Monday, June 27, 2011

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Adapted From: Stern, B. Heart Smart 2006. p 238. Random House of Canada Limited. Canada.

Serves 6


  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 2 T red thai curry paste
  • 1 large onion, thickly chopped
  • 2 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, cut in half
  • 2 potatoes cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
  • 2 jalapenos finely chopped (seed and chop only one if heat is a concern)
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 2-inch pieces smashed (Use 1T lemongrass puree if you can't find the real thing. The puree is in the produce section of the grocery store)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 T Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 6 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet or Dutch over on medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces for about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet.

Add curry paste and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant. Add onion, carrots, garlic, potatoes, red pepper, green beens, jalapenos, mushrooms and lemongrass. Cook for about 1 minute. if vegetables begin to stick, add 1/4 cup of stock now.

Add stock and fish sauce to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add chicken pieces. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. 

Remove chicken and vegetables from skillet (discarding lemongrass if you used the real thing), cover and keep warm. Return skillet with stock to heat. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until 1-1 1/2 cups of stock remains. Add coconut milk and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until thickened.  Serve over warm rice.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchinis

I love the idea of self-contained food.  Anything I can use my fingers to eat that offers two or more food groups fits that definition. Man, when pizza pops came out, I thought the world had undergone a revolution!  These aren't pizza pops, but they are self-contained and a meal in themselves if so desired.

From: Canadian House & Home, July 2011 Edition

Serves 4

  • 4 medium zucchinis 
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pkg soft goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 t finely chopped mint
  • 1 T chopped parsley
  • 1 t lemon zest

Set oven to 400F and preheat a baking sheet on the bottom rack.

Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and flesh, leaving a 1/4" wall. Place seeds and flesh in a bowl. Toss with a 1/4 t salt and set aside.

Brush the zucchinis inside and out with olive oil, then season the insides with salt and pepper. Carefully place the zucchinis cut side down onto the hot baking sheet (they will immediately sizzle). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until flesh has softened and skin appears slightly wrinkled. Remove zucchinis from oven and flip. Keep oven on.

Working one handful at a time, squeeze the reserved zucchini-flesh mixture over the sink until slightly moist, then roughly chop. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and mash slightly with a fork, keeping some intact. Add zucchini flesh, goat cheese, walnuts, olives, mint, parsley and lemon zest.

Divide filling evenly among zucchini halves, pressing mixture with a spoon and mounding extra filling on top. Place stuffed zucchinis on baking sheet on middle rack of hot oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated throughout and tops are slightly golden. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Orzo Leftover Special

This is a great weeknight meal, when all you have is ten minutes and little patience to do anything crazy in the kitchen. All ingredients can be swapped out for other, like-ingredients, so get creative with this one. Enjoy!

Serves 4
  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • Ham, deli meat and/or bacon (pick a fatty meat if possible as the fat will season the dish)
  • Bunch of asparagus chopped into one inch pieces
  • Chives, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook the orzo according to package instructions, drain and set aside. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the asparagus. This should take no more than a minute and the asparagus will turn a vibrant green when ready. In a large frying pan, heat the hameatcon (whatever meat you've chosen) until the fat releases and can coat the pan. Add the asparagus and chives and stir well, coating it with the juices from the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the orzo into the pan and mix well. Remove from heat and divide into four bowls. Add freshly grated parmesan to each bowl. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Watermelon, Feta & Olive Salad

This salad was my introduction to Nigella Lawson's cooking. My mother, a trendsetter in everything food-related, found it over ten years ago and I won't be letting this one go. I made this salad two days ago, I just haven't had a chance to post the recipe  until now. Finally after days of rain, we are having a lovely sunny day. Maybe divine intervention was in play here, because this salad deserves a nice day.  For the record, although this salad serves 8, it took us two meals to polish it off. You may want to double the recipe.

Serves 8


  • 2-4 limes, depending on juiciness
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3-4 pounds of sweet, ripe watermelon
  • 250g feta cheese
  • Bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Bunch fresh mint, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g pitted black olives
  • Black pepper

Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes' worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.

Remove the rind and seeds from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes. Cut the feta into slightly smaller sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.

Tip the onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don't lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.