Because of hubby's loves for Thai curry, making curry paste from scratch had been on my cooking list. I've tried some Thai curry recipe, but never had the urge of making the paste. Now that I'll be away for sometime, I thought he would appreciate having a ready-to-use paste store in the freezer. That way he could just add vegetables and meat without the hassle of preparing many ingredients.
This recipe below is a simplified version of the original one, which called for coriander leaves and other fresh ingredients. Here in my area, some fresh Asian spices are kinda rare and pricey, so I often buy the powdered one. To make the recipe simpler, I used food processor to grind instead of using mortar and pestle. It worked, yet had some minor concern because it's wet like porridge. I thought the paste was too dry so added water to make the processor work better.
That day I had a lot of banana peppers and eggplants, so those were the main players for the curry. I used similar recipe for the stuffed banana pepper. For the eggplants, I chopped them then pan-seared them until they were soft. This trick really helped to avoid chewy and rubbery eggplants like what I usually had.
Green Curry Paste Ingredients: 10 cloves garlic
7 large fresh green hot chilies or jalapeno (or more) 1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal (if using dried, soak in warm water for 15 minutes) 3 fresh lemon grass, bottom part only
5 kaffir lime, discard the vein
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp shrimp paste
Mix all of the ingredients into a food processor and whiz to a paste.
Ingredients: Stuffed banana pepper or any vegetable/meat
2 eggplants, chopped and stir-fried until soft, set aside Green curry paste (recipe above) 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp fish oil
Palm sugar or regular sugar
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper, and palm sugar.
Place meat in the skillet, cook and stir until cook through (probably take 30 minutes to soften the banana pepper). Add the fish oil and chopped eggplants.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for minimum 15 minutes. Serve over warm rice. Enjoy!
First of all, happy Eid Mubarak to all my Moslem friends. May this day brings joy, peace, and blessing to you and your family.
In my country, Eid is the biggest day of the year. I was always excited when Eid was about to come. The festivities usually started during Ramadan, when everyone seemed to be high spirited, and it would rub off on me On the day, we usually went to my relatives which involved eating a lot of good food! Our ex-assistant and his wife usually visited our house either on the day or the evening before Eid, bringing ketupat Lebaran. Ketupat Lebaran is a traditional Eid delicacy in our country, and theirs was and still is the best ever!
Since Eid holiday is the longest holiday in my country, it is also a time for my family to reunite. My extended family just had a big family retreat -a rare precious moment that I couldn't attend Hence, it is not surprising that my dad keeps sending pictures of that joyful time. So...yup...it's hard not to think about home...and about home food.
I was glad I made sambal balado because I could have home food in a jiffy when I didn't have much time to cook. We used salmon this time, and believe that it's possible to eat just the sauce with rice.
We've been having a lot of tomatoes in the house! Some are from the CSA box, and some are extras we bought from the CSA farmer. Since tomatoes are best stored on counter to maintain their tastiness, we stack them in a bowl on a high counter. Their shiny bright color is enticing. No wonder hubby likes to grab and eat them before dinner is ready.
I wish tomatoes are as tasty and as plenty as they are now in this time of the year. I could get tomatoes from grocery store all year round, but they are brought from somewhere else whenever it's out of season. The long distance travel cause the price to be higher; and since it takes time to transport, they are picked before they are fully ripened, hence their less freshness. When bragging about our bountiful tomato supply to my family the other day, I realized how lucky people back home are to have tomato in all season -something I took for granted.
Having a lot of tomatoes allows me to make many kind of sauce. Pizza sauce is the first one I made this season. The original recipe calls for peeling the tomato skin and getting rid of the seeds, but I didn't want to make such effort. I think both hubby & I are practical (read: lazy), and not picky about this kind of stuff. We are just happy enough to have a large amount of homemade pizza sauce in the fridge.
Pizza Sauce 10 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or other herbs
4 stalks celery
1/4 cup Burgundy wine (optional)
In a sauce pan over medium heat, sautee onion and garlic in oil until fragrant. Puree chopped tomatoes, celery, and onion mixture in a blender or food processor.
Pour the puree back to the sauce pan. Add the herbs and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1-1.5 hour.
I never cared about cranberry sauce, yet hubby insisted to have it for our Thanksgiving dinner. He wanted to show our friends the classic menu American families usually have for their Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't object because I also was wondering if I could make those dishes from scratch.
We went to Earth Fare looked for cranberries. We saw small red fruits floating in water in a metal container. The sign clearly said "cranberry" on it, and there was a strainer beside the pool to scoop the fruits up, yet we were not sure if that's what we wanted. I felt funny that we were not familiar with it after years living in this country. I must have passed this part several times during past Thanksgivings without paying attention to it.
Cranberries love water. They are so light, that's why the berries float to the surface. They need about an inch of water per week to grow, and more during hottest, driest, and windiest weather (cranberry 101). That is why historically, Cranberry beds "were constructed in wetland", such as bogs (wikipedia). When the berries distinctive deep red color, they are ready to be harvested. The flooding technique is the most common harvest method.
Making cranberry sauce is so easy. I used Alton Brown's recipe and was satisfied with it. I learned that cranberries contain pectic, a natural jelling agent that keeps the sauce firm. FYI, fresh cranberries are so sour and the outer skins are tough, so cooking is the best way to enjoy them. Overcook them will make the taste bitter. So, just cook them only until they pop, no more than twenty minutes.
Hubby was surprised when he saw the cranberry sauce I made. He said it was way too much, and he was afraid we would waste it because usually people won't eat much of it. He was wrong, we enjoyed the sauce to complement the turkey (including the leftover) and didn't even have any left to eat with bread as we had planned to.