Monthly Archives: September 2016

I’m in the Mood for Thai: Green Curry Noodle Bowl

Thai Green Curry Noodle Bowl

Thai Green Curry Noodle Bowl

When we’re in the mood for Thai food, Bruce and I like to dine at Soybean Asian Grille.  The last time we were there I ordered a Green Curry Noodle Bowl from their special menu. It had tofu, baby bok choy, bell peppers, green beans and noodles with a “curry-ish” sauce. I say “curry-ish” because the dish was flavored with green curry paste and just a hint of coconut milk. Thai curries are usually insanely hot and contain a lot of rich (i.e. high-fat) coconut milk. It was this dish that motivated me to get off my tukhus and make the no-salt-added green Thai curry paste that I wrote about last week. My curry noodle bowl is a simple stir-fry kicked up a notch with the addition of green curry paste and a bit of light coconut milk. You can use any Thai curry paste (red, green, Massaman), either store-bought or made from one of my no-salt-added recipes. Mix up a batch of curry paste today, then stir things up a bit tomorrow with a bowl of Thai Green Curry Noodles. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Green Thai Curry Noddle Bowl

1 large yellow onion, sliced
8 oz. green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-1/2” pieces
1 large bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2” strips
3 baby bok choy, sliced into 1” pieces (including leaves)
16 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into 1” pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons green Thai curry paste
½ can (about 1 cup) Thai coconut milk

Noodles (about 1 lb. dry) or rice (3 cups cooked) for serving

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add a few tablespoons of water and onions. Saute until onions start to brown. Add green beans and more water if necessary and saute until they start to brown. Cover skillet and cook until beans start to soften, then add peppers and bok choy. Continue cooking until peppers and bok choy start to soften. Add tofu, curry paste and coconut milk and cook for a few minutes to allow sauce to thicken and get infused into the tofu.
Serve over choice of noodles or rice.

29 Sep 2016

Puttin’ Up with Rose: Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

The title of this post came to mind this morning while I was making a batch of White Fig & Balsamic Preserves. Before modern refrigeration was widely available, families would “put up” whatever they were harvesting. Preserving food back then meant either canning fruits and vegetables in jars or salting meat. Today, freezing food is also considered a form of food preservation. Since most of the food I make can be frozen without compromising quality, I decided to create a section of the blog called “Puttin’ Up with Rose”. I’ve been making my own no-salt-added Thai curry pastes for a few months. With the Red Curry and Massaman Curry Pastes already in a deep freeze,this Green Curry Paste completes the tri-fecta. You can find the green Thai peppers, lemongrass, galangal and dried lime rind in an ethnic grocery or on-line. The galangal is expensive, but you get a lot and can freeze it in slices. I strongly recommend that you wear gloves and goggles to protect your fingers and eyes from the sting of the chili peppers. I added the nori seaweed as a substitute for fish sauce. Seriously, the Thai peppers are so darn hot you wouldn’t miss the seaweed. You can use this curry paste to make Thai curry or in my Green Thai Curry Noodle Bowl recipe that I’ll post in the near future. Thanks for “puttin’ up with me” and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Vegicurious Thai Green Curry Paste

6 green Thai chillies (1-1/2 to 2 inches), seeds removed
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and stems
1/4 cup chopped lemongrass (see notes)
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp. ground dried lime rind (see notes)
1″ piece of galangal, chopped (3 Tablespoons ground – see notes)
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2” x 2” piece of nori seaweed (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and process into a paste. Refrigerate for one week or freeze for about three months.

Notes: Lemongrass, dried lime rind and galangal can be processed in a clean coffee or spice mill. The lemongrass will look shredded. The lime rind and galangal will be “powdery”.

21 Sep 2016

Late Bloomers: Sorrel Smoothie with Lavender

Sorrel Smoothie

Sorrel Smoothie

Somehow, I always feel like I’m behind the times. By the time I joined Facebook, everyone was already moving on to Instagram. What can I say? I guess I’m a late bloomer. And so it is with green smoothies. People have been drinking them for years and I’ve been resisting the trend. Something about fruit and kale just doesn’t appeal to me. So while I was cutting up a sweet watermelon this morning, I thought, “wouldn’t this make a nice smoothie?” And I thought about what else I had on hand that would complement watermelon. Hmmmm . . . . strawberries and pears. Do I dare try to make it a green smoothie? And then I remembered that patch of sorrel that was growing on the side of our house. If you’re not familiar with sorrel, it is a lemony-tasting green that’s used to make the French classic, Sorrel Soup. So I dared to go there and brought in a small bunch of sorrel. Since I was being a bit daring, I brought in a few sprigs of lavender as well. Wow! I could not believe how refreshingly tasty this smoothie turned out. It is just the right amount of each ingredient so that one does not over power any of the others and the hint of the lavender is lovely. I see many more Sorrel Smoothies in my future. So I raise my smoothie and toast: “here’s to all the late bloomers out there.” Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Sorrel Leaves

Sorrel Leaves

Lavender

Lavender

Sorrel Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups frozen watermelon
1 large pear, cored and cut into slices (leave skin intact)
3 large sorrel leaves
1 sprig of lavender (leaves removed from stem) plus additional sprig for garnish (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.

