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    Entries in fresh is best (23)

    Tuesday
    Mar222011

    Cooking Green

    Okay, so we totally dropped the ball on the St. Patrick's Day green beer and soda bread thing. Me, I'm not Irish anymore. I thought I was until last year when I found out that my paternal grandfather wasn't an Irish osteopath, but an American conman who did time in Ohio State Pen then went on to have a less than glamourous career as an amateur boxer before moving to Canada and wooing my grandmother with various and assorted tales, none of which were true.

    And though I did grow up in a household that served boiled potatoes and soda bread on a regular basis, I never managed to develop a taste for them. Besides, neither of them are green.

    The green in this recipe comes mainly from cilantro. It's a bright leafy herb with a flavour that is either loved or hated. Me, I love it. It's crisp, sharp, and just tastes... fresh. Apparently something like 30% of the population thinks it tastes like soap. Those people need to look away. They can check out Taneasha's mac and cheese (contains green onion and served with asparagus), or try my lime (green!) and ginger scones.

    Green leafy things are super healthy; they contain fibre, iron, magnesuim, anti-oxidants, and most importantly for this recipe: things that lower cholesterol. Which is good, because coconut milk contains yummy saturated fats.

    Green Thai Curry

    This recipe makes enough for two, maybe three, or two and a bit for lunch the next day, but the pics are of a double recipe, which I made and froze (so that I'd have food on hand during finals next month)

    What you need:

    (note to self: you need to remember to take pics of all the ingredients!!)

    • 3 Thai chiles (um, or more if you like things really spicy. I like things really spicy)
    • ¼ C red onion
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 inch chunk of ginger
    • 1 stalk lemongrass
    • ½ tsp ground coriander
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 C cilantro (with stems)
    • 3 ½ T fish sauce
    • 1 T sugar
    • 3 T lime juice

    ***

    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 1 tin (~15 oz) coconut milk
    • 1 red bell chile
    • 1 zucchini
    • 1 chinese eggplant (the long, skinny, light purple ones)

    What you gotta do: 

    Remove the tougher outer leaves of the lemon grass, and slice the tender inner ones into rounds. Remove the stems from the little chiles, and coarsly chop the onion. You don't need to bother pre-chopping the garlic, or the cilantro.

    Yes, that's more than three chiles. I said I like it very spicy.

    Combine all of these, with the cilantro (pics! moar pics!) in the food processor.

    Add the corriander, cumin, pepper, sugar, lime juice and fish sauce, and then whiz until it's a nice green paste.

    If you're not familiar with fish sauce, here's a pic (yay pic!):

    Fish sauce is a salty extract made mosty from anchovies. It contains no squid (as noted in the pic). It's a common seasoning in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, and if it's not in the import foods section of your grocery, you can easily find it in Chinatown. And it's fragrant. Whatever you do, don't spill it. You'll spend days trying to figure out what that strange smell is, and then once you figure it out, you'll spend more days cleaning the freaking kitchen top to bottom because you missed wiping up a single freaking drop of fish sauce somewhere in there...

    Um. Or maybe it's just me.

    Dice the chicken, red chile, zucchini, and eggplant.

    Heat a pan over medium with a small amount of oil. Add the paste and and fry it for a few minutes until it's fragrant.

    Stir in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.

    Add the chicken and veggies, and simmmer for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the veggies are tender.

    Now, since I was treating this as a make ahead meal, I filled medium sized freezer bags with enough for a dinner and lunch the next day in each one.

    Then, I laid them flat in the freezer until they were solid, then stood them up like books on a shelf to save space. A double recipe gave me 4 dinners and 4 lunches in 4 bags.

    A quick pot of rice, and a freezer bag of curry makes a delicious quick dinner.

    Serve it with a bit of prik-nam-pla (a Thai condiment made from 2 parts water, 2 parts fish sauce, 1 part lime juice, 1 part sugar, a bit of garlic, and a bit of hot chile sauce), and if you've got fresh basil handy, it makes a great final topping.

    Oh, and lemongrass from the grocery will root if you put it in water. Look for stalks with as much of the root intact as possible, put it in a jar of water with a drop of plant food, and in a few weeks, you'll be able to put it into the dirt and have fresh green lemon grass any time you want.

    Yay for green food!

    What's your favourite green food or grow at home food?

    

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