist’. “
When you go
12225 Voyager Pkwy., 719-481-0855, facebook.com/ZestyThai
11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
While her husband, who helps her at the waiting tables when he’s not working in his school counseling center, has Guamanic roots, Ingrid has both Chinese and Thai ancestors from her parents. Growing up in Thailand, she started cooking at the age of 8, teaching Chinese cuisine from her father and aunt, and Thai from her mother. She started by learning to make curry paste from scratch. The family ran a food stand in Kalasin, in the northeast of the country. Later, as an adult, she would travel widely on lunch break with her “sister,” technically a cousin, she explains. Local Thai fans know this person as Suwanna Meyer, owner of Chaang Thai and Elephant Thai.
Another important aspect of Zesty Thai, says Fejeran, is that it is aimed specifically at gluten-free, allergen-sensitive and vegan guests: all of their basic sauces start vegan and can be set up from there for omnivores; there are separate deep fryers in the kitchen and color-coded cutting boards; she doesn’t use MSG or add excessive sodium. “I buy all my vegetables fresh. I make my supplies from vegetable scraps, peppercorns, bay leaves, celery and onions – French techniques. It is staple food, fortified with vegetables. You can pronounce all the ingredients. I just like it, so I can play with textures and flavors. “
Pineapple red curry pops with basil and a sweet rim.
As for our food orders, before we found out about all of this, we started with the essential simple Asian favorite: Crab Cheese Wantons. Thick pastry shells are a little tougher than crispy and take up a large part of the cream cheese and the (real) crab meat seasoned with ginger. Fortunately, for the sweet and sour dip, it’s not the sticky, synthetic-tasting, ubiquitous stuff, but a homemade sauce that gets its purple color from the cranberry juice.
Next, let’s try four main plates. The fried basil rice sprinkled with a vegetarian selection and our selection of a combination of proteins carry large, toasted wok hay and a tremendous herb flavor. We double up and achieve that again with an eggplant and basil pan, ordered vegetarian with another snappy, fibrous, colorful vegetable arrangement and additional notes of garlic and soft mushrooms that are very similar to the texture of the nightshade. Pineapple red curry with more basil essence and paprika in a soupy coconut milk broth, which we order medium hot, with chicken, provides both fruity sweetness and a nice flowery aroma.
Fejeran buys their basic green, yellow, and red curries to use to build dishes – for both time and cost reasons. But she makes special curries with more expensive ingredients for the chef’s tables and also custom-made curries on request. She also makes a fresh chili paste every morning (which she says doesn’t last more than a day for optimal taste), which satisfies the demand for Thai spicy dishes. Not in a particularly hot-headed mood, I try my Pad Thai Woonsen, which I ordered with prawns. This dish combines all the ingredients of the typical, popular Pad Thai in a tangle of thin glass noodles (in contrast to rice noodles), which are not so easy to separate with chopsticks or a fork. Bites of the chili paste almost make me sweat.
We drink warming hot raspberry hibiscus and turmeric ashwagandha teas and sip Thai iced tea, which is as sweet as anywhere else but a little more dynamic in taste, made from a mixture of three commercially available Thai tea bags, explains Fejeran and adds: sweet too with a mixture of white and brown sugar. We’ll also try a new to us Dalgona coffee, made in Asia and popularized on social media during the pandemic (Fejeran saw it on TikTok) when bored people at home apparently thought mixing their coffee would help them to cheer them up or alleviate the sinking or whatever. It’s made by whipping equal parts hot water, sugar, and freeze-dried instant coffee powder (the finer the grain, the better, she says) into a velvety foam that is laid over the frozen milk (plus half here). where slowly and somewhat hypnotically dark lines bleed into pure white. It’s damn sweet and delicious, although I try to be good and resist the sugar, push the glass away, then give in and fall back on it. Ah is looking for: you’re an asshole.
In the same line With broken willpower, we destroy a plate of wonton-wrapped fried bananas, garnished with toasted sesame seeds and a sticky sauce made from honey, caramel, and condensed milk. In the meantime I’ve introduced myself (I’ve known Fejeran’s “sister” Suwanna for a long time), so Fejeran disappears and reappears with a composed dessert outside the menu, which we did not request but politely (reluctantly) accepted. It’s a traditional dish, she tells us, where the kabocha squash and purple potatoes are sweetened in a coconut milk bath (a personal touch) sweetened with palm sugar and honey and garnished again with sesame seeds. It makes for a fun hearty-sweet bite that has the pumpkin and potatoes starchy enough to play both sides once soaked in the broth.
We are more than full. We continue to chat with Fejeran as she points out the delicately lined bamboo tables she insisted on for the room – yes, they are beautiful and eye-catching. Overhead thatched bamboo fiber pendant lights distribute the warm light in a stylish way. She says a neon sign is finally coming in late January to replace the makeshift banner outside (which made it hard to see the place at night). In warmer weather, she will also fill the large terrace with furniture.
Returning to the chef’s theme, she notices a unique version of pad kra pao (another basil forward product) that she makes with bison instead of beef. She says Tuesdays through Thursdays are preferred for the special meals as the weekends are busier and she needs to call ahead so she can shop accordingly.
Before we can leave, she disappears and reappears, this time with a to-go box with a sample of a Thai dish I’ve never tried, something that again is exemplary of the kind of items she’s in her could include a fixed price at a chef’s choice (currently quoted at around $ 120 per couple for five courses). Inside is Kua Kling, a southern Thai-style red curry that, she warns, is definitely Thai hot. It’s a house-made curry made from scratch that relies primarily on whole kaffir lime (leaves that are not more common) for its strong spiciness. They’re not always easy to come by, she says, and brings out a few to look at and smell. The curry otherwise contains shrimp paste for the acidity, dried Thai bird chillies for the heat and galangal for the astringent bite. She seared a pan of ground beef with the curry, which suggests we make rice for dinner, use lettuce leaves and cucumber slices to cool our mouths when the heat gets too hot.
The next evening I follow her instructions and heat the Kua Kling, which had more time to soak the spices into the meat, just as certain dishes get even better on the second day. As promised, it’s a bit of a tongue burner, but enormously spicy with its lemon-chili-acid-spice profile. I remember Thai larb a little because of the ground beef texture, but without the added herbs and side dishes that the salad contains. It’s a more unforgettable and livelier taste experience. As intended, it captivates me, and I wonder what Fejeran will come up with if I can make it back to a personal cooking table in my spare time.
My trip to Thailand years ago was limited in time and financially to just a few regions, so I know that I have missed so much and still have to try – things that cannot be found on the Thai basemap here or elsewhere. It is this idea of discovering and discovering something new at Zesty Thai that will lure me back.
Guiding the way to thrive
Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.
That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.
Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.
Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.
Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.
14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.
“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.
“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.
“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”
Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.
“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.
The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.
“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”
The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.
“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.
“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”
The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.
So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?
“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.
“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”
The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.
Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.
“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.
“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.
“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?
Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.
“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.
“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.
“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.
“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”
To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.
Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.
Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.
She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.
“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.
“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.
“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.
“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”
14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]
Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains
By Casey Barber, CNN
Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.
The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.
What’s a whole grain?
The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.
“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”
So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.
And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.
“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.
“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”
Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.
Some whole grains to get to know
amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.
Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.
Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.
kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.
millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.
How to cook any whole grain
While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.
Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.
If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.
The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.
Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel
I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.
The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.
It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
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It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.
After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.
Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.
This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).
My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.
I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.
After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.
An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.
After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.
It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.
They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.
There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.
All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.
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Guiding the way to thrive
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