Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tom Ka Soup II

To celebrate 100,000 hits on my first Tom Ka soup post, I thought I would do a sequel.

This Tom Ka recipe is vegan but don't be scared!  It's just as delicious as the first version.

I didn't attempt to replace the flavor of the fish sauce with something else--it's just not possible--I've totally reworked the recipe.  I think it still has a very "Thai" flavor profile and is every bit as delicious.  

Tom Ka Vegan

                                   1 carton vegetable stock (4 cups)
                                   1 14 oz. can coconut milk
                                   1 stalk lemongrass
                                   1 4-inch piece fresh ginger
                                   1 bunch cilantro
                                   1/2 large yellow onion
                                   1 lime, juiced
                                   1 tablespoon sriracha or red curry paste (+/- to taste)

Use any combination of your favorite chopped vegetables including:

Pea pods, sweet peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes,
broccoli, carrots, sliced onions, scallions, baby corn, cilantro, basil, fresh ginger, etc.

For more substance you could also add tofu or rice vermicelli. 

I used the lemon grass and ginger...

...the stems of a cilantro bunch and one half an onion to flavor the
vegetable broth as the base for the soup.  I've made this three time using three different vegetable stocks and they're all a little different.  The best version was the Pacific vegetable stock that was heavy on the carrots which made it sweeter.

Peel and slice the ginger, chop the lemon grass, onions, cilantro stems and simmer them in the vegetable stock for about 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and let cool before straining the broth.

When you're ready to serve the soup, return the broth to the pot, heat to a simmer and add coconut milk, sriracha (or chili paste) and lime juice.

While the broth is heating, chop up your vegetables and add them to serving bowls.  Here I've used pea pods, button and oyster mushrooms, sweet yellow papers, baby corn and julienned ginger.  I would guess it's about 1-1/2  cups of vegetables.

This amount of broth will make four good sized bowls of soup (using a little more than one cup of broth per serving).  

To garnish, I mixed some sriracha with some toasted sesame oil and drizzled the red oil on top of the soup and topped with some micro basil.

The broth is really aromatic and feels very restorative.  The spice from the sriracha feels great on the throat if you're feeling a little under the weather.

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Grapefruit Martini

It's New Year's brunch at the Urban Cottage.  Come in and have a grapefruit martini.

Actually, calling this cocktail a grapefruit martini is a little unfair.
The addition of rosemary-infused simple syrup makes it much more special.
I actually call it the St. Stephen cocktail.  If you want to use your name
in place of Stephen, I won't be at all offended.

It's a great brunch cocktail and, as such, I've taken it easy on the alcohol so you can have one
or two and still move on with your day without drooling on your Sunday's finest.

It's refreshing anytime of the year and is sure to fend off colds, scurvy or whatever
else might ail you.

                               For each serving:

                               6 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
                               1-1/2 oz. vodka
                               1 tablespoon rosemary syrup*
                               1 lime (for zest)

                               *see recipe below (patent pending)

                               Combine all ingredients, shake in cocktail shaker with ice
                               or serve over crushed ice in martini glass.

                               Top with a dusting to lime zest.

                                   1 cup sugar
                                   1 cup water
                                   2-3 springs of fresh rosemary
                               Bring sugar and water to a boil.  Turn off heat and add
                               rosemary sprigs.  Set aside to cool.  The rosemary will
                               turn a little brown so I usually take it out and replace it
                               with new sprigs when company's coming over.

                               Store in covered jar in refrigerator.

I don't usually use pink grapefruit but certainly looks pretty in pink.


Monday, November 12, 2012


I don't know how I went so many years without even hearing of muhammara
but when I found it on a vegetable antipasto at my favorite local restaurant,
it was love at first bite.

Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip but I've used it in sandwiches of grilled eggplant, 
in quesadillas, or mixed in to a little pasta.  It's versatile.  If I were to describe it to
someone who's never had it, I would say it's like a sweet red pepper pesto.  

When time allows, I like to do everything from scratch but I've added a few shortcuts in red
that will allow you to whip this up in a few minutes with things can keep in your pantry.

                    Ingedients                         (Quick-n-Easy alternative in red)              

                    1 cup walnuts, toasted  (toasting optional to save time)                      
                    3 sweet red peppers, roasted (or use one 12-oz. bottle roasted red peppers)        
                    2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (or throw one piece pita bread in food processor)          
                    3 cloves garlic
                    3 T. fresh lemon juice (don't you dare use the fake stuff)
                    1 T. paprika
                    1 tsp. cumin
                    1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
                    1 tsp. salt
                    1/2 tsp black pepper
                    2 T. pomegranate molasses* (2 T. pomegranate juice, optional)
                    3 T. olive oil

                    Extra olive oil, moroccan black olives and spring of mint for garnish

                   * See recipe for pomegranate molasses below

Brush peppers with oil and roast in 400 F. oven.  Roast about 30-35 minutes,
flipping once or twice so they brown evenly.  When tender and collapsed, set aside
to cool.  Remove stems, seeds and skin.

