Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tom Kha Gai Soup

Tom Kha Gai Soup
I think I may have managed to perfect my at-home version of the popular Thai dish Tom Kha Gai Soup.

This soup is one of my absolute favorites. The richness of the coconut milk and the combination of salty, sour and savory with the gorgeous perfume of lemongrass makes this dish a heavenly comfort.

I almost didn't make this because I was missing one very important ingredient - the limes. 

And unfortunately, because I substituted lemon for the lime I didn't write down the recipe((

Go figure that it turned out amazing. But, no fear, I loved it so much I am going to be making another batch tomorrow and I will include the recipe then!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Massaman beef curry

Massaman beef curry.

My ongoing project to perfect my favorite restaurant dishes is going along swimmingly!

My third attempt at making massaman curry was quite an improvement over the previous attempts.

I have discovered that fresh spices can make a world of difference.

Left to right: Red curry paste, cinnamon sticks, fresh green cardamon pods.

While I was able to find the green cardamon pods at a teeny tiny Indian market just round the corner, I could not find whole star anise anywhere. Oh, well I can just use the search for star anise as a nice excuse for exploring more local markets:-)

On to to the recipe:

Massaman beef curry 

Serves 4


1.5 lbs of beef stew meat
1 14oz can of light coconut milk
1 cup of water
2 small shallots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 Tbsp of fish sauce
1 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp of tamarind paste
3 Tbsp of massaman curry paste
1/2 tsp of red thai curry paste
2 cinnamon sticks
5 green cardamon pods
5 basil leaves
1 Tbsp of peanut oil


Combine the cubed beef with the 3 Tbsp of massaman curry and set aside.

Add oil to the pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks and red curry paste. Fry for about 2 minutes until the spices become aromatic.

Add in the chopped shallots and onion and allow to cook for another 2 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. 

Toss in the beef and curry mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer for 25 - 30 minutes. The curry is done when the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.



Friday, September 7, 2012

Lemony pasta with smoked salmon

Pasta with smoked salmon and lemon dressing.
I have been trying to eat salmon at least once a week but I am really hate how cooking fish (especially salmon) really stinks up the kitchen.

This week I decided to buy smoked salmon instead. While my favorite way to eat smoked salmon is on a bagel with lots of cream cheese - today I wanted something different.

I had lemon dressing left over from my last salad so I cooked up a serving of spaghetti and tossed it with a bit of olive oil and the dressing.

Best decision ever!

The lemon dressing really brightened up the flavor of the salmon. 

A simple and incredibly delicious dish. I love it when that happens:-)

Later today I am off to get ingredients to make my favorite curry - massaman.

Happy Friday all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yellow tomato and avocado salad

Yellow tomato and avocado salad.
I had a few things to work with when I went to make my salad for lunch.

From the bottom: lemon cucumber, avocado, yellow tomato and tiny San Marzano tomatoes.

For some reason my San Marzano tomato plant is only producing tomatoes about the size of my thumb. I was so excited to find a San Marzano tomato plant that I think I overlooked that the plant was not in the best shape.

The lemon cucumber has tons of seeds. 

I scooped out the seeds and was left with just the white part of the cucumber.

A quick chop and I assembled the salad. I added a bit of shredded chicken for protein, some black olives and a drizzle of homemade lemon vinaigrette.

The San Marzano tomatoes are so sweet and delicious I am quite sad that the plant is only producing one tomato a week.

Next year I will definitely plant at least three of them so that I have enough to can some tomato sauce.

The lemon cucumbers? Not my favorite - they taste like you dipped a regular cucumber in lemon juice (hence the name) but they have too many seeds for my taste.
I counted ten ears of corn on my small cluster of corn stalks!! I just hope it stays hot enough for the rest of September for them to ripen.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chicken Tzatziki Salad

Chicken Tzatziki Salad with goat milk yogurt.
Last week I bought a large tub of goat milk yogurt. While I love the stuff I just don't normally eat yogurt straight out of the container so I still had most of the tub left.

I was using it as a vehicle for my Udo's oil and green powder but that was making a very small dent. 

So yesterday I noticed the lemon cucumbers (pictures of those coming tomorrow) that my neighbor gave me needed to be used up - enter chicken tzatziki salad.

I added enough yogurt so that there was plenty of extra creamy goodness to coat the lettuce.

The key to this recipe is to make the yogurt/lemon/cucumber mixture ahead of time so that the flavors have time to develop while it hangs out in the fridge.

Chicken Tzatziki Salad

Serves 2


2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
4 cups of spring salad mix 
1 cup of goat milk yogurt
1 lemon cucumber, chopped
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
1 clove of garlic, minced
black pepper to taste
1 pinch of salt
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped


Combine the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, shallot, parsley, garlic, black pepper and salt in a bowl. Mix well, cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Just before eating, take the tzatziki mix out of the refrigerator. Chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Dice the sweet red pepper. Add the chicken and sweet red pepper to the tzatziki mix.

Add 2 cups of salad mix into each bowl and top each with 1/2 of the tzatziki mixture.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Gardens in bloom

My garden.
My garden has finally started to take off. When my complex put in some raised beds I jumped at the chance for some gardening space.

While they became available at the middle of July - which is really late in the growing season - I crossed my fingers and planted anyway.

Some of my neighbors who planted early in the season are now reaping an abundant harvest.

Yellow tomatoes.
One of my neighbors has so many yellow tomatoes this season that he has started giving them away.

I started making gazpacho which eventually turned into tomato and sweet potato soup.

Yellow tomato and sweet potato soup.

I sauteed a shallot with some olive oil and added in a pinch of basil, oregano, black pepper and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

They I added 5 chopped yellow tomatoes and 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

Everything simmered for about an hour then I added a 1/2 cup of chopped sweet potato and let it simmer for another 20 minutes.

A quick blend with the hand mixer and I had a wonderful creamy tomato soup with just a touch of spice.

It feels nice to be back to blogging!