Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thai Yellow Curry

I love yellow curry. It's my go to anytime I go out for Thai food. So I decided it was time to try making it. After several times, I've perfected it. Enjoy!

Thai Yellow Curry

1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (I prefer light) 
1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tsp curry powder 
1 onion, slivered (red onion if you like more 'oniony', yellow if you like more sweet)
4 large carrots, unpeeled & sliced
2 large potatoes, unpeeled & chopped 
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
Any other veggies you want - keep in mind dry veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc) will absorb liquid, while wet veggies (leafy greens especially) will release liquid. 

In a blender, blend the coconut milk, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and curry powder.

Pour into a large sauce pot. Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until vegetables are soft. Stir regularly. 

Serve over brown rice. 

Couple notes:
* If you want creamier Thai Yellow Curry, don't use light coconut milk. You could also reduce the amount of chicken stock, and increase the amount of carrots and potatoes as they will absorb the liquid. 
* You're going to have to season this to may want more curry powder, or less. If you don't like spicy things, you can leave out the crushed red pepper all together. If you like really spicy things, add another 1/2 tsp or more of the crushed red pepper.  You may also want to try 1/2 tsp of salt if you feel the recipe is too bland.
* If you want, feel free to add, well anything! Chicken, shrimp, pineapple, mushrooms, etc all make great additions. Just keep in mind how your various additions will affect your level of soupiness. 

What if it's not as thick as I like it?
Mix 2 tsps of cornstarch with 1/4 c liquid (water, coconut milk, chicken stock), then whisk the entire concoction into your curry - it should thicken up within a few moments. 

What if it's too thick? 
Add some more chicken stock or coconut milk. 

What if I'm a vegan?
Use veggie stock. But you already knew that, didn't you? 

I recommend serving this over brown rice, and with side dishes of chopped banana, raisins, and coconut (sweetened or unsweetened). 

One last thing - this will freeze beautifully, and if, when you pull it out of the freezer, it's not quite enough for serving the guests that spontaneously stopped by - just chop up some more veggies or potatoes, dice some garlic and ginger, pull out that jar of frozen chicken stock, and add it all the original curry. An extra teaspoon of curry powder will finish it off beautifully, and everyone will think you labored for hours!


ps - Trader Joes veggie spring rolls aren't half bad, and a quick combo of white wine vinegar, ketchup, and brown sugar boiled in a saucepan (along with a little cornstarch concoction like I listed above) will make a pretty legit tasting "cheap chinese restaurant" sweet n sour sauce. Makes a nice side or appetizer to the curry.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Homemade Pizza

On the menu for tonight is homemade pizza. It is one of my favorite meals, and is a great meal to do for guests.

Couple tips on homemade pizza:

* Find a crust recipe you like, I recommend this one (note - it can be frozen in a ziploc bag and used at a later date - though it's definitely more of a flat crust pizza). I would also recommend doubling or tripling it, at least so you have 2 pizzas. Pizza makes fantastic frozen leftovers.

* Play around with toppings - you can do anything you like, which is why homemade pizza is so perfect. Don't be afraid to be brave - goat cheese, roast garlic, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, corn, whatever you like - play around with flavors, you're bound to found an amazing combo.

* Use a great sauce - I usually just use some red sauce that's marketed as a tomato pasta sauce. I personally like Trader Joes Marinara sauce, but you can do anything you like. Again - feel free to play around and do a pesto sauce or white sauce.

* Prep ahead - the more chopping, grating, cooking you can do before hand the better. It only takes about 20-30 minutes for a pizza to bake - if you have all your prep done beforehand, it's possible to have a yummy homemade pizza in the oven in

I mean, there's really not a whole lot else to include in this post. So many people don't make homemade pizza because they just don't think about it - I'd hate to tell you exactly what kind of pizza to make because everyone has different pizza preferences (broccoli pizza lovers, I'll never understand the appeal...). This is probably the least specific recipe post that's even been done, but my point is this - the best part of homemade pizza is having homemade crust, and the toppings you prefer.

So - stick it on your menu for the week, make your favorite pizza, and let me know how it goes!

ps - if you're just not up to making the crust, you can ease into the whole homemade pizza thing by buying a crust. Again, Trader's Joes pizza dough isn't a bad place to start - though I would still encourage you to eventually venture into the world of making your own dough.  I'm sure you can do it!

Healthy Meatloaf

It's been a LONG time since I did this, um, *cough*, daily kitchen blog. Oh well...c'est la vie.

I made a meatloaf the other night, and was super happy with how it turned out. For those of you who would like recommendations on every course, and not just the main dish, I also served twice baked potatoes and green beans with the meatloaf. Delicious!

The thing I love about this meatloaf recipe is that it's really healthy - it has oatmeal, oat bran, wheat bran, flaxseed, and greek yogurt in it. As usual, I didn't have every ingredient from the original recipe on hand, but all that means is I can now list this recipe as 'adapted' from the original Rodale Wholefoods Cookbook and post it as my own.

So, without further ado, here it goes.

Oh, one last thing - if you like to bake at all, you should go ahead and buy some ground flax seed (not the whole seeds), some wheat germ, and some oat germ. I use them ALL the time, and often just toss them into recipes that don't call for them - I even put flaxseed in my scrambled eggs, and the kids gobble it right up.

If you're interested, here's a little article on flaxseed and all it's reported health benefits (including lowering risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke). Why wouldn't I put that in my meatloaf? Incidentally, 1 Tbs of flaxseed can be used in place of eggs when baking, which is what I did in this recipe. Now you're lowering your cholesterol and eating a power-house food. Didn't ya miss me?

Here's the recipe (and for all you mommies out there, my kids ate it up, though ketchup was admittedly involved).

Powerhouse Meatloaf

1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 c chopped onion
1 lb ground beef (lowest fat content you can afford/want to buy)
1/4 c oatmeal
3 Tbs wheat germ
1 large egg
1 Tbs flaxseed
1/4 c ketchip
4 Tbs Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil

In a saute pan, saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until browned. Set aside and let cool. In a medium sized bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the onions to the other ingredients. Mix well. Put in a baking dish, shape as you like,  cover with foil, and put in the oven at 350F for approximately 1hour (could be more or less depending on how thick you formed it. The thicker you make it, the more moist it will be, but the longer it will take to bake).

The meatloaf is done when the meat is no longer pink, and it is hot all the way through.


Ps - I love it when people leave comments, questions, their own recipes! For those of you who already do - keep 'em coming :) and for those of you who don't, but do enjoy these recipes, I'd love to hear from you! It's motivation to continue posting recipes when I know they are being used and enjoyed!