On another baking sheet, toast the walnuts for about 7 minutes.
Watch them closely; they burn quickly!  Set aside to cool.

1 16-oz. bottle of pomegranate juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 lemon juice

Heat pomegranate juice to boiling.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add lemon juice and reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer until liquid is reduced to about one cup.

Remove from heat and cool.

Extra molasses can be stored in a glass jar in fridge for a few months.

In a food processor, start with the walnuts, bread and dry ingredients to make sure
they're well integrated.  Add the peppers and wet ingredients and puree until smooth.
Use a spatula to push ingredients down a few times
End with the olive oil and add one tablespoon at a time.  You may not need all the liquid
and it's a great place to cut on calories if you want to.

Can be served immediately or stored in refrigerator for a few days.

Garnish with moroccan black olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serve with any kind of bread.  I love toasted pita points because there's
something satisfying about eating something with a little crunch.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Red Curry Chicken and Biscuits

I was going to say that this isn't your mama's Chicken and Biscuits but it really is with just little tweak in the flavors.  Back when I made the highly pinterested Tom Ka Soup, I was thinking how close something like Tom Ka Gai is was to American chicken soup but with just a few different ingredients, it has an entirely different flavor profile.

So when a friend of mine dropped off a bag of parsley and chive biscuits from Flour Bakery, I thought I'd make Chicken and Biscuits -- a perfect winter comfort food in my mind -- only I'd put my own little twist on the old standard by adding red curry and coconut milk and a few other ingredients.

If you don't have the luxury of a Flour Bakery in the neighborhood, you should buy Joanne Chang's cookbook on Amazon (it's filled with awesome recipes!) but you can also find the recipe here.  (Please note the recipe is for parsley and sage biscuits, but swap out the sage for chives.)  Joanne Chang is best known nationally for her sticky bun Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  (Joanne, won!)  But locally, flour is a place we rush every Saturday morning, usually parking illegally, to stand in line hoping the almond croissants don't run out before we get to the head of the line.  Sometimes we talk loudly about how good the Morning Glory Muffins look just to throw off the eavedroppers.  But I digress. 

The way I made this would serve about three:

1 whole chicken breast, roasted and cubed
1 carrot, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup-ish frozen peas
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons red curry paste
1/3 cup of coconut milk
1/3 cup of chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lime 
salt and pepper

Obviously you have to start out having your biscuits made and your chicken breast roasted.  This would be a perfect dish if you have leftover chicken (maybe three cups?) or you could be lazy and buy a rotisserie chicken.  I had a split breast so I removed the skin, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted it a 375 for about 35-40 minutes.

Saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper until soft.  (I left out the celery because it didn't seem to fit the flavor profile but I think it would have been fine to add it.)

Add the flour and saute a few minutes just so it's not raw.  Add the chicken broth and heat until it starts to thicken.

Add the red curry paste and coconut milk and stir until incorporated.

Add the mushrooms and peas and cook for a few more minutes.

Finally, add the chicken, cilantro and lime juice just to heat a few minutes before serving.

Cut the biscuit in half and ladle some of the stew over the bottom half of the biscuit.  Top with the other half of the biscuit, garnish with a few more cilantro leaves and serve.

It was amazingly good!

As an alternative to biscuits, you could make a simple dumpling and add just a little coriander and/or ginger and chopped cilantro so they're a little different and boil on the top of the hot stew.  You may want to make your own tweaks to the recipe.  More curry, less curry, more coconut milk, no mushrooms, add pototoes...I think it's a very flexible recipe.

I can't wait to make it again. 

** Clarification on the gin-drinking paperwhites **

I just wanted to make sure everyone had the correct details on applying gin to the paperwhites.  Here's an important clarification from the Yankee Magazine article.

"When they're up about three inches, add about half a shot glass of gin to a cup of water and give it to them. Next time you water, repeat, and you'll find that they won't get so leggy. The gin stunts their growth, and they'll bloom more in scale with their stalks."

It also refers to vodka, whiskey, tequila and rubbing alcohol also working but the writer thought gin was the best.  I'd almost like to do two new pots of paperwhites side by side to test out the theory.

* * * * *

Finally, I was goofing around with an animation software I found on line called Picasion.  I made up this little animation on how to make crostini so I'm uploading it to see if it runs.  These things always make my mind race with ideas on fun ways to use them.

create an avatar