17 Sep 2016

Make Mei Fun Your Fun: Singapore Squash

Singapore Squash

Singapore Squash

Singapore Mei Fun is one of my favorite Asian dishes. I usually order this spicy noodle dish when we’re at Little Teriyaki and I’m not in the mood for sushi. Mei Fun is a stir-fry made with a variety of vegetables and rice noodles. What makes it “Singapore” is spicy curry powder. I kept putting Mei Fun on the back burner mostly because I didn’t have the curry powder on hand. I’m not savvy on the differences between curry powders, so I decided to go with one labeled as “Thai Curry Powder.” I wanted to use spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles in this recipe for a few reasons. One: this is the beginning of squash season, so all kinds of locally-grown squash are available. Two: I’m trying to eat more vegetables and less starch. Three: I’m becoming quite the fan of spaghetti squash. As in my other spaghetti squash recipes, I started out by seasoning and baking the squash before mixing it with other vegetables and seasonings. I sprinkled minced garlic, ginger root and curry powder on the squash and baked it for about an hour and a half. After one taste of these sultry strands, I wasn’t sure if they would make it into my wok! Since I already had the peppers, onions, carrots and mushrooms already cut up, I proceeded with the recipe. All I can say is that this recipe was fun cutting board to table. Why not make Mei Fun your fun today? Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Singapore Squash

1 extra large spaghetti squash
Canola oil (optional)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2” piece of ginger, minced
Thai curry powder

Vegetable broth or water for sauteeing
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Reduced sodium soy sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut spaghetti squash in half from stem to blossom end. Scoop out seeds. Place in baking pan. Lightly coat the surface of the squash with oil if using. Sprinkle with garlic, ginger and curry powder. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours until surface is golden brown and you’re able to scrape the spaghetti “strands” out of the skin. When cooled, scrape squash out of skin and set aside.

Heat a non-stick wok or large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until browned. Remove from wok and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of broth to wok, add onion, peppers and carrots and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Return mushrooms to wok along with the spaghetti squash and toss, allowing the vegetables to brown slightly. Add soy sauce and additional curry powder to taste.

13 Sep 2016

Living in Style: Raw Cashew Cream Cheese

Raw Cashew Cream Cheese

Raw Cashew Cream Cheese

One of the first posts I shared on Vegicurious was for Raw Cashew Cream Cheese. This recipe is one that I’ve been making consistently, with consistent results, since I adopted a whole food, plant-based style of living. “Style of living”. Hmmm, I like the way that sounds and it gives me a new perspective on the plant food movement. The definition of style is an elegant, fashionable, or luxurious mode of living. Once in a while I make a meal that I consider elegant. And with more people adopting healthy and compassionate food choices, it certainly is fashionable. Having healthy meals ranging from everyday comfort food to gourmet feasts feels like luxury to me. I’m living (and eating) in style. So, back to the cream cheese. This recipe has always been pretty simple, but since I purchased the twister jar for my Blendtec it’s gotten even easier as I no longer need to drain it overnight in cheesecloth. The addition of lactic acid adds a more “dairy-like” creaminess to the spread and gives it a less tangy taste. The lactic acid is optional and you’ll still get good results without it. You can enjoy it straight up on bagels or try one of these cream cheese blends: veggie cream cheese with minced scallions, carrots, red bell pepper; roasted red pepper cream; walnuts and raisins; or sun-dried tomato. This is no longer a whole food, plant based; it is our style of living. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Pumpernickel Bagel & Cashew Veggie Cream Cheese

Pumpernickel Bagel & Cashew Veggie Cream Cheese

Vegan Cream Cheese (soy-free + lactic acid)

1 1/2 cups raw cashew halves, soaked for 12 hours
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lactic acid powder (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt (optional)
2-3 tablespoons water (if necessary to process cashews)

Note: If you have a high-powered blender that can process nuts efficiently (Vitamix or Blendtec Twister), you may not need as much water and will not need to drain the cream cheese.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process on high. Begin with 2 tablespoons of water and work up to 3 tablespoons if needed. The water is in the recipe just to help the mixture get as smooth as possible in the blender. Blend for 2 minutes or so, until it’s as smooth as smooth can be.
Drape a shallow bowl with cheesecloth or butter muslin. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the cheesecloth. Pull up the sides of cheesecloth and tie with a piece of string or twine. Hang the bag on a kitchen utensil and rest it inside a vase or juice pitcher and cover the whole set-up with a plastic bag. It just has to be extended in the air so that the extra liquids can drain from it.
Leave in a warm place for at least 24 hours. Then, remove from the hanging setup you’ve created, remove cheesecloth and refrigerate before serving.

08 Sep 2016

Channeling Grandma: Not Fried Peppers

Cubanelle & Tomato Sandwich

Cubanelle & Tomato Sandwich

My grandmother used to fry peppers all the time. When she was shopping, she would look for “frying peppers.” Of course. (You may have seen them referred to as “Cubanelle peppers“.) They differ from bell peppers in that they are light green, long, skinny and thin skinned. Good for frying because they would cook fast in a skillet. Not good for baking because they are thin and would most likely fall apart before the stuffing is cooked. She might have served the peppers as a side to a pork roast or sausage. What I do remember most was that she loved to eat them with Italian bread, sopping up the oil and pepper juices that coated her plate. I was the lucky recipient of a few cubanelles in my CSA share this week and tried my hand at making them “unfried”. To do this, I removed the stem and seeds and kept the rest of the pepper in tact (i.e., whole). Next, I placed the peppers in a non-stick skillet, added a few tablespoons of water and covered the skillet with a glass Pyrex cover and steamed them until they were soft. At that point, I removed the cover and browned the peppers, turning them often being careful to not let them burn. As the peppers rest, their juices start flowing and create an “oily” coating. The sandwich that followed was so tasty — a few slices of toasted Italian bread, several slices of peppers, a few slices of garden tomatoes and a sprinkling of Italian fairy dust (oregano). How could something so simple taste so good? You just have to let the beauty of the food shine through. On days like today when I’m in the kitchen, I feel like I’m channeling my grandmother. It’s a good day! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Cubanelle

Cubanelle

 

 

02 Sep 2016

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