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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Things happen

There is this Thai restaurant in Williamsburg called SEA (it’s actually part of a smallish chain made up of those extremely overcrowded I-feel-like-I-might-be-in-outer-space Thai restaurants) and it is dirt cheap for lunch.  They have a special menu and you can get an appetizer and an entree for like $7.  And one of the options on that menu is my favorite thing EVER, Rama the King.

I think this is kind of a standard Thai thing, although they don’t have it everywhere.  I Googled it and found a few chicken dishes.  In other words, it’s no pad Thai. Because it’s better.  It’s like a mix of peanut sauce and red coconut curry sauce, with vegetables.  I also like to treat myself to some shrimp, because you know.  I work so hard.

Anyway, the other day I purchased this product at Williams-Sonoma:

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I used it in this soup, but I had a ton left over so I decided to try my hand at a little Rama action.  The mix:

3/4 can light coconut milk

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 T of this red curry base

1 tsp red curry paste

That’s it!  Seriously.  I think the red curry base is kind of a very important, extremely necessary ingredient though, so I hope you can find it. Otherwise, I believe A Taste of Thai has something that is similar.   If you want to make it on your own, ask someone who isn’t me.

I used it to marinate some tempeh and then put the rest over the baked tempeh and some sauteed vegetables:

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I was going to make rice, too, but I got locked out of my apartment building and had to wait outside for  forty-five minutes and then Jack tried to jump over the gate that separates my building from the sidewalk and I had to tackle him and then he had a total meltdown because he saw some guy and thought he was Chris.  Which he wasn’t.  He just had a short haircut and a grey coat on.  Similar to Chris’s tan coat, apparently.

So, I used Trader Joe’s frozen naan instead.  I know.  Thai and Indian.  I bring cultures together.

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Mexican polenta casserole

I think that I have never made a casserole before because I had to Google the spelling.  Actually, I’m not even sure this is a casserole.  But we’re going to call it that so it looks like I am trying something new and different instead of just making Mexican again. Which I do a lot.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Anyway:

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This is pre-oven, obviously, because the cheese isn’t melted.  The recipe:

1 cup dry polenta, cooked according to the directions

3/4 can refried beans

I cup black beans

1/2 cup corn

1/2 of a red onion

1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)

2 scallions

2 cloves of garlic

Salsa

cilantro

chili powder, cayenne, cumin

1/2 cup or so of cheddar, shredded

Spray a dish like the one above with cooking spray and spread the cooked polenta along the bottom.  Stick it in the fridge to harden.  In the meantime, cook the onion until soft, add the garlic, then the refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and spices to taste.  Once this mixture is hot, spread half of it along the top of the polenta, then add a sprinkle of cheese and a little sauce.  Add the remaining black bean mixture, sprinkle with scallions, then top with salsa to cover and the rest of the cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 400.  You may want to cover it for the first 15 minutes or so so the cheese doesn’t burn.

My layering skills in action:

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Not so hot.

My serving:

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I think it probably serves four.  We only had one serving left, though.  Hmm…

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More soup

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We have a soup problem, I think.  Back on solid food next time, I promise.

Over the weekend I dragged Chris through Williams-Sonoma because I had a gift certificate and I basically spent it on all food.  The most exciting thing was Sarabeth’s strawberry raspberry preserves, which I have of course been eating on bread like a civilized person.

No.  I eat it out of the jar with a spoon.  It’s a problem.

The other exciting thing was a red curry base.  I have tried many, many times to make curry, and I always fail.  I am not good at it.  But this stuff looked pretty idiot proof, and I’ve really been wanting to try to make a coconut curry soup after I saw this recipe.

Here’s my version:

  • 2 cans of lite coconut milk (I used this brand, which was actually the best lite one I’ve ever had)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 – 4 T red curry base
  • 1 cup milk (I actually used almond milk)
  • 1/2 T red curry paste
  • 1 scallion
  • A ton of cilantro
  • 10 – 12 medium shrimp, chopped
  • 3 cups of frozen corn (or more, just add as much as you want.  I didn’t really measure)
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the leeks into thin ribbons and cook them in a little olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute, then add the coconut milk, regular milk and corn.  If your shrimp is cooked and frozen, you can add it now, too (if it’s fresh, I’d wait until it’s almost done so it doesn’t over cook).  Stir in the red curry base (not to be confused with the red curry paste – I know) and bring the soup up to a simmer.  Ladle a couple tablespoons of the broth out into a bowl and mix with the red curry paste until it’s incorporated, like so:

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Then, add it back into the soup.  Add salt, pepper, scallions and cilantro and serve. This makes about 4 – 6 servings. Here’s mine:

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We had it with bread:

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There is a new little shop by my apartment that sells really nice vegetables and bread and cheese and fish.  I will find any excuse I can to go there because I’m obsessed with it and I’d like to work there and then possibly buy it someday and eat bread and cheese behind the register.

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Lentil soup

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I’ve been buying $2 cans of lentil soup at Trader Joe’s to eat for lunch every day.  Yes, I eat the same thing every day.  Well, almost every day.  Sometimes I add a side, usually a piece of bread and some butter, but for the most part, it’s lentil soup for me.  That way I don’t have to think.  I prefer to give my brain a rest from 12 to 12:30.

