Posts Tagged ‘curry paste’

I’ve been trying to be thrifty this week. I had to buy tables so I could invite people over for a Passover seder.

But I lucked out last Friday to find leftover crudite from some workplace event put out in the staff room. And I had empty lunch containers at the right time, too. I acquired cauliflower, broccoli, grape tomatoes, orange bell pepper, mushrooms, baby carrots, and a decorative yellow chile.

Breakfast Mushroom Sautee

So the mushrooms were something I wanted to eat for breakfast. So I made half a slice of bacon, removed it to drain and left the fat in the pan to cook the rest.

I turned the halves of mushrooms into slices and then sliced up the yellow pepper and an onion. They went in onions, then mushrooms, then pepper. As it was cooking, I cut in some fresh rosemary.

And then I just stirred it until the mushrooms released liquid and then browned a bit.

I spooned this over top a fried egg on toast, and it was enough to have covered 2 or 3 eggs, but I still had my spoon and just went ahead and ate it directly without company.

I didn’t know what to do with the cauliflower, until I remembered the remains of the Saint Agur I’d been thinking would melt into a nice pasta sauce. I also had a random jar of hot pepper garlic pasta sauce that my parents hadn’t gotten around to using, so had passed on to me. And I’m just going to take a moment to give this a review on its own. That jar is not pasta sauce. It might be the random oddly-sized scraps of garlic and hot pepper (red, decently thick fleshed), having been left over from making a pretty jar of pickled peppers, that you decided to put into a jar with some oil… but it is not sauce. It’s a bit harsh. I have a very sturdy constitution, and it was threatening me with heartburn. So it’s an ingredient… a way overpriced one… but it’s not what it claims to be. Luckily, I was just using it to perk up the cheesiness – unluckily, I hadn’t realized how much oil I’d be unable to avoid adding on top of the cheese. Should you try this, just cut up some garlic and hot peppers on your own.

Spicy Cauliflower Penne

Start the water boiling and just start the cauliflower cooking when you put in the pasta – this isn’t going to take much more than the 9-10 minutes the pasta cooks. I think this dish is well suited to a whole wheat or spelt pasta.

Cut up an onion, and got that started in a teaspoon of olive oil.

Then I went through the cauliflower and barely broke it down even more – into a fork-friendly size – and added any extra stem bits into the pan right away to give them more time to cook. Then I turned the heat higher than medium and added the cauliflower, looking to get it softer and a bit browned without actually making it limp.

When the vegetables are two minutes from the right consistency, turn down the heat and add the cheese in clumps. Stir them in to melt evenly. And here I added some of the hot pepper garlic ‘sauce’ and stirred that in – about 2 teaspoons or so, draining out as much of the oil as possible. It benefited from some black pepper ground on top, too.

Then I used a slotted spoon to shift the al dente penne to the cauliflower and stir it in so that it was coated with sauce and absorbed that for the last bit of its time and sucked in flavor, too.

And then I ate most of the broccoli dipped into hummus, but I had a few pieces left when I was trying to decide how to use up the rest of the vegetables. While looking in the fridge, I noticed I still had a partial can of red thai curry paste waiting for use. Perfect! It was only after I started cutting that I noticed just hot very orange this dish was going to be – at least there were a few broccoli pieces to add a little contrast. Actually, that shocking bit of contrast looked amazing on the plate.

Carrot Red Thai Curry

Rice: 1/2 cup short grain rice; 1 cup water; pinch of salt; 1/2 tsp coconut cream – boil, reduce heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.

Curry – wait until there’s only 10 minutes (or less, but I have no patience) left on the rice before starting to cook.

6 ounce cans of coconut milk are the best thing for the single cook!

Shake the can until it sloshes (keeps the fat from sticking to the lid and sides) before opening, and then pour it into your pan to heat. Once the oil starts pooling at the top, add about a third of a pound of baby carrots, sliced in half.

Cook for a few minute before adding the curry paste – 2-3 teaspoons, stirring in and tasting between each addition.

Add the broccoli.

And then add a(n orange) bell pepper, cut into 1 x 4 cm strips).

