Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thai Curry with Rice Noodles

Here’s another recipe that really needs no special fussing. Simply prep the veg and cook it all together. The original recipe comes from “Vegetarian Today” magazine (April 2017) and I followed it pretty closely, except that instead of cooking the veg separately, I dumped it all in at once and cooked it together. Perfection.

This was the first time that I had used rice noodles; they were so good! Don’t skip this ingredient!
These amounts made about 3 adult servings. This would be simple to double for a larger group.

Here’s what you need:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
1 T red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand, for example)
½ C diced white onion
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T veg oil
1 C cubed yellow or red potatoes, skinned
1 C trimmed fresh green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 C cauliflower florets
1 C eggplant, skinned and cubed
½ C red pepper, sliced
Fresh lime juice
4 oz dry rice noodles (prepare according to package)
Fresh cilantro - garnish
Dry roasted peanuts – garnish

Here’s what you do:
Prepare the sauce: mix together the entire can of coconut milk, the brown sugar, and the curry paste.  Set aside

Saute all the veg in some corn oil until a bit soft – don’t brown anything. Add the sauce and simmer till thickened to your liking. Lime juice goes in at the end. Serve over rice noodles with cilantro and peanuts as garnish. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chinese Tofu, Mushroom, and Jicama Lettuce Cups

The first time I made this, I followed the instructions exactly as written. It involved dragging out the wok and frying each ingredient individually, including the nuts! I remember that it felt a bit ‘fussy’ for Asian food.

Tofu: Before

Last night, I prepped all the veg, fried the tofu and set it aside, and dumped all the rest in at once. Added the sauce when everything was nice and soft and beginning to brown. Returned the tofu, and voila! Dinner was ready.

Tofu: After

Now that I’ve simplified (and modified from all the unusual Asian ingredients, not commonly found in my pantry), this meal becomes easy for a weekday. Don’t hesitate to try this.

Note: these amounts made enough for 3 hungry adults. (2-3 lettuce cups each.) This recipe would be a cinch to double.

Here’s what you need:
1 block extra firm (or firm) tofu
1 T rice vinegar or mirin
1 T soy sauce
2 t cider vinegar
4 T hoisin sauce
2 t chili paste (Sambal oelek….or I guess you could use Sriracha)
1 t corn starch
1 C Portobello mushrooms (shiitakes would be great too!)
3 scallions
3 cloves garlic – minced or pressed
1 inch fresh ginger- minced
½ C jicama (about the size of a small apple)
2 celery stalks
¼ C salted peanuts
Lettuce (prepped for use as a cup. Choose a butter lettuce or a large iceberg)

Here’s what you do: (the easy way)
Cut the tofu in ¼ inch slabs and place on a few clean kitchen towels which are arranged on the cutting board. Wrap them up in more towels and place another cutting board on top of it all. Place a heavy object, like a cast iron skillet, on the top and walk away. Allow liquid to press out. After 30-60 minutes, the tofu will be nice and dry. This process can be done much earlier in the day.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the two vinegars, soy sauce, hoisin, chili paste and corn starch. Set aside.

Prep the veg by mincing it all in ¼ inch dice. Remember, it will be served in a piece of lettuce, so it needs to be a pretty small dice.  You should end up with about 2 cups of veg. Put it all in the same bowl.

Prep the tofu by cutting it in ¼ inch dice.

Chop the peanuts and prepare the cilantro – set those aside. Make sure the lettuce is clean and cold.

Heat some oil in a non-stick pan or pot (or wok if you’re feeling fancy) Fry the tofu. It’ll get really chewy, so take it out when it’s to your liking. I did mine very well and loved it. Remove the tofu and set aside.

Brown all the veg at once and stir and heat until it’s soft and getting a bit brown. Add the tofu and peanuts and reserved sauce (You want to reactivate the cornstarch before adding by giving it a stir). The mixture will thicken up very quickly. Remove to a serving platter and add a liberal amount of cilantro.

Serve in prepared lettuce leaves.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Greens and Beans Over Linguine

I keep complaining that I don’t feel connected to my vegetable garden this year. I purchased random tomatoes and herbs instead of making a conscience decision regarding the types I wanted. I was not happy with the jalapenos that I chose, settling for ‘regular’ size peppers instead of searching for ‘giant’ peppers (which I LOVE for making poppers). I was convinced by my son to plant a ghost pepper and what in the world am I going to do with ghost peppers????? (I’ve already been looking around on Facebook for local people who might want to take my ghost peppers. Naturally, the plant is doing really well, lots of little flowers and peppers showing up every day.)

As a last-minute impulse purchase at the big box garden center, I grabbed a six-pack of Swiss Chard. They looked so beautiful – all red and orange and yellow and purple.

Guess what? The Swiss Chard is completely healthy and happy growing in my little garden. I have so much that I’m not even sure I can eat it all…… Time to get out the juicer and drink it.

I’ve made this recipe twice this week….and it’s good….and it uses up lots of Swiss Chard!

Here’s what you need:
1 super large bunch of Swiss Chard
Garlic, minced or pressed
Red pepper flakes
1 can of cannellini beans plus their liquid
Pasta and pasta water

Here’s what you do:
Sautee lots and lots of garlic and very slowly in a generous amount of olive oil. Never allow the garlic to brown. Add red pepper flakes.

Wash the Chard. Cut the stems in 1 inch pieces and cut the leaves in thin strips.

Add the stems and some water to the pan. Cook slowly until the veg is soft. Add the leaves and some more water. (You want it quite wet). Cook for a few minutes. Then add the beans and all their liquid. This will become nice and garlicky and thick.

Before you drain your pasta, add about ½ - 1 C of salty, starchy pasta water to complete your greens and beans sauce.

Mix together with the pasta and sprinkle parmesan cheese liberally over. But don’t add the sauce to the pasta until the last minute or else the pasta will soak up all the liquid and you’ll be left with a carb blob. (It’ll still taste great; it just won’t be nice and thin and silky.)