I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.
Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!
I’ve been toying with the idea of making a thai-style curry soup with my aubergines … aubergine, isn’t that a fabulous word? It sounds so fancy and cultured to me. Usually I just use the word “eggplant”, but it doesn’t carry the same elegance that these beautiful purple vegetables really deserve.
Anyway, I came home from yoga class the other night STARVING and decided to begin the creation of the Thai curry soup. Somehow thought this would be a quick thing to do … I started up the grill because I’m really loving the smoky flavor from the grill and set a bunch of lovely vegetables on there for their “fire” roasting. Yes, I really did start up the grill just to roast vegetables. It didn’t take long to roast them … but then I got busy with other things and with the kids.
Hours later (just before bedtime), I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of my curried red pepper aubergine soup. It’s not that the soup really takes that long to make … it’s just that … well, I’m a mom … and I’m easily distracted (look! facebook!) … and my kitchen was already a mess so there was a bit of work to do there too … oh well, it got done eventually and I did get a bowl of soup and now I have a delicious soup I can quickly reheat for lunches this week.
Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup
Yields a little over a quart of soup.
- 3 good-size Japanese Eggplant (the long skinny dark black purple kind of eggplant … or 1 large globe eggplant) … yielding about a cup of eggplant after roasting (a little more or less is fine)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 hot red pepper (or if you don’t want your soup to be spicy, use a bell pepper in place of the hot pepper)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
- 1/2 of an onion, peeled, chopped
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice … to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Garnish: plain lowfat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and fresh parsley or better yet, cilantro!
- Poke the eggplant all around with a fork. Light up the grill and when the coals are hot, set the eggplant and the peppers right over the hot coals to roast. (A gas grill would work fine too … you COULD even roast them in the oven if you prefer …) Here’s a shot of my eggplant and peppers on the grill. I used these 3 eggplant, the red bell pepper, and one of the hot peppers in this soup. The other two peppers I’m going to put in a salsa (I think …)
- You don’t want to burn them, but the skins of the eggplant will turn dark and the pepper skins should turn black. Turn the peppers and eggplant over to make sure you roast all sides. The peppers will be done very quickly. Pull the peppers off the grill and let them cool while you finish cooking the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it is limp and soft.
- The peel on the peppers and the eggplant should come right off after roasting. Pull off the peel, chop off the top stems from the eggplant, and put the “good parts” of the peppers and the eggplant in a blender or handi chopper. Puree them until smooth.
- In a saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, soft and starting to brown. Stir in the eggplant/pepper paste and the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together till it’s well mixed, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the flavors have had time to “meld”.
- When the soup is done, puree it in a blender (or use an immersion blender). I’ve heard of people cracking the glass of a glass blender with hot soup, so you might want to let it cool a bit before blending it if you are using a glass blender.
- Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. This soup reheats nicely in the microwave.
Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips is a great source of food inspiration for me. When she posted a recipe for sesame noodles, I wanted them right away … it was a simple, quick recipe, so I went into the kitchen and made them straight away. I have veggies galore in my kitchen right now, so I had to throw some of those in. So I sliced up some cucumber in thin noodle-like strips and tossed in some shredded carrot and sweet onion.
I also replaced the peanut butter in the recipe with PB2 … it’s a powdered form of peanut butter that has most of the oil removed. And I left out some of the oil to cut down the amount of fat. It was still quite delicious. I looove this sauce!
You could add in cooked chicken or shrimp or scallops to dress this dish up, use other vegetables or even replace the noodles with zucchini noodles (have you seen that? zucchini cut up in long thin strips like noodles? I want to try that one of these days!) Anyway, I used brown rice Pad Thai noodles and that worked wonderfully. My cucumber strips weren’t quite straight or thin enough to really act like noodles, but they added a refreshing crunch to the dish.
Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips (who got the recipe from The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman)
There is enough sauce to cover about twice this much noodles/vegies, so go ahead and make more if you have more mouths to feed. I was just cooking for me … I’m lucky, though. Making this amount means I have some of that scrumptious sauce left for another day.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- A 2-inch hunk of ginger root, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (use more or less to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil (I used 1 Tablespoon, but I think it could use a little more)
- 4 Tablespoons PB2
- 3 Tablespoons water
Noodles and vegies:
- 4 – oz. of noodles (I used brown rice pad thai noodles, but any long skinny noodle will work …)
- 1/2 cup of cucumber, cut in long thin strips like the noodles
- 1/4 cup of shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
- Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds (or chia seeds if you can’t find your sesame seeds … like me)
- Make the sesame sauce: whir all of the sauce ingredients in a handi chopper, food processor or a blender until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
- Prepare the noodles according to the package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the noodle cooking water (or 1 cup if you are making a full batch), then drain the noodles.
- Add the reserved cooking water to half of the sesame sauce and blend. Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with the sauce and vegies until everything is coated.
- I skipped this step because I was starving but the recipe says to let the noodles cool to room temperature because they will absorb more sauce as they sit. This might be true … I have yet to try it.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and peanuts or sesame seeds and serve. Try not to inhale them like I did.
I came home from yoga last night wanting noodles. Badly. It was a power yoga class and she worked us hard … I could tell because my legs were sore already. So it was clearly time to make the Pad Thai I’ve been wanting to make. A while ago I had found these beautiful brown rice noodles with a Pad Thai recipe on the back. I THOUGHT I had also picked up some bean sprouts, but discovered rather quickly that I hadn’t. I had already shredded a bunch of carrots and chopped up the greens, though, so I thought to just add in some onion.
I do not claim this to be truly authentic Pad Thai (the Pad Thai police would surely come and get me!), but oh it was delicious. This Pad Thai soothed my craving for noodles and Thai food all in one fell swoop.
Shrimp Pad Thai
This recipe serves 2 – 3 people. If you have bean sprouts, just cut down the amount of other veggies to add in some sprouts. Pad Thai does usually have bean sprouts in it … I was just out of them!
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Hoison sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 4 oz. brown rice noodles (1/2 the package)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup medium shrimp
- a splash of white wine
For the top:
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped green onions
- Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the amount of sugar and Sriracha to your liking. The spicy heat will get soaked up by the noodles, so I would recommend making it a tad hotter than you think it should be. Set the sauce aside.
- Put some water on to boil for cooking up the noodles.
- While the water is cooking for the noodles, whisk the egg in a bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Scramble it in a frying pan or wok sprayed with cooking spray very briefly … take it out of the pan while it’s still wet. It will finish cooking when you add it back into the hot noodles. Speaking of noodles: are they done? Drain and set them aside.
- Clean out the egg from the frying pan (unless you are a neat scrambler … I always have some egg residue when I scramble), heat the pan to medium heat, and add the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and spinach and sautee for a minute or two, then add the shrimp and sautee until the onion is limp and the shrimp turns pink. If the pan gets a little dry, add a splash of white wine and cook till the wine evaporates. Add the noodles and the sauce and stir to mix everything up. The noodles might not want to mix in too well, but that’s okay. You can put the “extras” on top of the noodles when you serve it.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and chopped green onion.
I have been fascinated with foraging since I was a little girl. My parents instilled this trait in me … I remember as a child, when we were driving along somewhere, my mother would sometimes suddenly exclaim that we needed to stop. And my dad would stop the car. We would just stop and pick asparagus out of the ditch … or wherever it was she discovered it. I remember her stopping to pick wildflowers sometimes too. We also went mushroom hunting, which is the ultimate in foraging, and if you have never gone, find yourself a friend who hunts mushrooms and tag along with them sometime. Mushroom hunting is great fun … you just have to know what you are looking for.