Stir to coat and cook evenly. When the bell peppers just start to look no longer raw, take them off the heat and you’re ready to plate.

This made two portions.

I’d put the second portion in my freezer and gone out to the porch to eat, when one of my new neighbors came by and asked if I’d made enough for two since she was very hungry. I’d expected her to end up disappointed either because of the lack of protein or the spiciness level, but she came back full of compliments with my container empty.

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29
Jun

Food from nothing

   Posted by: Livia    in dinner/lunch, economics, Food, friendly, Recipe, vegan, vegetarian

For some reason, when I was getting ready to go to a conference last weekend I decided that I absolutely could not leave any perishables in my house. I did this crazy ramping up of cooking everything that I usually only do before a big trip.

I made a couple dodgy canning adventures, which I need to get someone with more sensitive taste buds than I to evaluate – lime coconut marmalade, roasted garlic white wine mustard, caramelized cherry jam, pickled onions (seriously – couldn’t leave any perishables for some weird compulsive reason), pickled carrots, and a few other things.

And then when I came back, it was hot. And I just never got the motivation to buy more perishables.

But that’s okay – I have a well stocked pantry. But it ends up being the kind of thing where you look at your shelves and think, “Gah – I have all these ingredients, but I’ve got nothing to eat.”

Food from Nothing

Part 1: Rice

Pulled out some white rice, measured out a quarter cup for a single serving.

Found some lime cilantro dressing left over from a take out salad from a local Mexican restaurant – actually more like pesto than your average dressing. Added all of that – let’s say 2 tablespoons – and counted that at the fat and salt.

And then I added slightly less than 1/2 a cup of water because of the volume of the dressing.

Part 2: Beans

Rice and beans make a complete protein, so that’s clearly the next place to look. Aha – a can of black beans. Given a choice between Hanover and Goya, I prefer Goya’s canned beans (this is a relatively new discovery for me).

So I dumped the whole can into a pot and turned on the heat.

Since that wasn’t enough like food, I looked around for some further seasoning. I found the last tablespoon from a can of red curry paste. Perfect – dumped that in, and I let it simmer down to be a thick sauce holding together mushy beans.

Part 3: Assembly

20 minutes later – everything is cooked.

I pulled out a tortilla, heated it in a skillet, and then wrapped up some of the rice and some of the beans. I didn’t have a cheese that would go with the thai curry flavor, but maybe one of the harder Mexican fresh cheeses crumbled on top would have been good. But I just made burritos out of just rice and beans.

All in all – quite successful.

I used all of the rice over 2-3 burritos, and I had black beans as leftovers for a couple more meals.

I’m not tagging this gluten free friendly because even though it would be easy to leave off the tortilla or use a corn one, I found my flour tortilla in integral part of tying everything together. Your mileage might vary.

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So the weather was cold enough last night that I not only made soup, but also I closed the windows.

Let me tell you about my oddly delicious butternut squash soup!

I started this soup a couple days ago not quite sure where I wanted to go with it, but I figured not sweet and probably asian flavors (though I hadn’t even decided as far as whether I’d be going for south asia or southeast asia).

So I peeled the squash, saved the seeds, and cut it into very rough chunks.

Melted a Tablespoon of butter, diced 3 small onions and sauteed them, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced a lot of ginger (1.5″ or more), and cut the flesh off of a couple jalapenos and diced that in, too.

Added the butternut squash, and then didn’t quite cover with vegetable stock.

Cook cook cook stir stir cook.

Cover and ponder.

So I pulled out one of my 5.6oz cans of coconut milk (seriously, I am never buying a big can ever again – these are prefect) and added that.

And then I went to my stack of Maesri Thai curry pastes to pick one. And I chose the yellow sour curry paste. I cracked it open and tasted it (my first time using this flavor) – and it was perfect! All dark-salty (from the fish content) and sour (from tamarind), and I added a little and tasted and a little more – and I ended up adding about 4 teaspoons to get the balance just right.

And despite my recent acquisition of a stick blender, by the time this one was finished, it was already mostly smooth and I decided that I wanted some chunks of squash for texture.

I seriously love this soup, and I can not wait to walk home through the rain tonight to curl up with more of it.

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