Red Curry Thai Soup
First Secret Recipe Club post of 2015!!!! About a month ago, there was a request for someone to take over for a blogger in Group D that was no longer able to participate. While it turns out she was partnered with me for the cookie exchange, I was able to adopt her “normal” blog: Life on Food. I quickly identified three recipes that looked fantastic: Cream of Broccoli Soup, Skillet Lasagna, and Red Curry Soup. In the end, the curry won out as it was so different than anything else I had tried out and with all the winter weather we’ve been having I needed something on the spicy side. While Emily’s version features beef, I simply doubled all the other ingredients and used a thicker rice noodle.
Emily was right on in saying that this is “a hot meal that warms you from the inside out” – and I’ve already made it again! The trick with the noodles is to add them at the very last moment in order to keep them from soaking up all the broth. However the broth is one that can’t be wasted so nothing really wrong with that happening. Needless to say this was a fantastic dish and I can’t wait to pick up some more curry and make another batch. The only hard part of this recipe was finding a curry paste that was free of shrimp – but in end was able to find some at Whole Foods.
Butternut Squash Dressing
I’ve always found that it’s hardest to be a vegetarian around the holidays – so much of the celebration revolves around food and so much of that food involves meat. From turkey to brisket to ham to venison, the traditional feasts revolve around a core protein of the animal variety. When I first went vegetarian I had to accept that my holiday meal would consists of sides and for the first few years that was rather rough though there was always one exception: the dressing. More often then not, the dressing would feature breadcrumbs of some form with vegetables and even tho it was normally on the dry side since no gravy – most of them were rather amazing. For the past few years my contribution to the holidays have been my sweet potatoes but this year I wanted to try and completely veganize a stuffing that would be moist and amazing regardless of gravy. So I set out to search the internet and various grocery stores to see what all was out there for me to mess with. In the end I came up with this (in my opinion) awesome dressing that could work for more than just the BIG holiday meals. In fact, I think it would be the perfect stuffing for an acorn squash!
I was surprised how many stuffing mixes were vegan as I was expecting most of them to feature whey, eggs, and/or turkey. Most of the “plain” and “original” varieties turned out to be vegan while most of the ones featuring spices or seasoning were generally vegetarian – featuring whey. The stuffing was fantastic and moist tho most of us did enjoy it with some vegan mushroom gravy from Whole Foods (seriously, that stuff is insanely good). All in all an awesome side dish that can be enjoyed by vegans and turkey-eaters alike!
As of now I’m not really that much of a fan on 2015 – the year has just started and so far it’s been rather annoying. Our first attempt at DIVF was a bust, our FET has been put on hold, my car is on the verge of dying as is our oven, while my cell phone had an accident this morning so it’s basically busted. I know that most of these things, okay all but the cell phone, are out of our control but at the same time – this is just insane!!! I thought bad things happened in groups of three and so beyond three at this point.
Acorn Squash Quinoa
Happy Holidays! A bit late but things have been a little insane around here. In non-food news, we had our first donor IVF cycle a week ago and will be finding out the results later this week/early next. It’s amazing how in some ways time has flown since then but yet in other ways time has stopped – or in the very least is dragging on. I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing, and working on new recipes, but very little time in the kitchen. It hasn’t helped that my oven broke, but figuring out ways around it. Primarily that means lots of stove top cooking and very few baked treats but that’s okay! If anything it gives me a jump start on my New Years Resolution to cut back on sweets, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Today’s recipe is actually one I made right before my transfer, and one that I started working with at the start of fall. Since my house is mostly a nut free zone, I have to find other ways of recreating nutty flavors, usually in the form of sesame seeds. However I’ve become slightly addicted to acorn squash – nutty and sweet and meaty all in one awesomely healthy gourd. I’ve started adding it to everything to see what it does, and does not go with, and so far everything has worked! This dish was one of those cabinet/fridge clearing exercises where a bunch of stuff had to go before it was too late – so into the pan it went!
This dish was a creamy curry success – the acorn squash goes fantastically with the spices and the heat without becoming a mushy mess. I served these with some sesame greens, as some habits are hard to break.
Squash and Beet Risotto
Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring. Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November. However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles. Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here. I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion. So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!
In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment. Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own. In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata. I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.
Black Beans and Rice
I though fall had arrived – last week the air had that familiar crispness to it and the humidity was starting to drop to a more tolerable level. However it appears that Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to say good-bye to the warmer temperatures making me glad I was lazy in leaving my tomato plants outside “just in case”. This resulted in a few more cherry tomatoes, and another jalapeno – all of which joined together to make today’s delicious dinner. The other ingredients are all pantry staples, which means the dish came together in record time which was another bonus since things were a bit insane towards the end of last week (eek Holiday cleaning!!!!). I was able to toss everything together and let it cook while I attempted to knock a few more rooms off my seemingly never ending cleaning list.
Just another meal justifying my love for beans and rice – such basic ingredients that can be tweaked in so many different way to create the perfect meal. We both topped ours with some “pico de guac”, recipe for which will be up later this week! Joe also grabbed some chips to go with his while I decided to go with some extra tomatoes, either option being perfectly acceptable!
Sweet Potato Corn Stew
I mentioned in a post last week that I recently received a LARGE amount of tomatoes from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm. Today’s post shows were the vast majority of those tomatoes wound up – in a delicious stew perfect for /52weeksofcooking’s stew theme. Since the tomatoes were all seconds I knew that I had very limited time to use them, and while the sauce took care of a fair amount, I still had a few pounds left. With the clock ticking I decided to improvise and figure out what I could make with the little produce left in my fridge. A sweet potato, the last of our Eastern Shore Corn, and a bunch of fresh herbs – perfect for a hardy soup. Plus the weather has taken a clear turn for the cold so no worries of overheating the kitchen! I debated roasting the tomatoes before hand, but decided that one-pot clean up was the right answer.
I served this stew with some French Honey bread, which is staple this time of year – along with my favorite Apple Cider Bread. This stew also included a variety of tomatoes, including the green zebra variety I mentioned the other day!
Note: For all my Jewish friends (and family), L’shannah Tovah!
Summer Tomato Sauce
Working a Farmer’s Market is fantastic, especially when there are leftover tomatoes at the end of the day! Second tomatoes aren’t always the easiest to use, but if you are willing to put the work in when it comes time to cutting they are a fantastic (cheaper) option. It also means getting a variety of types, so I indulged in some research to figure out what I had and what it would work as. A quick google led me to realize that the Green Zebra would be a fantastic addition for a stew or a quinoa dish – and I was really craving some pasta. This left me with some Cherokee purple, yellow pear, and Virginia sweet all of which were perfect for the sauce I was hoping to create. All I needed was to go to my herb garden and grab a handful of basil, and figure out where the missing vidalia onion was hiding.
By allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce it was able to suck up every last drop of tomato goodness, and also gave the pasta a fantastic pink shade (this trick also works with gluten free pasta!). Joe topped his with some cheese while I kept mine on the naked side, though as with any pasta dish there is no right or wrong. The only important thing is to make sure all the sauce is fully enjoyed otherwise it’s a total sauce foul!
I’m also sending this over to Franglais Kitchen – where this month’s Simple and in Season is being hosted. Also sending a HUGE thanks to Chocolates and Tomato Farm for growing and harvesting such tasty treats!