Back then I think foraging in general was much safer. The sprays that are used in parks, lawns, and ditches these days (in the US) can be pretty toxic. So you need to be more careful where you forage … but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forage. You can forage in your own yard, where you have control over what goes on your plants. And I totally think you should … I mean, what is better than free food that you picked fresh from the landscaping? (By the way, if the idea of foraging in your yard scares you, skip over to the recipe … I provided substitutes for the “foraged” parts of the meal.)
I used the word “landscaping” very intentionally there, because the foods I foraged for this dish are commonly used in landscaping in many yards in the city: hostas and day lilies. I long suspected that hostas are edible … because my deer love them … and whatever my deer love to eat, I start wondering about … so I went searching about the internet and I discovered that I was right! Ha! In fact, hostas are a common food in Japan, called Urui or Yuki-urui. Thanks to Miss Modish, I know this now. The day lily discovery I made the other day and I will point you to my Stella de Oro salad post to learn more about them. Do NOT try to eat just any old lily from your yard. Some lilies are poisonous. Make sure you are eating a DAY lily. Google “eating day lilies” if you aren’t sure of the difference and do some reading before you start picking. Also if you have food allergies, I would suggest eating a small bit first to make sure you are not allergic.
Notes on picking: for day lilies, pick the fresh buds, unopened pods and fresh (unwilted) flowers. It’s best to pick them fresh, right before you plan to eat them, but if you can’t eat them right away, put them in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper. Day lilies only last a day, so if the flower looks “spent”, don’t bother trying to eat it. DO pick them off the plant, though, because the plant will produce more flowers that way. When picking hostas, choose the smaller, tender leaves in the center of the plant. The larger ones tend to be a little tough.
I had tried the day lilies raw and tasted the hosta leaves (yeah, they taste like a leaf), now it was time to discover how well they cook up … and it turns out they do cook up quite beautifully. Both of them. Together. With a little garlic and olive oil. Oh, and I threw in some carrots from my dad’s garden too. And just a splash of white wine.
What do they taste like? The day lily pods when cooked taste a bit like green beans. The flowers are slightly sweeter and more tender/wilty. The hostas taste sort of like spinach. (I tasted them after they were cooked and before I put the sauce on to get the “true” taste of the day lilies and hostas.)
A Forager’s Thai Peanut Chicken Stirfry
This was enough for little old me for a big, hearty lunch. Pick more for multiple people!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- Half of a very large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced and cut in half-moon shapes (or 1-2 regular sized carrots)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- A small mixing bowlful of small, tender hosta leaves, chopped (they cook down like spinach does, so you’ll want quite a lot) … if you don’t have hostas, substitute some spinach
- Several handfuls of day lily pods and blossoms (see picture for amount … I’m not quite sure how many there were) … if you don’t have day lilies, substitute green beans
- A splash of white wine
- 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced or chopped
- 2 -3 Tablespoons of Super Simple Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe here)
- Hot cooked Basmati rice (to serve the lovely stirfry upon)
- Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish, if desired (I had no cilantro and totally forgot about the peanuts … not that it NEEDS garnish because the dish is so beautiful already!)
Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the olive oil, swirling around to coat the pan. Add the carrots, garlic, hosta leaves (or spinach), and day lilies (or green beans) and sautee for a few minutes. Throw in a splash of white wine and the chicken and cook until the carrots are crisp tender, the hosta leaves are wilted and the chicken is hot. Stir in the peanut sauce and served over the hot rice. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves, if desired, or a fresh (uncooked) day lily flower would be a beautiful garnish.
This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.
Yes, you DO have time to cook! This is faster than fast food and WAY healthier. You can have it on the table in under 15 minutes.
The “magic” in this recipe is the Super Simple Thai Peanut Sauce. If you make some of this up and keep it in your fridge, you can have delicious meals in minutes … if you haven’t made it yet, go do it! Click the sauce picture for the recipe … the sauce itself will take you maybe five minutes to make. It’s super simple.
