Dec 23, 2010

happy happy holidays

december, where have you gone? lost in a whirlwind. in any case my dears, have yourselves a marvelous and most delicious holiday! see you soon.

Dec 7, 2010

thai veggie curry

i am cooking up a lot of this lately. pretty easy. loaded with vegetables, sometimes 10 different vegetables in one dish. (take that dietary guidelines.) i use store bought curry paste, only because i found one i love by thai taste. i use their red curry paste. it is head and shoulders above any other thai curry paste i've tried. it is all natural, good stuff. the result is very soothing and warming on a cold december evening, served with some fluffy thai jasmine rice.

thai veggie curry
serves 4
2 TBSP thai red curry paste
2 cans organic coconut milk
6 cloves of garlic, chopped or smashed
2 shallots, chopped
2 TBSP cilantro stems, cleaned carefully, minced
2 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp tumeric (optional)
2 TBSP fish sauce (optional)
1 TBSP brown sugar (optional)

16 oz tofu, sliced into 1/2 x 1 inch cubes
4 to 6 cups assorted mixed vegetables
such as:
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 or 2 carrots, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 small skinny eggplant, japanese or italian, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 red pepper, sliced
1 cup snow peas
1 cup green beans
1 cup okra
1 small head napa or savoy cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 limes

first, get the rice started. then start chopping whatever veggies you have on hand. including the shallots and garlic and cilantro stems. all done? now you are ready to cook. heat up a wok on high heat. when hot, add the olive oil, shallots, garlic and cilantro stems, stir for 30 seconds, add the curry paste, stir for 1 minute, add the tumeric, fish sauce and sugar, if using. taste to check seasoning. adjust sweet/salt balance if necessary. add the two cans of cocunut milk. and the longest cooking veg. i start the sweet potato, or carrots right away. bring to a fast simmer. cover with lid. steam for 10 minutes. add broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant. cover for 3 minutes. add green beans, snow peas, okra. cover for 3 minutes. add red pepper and chopped tofu. cover for 3 minutes. add cabbage (napa cooks faster than savoy, so add savoy with the tofu/red pepper). steam for 3 final minutes. give it a good stir. add cilantro leaves. squeeze in a little lime juice and serve the remaining lime as table garnish. then serve with that fluffy jasmine rice. warms me up just thinking about it.

Dec 2, 2010

pierogi for breakfast

sometimes we need food to do more than just nourish and sustain, we need it to heal or encourage recovery. i don't usually cook breakfast during the week, the kids have an assortment of fresh fruit, tortilla's with butter, tea, hot chocolate, protein shakes, frozen dumplings, yogurt, cereal, or toast to choose from. i encourage them to prepare their own breakfast once they reach double digits, as self sufficiency is a truly wonderful thing.

this week is different, i've been cooking special breakfasts. one member of our group is down, having contracted poison ivy 2 weeks ago. he's had a really rough time of it. head to toe he has it! it got into his bloodstream apparently as he was still having new outbreaks this week. his eyes were nearly swollen shut this weekend. poor thing.

the itching is nonstop. sleep is elusive with all that itching, and so is any piece of mind. he is, however, still crazy for pierogi's, his appetite being entirely unaffected. he likes his fried with onions and an especially large dollup of organic sour cream. yum. he felt very special getting them for breakfast. it brought a big smile to his otherwise slightly cranky, overtired little face.

in the meantime, the steroid creams from the doctor weren't really working. so we found a cure that actually stopped the rash dead in it's tracks, and we found it by googling on the internet of all places. it is this miracle cream that stops the reaction by removing the urushiol (noxious plant oil that bonds to your skin within 10 minutes of exposure) after it has bonded to your skin. nothing else does that. it's been 48 hours now and his outbreaks have recovered dramatically. like a miracle. if you ever get poison ivy or poison oak or poison sumac, or someone you know is suffering because of it, know that there is a new cure available without a prescription, you will find it in walgreens or cvs, it is expensive but totally works. it is called zanfel. you can read all about it here. it takes about 2 tubes for a large outbreak and the cost is nearly $50 per tube, but it totally totally works, astoundingly effective. of course, i can't be sure it wasn't the lovingly prepared pierogi that caused his miraculous recovery, but i am about to write to zanfel laboratories in clive, iowa to tell them how amazing their product is.

i did not make these pierogi from scratch, as here on the east coast you can readily buy good quality fresh piergoi in most grocery stores. but i have made them before, and homemade are the best. we like ours filled with mashed potatoes, cabbage or spinach. martha has great recipes for homemade pierogi here and here. i've used her recipes in the past and wowee are they amazing. these are her mom's recipes and the pierogi keep quite well. so go ahead, make a batch one of these days, you will be glad you did. it is a great project for kids and grownups.

and in the interest of full disclosure, i am not being paid or compensated in any way to endorse zanfel.