Monday, January 30, 2012

Green Curry in a hurry

The kids are coming over for lunch. W bought a jar of Trader Joe's green curry and plain paratas. Our d-i-love Melissa dropped off Major Grey chicken curry at the end of the week. Those three items provide my inspiration for Sunday's lunch for 8.

I cook by smell, so after the jar of green curry is open, I pause to sniff the contents. Potatoes. That's what that curry says to me. Potatoes. I snag a few, scrub them, and cut them into 1/2" cubes. I'll need onions, and there's a big half cooling in the conservatory. While I'm out there, I spot a yam. Chop, dice, slice. After I saute the onions in 3 tbsp Asian corn oil, I turn up the heat to medium high, adding the potatoes and yams, and stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Before I add the curry, I think to myself, "This doesn't look like much food!" Ok, what shall I add? I open a new package of Mae Ploy green curry paste and a can of coconut milk. After I fry the curry paste in (Another!) 2 tbsp. of oil, I gradually add coconut milk. Rummaging through my kitchen pantry, I haul out three cans: sliced mushrooms, whole bamboo shoot tips, and sliced water chestnuts. Can opener, please. In they go, with the curry paste and coconut milk. Once they've cooked about 5 minutes, I add back the potatoes and yams. I mix in 2 tbsp of soy sauce and the TJ green curry. Cover it, quick. It simmers 10 minutes while we grill the paratas on the stovetop, and heat the Major Grey curry in another pot.

There's almost nothing left, just enough vegan green curry, for lunch Monday. Wish I'd taken pictures of the table feast. I forgot, and was too busy cooking and chatting with family to snap the meal in process. Instead, I take a photo of Monday's lunch leftovers, colored by veges on the side.

Rating: 5/5
Taste: savory and complex curry with a bit of bite, a fantastic combination of creamy and crunchy (water chestnuts, just-one potatoes, bamboo shoots). It hit the spot for me!
Prep time: 25 minutes (including finding ingredients)
Tea: Irish black, with 1/2 tsp. chai spices, and as much sweetened condensed milk as anyone cared to pour for themselves. Oh yum! peppery and sweet.
Calories: who knows. Rich, rich, rich indulgence.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

1 beet and 1/2 bag of brussed sprouts = ?

My mom steams a beet, cuts it in half, and tosses it into a bowl. She finds a half bag of Brussel sprouts. "We have to eat these." And, "What should we make for lunch?"

Mom's here to take care of our daughter while my husband was on a business trip. He's back, but in the meantime, she's had more food adventures here than in a long while.

I look in the cupboard. We have no cashews, but we have dried, flaked, unsweetened coconut. (Vitamix with water for coconut milk.)

Open the fridge. Peanut butter. I like where this is going. I ladle a heaping tablespoon full, into the blender. I add a 1/2 tsp. minced garlic.

Steamed veges. Meanwhile Mom's boiling carrots. OK.

She laments the cabbage smell: "I should have put in a half lemon with the Brussel sprouts. That takes away the smell during cooking."

"Sure, get me a lemon," I say. Mom cuts a lemon in half. I scoop the juicy flesh into the blender. Add a half teaspoon of Trader Joe 21 seasoning, Jamaican curry spice, and smoked paprika.

We need to make two batches by now. Puree all. A beautiful crimson red-orange (green disappears) starts to emerge from the blades of the Vitamix upward. You never get this colour from a tin! It needs 1/2 c. water. Then it blends beautifully!

"It looks beautiful in every bowl!" our daughter exclaims. She's right. I snag her Iphone camera for a shot. The color is too bright to believe, if you're not at the table.

It needs salt, but with heavy rye bread, toasted, and smoked farmer sausage, it is yummy!

Rating: 4/5
Flavor: savory, peanut-buttery, creamy, hearty
Calories: 450 with 1/2 slice toasted bread. (Sausage extra.)
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Tea: none - no time. I have to get back to my desk.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Strange salad

I'm in the mood for a salad.

I was waiting for a phone call all morning so didn't have breakfast. That means lunch needs substance. I have spelt berries (wheat) and a half cube of curry flavoring. 1/2 c. of berries to 3 1/2 c. water? Might work. I crumble in the edge of a vegan bouillon cube. The mix boils for 10 minutes.

Then I add some sprouted dry grains and cook another 10 minutes. While I'm waiting, I sort and wash the greens and put them in a big mixing bowl.
After 20 minutes, the water is almost gone, so I find some broccoli florets and toss them in to steam. Soon the grains and bean are brown and the broccoli is bright green. I dump the whole thing over the cleaned lettuce and stir. Ah, I need a little packet of wasabi peas for zip.

It's pretty and tastes okay. Like nothing my mother ever made, though. I can't think of anything I'd add or take away, so that's a good sign.

Rating: 3/5
Taste: the mild Asian curry goes surprisingly well with spelt and beans
Calories: 400. A little grain goes a long way; I have at least half left over for next time.
Time to prepare: 25 minutes
Tea: Timothy's Earl Grey (bag)