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Archive for the ‘Ethnic’ Category

One of our favorite vegetarian meals is red coconut curry with tofu. When I saw this recipe on A Year in the Kitchen I thought it would be a fun version to try.

This recipe was originally titled “Spicy Thai Coconut Tofu Soup” but ours ended up being more noodle bowl than soup. It wasn’t very brothy (which was tasty anyway).

I made a few modifications to the original recipe so I’m going to post my version of the recipe. This definitely fits the quick and easy category and it’s very filling and tasty.

Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl with Tofu
(Recipe adapted from A Year in the Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 a cup)
3-4 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock to make this meal vegetarian)
1 15 oz can light coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced white or baby bello mushrooms
1 cup sliced snap peas
1/2 package thin rice noodles
1 tbsp hot red curry paste
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (optional, can sub soy sauce)
2 tsp honey
1 block extra firm tofu, diced
Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir frequently and watch it closely. Don’t let your garlic and red pepper burn.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk and carrots and mushrooms and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Add all the remaining ingredients and cook for another 10 minutes.
I served this in bowls with soy sauce and red chili sauce (like Sriracha) on the table so we could season to taste.

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Sushi

sushi2

Sushi is one of the things that Brandon and I go out to dinner for the most. It was never something I was really interested in making at home (mostly because I was intimidated by it) but Brandon kept bringing up wanting to get a sushi kit. Lucky for us, we received a sushi set for Christmas from my sister-in-law’s boyfriend, Stephen. The set is from Crate and Barrel and came with everything you need to get started with making your own sushi – including really cute serving dishes.

We decided to stay in tonight and make sushi. We planned out our menu and made:

- Tuna nigiri
- Smoked salmon nigiri
- Tuna avocado roll
- Bagel roll
- Tuna roll with spicy mayo

All in all, I was really impressed by how well everything turned out. While it wasn’t exactly on par with our favorite sushi restaurant, it was really tasty and a great alternative to going out.

For this post I’m just going to post photos. I just don’t feel like I have a clear enough grasp yet on rolling the perfect sushi roll to walk you guys through it step-by-step but hopefully I’ll get there one day.

sushi3

I encourage you to try sushi at home if it’s something you’ve thought about doing. It was a fun activity for us to do together – very hands on. My biggest tip would be to make sure that you have really good quality fish (you don’t need as much as you think!) and buy sushi rice and follow the directions very closely. There are tons of online guides for rolling your own sushi and the instructions are probably far better than anything you’d get from me at this point. We used a Sushi book and the Cooking Light cookbook as guides tonight.

And I had to include this last picture of Brandon enjoying his feast!

bsushi

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Greek Night with Keftedes

greeknight

We love Greek food and were really craving it tonight. There is an amazing Greek restaurant a couple blocks from our house that we love. Unfortunately, after the holidays we’re on a bit of a budget so we decided to have our own Greek feast at home.

One of my favorite blogs for Greek food is Elly Says Opa! There was a post of her top 30 of 2008 in my Google Reader today and I starred this Greek meatball recipe. It was perfect for tonight.

I served the meatballs with Greek salad, wild rice and hummus with pita bread. It was a great dinner and we have plenty of leftovers. I’ll be making this again for sure!

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

1 slice of bread
milk
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 an onion, finely diced or grated
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 heaping tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for pan frying

Directions:

Place slice of bread in a bowl and pour milk over. Allow bread to soak up milk as you are prepping other ingredients. Squeeze the bread to get rid of some of the milk, and then discard the remaining milk, keeping just the soggy bread.

Add the beef, egg, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to the bread. Mix everything together, careful not to over mix.  Then, shape into meatballs–any size you want. Mine were around 1-1 1/2 inch around.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Dredge the meatballs in flour, shaking off the excess. When the oil is hot, add meatballs and pan fry until cooked through (working in batches, if necessary). Mine took around 4 minutes per side, flipping halfway through.

I placed them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain before serving.

Greek Salad Dressing
(Recipe source my parents)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake and chill. This recipe can be cut in half or quartered for smaller serving.

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butternutcurry

I love anything with red curry paste. I also love trying new meatless main dishes. If it weren’t for my meat-loving husband, it’s possible I would be a vegetarian. I try to plan a meat-free dinner at least once a week and I don’t usually eat meat with breakfast or lunch.

I came across this recipe in Gourmet a couple months ago. I have really been getting a lot of inspiration from Gourmet lately. I’ve found that they have a lot of recipes that are possible on a week night and don’t call for too many special/expensive ingredients.

I was really intrigued by this combination – spicy curry and sweet winter squash. I was really excited to try it. While this isn’t something that I would add to the regular rotation, I will definitely be making this one again.

Butternut Squash Curry
(Adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir), divided (I used light coconut milk and it turned out fine)
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/3 cup water
5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups packed)
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup salted roasted cashews, chopped
Cooked jasmine or brown rice
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté squash with cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk from top of can and cook, stirring, until fat starts to separate and look glossy, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add squash, water, remaining coconut milk and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook, covered, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with cashews.

Serve over jasmine or brown rice and garnish with lime slices.

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Greek Pasta

We love anything with Greek flavors and have tried several variations of Greek pasta. Usually we find that something seems to be lacking but I think we’ve finally found one to stick with. This was delicious and came together really quickly. The flavor was great and you can definitely play around with the ingredients and try different substitutions. For example, I forgot to buy kalamata olives at the store and we had green in the fridge. Rather than omit olives, I decided to throw the green in and it worked great.

Greek Pasta
(Loosely adapted from Mediterranean Pasta in Minutes, Tyler Florence)

Ingredients:
1/2 box of penne pasta (or your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 8 1/2 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water
1/3 kalamata or green olives, pitted and halved
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (divided into 1/4 and 1/4)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Follow cooking instructions on box for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (depending on your oven). Add olive oil and heat until shimmery. Add chicken strips and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and saute for about 3 more minutes, until onion begins to look translucsent. Add in artichoke hearts, olives, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat and cook on low until heated through. Stir in 1/4 of feta cheese and remove from heat.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top plated dishes with remaining feta cheese.

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