I don’t claim that it is truly “authentic” Thai food, but it tastes amazing … and if you are a busy working mom who’s starved for Thai food like I am, with no Thai restaurants anywhere within hundreds of miles, well, then I think it’s okay to take some shortcuts.
Okay, now that you’ve got the sauce done, all you have to do is …
1. Cook up some noodles. I used Angel hair pasta. Angel hair is beautiful and fast, and I love the delicate-ness of the noodles! You can use whatever noodles you like, though. (For SUPER expedient gourmet meals, have some noodles pre-cooked in your fridge, then just warm them up when you need a quick delicious meal.)
2. While the noodles are cooking, steam some veggies. You can use whatever vegies you think would go well with Thai peanut noodles. I used broccoli and carrots. Here’s my quickie tricky method for doing that in the microwave. Put your fresh or frozen veggies in a bowl. Add a bit of water to the bowl. Just a splash; you don’t need a lot. Sprinkle the vegies with a little salt and pepper if you want. Cover it with a plate. Stick it in the microwave. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Take the veggies out and check them. Are they crisp tender? If not, stir, cover, and microwave a bit longer until they are crisp tender. Strain the vegies, or use a fork to remove them from the bowl.
3. Optional! Heat up (or cook up) some shrimp or leftover meat. I’ve tried this with leftover grilled chicken and also with tiny frozen (thawed) shrimp, but I also think it is just wonderful without meat at all.
4. Toss the noodles and vegies (and meat or shrimp, if you’re using them) with the noodles and about 2 tablespoons of the sauce per serving. Top with chopped roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
This recipe was inspired by ChinDeep’s grilled Thai Chicken Pizza, except I used the Super Simple Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe here) and a Beer Pizza Crust (recipe below).
For the chicken: I marinaded chicken breasts in a mixture of half yogurt/half buttermilk seasoned with a little garlic powder and Red Robin seasoning. I rinsed the marinade off of one of them and brushed it with barbecue sauce for my daughter. Then I grilled them. The yogurt/buttermilk marinade was awesome! It made the chicken so nice and tender and moist.
While the chicken breasts were cooking, I assembled all my pizza ingredients and rolled out the dough, covering it with a towel. Melissa tells me the trick to grilled pizza is to have all the toppings ready to go, so I assembled them all and arranged them right next to the grill.
Once the chicken was partly done, I removed them so I could rearrange the coals and make a hot spot for the pizza crusts to cook. I piled the coals up on one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty to make a cooler spot for the toppings to melt.
Then I put the grate back on, along with the chicken, leaving a spot right over the hot hot coals to make the pizza. I placed a crust on the grill over the hot coals, covered and let it cook for 5-10 minutes, checking it periodically.
It started to bubble up a little and get brown on the bottom, then I flipped it over onto the cool side of the grill, added the toppings and covered the grill again till the cheese was melted.
The first one was my daughter’s pizza: simple cheese pizza, with barbecue chicken.
The second pizza was my Thai pizza. For this one, once I flipped the crust over onto the cool side of the grill, I slathered it with the spicy thai peanut sauce, then topped with thin slices of the grilled chicken, green onions, carrots, red onions, sunflower seeds and cheese. Then I covered the grill and let the pizza cook till the cheese was melted.
I pulled it off the grill and sprinkled with cilantro and sat down with my sweet daughter and had dinner on the patio.
Beer Pizza Crust
- 1 cup beer (I used Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Put all ingredients into the bread machine and put it on the dough setting. When the dough is done, divide it into four balls. Shape each ball into a disc shape, cover with a towel and let rest about 5 – 10 minutes. On a clean, flat surface sprinkled with cornmeal, roll out the dough for your crust with a rolling pin. Wrap any extra balls of dough you aren’t going to use with plastic wrap (or put them in a ziploc) and stick them in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, let the balls of dough thaw out on the counter for about an hour. I’m told they will keep for up to a month.