Fall calls for making a transition in cooking. Going from lighter foods to more hearty and healthy meals. The barbeque gets exchanged for the oven, slow-cooker and stove top. After a long break I recently got the urge to make curries again.
There is supposedly an art to making curry, however it’s really pretty easy to make a wonderful curry from scratch. Once you follow a basic recipe you can tweak it to your own liking. A little bit more of this and a little less of that. A few years ago I made Red, Green and Yellow curry pastes – the base for all Thai curries. Then I ended up freezing them in 3 Tablespoon increments and thawing to use when the urge struck. I find 3 Tablespoons is enough for a medium spice.
Of the three, yellow is my favorite. Yellow curry paste differs from the others not only in color but also ingredients. It has ginger instead of the stronger galangal. It also has cinnamon, more coriander, turmeric and curry powder. When the dish is served, it is not garnished with kaffir lime leaves but with crispy fried shallots (optional). You can also use parsley or cilantro.
This paste is enough for about 4 dishes (depending on how much heat you can handle – more is more) of beef, chicken, fish or veggies. This recipe comes courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bangkok – tweaked by me of course.
7 dried hot red chilies (long ones of the cayenne variety). You can find them everywhere now.
1 cup chopped shallots
1 Tablespoon *fresh lemongrass that has been thinly sliced, crosswise.
10 small or 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Turmeric
Original recipe calls for ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (or 3 anchovies from a can, chopped). I omitted this because I couldn’t stand the smell. It was still excellent nonetheless.
Soak the chilies in 5 Tablespoons of hot water for 1 to 2 hours (or; if pressed for time, put in the microwave for 2 minutes and then let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes).
Combine chilies together with their soaking liquid, into a food processor or a blender along with all remaining ingredients in the order listed above. Blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as many times as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.
What you do not use immediately should be refrigerated or frozen and labeled.
For the Main Course:
14-once can coconut milk, left undisturbed for at least 3 hours.
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
3-5 Tablespoons (remember – 3 is medium heat) of curry paste
1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon thick Tamarind paste
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Carefully open the can of coconut milk, without disturbing it too much and remove 4 Tablespoons of the thick cream that will have accumulated at the top. Stir the remaining contents of the can well and set aside.
Pour the oil into a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the coconut cream and the curry paste. Stir and fry until the oil separates and the paste is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low. Add the fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, the reserved coconut milk, and 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more fish sauce, sugar, or tamarind paste if needed.
Add your already cooked chicken, beef or **vegetables to the pan and gently heat through for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with the crispy fried shallots and torn up basil leaves. You can add chopped cashews too.
*To make it easier a lot of Asians now suggest using frozen lemongrass (Yes; it’s perfectly fine). You buy it in a chunk and break off only what you need.
**For this recipe I used extra-firm tofu which I first sautéed on its own. I crisped up shallots in another frypan. The veggies were first oven roasted and then added to the pan at the end along with the tofu. Served over jasmine rice, it was superb.
***I buy cumin and coriander seeds and coarsely chop them in a coffee grinder.
If you make it let me know what you think. I know it’s a lot of chopping, etc. but totally worth the while. I’m telling you It will taste better than any store bought version on the market.
Angie Quaale is a champion for ALL things local. She is a best-selling cookbook author (“Eating Local in the Fraser Valley,” Random House 2018), a chef and an entrepreneur. Angie lives in Langley, BC and has owned Well Seasoned Gourmet Foods Inc. since 2004. Well Seasoned (in Langley, BC) is a specialty food store, cooking school and catering company with a strong focus on supporting and promoting local producers and suppliers. Her recipes are tasty, straight forward and aim to share the importance of eating local. Here’s a good one:
Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 small cooking onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Mexican chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado, cubed
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ a lime
Tortilla chips or taco shells
Preheat your BBQ to medium high, about 400F.
Create a double layer, approx. 8-inch x 8-inch tin foil pouch.
In a large bowl, combine the cubed sweet potatoes, beans & onions. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Toss to combine. Transfer the potato mixture onto the foil in an even layer. Fold the top of your tin foil pouch over the mixture and seal the edges tightly. Place on grill and cook for 18 -22 minutes until your potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the heat and carefully open the foil pouch, garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, crumbled feta and serve with taco chips or warm tortillas.
Angie Quaale Tip:
This can be served as a side dish, a salad or as a filling for some killer tacos. Leave the cheese out to make the dish vegan and make extra. Transform the leftovers into a breakfast hash by adding a fried egg, guaranteed to cure even the most vicious hangover!
Thought I’d tell you about two local Foodie events taking place this month in the Fraser Valley
From Field to Table:
Celebrate our local, fresh and juicy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the best way possible: straight from the field!
It’s no surprise that BC berries right from the farm just taste so much better, therefore Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has partnered up with traditional berry producer in the Fraser Valley, Driediger Farms, for a legendary and “berry” delicious Farm to Plate Dinner. This four-course, family style dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky and Angie Quaale in the farm fields. Besides the food, guests will enjoy local drinks and live music. It’s going to be an evening to remember!
Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6 PM (dinner served at 6:45 PM).
Enjoy a welcome drink, local cheese & charcuterie and one glass of beer or wine along with a delicious four-course menu prepared by Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. Cost: $150 per person + GST. More BC Wine, craft beer and cider will be offered at a cash bar for guests 19+.
From its humble beginnings on the Langley Bypass in 2004, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has not only established itself as the go-to for foodies in the Fraser Valley, but it has also gained recognition across the country for its vision, trendy food creations, and championing the support of eating local.
From the start, owner Angie Quaale’s goal was to make Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store a launch pad for small scale food producers and locally grown items. Over the last 15 years, Well Seasoned has supported hundreds of brands and even created many of its own. Now it’s time to celebrate all they have accomplished.
Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store is celebrating its 15th birthday! Join the party during the Hot August Nights Open House tasting event on Tuesday, August 13 from 6-8 PM , at the Well Seasoned store (#117-20353 64 Ave, Langley BC).
This free, giant open house is where you will sample and shop tons of delicious local products, meet with the makers, and wish Well Seasoned a happy 15th birthday. The more the merrier!
This flatbread tastes similar to a thin crust pizza (my personal favorite), but with less calories, and it’s perfect for when friends drop by unexpectedly (or not) and you want to serve up something relatively easy to make in a hurry and extremely tasty.
Try to have some staples on hand always. It will make your life much easier.
I start with a low-carb tomato-basil or Italian herb wrap or actual flatbread (available at pretty much any worthwhile grocery store).
Set the oven to 350F and put the flatbread on a tray for about five minutes on its own to crisp it up.
Then take it out and add the following (above photo shows what I had on hand at the time which thankfully ended up to be more than enough and extremely flavorful to boot).
tomato sauce and/or paste (I like the tube – it’s less messy)
Thinly sliced sweet onion
Grated cheese (mozzarella or parmesan)
A bit of Burrata…even better!
Drizzle with olive oil & a bit of balsamic and spices to taste.
Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Take it out. Cut into squares. Serve.
Tip: Of course you can vary the toppings to suit your taste! Spinach + Feta? If you’re a meat lover add pepperoni, etc. You can have fun with this. There are so many variations.
I’ve had this recipe on hold since I’ve been making my own bone broth from scratch. I add the rich broth to many recipes and also use it to mix over meat for the dogs. I think this one taken from GooP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lifestyle website) is worth sharing because it claims to be The Best Bone Broth on the Planet. Now who’s going to argue with that?
How to Make the Best Bone Broth on the Planet
Marco Canora started serving bone broth from the takeaway window at his NYC restaurant Hearth in 2014. In fact, it was so wildly popular that he built Brodo, a whole restaurant devoted to the stuff, in 2016. But that’s not where it all started for him. “I had a relationship with broth long before it was called ‘bone broth’—and long before I knew anything about its health benefits,” says the chef and entrepreneur, who also runs Zadie’s Oyster Room in the East Village. “Our signature broth at Brodo is pretty much the same broth I learned to make as a child, watching my mom in the kitchen.”
Opening Brodo, however, had a great deal to do with Canora’s own personal health journey. “After twenty years of carb-loading, smoking, drinking, and working eighty hours a week in high-stress NYC kitchen environments, I was in a deep hole of inflammation and anxiety,” he says. The results: gout, high cholesterol, weight gain, insulin resistance, and lack of energy, along with a mental and emotional toll. “I had become short-fused and lost my ability to motivate and manage a staff,” says Canora.
Bone broth was key to his path back to health. “Its nutritional benefits and healing abilities for the gut and immunity played a large role,” he says. “While there are no magic bullets, as I learned about its properties, I made an effort to drink it more often. And the better it made me feel, the more strongly I felt about sharing the amazing goodness that is bone broth with my customers.”
How to Make Bone Broth by Marco Canora
Get some bones: Visit a local butcher or farmers’ market or order them online, and always save the leftover bones and whole carcasses from anything you cook.
Fill a large pot (I recommend eighteen quarts, minimum) four fifths of the way with bones and cover with cold water. The water should cover the bones by two to three inches.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, periodically skimming off impurities and fat.
Add organic chopped vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes (canned, fresh, or paste), along with aromatics, like parsley and peppercorns.
Continue to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours, checking periodically to make sure that the bones are fully submerged.
Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer.
Season with salt to taste and let cool.
Transfer cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
Skim off any solidified fat from the top and store the broth for up to five days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.
Not skimming your broth frequently enough. Skimming removes impurities and fat for a clear, clean broth.
Skimping on cook time (we simmer our bones for eighteen to twenty-four hours).
Using beef-marrow bones for making broth. For some reason, lots of people believe this is the right bone to use, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The marrow bone, aka femur bone, is a smooth bone with very little meat. The meat is where the umami-rich flavor comes from, so you WANT meaty bones for your broth! The marrow bone also lacks connective tissue, which is where all the collagen goodness comes from. And though marrow is nutrient-dense, it is also pure fat, so it liquefies during cooking and either emulsifies into the broth (giving it an unappealing cloudy/milky look) or, worse, floats to the top, where it’s skimmed off with other impurities. (If you want to consume marrow, I recommend you add it to the finished broth with a battery-operated frother.)
