Tall and Thin and Young and Lovely

Green Curry Eggplant with Coconut Rice

I have been going blog happy lately, trying to see what all is already out there and where I fit in.  I’m also trying to get an idea of what works for a food blog, and what might not work best for my food blog.  I’m not exactly sure what my final look and feel will be but I do know that this is something that I want to keep doing.  I am also hopeful that someone will see my recipes, all the flavors and combinations, and become inspired to cut the meat out of their life.  However I think a more practical wish is that someone will see a recipe and maybe go vegetarian for a day…it could happen…right?
This dish is one of my earliest attempts at non-recipe cooking.  I LOVE Thai food and while at college I was cut off from this essential food group.  So I started goofing around, testing out different curry powders/mixtures along with different fruit and vegetable.  Some things worked well: eggplant, asparagus, PINEAPPLE, tomato and peppers.  While for my palate some things did NOT work: squash, zucchini, and carrots (which was a shock).  I also found that potatoes are AWESOME with red curry but not so much with green curry.  So as follows is my favorite green curry recipe, minus asparagus because they didn’t have any at the market the other day.

For Curry:
– 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
– 1 1/2 tbsp green curry paste
-1 small eggplant, quartered
– 8oz extra firm tofu, cubed
-1 tomato, quartered
– 1/2 cup pineapple, chunks
– 1 red pepper, sliced
– 1 green pepper, sliced
– 1 cup mushrooms
– 1 (or more) green Thai Chiles, seeded and halved (optional)

1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, add the coconut milk and the green curry paste.  Bring to a low simmer and heat for 10minutes stirring occasionally. 
2. Add the eggplant.  Cook for 5minutes, add the tofu and cook another 5minutes.  Add the tomato, pineapple, red pepper, green pepper, and mushrooms ( and chiles).  Simmer for 15minutes then serve over the coconut rice.

For Rice
– 1/4 cup coconut, shredded and unsweetened
– 1 cup rice
– 1/2 cup coconut milk
– 1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable broth)

1. In a medium saucepan lightly toast the coconut until starting to brown over medium heat. Turn heat to high and add the rice, coconut milk, and water.  Bring to a boil and then stir.  Turn heat to low and cook for 20-25minutes, or until rice is tender.  Enjoy! 

Quick note: When buying your Green Curry paste make sure to check the label.  A lot of green curries include shrimp paste so make sure you are buying one that is vegetarian/vegan friendly.  I normally use on that I get from World Market that has the added bonus of being kosher but most Asian grocery stores have multiple varieties.  I have also been told good things about the curry pastes at Whole Foods but have yet to give those a whirl, however I’m sure they are amazing!

Home Cooking · Italian

On a Jetplane

Caprese Spinach Pizza


Onion, Olive, and Pineapple Pizza

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…but my flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow. Starting tomorrow I will be out of Northern Virginia and away from this searing heat! I can’t wait to be somewhere that doesn’t have the beltway or 66 or the toll road. Instead of commuting down highways I will be commuting around or over the lake. I can’t wait!

In other news I am trying to be more organized and have started doing menus at the start of the week, along with my shopping list.  I’m hoping this will prevent 6PM runs to Wegmans but I’m not entirely hopeful about that. We shall also see if this will also last through the summer, or if this will be another good idea that gets forgotten/neglected/ignored when Fall comes around.

So tonight’s recipes are good for cleaning out the fridge, mostly because there is no way to go wrong when it comes to pizza!

For Crust (from Joy of Cooking w/changes)
1 1⁄3 cups warm water
2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1⁄2 to 3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1. Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix by hand or on low speed for about 1 minute. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with a dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. 
4. Preheat the oven to 475°F.  Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it for 45 minutes.
5. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare the desired toppings.
6. One at a time, flatten each ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch round, rolling and stretching the dough. Place each dough circle on a prepared baking sheet, or, if using a baking stone, place them on rimless baking sheets or baker’s peels dusted with cornmeal. Lift the edges and pinch to form a lip.
7. Use your fingertips to push dents in the surface of the dough, to prevent bubbling, and let rest for about 10 minutes. The pizza is now ready to be topped and baked.

For the Pizzas:
Pizza 1: Spinach Caprese
1 cup fresh spinach
1 tomato, quartered
6 basil leaves
3 oz buffalo mozzarella, sliced

1. Place all the ingredients on the pizza, making sure that each slice gets one basil leaf and one tomato quarter.  Bake on preheated pizza stone for 15-20minutes, or until crust is a golden brown.

Pizza 2: OOP
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced and pitted
1/2 cup pineapples, chunks
1 tomato, mashed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Pour the mashed tomato mixture on the pizza, keeping 1/2 in from the crust in order to prevent a fun mess while baking.  Add toppings as desired.  Bake on preheated pizza stone for 15-20minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

I’m not sure what it is about pineapples and onion and olives but something about that taste combination just lets me know that all is right with the world.  The first time I had this was totally by accident, a pizza that was suppose to be all pineapple, half onion, half olive wound up being all pineapple, ALL onion, and ALL olive.  That mistake wound up being one of the best things to happen to me food wise in college since that was my first experience with olives.  


Joe’s Corner: Sweet and sour tofu with vegetables

Slice pineapple. Add vegetables. ’nuff said. I know from experience that once you have a veggie dish with pineapple you won’t soon forget it. This is the first that I’ve made, not the first I’ve had. Maybe it’s cause pineapple has more sugar in it than any other fruit, but I like to think otherwise. This would prolly mix well with some fried rice. Cooking that while doing this was a little beyond my pay grade, so I just made white rice. As per usual I doubled the tofu (so 14 oz), added more red pepper. I also added the Thai Chili Sauce “to taste” aka more than 2 tablespoons.

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic
7 oz tofu
1 med. onion, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 red pepper, strips
1 can of pineapple (i used chunks)
2 med. tomatoes
1 tsp granulated sugars
1-2 tbsps thai chili sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
2. Stir in garlic and heat 1 minute or until fragrant.
3. Stir in tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until golden brown; remove tofu from skillet and set aside.
4. Add onion to wok and cook adding oil if needed, stirring occasionally, until tender.
5. Stir in cucumbers, red peppers, and pineapple; cook, stirring, 5 mins.
6. Add tomatoes, sugar, chili sauce, and soy sauce, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
7. Stir in water and tofu, heat a few minutes more. Serve over rice.

Not much to say about this dish. It’s pretty easy, but don’t try and cut up the tofu while the garlic cooks… it burns quickly.