Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thai Curry with Basil, NO Eggplant, & Green Beans

Saw the above recipe on Albion Cooks and thought it would make an excellent easy meal. I was right! I made one huge exception--I didn't use the eggplant. I finally found the Thai eggplants at the Very Expensive, Hoity Toity Grocery Store (by the way, did you know there is also Japanese eggplant and Chinese eggplant?), bought the two that the recipe called for even though they were small and I seemed skeptical about their ability to contribute much towards the meal, got them home, put them on the counter, and promptly forgot about them. Fast forward to four days later to partially blackened, soft eggplants that now reside in the compost pile. So there was no eggplant in my dinner tonight. But that's okay, it was deemed worthy enough to chow down anyway!

Here's the tofu merrily simmering with the garlic and serrano chile pepper in the wok, with the red pepper slices and Thai basil standing by.

Barrett wanted to show you all his amazing flipping-the-food-into-the-air skillz. I didn't quite capture it but I love the way the burner coils turned purple and white in the flash!

Tearing hunks of chard off at the end. There's something so satisfying about tearing leafy greens up with one's bare hands.

And the final result, showcased on the homemade skeleton plate that I bought at a crafts fair back in 1992. It's my favorite plate.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yellow Split Pea Soup for a Rainy, Cool August Sunday

After two weeks and some change of being sick, I finally took stock of house and refrigerator. Cat hair tumbleweeds grace the hardwood floors, the rugs are sprinkled with crumbs and more cat hair, the soap scum ring in the bathtub is NOT pretty, and worst of all, our fridge was empty and forlorn. I simply had to go grocery shopping today, there was no way around it.

It has been pouring rain all day and the temperature has dropped as a result. August feels like October, which is why it put me in the mood for a hearty soup. I wanted split pea soup. I have a favorite pea soup recipe, this Bourbon Split Pea Soup from the Almost Turkish Recipes site, but I craved something with greens, perhaps, and a hint of sweetness instead of liquor. And I finally found it: Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale, from the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen's website. It was the kale and the curry that won me over!

Most of the ingredients are a shade of yellow. It amused me. I amuse easily, however.

The obligatory shot of the food cooking next to the recipe on the laptop. It never turns out very well, but that doesn't stop me!

Here's Colin with a canvas shopping bag on his head, looking like a cute, furry Abu Ghraib prisoner.

It's done! I added waaaaaaay more curry powder than the recipe called for, as I felt it needed it, as well as adding some coriander just for the heck of it. I also blended the soup a little bit with my trusty stick blender. Here's the final touch, adding the chopped kale.

We slurped it up for dinner. It was all I'd hoped it would be. Put it on your recipe list for autumn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sick sick sick

That's me. I've been sick for two weeks now and haven't been doing much exciting cooking. Lots of stuff on the grill and other easy items.

I did make this Spaghetti with Creamy Egg, Prosciutto, and Arugula the other evening, as I felt like having a light tasting but filling pasta. It's really good. I substituted red pepper flakes for the fresh red pepper. I think I also used way more arugula than it called for because I love me some arugula!

I'll return soon, I promise. Just as soon as I get better.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens

Hi! Sorry for the posting delay--it's been a busy summer, which is how I like it! I've been meaning to snap some photos of some of the recipes I've recently made, such as this divine Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake from the fantabulous 101 Cookbooks blog. Alas, I was in such a hurry to prepare it due to the lengthy baking time, I didn't have a moment to do anything but prep and zest. It was really really good, though!

I am very excited to introduce everyone. . . okay, whoever the three people are that actually read this. . . to a cookbook that I have been making much use of since it arrived in my mailbox in late spring: Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's! Not only is it a cookbook that uses nothing but staples and foodstuffs that can be purchased from Trader Joe's (awesome), but has some kick-ass recipes that are generally super quick to make and incredibly tasty to boot! The best part for me about this cookbook is that my dear friend from high school, Deana, co-authored it! My Deana Bo Beana wrote a book! I'm so proud of her and happy to own this.

My first read through, I immediately bookmarked a dozen recipes and made a trip out to the nearest Trader Joe's to stock up on necessities. Some recipes I've made multiple times and are on their way to becoming household staples, such as the Italian Wedding Soup and the Corny-Copia Bean and Veggie Casserole. But one in particular has captured my seafood-lovin' heart: the Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens.

Get frozen shrimp, scallops, and frozen/fresh asparagus. Thaw out.

Throw scallops into pan with some olive oil. Saute until opaque, then throw in shrimp and finally asparagus (my deviation from the recipe; I like to saute the asparagus instead of adding it at the end).

Open up bottle of Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa. Dump into seafood mixture, heat until bubbling. Have cookbook propped up artfully behind pan for crappy photo taken in bad light (click on photo in order to see actual recipe up close).

Throw spring lettuce mix onto plates, add utterly divine Trader Joe's Cilantro Dressing (found in the refrigerated section of TJ's, which, if you didn't realize as I didn't realize for about 2 months that some salad dressings live in the refrigerated section and all this time you wondered why your local TJ's didn't carry this Cilantro Dressing but then duh, one day you walk right past it as you happen to be looking up--hello!), then scoop a bunch of the piping hot seafood/asparagus mixture on top, realize you forgot the chopped fresh cilantro AGAIN, but oh well, you're so hungry that you just inhale this salad, THE END. It's really that good.

Deana and Wona, I declare thee geniuses. This won't be the last time I blog about one of your recipes.

Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens (Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's, 2007 ed.) Prep & cooking time: 15-20 minutes. Serves 2 as an entree, or 4 as an appetizer.

- 1/2 (5 oz.) bag Organic Baby Spring mix
- 2 Tbsp refrigerated Cilantro Dressing
- 12 spears of fresh asparagus or refrigerated Fire Roasted Asparagus, cut in thirds
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper

- 1 cup (1/2 lb or 1/2 bag) frozen Medium or Large Cooked Tail-Off Shrimp, thawed
- 1 cup (1/2 lb or 1/2 bag) frozen small or medium scallops (such as Chinese scallops) thawed and pat dry
- 1/2 cup Pineapple Salsa
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, if using fresh asparagus.

2. If using fresh asparagus, toss and coat asparagus in 1 Tbsp olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast asparagus in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on size of stalks.

3. While asparagus is roasting, saute scallops in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until opaque, adding shrimp at the very end. If using raw shrimp, cook them with the scallops. Add salsa and saute for additional minute.

4. Toss spring greens with dressing and divide it among serving plates. Add several pieces of asparagus on top of the greens. Top asparagus with seafood mixture and garnish generously with cilantro.