Two bucks isn’t a lot for a whole lunch, but I realize that if I made my own soup, I’d have a lot more, it would be really cheap, and it might even taste better, depending on my skills.  I’ve never made lentil soup before.

I went ahead and made my first mistake in the little grocery shop by my apartment.  It’s those damn little bulk bins.  Everything happens so fast and all of a sudden I have five pounds of lentils on my hands.  At least it’s not five pounds of figs.  That happened to me once.  Although, it wasn’t an accident.

Oh!  I tried a date over the weekend!  Did I mention that?  It was good. Kind of caramely.  They look like roaches though. I’m not sure I could get used to that.

Anyway.  As I was saying, I decided to make lentil soup tonight, and I googled around for a recipe until I found this one from the Times.  It looked easy, and their recipes are always on point, plus the person who wrote the article about it said it was the best lentil soup she’d ever had.  So that was a good sign.  I basically followed it exactly, except I added an extra half a cup of lentils, since I have so many, and only used a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  I also used some canned diced tomatoes instead of the tomato paste and added celery.  And I just realized, right now, that I forgot the cilantro.

So I didn’t follow it exactly.  I tried my best.  It still turned out excellent, as far as I’m concerned.  Chris, on the other hand, took a taste and said “I don’t think I like that kind of soup.”  Which is fine, because that means there is more for me.

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A pictorial Thanksgiving

Pictorial is a weird word, right?  I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I decided to throw it in to switch things up a bit.  What I’m trying to say is, I have a lot of pictures.  So let’s get to it.

I managed to put together my vegan apple pie using a combination of these recipes.  I basically used Kim O’Donnel’s crust and filling and then the crumb topping from the Scranton Times, subbing Earth Balance for butter.  I even bought vegan sugar and soy vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s.  Hardcore, my friends.

The pie turned out awesome.  Really.  The vegans, however, didn’t eat it.

I don’t want to talk about it.

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apple pie filling

 

Crumb topping

crumb topping

in the oven

in the oven

half eaten

half eaten

I was so careful to document every step of the way, and then wouldn’t you know, I totally forget to take a picture of the finished pie.  Probably because I was stuffing my face.  Or drinking mimosas:

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I am thankful that mimosas allow you to drink before noon

We also had turkey and stuffing and all of the other amazing things that go with Thanksgiving dinner:

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Have I mentioned how much I love stuffing?  Because I do.  I wait for it all year.  I don’t even care if it’s been inside a turkey and that’s kind of gross, I still love it and I would eat it every day if I could.  My mom makes unbelievable stuffing, but this one was really good, too. In fact, it seems that our friends Rachel and Justin are very good cooks, something I was not aware of.  Chris and I might start showing up on their doorstep for scraps.

Anyway, there was also homemade salsa:

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And vegan chocolate chip cookies:

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Along with lots of other things that I didn’t get pictures of.  Actually, that’s kind of a lie.  I didn’t get pictures of anything.  All of these were taken by my friend Chelsea, who should maybe start her own food blog because she is clearly way better at it than me.

And finally, proof that even dogs get turkey comas:

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Or maybe he was just tired from all the dancing.

 

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As promised…

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Forgot to take a picture of the whole deal, sorry.  So I’m going to post the recipe that I did, because it is pretty drastically different from the one in Veganomicon.  For starters, mine isn’t vegan.  Oops.

Anyway, here we go:

  • Four handfuls of whole wheat penne (Sorry, that’s how I measure. I figure a handful is about a serving).
  • 1 15 ounce can of pureed butternut squash (See, I didn’t even use pumpkin!)
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (You could use whole or even fat free probably)
  • 4 – 5 sage leaves, chopped (Do you want me to stop writing things in parentheses now?)
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 -3 T soy milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Couple shakes of paprika and cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta.  In the meantime, heat the can of butternut squash and add the ricotta, brown sugar, soy milk, 3/4 of the sage, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and some salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.  In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, the remaining sage, and the chopped walnuts.  When the pasta is done (take it out a little early), mix it with the butternut squash, then spread in a pan and top with the breadcrumb mixture.  Add the rest of the parmesan cheese on top.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350.

And there we go.  This was kind of like macaroni and cheese, but without the cheese.  Or at least without so much cheese.  Parmesan isn’t really cheesy, in my opinion.

I have to scan a bunch of things for work now, which takes about four times as long as it should because Jack is absolutely enthralled by the noise the scanner makes and so he gets in the way and paws at it and tries to bite it.  It’s fun.

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Well, I was going to do a post

…about the zucchini lasagna I made tonight.  But then I realized that I already posted the recipe last year, except with eggplant.  So, I have nothing.  Except for a picture of my piece of lasagna:

lasagna

I think I used more noodles (nine or so) and more ricotta than I did when I made the recipe with the eggplant.  So it was thicker and cheesier and, therefore, better.  But same deal, really.

On the bright side, tomorrow I am going to make a variation of the pumpkin baked ziti recipe in Veganomicon, so there’s something for us all to look forward to. 

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