Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thai Potato Curry

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped
2 1/2 tsp Thai Green Curry Paste
1 lb potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup canned whole tomatoes with basil, plus juice
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Red chili paste (sambal oelek) for serving, optional - we put out a little dish of sambal with a spoon so everyone could add their own level of heat.  I think the dish definitely needed some!

>In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat
>Add onion and sautee until softened and golden, about 5 minutes
>Add curry paste and cook about 1 minute
>Add potatoes and toss well to coat
>Using your hands, lightly crush the tomatoes between your fingers.  Add tomatoes and juices to skillet.
>Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes
>Stir in lime juice and basil

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower

Note: the recipe calls for garnishing with sliced kumquats.  I bought some but they were terribly bitter so I omitted them. 

This was my very first time cooking with turmeric!

1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 head of cauliflower, cored and separated into florets
1 shallot thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

>Preheat the oven to 400

>In a small bowl mix the coriander, white pepper, garlic, turmeric, red pepper and olive oil

>Place the cauliflower florets in a large baking dish.
>Drizzle the cauliflower with the spice and oil mixture and toss to coat.
>Season with salt and roast for about 25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and just starting to brown.

>Scrape cauliflower into a serving bowl, add shallot rings and cilantro and toss together.

Stir Fried Red Rice with Sliced Sirloin Steak and Peas

1 cup red rice
2 1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
9 ounces sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups thinly sliced swiss chard
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas
3 Tbsp soy sauce
white pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges

>Rinse and drain the rice.  In a small saucepan, cover the rice with water and bring to a boil. 
>Cover the saucepan and turn heat to low, cooking about 25 minutes, until the rice is tender and water is absorbed. 
>Spread the rice out on a baking sheet and let cool while preparing the rest.

>In a large skillet or pan heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat. 
>Add the garlic and cook for just a minute. 
>Add the sirloin, season with salt and cook until browned on both sides, about a minute.
>Transfer the meat to a plate

>Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in the skillet.
>Add onion and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until onion is softened
>Add greens and stir over high heat until they wilt, about a minute or 2
>Stir in rice and peas, then soy sauce and steak and stir well

>Season with salt and white pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.  Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Thai Explosion

Inspired by the delivery of the newest Food & Wine, Jason and I decided to try our hand at making some Thai recipes.  We've been exploring with eating more asian and thai foods in general but this was our first foray into home preparation! 

As a main course we prepared a Stir-Fried Red Rice with Sliced Sirloin Steak and Peas.

On the side we made a Tumeric-Roasted Cauliflower (not a far departure from all the cauliflower roasting we've been doing this winter) and a Thai Potato Curry.

The cauliflower and stir fry dishes both came out of Food & Wine.  The thai potato curry was born out of a need to use up some organic potatoes that were on their last legs and a quick google search.

We were happy to find almost everything we needed to purchase at our Co-op (the Dill Pickle Co-op).  The co-op actually had both fresh turmeric and bulk ground turmeric!  We used the ground for this recipe.  We headed to Treasure Island for the steak and green curry paste. 

The meal turned out incredibly well.  We drank with it a 2008 Gessami Gramona Penedes White Wine, slightly sweet and aromatic with great acidity that paired perfectly.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kale and Red Cabbage Gratin

I took this recipe from a greens and red cabbage recipe I came across in the NY Times Health section.  I like the idea of gratins and this came out even better than expected!  I forget how sweet red cabbage can become, nothing like the stink of boiled green cabbage (which does have its place).  I have been undersalting my food recently, to a fault, and managed to get the seasonings really right on this time.  The eggs and cheese make the dish feel much more decadent than it really is while getting plenty of servings of veggies.  Enjoy!


1 pound kale stemmed and cleaned
1 pound red cabbage, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 large garlic cloves minced
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese (2oz)
**1/2 cup cooked rice

**I used an arborio which I wouldn't normally use in this manner, but the recipe recommended it.  To cook, I used 1/2 cup arborio and about 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil and the lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a 2 qt. gratin dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a bowl of water with ice water.

Once water is boiling add a couple healthy pinches of salt and the kale.  Blanch for about 2 minutes, until tender and bright.  Transfer to ice water, drain and squeeze out excess water.  Chop and set aside

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium/medhigh heat.  Add onion and cook until soft about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in cabbage and some salt, cook until cabbage is tender, about another 10 minues.  Stir in the chopped kale and season further with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the vegetables from the heat and continue stirring to cool before adding to the egg mixture.

In another bowl beat the eggs and stir in the parsley, rice and cheese.  Add a Tbsp or two of the vegetable mixture to the egg mixture and stir.  Adding the vegetables in small doses will prevent the eggs from scrambling.  Continue doing so until all of the vegetables are incorporated.

Pour the entire mixture into your gratin dish and cook for about 40-45 minutes. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetable Soup

Returning home from San Francisco and Sonoma after an incredible vacation of friends, good food and lots of wine tasting (more on that to come!) I needed to get back on track with my eating and exercising!

The first thing that came to mind as a meal to get us through a few days was a rustic vegetable soup.  I picked up a few ingredients at lunch and assessed what, if anything, we had left in the fridge once I got home.  I let it simmer for quite awhile while sorting through our vacation photos.  Luckily J came home with a spare loaf of bread with roasted garlic to round out the meal!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 carrots peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic minced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, broken up into very small florets
12-15 green beans, sliced
1 red potato diced
1 handful parsley chopped
1 small bunch kale chopped
32 oz. chicken stock
1 can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
a pinch of celery salt
1 tsp or so chili paste
a few dashes worstershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/2 can white beans, rinsed

In a stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Prepare the onion, carrot and garlic and add that to the oil with some salt and pepper.  I let those soften while I chopped the rest of the veggies.

