Thai Green Curry

December 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

J: This is one of our staples that we just never got around to posting before now.  Curries are great because they are typically one-pot meals (two, if you make rice), and you can make a huge amount of food very easily, especially if you’re cooking for one person.  We tend to tweak this a little every time we make it — sometimes we use storebought curry paste, sometimes homemade; sometimes we use fish sauce, sometimes (…almost always) we don’t; sometimes we make it vegetarian, sometimes we use chicken; and depending on our mood we make it a red curry or a green curry.  Regardless of the choices we make, it is always delicious.

kinda mushy but awesome

This version of it will be green, and vegetarian, and using homemade curry paste, and also including fish sauce for I think the first time ever.  If you are making a red curry, just replace everything that says “green” with “red”!

Thai Green Curry
(tweaked from original recipe found here)

1 tbsp canola, peanut or sesame oil
2 tbsp green curry paste
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (optional – leave out if you want this to be vegan)
1 large onion, diced
2-3 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (you can peel them or not, whatever your preference is)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz can of coconut milk
1 green bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1/4 tsp ground ginger or 1-2 tsp finely diced fresh ginger
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions
Salt and pepper to taste

If you are interested in making homemade curry paste, you can use the recipe from this post, or you can use our modifications to make it simpler: basically replace the seeds and fresh herbs like lemongrass with ground or dried spices and herbs, and adjust the amounts somewhat to take that into account.  You can pretty much wing it in terms of amounts of most of this stuff, and it will probably turn out fine.

curry paste!

So, start off by adding some oil to a large pot.  Heat that up a bit and then add the curry paste, cumin, and fish sauce if you’re using it.  Cook for a couple minutes.

curry paste + oil

Add the potatoes, onion, and garlic, and stir around so the spices coat the vegetables pretty well.

already smelling great

Sauté this for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot too badly.  Then add the coconut milk, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

pretty similar to the last picture really

Add the pepper and ginger, and bring the pot to a simmer.  Cover and let it cook for about 40 minutes (you’ll need longer if you’re doing this with meat), stirring occasionally and checking the potatoes for doneness.  If you want to serve this with rice, now might be a good time to get that going, depending on how much rice you are planning to make.

nearly there

When the potatoes seem like they are almost ready (about 5 minutes away, if we want to be precise), stir in the cilantro and scallions.  Let it finish cooking, and serve over your rice, if you went that route.

finished curry!

Fennel Soup

December 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: This soup was entirely Erik’s idea.  In fact, when he suggested we make it, I was honestly pretty skeptical — I’d heard fennel tastes kind of like licorice, which I never liked as a child and haven’t really had the opportunity or desire to try since.  So, I wasn’t too thrilled about fennel soup, but Erik usually has good food judgment (except with spicy things, in which case don’t trust the man unless you want your tastebuds seared off), so I went with it and didn’t mention my reservations.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.  This soup was amazing.  Erik made it while I was at yoga one night, and I came home to the apartment smelling divine.  It is a really easy soup to make, and pretty cost-effective, and even if you have never touched fennel in your life you should go buy some right now and see what you have been missing.  I don’t know if the soup tasted like licorice, but if it did, then I am annoyed at my child-self for disliking it and causing me to pass up years of deliciousness.

garnished with fennel pesto!

Fennel Soup
(slightly modified from original recipe here)

1 large yellow onion, chopped roughly
4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 large (or 3 medium) fennel bulbs, trimmed (fronds reserved)
4-6 c vegetable stock
1/4 c rice
Salt and pepper to taste

You will want to start by cleaning the fennel.  This can be a somewhat obnoxious process, only because the fronds are kind of huge.  If you like, you can cut off the fronds and wash them separately — that may help everything fit in your sink.  Anyway, once everything is washed, set the fronds aside; you can use them to make fennel pesto while the soup is cooking.  We’ll get to that in a bit.

kind of like weird, six-fingered hands?

Chop up onion and garlic, and then deal with the fennel in pretty much whatever way seems to make most sense to you.  This is a blended soup, so everything is going to get puréed regardless and it doesn’t really matter how pretty your chopping is here.

In a large pot, heat up some olive oil and add the onion, garlic, and fennel.  Sweat these ingredients over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes (you can add a pinch of salt here to help the process along if you want).  You want to try and make sure that nothing starts browning or caramelizing in this time, so keep an eye on the ingredients, especially the onions.  If they caramelize they will develop a slightly different flavor profile that will affect the overall flavor of the soup, and may overpower the fennel a bit.

key ingredients in the pot

Season with salt and pepper, and add enough vegetable stock to just about cover the contents of the pot.  Add the rice here as well — according to the original post, it acts as a thickening agent in the soup.  Interesting!

Incidentally, you will notice that our soup is something of a reddish color.  That is because of the stock we use — it’s much redder than most stocks, so if you use a different stock your soup will probably be much paler, sort of white/yellow/greenish.  Don’t let the color difference throw you!

starting to look soupy

Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer.  Taste the broth and see how you’re doing on seasoning — adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.  Let the soup cook for about 20 minutes, checking and stirring intermittently.

When the soup is done simmering, it’s time to blend.  If you have an immersion blender, that’s the way to go here.  Transfer the pot to the sink if you want to be safe and have relatively easy cleanup, and blend until smooth.  Otherwise, transfer the soup in batches to a stand blender or food processer and again blend until smooth.

