Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vegetable Red Thai Curry

I have a great love of curries.  Especially Thai curries.  This was delicious!  

Adapted from Cooking Fresh.  

1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp red Thai curry paste
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 14-oz can coconut milk
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1# extra firm tofu, drained and pressed and cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp soy sauce
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil (or regular basil), torn into small pieces
4 tsp fresh lime juice

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot.  In a separate small saute' pan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat until hot.  In the large pan, add curry paste and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in snap peas, shallots, bell pepper, coconut milk, sugar, and 1 cup water.  Stir to combine.  In the smaller saute pan, add the tofu cubes. I had seasoned mine with a Pampered Chef Thai curry rub.  If you cannot find a similar seasoning, you can simply season with a little salt and pepper to taste.  The tofu will pick up the flavor from the sauce.  But I like my tofu crispy around the edges, so I saute it in a hot pan on all sides until browned.  

Add the tofu to the large skillet with the vegetables and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in soy sauce, basil, and lime juice.  Let rest off heat for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper.  Serve over hot cooked rice.  I used a brown jasmine rice.  

There were NO leftovers from this.  I was quite disappointed my family liked it so much!  I was counting on lunch the next day!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Polenta (or Grits) with Roasted Vegetables

I never knew what polenta was until just a few years ago.  So this southern gal decided to try it and ... it's GRITS!   Okay, it's not exactly grits.  But it is very much like grits.  I've always used coarse yellow corn grits, so for me, it is very close.  

This recipe is adapted from one I saw in Fine Cooking magazine.  

For the Roasted Vegetables:  

1 lb. crimini mushrooms, halved (or quartered if they are very large)
1 lb. fresh pearl onions (or frozen pearl onions, thawed)
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  

In a large bowl, toss the veggies with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper.  Spread on a heavy rimmed baking sheet or in a low, flat piece of stoneware.  I love roasting veggies in my stoneware.  Roast for 20 minutes; stir veggies, then continue roasting until all are tender and browned, about 35-40 minutes total.  Transfer to a serving bowl; toss with vinegar.  

You can make polenta from your favorite recipe or....  

1 cup coarse yellow corn grits
5-6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce to low and cook, uncovered, stirring very frequently to prevent lumps, until liquid is absorbed and grits are thick, about 7 minutes. Adjust seasonings.  You can also add a little nutritional yeast if you'd like "cheezier" tasting grits.  

Serve in shallow bowls with the roasted veggies on top.  

This was SOOO good!  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

This recipe comes from the old original Moosewood Cookbook that I've had for years.  As usual, I change things up a little.  The pages are yellowing around the edges and the pages are wrinkled and stained from years of use, but my favorite thing would be the handwritten notes on some of the recipes from my friend who borrowed it many years ago.  :::love:::  

2 cups dry black beans, soaked
6 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
10 (yes, 10) cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups orange juice
black pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, diced
3-4 green onions, sliced
optional toppings:  vegan sour cream
                             fresh chopped cilantro

Place the soaked beans in a Dutch oven with 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  I do this ahead of time - in fact, I always have beans of all kinds cooked without salt or other seasonings in my freezer, frozen flat in Ziploc bags in 2 cup quantities.  Freezing them flat allows for quick thawing time and the 2 cup quantity is about equivalent to a regular sized can of beans.  

Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet.  Add onions, garlic, cumin, salt, and carrot.  Saute' over medium heat until the carrot is just tender.  Add the bell pepper and saute' until everything is very tender, an additional 10-15 minutes.  Add the sauteed mixture to the beans.  

Stir in the orange juice (I thought this was a weird addition, too, but trust me on this - it is delicious), peppers, green onions, and tomatoes.  The recipe in the book recommends pureeing all or part of the soup in a blender, but I have never done that.  I do us a potato masher to mash some of the beans to thicken to soup, but I like this soup to be chunky.  Continue simmering over low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes until piping hot.  Serve with optional ingredients.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sweet Potato and Bulgur Pilaf

I saw a recipe online and it sounded good.  But I didn't have half of the ingredients, and some of the ingredients didn't seem to "go together" to me, so I decided to go with the idea and do my own thing.  

Sometimes just tossing things in a pot works, sometimes it doesn't.  I was definitely taking a chance with this recipe because my husband doesn't like sweet potatoes unless they are mashed into a super sweet casserole and topped with toasted marshmallows.  

1 tbsp oil - I used grapeseed 
4-5 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
4 ounces of crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 tsp celery salt (I used this because my celery had seen better days.  I would substitute 1-2 stalks of celery the next time.)  
1 tsp sage
1 tsp Greek seasoning 
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (other nuts or seeds would work well in this or you could omit them altogether)
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet that has a tight fitting lid.  Add garlic and saute' for about 30 seconds; add mushrooms and saute' until soft.  Add the sweet potatoes and continue to cook, stirring, for about 4-5 minutes.  Add bulgur and seasonings; stir for a minute or two, then add the apricots.  Mix well and pour in the vegetable broth.  Cover and reduce to low heat; simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.  Toss with the green onions and pumpkin seeds and serve.  

Hubby loved it (we all did) and even went back for seconds.  Score!  Actually, we ate it all so quickly that it was only when we were scraping the last spoonful from the pan that I thought, "Ooops!  No finished dish picture for the blog!"  So you'll just have to make it for yourself to see what it looks like afterwards.  I bet you don't have time for a picture either!  :::wink:::