Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summery Squash Red Curry

Summer is here (although you wouldn't believe it judging by the San Diego weather lately!) and so are all of the wonderful summer vegetables I look forward to like zucchini, yellow squash and green beans. I got a great heap of them from my CSA last week so I decided to make a nice red curry to use up my veggies on one of our cool and cloudy summer days! Nothing like a bowl of curry to warm up the evening, and I love this brand of curry below, which I buy in a can at the Asian market.

Summery Squash Red Curry
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced into half moons or quartered
1 yellow squash, sliced into half moons or quartered
1 large carrot, sliced diagonally
1 cup peeled & deveined shrimp (or tofu or chicken)

juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Coarsely chopped basil leaves
Bring a large pan or dutch oven to medium heat, then add olive oil and heat. Stir fry onion until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and continue to stir fry a few more minutes. Add bell pepper and green beans and finish stir frying until onions are translucent and the rest of the vegetables are softened. Stir in coconut milk and squash. Wisk curry paste into chicken broth and add to pan. Bring to a low simmer, cover and leave for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat, add shrimp, lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce. If shrimp is not pre-cooked, allow to cook in hot curry for a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with basil and serve with brown jasmine rice.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Cups

Okay, you all are going to think I am crazy about peanut butter after my last post of Peanut Butter Krispies, and now these! Well, I am not...that would actually be my best friend Katie and her love affair with the peanut butter jar...HA! We often joke about this. :) Myself, well I prefer almond butter, crunchy, unsalted and have made this recipe with almond butter before which I prefer. However, it was my hubby's birthday and he loves Reese's peanut butter cups, so I figured a homemade version would be a treat for the festivities. Thanks to her Nut Butter Cup recipe over at Elana's Pantry, which is where I got this idea (and thanks to BF Katie for introducing me to her blog...and for sending me her cookbook recently!), all our friends at the party who had one of these delicious morsels were quite impressed!

Peanut Butter Cups
yields 24 cups using my molds

Peanut butter mixture
1 C peanut butter, creamy (I used salted for this recipe)
1 T honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 T flax seed meal

Mix together all of the ingredients above in a bowl and place in the freezer to harden.

Chocolate concoction
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bar (5 oz.) 72% Belgian dark chocolate

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or small pan until melted. Remove from heat. Use a small paintbrush to coat the sides and bottom of your silicone baking molds with chocolate. Arrange on tray and place molds in freezer for 10 minutes allowing chocolate to harden. Remove molds and peanut butter from freezer. Scoop small balls of peanut butter mixture into each chocolate lined mold and press down to fill well with peanut butter. Using brush, paint over the top of mold to cover with chocolate and freeze again until hardened. Remove from freezer, peel off molds individually and store in refrigerator, removing shortly before serving.

I discovered the best part of this recipe are the adorable mini silicone baking molds I bought at Cost Plus World Market for only $2.49 for a set of 12. YES, that's only $2.49 for a set of 12! They were perfect for this recipe and are also oven-proof so I am already dreaming of my next creation with them. I don't see them on their web site, but my local World Market has them. I hope you can find them too!

Peanut Butter Krispies

I am in love with People's Co-op in OB, of which I am a member, and go there weekly for lunch from their tasty vegan deli. I am also in love with the deli's sweets selection. Containing a delicious variety of alternative cookies, pies, lemon bars, goddess bars (the best!), and the recently discovered, peanut butter is needless to say, I rarely leave empty handed.

I loved rice crispy treats as a child, and usually ate half of the mixture while still warm and gooey. We didn't have a lot of sweets around the house regularly except for ginger snaps and dried apricots, so these were a real treat! When I saw the peanut butter krispies at People's, I was hesitant at first as I usually go for chocolate, but I thought, dairy-free, sugar-free, why not! There were only five ingredients in them: org. rice crispies. org. peanut butter, org. brown rice syrup, puffed kashi and vanilla. I figured I could attempt a recreation myself for a fraction of the cost, and they make a great breakfast bar or gym snack!

(Thanks Amanda for the adorable dessert platter and towel for my blog!)

Peanut Butter Krispies

1 C organic peanut butter, creamy unsalted
1 C brown rice syrup
1/2 T vanilla
4 1/2 C puffed rice mixture to your liking
(I used 2 1/2 C crispy rice, 1 C millet puffs, 1 C kamut puffs)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat peanut butter and brown rice syrup in your largest saucepan over low heat until melted and mixed well. Turn off heat and add vanilla and salt, mixing well. Add puffed rice mixture gradually while stirring until evenly covered in pb mixture.

Spray a 9x13 pan with oil and press mixture into pan firmly, compacting a bit to prevent them from falling apart. Allow to cool at room temperature 2-3 hours or until set. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.

**Note this recipe is only mildly sweet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Broccoli Asparagus stir-fry with Kelp Noodles & Wasabi Dressing

I have been obsessed lately with broccoli and asparagus stir-fry's. The combination is fabulous, both vegetables pack a power-punch of nutrients, and they can be combined with an endless number of ingredients for a quick and easy meal.

My Mom arrived for a visit recently with some freshly picked asparagus from my Dad's garden. Being the wasabi-lover that she is, I decided to concoct a wasabi dressing to toss my stir-fried broccoli, Dad's asparagus, and....kelp noodles! And...she LOVED it!

I discovered these Kelp Noodles by Sea Tangle Noodle Company a while ago at Whole Foods, and they have been a hit in my kitchen! They are made out of kelp but do not taste like the sea. They actually don't have much flavor at all...BUT have an amazing crunch that gives a nice texture to your dish! And, with only 6 calories per serving, they are pretty guiltless.

Broccoli Asparagus stir-fry with Kelp Noodles & Wasabi Dressing
(Serves 2-3)

1 T coconut oil or olive oil for cooking
2 heads broccoli, chopped
1 large bunch asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 package Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles, rinsed
black and white toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Place wok over medium-high heat and add oil when hot. Add broccoli and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add asparagus and continue to stir-fry another 3-4 minutes until cooked through and broccoli is starting to brown (may need to add a dash of Bragg's or soy sauce while cooking to add some steam). When cooked through to desired firmness remove from heat, add green onions, noodles and dressing and mix well. Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds and enjoy....with chop-sticks of course!

Wasabi Dressing:
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sesame oil
2 T honey
1 T yuzu vinegar or orange juice
4 tsp wasabi powder & 3 tsp water, mixed well until forms a paste (I use S&B wasabi powder)

Whisk all ingredients together until mixed well. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Here is a great post I found about the kelp noodles with some helpful pictures: