Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mild Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk

This is one of those less than 30 minute meals. However, if you have a little more time I recommend making your own coconut milk and naan bread. If you are in a time crunch, use canned coconut milk and store bought fresh or frozen naan.

The broth in this curry is very mild and light in texture so it really lets the taste of the vegetables come though. Other vegetables that would work well in this recipe are green beans, peas and zucchini.

3 tablespoons ghee, coconut or peanut oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1-3 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped, Serrano or Jalapeno
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
10 fresh or dried curry leaves
½ Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Medium potatoes diced into 2 inch cubes
2 carrots chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Place the ghee or oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot add the ginger and chilies and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add cinnamon stick and curry leaves, and sauté for another minute.

Add all the vegetables, turmeric, coriander powder, salt and sugar. Stir the vegetables until well coated.

Pour in the coconut milk and water. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Gently stir in the chopped fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Serve with brown basmati rice and whole wheat naan.

Serves 4

Indian spiced Basmati Brown Rice

Most of us are used to white rice, especially when it comes to Indian food. If you are one of those people that don’t like to break tradition because you are afraid that it won’t taste right, I think you will very surprised at this recipe.

1 cup brown basmati rice
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 pods green cardamom
1 piece cinnamon stick- about 2 inches
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 cups water
Salt to taste- optional

Rinse rice well. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cumin seed. Cook and stir for about a minute until fragrant. Cook and stir the rice for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. If you are going to add salt do it at this time. Add the water to the pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 50 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork before serving.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry

Bok Choy is a Chinese leaf vegetable that is related to cabbage and is full of vitamin C, calcium and vitamin A. It's a hardy green that holds up well to grilling and takes on a nice smokiness and texture.

3 or 4 baby bok choy
3 Small carrots
4 green onions
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Olive oil
Sesame oil

Heat grill pan to med high. Slice the baby bok choy in half.

Drizzle each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes on each side until tender.

When they are done, take off the grill pan and slice each half in half again lengthwise.

Slice carrots into matchstick size pieces. Cut onion into 1/4 inch pieces. While the bok choy is grilling, in a separate pan heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the carrots and green onions, heat until green onions are soft and carrots are cooked, but still firm. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Take off the heat until you are ready to add the bok choy.

When the bok choy is cooked and cut, place the pan with the onions and carrots back to the stove on medium high heat and add the bok choy. Saute for about a minute. Drizzle with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil and serve.

Serves 2
Serve with Teriyaki Tempeh Skewers

Fake Meat of the Week

Teriyaki Tempeh Skewers

This will satisfy your weekday teriyaki hankering. This Tempeh has a texture like very tender chicken and it has a mild flavor so it takes on the flavor of the teriyaki glaze. For this recipe I used Home-style Tempeh, Organic Soy.
“Tempeh is a cultured cake of beans and/or grains that has been a staple food in Indonesia for centuries. It is made by cooking and dehulling grains and inoculating them with a culture called rhizopus oligosporus. The product is then incubated overnight at the tropical tempehrature of 88 Degrees Fahrenheit. During this time the beans or grains are covered with a thick, white mat of mycelia that binds them together into a solid cake. Like the making of cheese, yogurt or other fermented foods, it is the incubation process that makes Tempeh delicious and digestible.”

1 8oz package of Organic Soy Home-style Tempeh
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Teriyaki Sauce

Heat grill pan to med. high. Slice the Tempeh into pieces about 3 inches long and ½ in thick. Marinate for about 15 minutes in the soy sauce.

If you want to serve these with small bamboo skewers, skewer them at this time.

Grill for about 4 minutes a side. When both side are done brush each side with teriyaki glaze and grill an additional minute on each side. When you are ready to serve the skewers brush on a bit more teriyaki sauce.

Makes 8 skewers. Serve with Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stop throwing away your hard earned money

How much food in your refrigerator or cupboards do you throw away each week? Each month? Cooking with fresh and organic ingredients can potentially mean more waste if you don’t plan well. You may have good intentions when you buy that broccoli or those green beans or the breadcrumbs without hydrogenated oils to preserve them. But if you don’t have a plan for those beautiful crisp green beans chances are they will become limp and slimy and will end up in the trash.

But even the best planners will end up with extra ingredients. Maybe you needed those breadcrumbs for a recipe but only used half and if you are not paying attention they will end up expiring before you know it. If you have jars full of opened condiments such as bbq sauce, olives, sun dried tomatoes or salsas, use them up. They weren’t cheap. Those condiments do eventually expire. I’m sure we can all find opened condiments in the fridge that have been there for quite some time past their life expectancy.

So before each trip to the store take a look at what you have in the cupboard and fridge and then design recipes around items that you need to use up. Get in the habit of really knowing what you have. Maybe you bought broccoli for one recipe but you did not use it all and you only have a small bit left. So find a recipe that only calls for a small amount such as a mixed vegetable stir fry.

Following these three simple tips will help eliminate food waste and therefore potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

1. Keep your pantry, fridge and freezer clean and organized.
2. Know what items are getting close to expiring.
3. Plan meals based on items that you have that need to be used up.