Next add the cauliflower.  While that cooks, chop the potato and run it under water to try to get rid of some of the starch and chop the kale, parsley and green beans.

Add the stock, canned tomatoes (with their juices), potato, green beans, kale and parsley.

Toss in the chili paste and a couple of dashes of the worstershire.

Bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about an hour. 

If needed, add a little extra water.

Add the beans a few minutes before you are going to turn off the soup so that they heat but don't get mushy. 

Taste and adjust spices if necessary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Baked Camembert with Onion Chutney

My other Superbowl snack was a new use for my second batch of onion chutney.


1 round of Camembert Cheese
Several heaping Tbsp of onion chutney
crackers or bread for serving

Preheat oven to 350

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out the camembert and top with as much onion chutney as you would like.

Alternately, using small ramekins, cut the camembert into quarters and put each quarter into a ramekin and top with chutney.  I found this option to be the best alternative.

Bake until the cheese has started oozing. 

Let cool just a little and enjoy with crackers or bread!

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I wanted to bring dip and veggies to a Superbowl party yesterday.  I was tired of my go to Bobby Flay White bean, chipotle and roasted red pepper dip, and thought plain hummus might be too boring, so I decided to go with a roasted hummus garlic!  It was really good, but with all of the delicious roast beef sandwiches, homemade hot wings and french onion dip, people weren't too into getting all of their veggies!


3/4 head garlic
1- 25oz can garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp tahini
4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Olive oil (to texture)
Chopped carrots, celery, cucumbers and red bell peppers for dipping.

Preheat the oven to 350

Cut the top of the head of garlic and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Wrap in tin foil and bake for about 50 minutes.

In a food processor add your beans, tahini, lemon and a few healthy dashes of salt and pepper.  Once the garlicd has cooled enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic into the food processor as well.

Begin processing, slowly adding olive oil as you go to get the hummus to the consistency you like.

Stop frequently to taste and reseason as needed.

Serve with assorted veggies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It Could Be Worse...

The week started off a bit rough. 

Monday afternoon at 3:15 my parents get the call that they have a kidney for my dad!  My dad is in renal failure and has been on dialysis for several years now.  He has been on the transplant list for quite some time and we knew that he was getting closer and closer to the top of that list.  The average wait in Illinois is 3-5 years. 

It was an exciting afternoon and evening.  The plan was that by 9pm they would know for sure everything was ok with the donor kidney and at 10pm surgery would begin.  I went to the hospital straight after work and we hung out while techs and nurses came in out and doing final tests and drawing blood, papers were signed and everything was a go.  It was a strange feeling being so excited, actually looking forward to a surgery. 

At 9:20 my mom got the call from the transplant coordinator that the doctors felt that the donor kidney was not functioning well enough to risk the surgery.

You could have heard a pin drop.  We were stunned and my dad is in bed in his hospital gown with an IV stuck in his arm, having started his first dose of anti-rejection medication all for no reason now. 

About 3 minutes later his nurse and an orderly come in to wheel him down to surgery.  Turns out we had gotten the news before the nurses station.  There was some confusion and calls had to be made.  Shortly thereafter one of the physicians came in expecting to have to break the bad news.  It took another couple of minutes to explain that we already new the surgery had been cancelled.

They finally discharged him and my parents, Jason and I went to the Portillo's in Forest Park for a 10:45pm dinner. 

I think we're all still a little bit in shock.  But he's doing well and we know now for sure he is at the tip-top of the list.  He's functioning really well, tired in general but able to still go to work and his health is holding.  No harm no foul and having gone through with the surgery and then discovering the kidney wasn't functioning would have been a disaster.

It could be worse.  Much worse.  But still, send some good thoughts our way.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Onion and White Bean Soup

I took my inspiration for this recipe from Fabio Viviani's Sweet Onion and Mixed Legume Soup recipe.  Fabio was one of my favorite contestants ever to be on Top Chef and to top off all of his successes, according to his Food Network bio he is also William Shatner's private chef???

This winter I keep finding myself with excess bags of onions and so this soup was born.  I made it tonight and have tasted it but, as with most of my soups, I really prefer to make it in the evening and not eat it until the next day.  The soup ended up being quite sweet which I cut with worcesteshire and hot sauce. 

Maybe with my next spare bag of onions I'll finally try to make a true french onion soup!


1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot diced
3-4 stalks celery diced
2 cloves of garlic sliced
2lbs onions sliced
1 cup dried white beans soaked overnight, rinsed and simmered the next day until tender (or about a can and a half of cannellini)
6 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
worcesteshire sauce
hot sauce

Heat the oil in a stock pot.  Add the carrots, celery and garlic and sautee for about 6 minutes with a healthy dose of salt and pepper. 

Add the onions and 1 cup of the stock.  Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed and the onions are almost stringy, about an hour. 

Add the rest of the stock and the white beans and continue to simmer. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point the soup should be pretty sweet.  Add some worcesteshire and hot sauce in small doses, continuing to taste.

Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender (or the boat motor as my husband calls it!).