Now, I said earlier that you should reserve the fronds for fennel pesto.  If you’re so inclined, it’s a good idea to make this pesto while the soup is still simmering!  It’s very easy, I promise, and it adds another layer of flavor to the soup.

Fennel Pesto
1 c (ish) fennel fronds, chopped roughly
2 tsp (ish) basil (we used dried, you can use dried or fresh, but adjust amounts accordingly), chopped or torn roughly
1/4 c (ish) parsley (we used fresh — again, you can use dried or fresh, but you’ll need to adjust amounts. Also, you should probably use at least one of these herbs fresh, otherwise your pesto might be a little on the strong side), chopped or torn roughly
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Basically… toss everything except the olive oil, salt, and pepper into a food processor.  Start blending, and add some olive oil a little bit at a time, blending in between (or during, if your food pro can handle that without splashing pesto everywhere) until you get to the desired consistency.  You’ll want it to be smooth, but you can decide how watery or paste-y you want it to be beyond that.  Taste and add salt and pepper as you desire.

Garnish the soup with a bit of the pesto, and grate some cheese on top if you like.  Obviously, this soup can very easily be vegan if you omit the cheese and pesto (or make cheese-less pesto? never tried, but I imagine it’s doable!).  Enjoy!

cheese-less but pesto-ed

 

Spinach + Raisins + Pine Nuts; Rice + Mushrooms (Andorra)

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: Okay guys so the title of this post is pretty much the main ingredients for the two dishes we made for Andorra, because the dishes are literally called “Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts” and “Rice with Mushrooms.”  Apparently Andorra is not creative with their side dish titles, and I am feeling uncreative in terms of trying to come up with new titles for them, so we’re going with it.

We chose to do these dishes instead of a “main dish” for Andorra because their entrées seemed to primarily involve things like boar, kid (as in the baby goat), pig spine, hambone, lamb, veal, and black pudding (not a dessert. look it up.).  Sometimes all at once.  It was a little bit terrifying and we are kind of poor and also not into consuming eighteen different kinds of meat at the same time, so we decided that we would do something a little unconventional and make two vegetarian side dishes instead.  Turns out this was a pretty great idea!

not our most interesting-looking, but tasty!

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Tortellini Pizza

September 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: So, we have been terribly negligent all summer.  You’d think that summer would be a good time for regular posting — but we’ve moved, done some much-needed traveling/”vacationing” (but not really), and otherwise been pretty occupied with grad school and work, so unfortunately the blog has kind of fallen by the wayside.  While we struggle to get a real post up (our next country will be up soon!), this post is just some shameless laziness on our part to remind everyone, including ourselves, that we still exist.  Take one of our favorite things (pizza), add another one of our favorite things (pasta), and voila, you have a post with two images.  Need some more instruction on how to make pizza (because no, you are not getting off the hook with storebought dough)?  Try one of our other pizza posts (here, here, here!).

Before baking

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Pineapple Chicken Couscous Salad

May 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: We made this salad totally on a whim. We had some extra pineapple sitting around from an earlier and unpublished recipe, and decided we wanted something with couscous. Joanna loves couscous, but I often find plain couscous is less interesting than even plain pasta. However, warm couscous salads such as this one have no such issues. We loved this! It is one of our favorites and it is a shame it has gone so long unpublished. The mix of flavors here is really excellent: if you are a fan of pineapple you will love it, but I think the pineapple blends so well into the dish as a whole that it is worth a try even if you don’t love it on its own. We used some Mediterranean-inspired parsley and basil to flavor the chicken, which we thought played off nicely with the sweetness of the fruit, but the chicken could be done in a multitude of different ways.

Toss in some peas and, if you are feeling brave, garnish with some sauteéd asparagus and you have yourself a tasty salad, warm or cold.

this was awesome!

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus with Lemon

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: A couple of weeks ago over my spring “break,” I had a conference to attend out of town, so Erik went home to visit his parents.  While I was enjoying sunny Puerto Rico, he got the tail end of winter and was able to cook some new delicious recipes, which he told me all about and promised that we would make together soon.  This is the first one we made, and even for 70+ degree weather, it was delightful.  Honestly it is sort of what I had been hoping for when we made this a few months ago (but that dish ended up being a bit on the too-spicy end for me), and I have a sneaking suspicion that because it is easy, fast, healthy, and crazy delicious, it will become a staple around here.  Seriously, with a recipe this unassuming — potatoes and asparagus! who knew?! — you will be amazed at how flavorful and filling this is, especially with a light sprinkling of cheese.

E: Don’t mind the salmon in the photo. This post is all about the sweet potato concoction on the left.

served next to some grilled salmon

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Bourbon Chicken With Fried Rice

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: I apologize in advance for the fact that this post has 2 recipes and a 4 pictures. Yes, you read that correctly. That ratio is not very good. But that’s because we made this for a dinner party, and spent much of the time rushing around and entertaining our guests. The camera didn’t get used very much. But we deemed these recipes too good to waste, and so we have to present them to you in their present fashion.

both Chinese and Southern

We decided to try the bourbon chicken since it was a combination of Chinese food and bourbon. Bourbon is excellent stuff, we had just purchased a bottle of it, and we were ready to do some cooking with it instead of simply drinking the whole bottle. Ergo we looked up recipes with bourbon, and settled on this since it seemed down-to-earth and good to make for a big group of people. To go with it we made a version of my standard fried rice recipe, which I got initially from The Joy of Cooking. As you can see we also made some broccoli, which was so simple it doesn’t make sense to introduce it as a recipe. « Read the rest of this entry »

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