Now you’ve got bone broth. Other than drinking it, what can you do with it?
Cook with it. Good broth is a forgotten staple, something that should appear on your shopping list next to salt, butter, olive oil, milk, and eggs. A good broth makes just about anything taste more delicious, and it adds nutrition to boot. As I write this, I’m braising beef shanks to serve with risotto:
Both dishes are even more delicious with bone broth.
Don’t remember the last time I bought a salad dressing. It’s all too easy to make your own from scratch and so much tastier. This creamy, versatile and delightful dressing is packed with vitamins and goes with almost any salad. It’s a healthy alternative to dairy or mayonnaise-based dressings.
What you need:
1 whole large ripe avocado.
1 clove garlic, peeled.
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice.
3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
¼ cup low-fat greek yogurt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
water, as needed
Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about 1/3 cup water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.
A friend requested I post a vegetarian/vegan soup recipe. I’ve never followed one so this is a kind of non-recipe recipe. All you need are a variety of vegetables and patience for chopping. Because literally you just chop & toss everything into a pot. This soup is chock full of nutrients & tons of flavor. Because vegetable soup can lean towards being more bland than other kinds, you can play with your spices. Add 21 vegetable spice mix, pepper, sea salt and Herbs de Provence. Of course ***bay leaves are a necessary addition while cooking.
4 cups of vegetables, roughly chopped. Use a mix of spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, yam, sweet potato, parsley, etc.
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil or *ghee (Note: if using ghee, the recipe is no longer vegetarian/vegan)
**4-6 cups vegetable broth (I made mine from scratch but you can use better than bouillon.
Or; water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
When serving add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil & sprig of parsley to garnish
1. Heat coconut oil or *ghee in large pot or a Dutch oven.
2. Add onions and garlic, stirring until fragrant, then add vegetables and stir for a minute or two longer.
3. Add broth or enough water to cover the vegetables. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender and puree in a high speed blender (or with a hand blender) until smooth.
4. Season as desired and serve with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and some sea salt (Maldon is a good choice).
*Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s made from heating butter and allowing the liquid and milk portion to separate from the fat. The milk caramelizes and becomes a solid, and the remaining oil is ghee. Ghee has a long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest cooking fats available. You can buy it at many grocery health-food stores like Whole Foods.
This ingredient has been used in Indian and Pakistani cultures for thousands of years. When used in place of butter, ghee has several benefits. Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes. So it is known.
**Homemade Veggie Stock: I’ve been freezing ends and skins of vegetables like carrots, onions and herbs like parsley, cilantro, etc. to use for making stock. I wash everything before freezing then place them in a pot & heat with covered water. It offers more flavor rather than using plain water. Of course you must discard the vegetables and use only the stock when making veggie soup.
***Nutrient Packed Bay leaves offer us a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron. Bay leaves apparently help to soothe body aches. You can add 4-5 bay leaves in 1 litre of water and add to bathwater to relieve sore muscles and rejuvenate the body. Supposed to ease joint pain from arthritis. Try it!
Hope you enjoy it. Let me know how it turned out. xo
A slow cooker is such a great kitchen appliance to have around. Especially if you want to let something simmer for a long time without worrying about it. I found this recipe on a website called dinnerthendessert. Original recipe calls for chicken breasts but it’s equally good using chicken thighs. It’s also perfect as a pasta topping! In fact that’s exactly what I did the next day – with tossed linguine.
This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.
5 *chicken breastsboneless and skinless
1/2teaspoon **kosher salt
1/4teaspooncoarse ground black pepper
1teaspoon Italian seasoning
2lemonsjuiced and zested
1cuphalf and half
1tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”
In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.
Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (lemons in the picture is just for reference. Don’t cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.
*Did you know?
Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963. Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones.
**Why do recipes recommend kosher salt?
Kosher salt is often recommended by TV chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot! The flaky structure also makes it easy to spread atop your food.
By the way, kosher salt is so called because of its role in the process for preparing foods such as meats according to the Jewish tradition. Because it has so much surface area and doesn’t dissolve as quickly as table salt. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.
AHA – a healthy alternative to bought salad dressing
Easy to make and soooo delicious! I think you’re going to LOVE this one. Plus it looks pretty, especially in a pineapple bowl.
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
⅓ cup rice vinegar.
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about ⅔ cup)
2 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger.
2 tablespoons lime juice.
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey.
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil.
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste.
In a blender (I use Vitamix), combine all of the salad dressing ingredients as listed. Bend until completely smooth. Taste, and add additional salt if the dressing doesn’t make your eyes light up. It should have some zing to it but you can always blend in a bit more honey if need be.
Serve over greens and add toasted sesame seeds (optional) to top it off and some shaved carrot. TIP: you can have it as a main course if you toss in some cooked salmon or chicken.