Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vegetarian Thai Curry

I love coconut curry, and it's so easy and delicious to make at home. I recently tried a new recipe for the classic Thai dish, and it is definitely a keeper. The curry is has a very gentle heat that warms the mouth but does not leave behind any lingering spice. The flavor is absolutely divine! This vegetarian version is loaded with fresh vegetables simmered in a coconut curry sauce sweetened with a touch of brown sugar. The sauce is so simple, and you can modify the recipe to include any vegetable you enjoy, or you can even add meat! Enjoy this meal with a side of fresh spring rolls and jasmine rice.

Vegetarian Thai Curry
A medley of fresh vegetables simmered in creamy coconut milk.
Serves 4

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup red potato, cubed
1 cup green beans, halved
1 cup cauliflower, florets
1 cup eggplant, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, torn
2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
Whisk the coconut milk, water, sugar, and curry paste in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and coconut milk mixture; simmer 10 minutes. Add the beans and cauliflower, and simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in the eggplant and bell pepper and simmer 5 more minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish each serving with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with warm jasmine rice.

Recipe by Sarah Lang

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peek Inside a Personal Chef Cookdate

I am blessed to apprentice with a local peronal chef who is teaching me all about the personal chef business. Now, I know some people might want to know- What is a personal chef? A personal chef is hired by individuals to go to their home and prepare wonderful meals in their kitchen, which are left in the refrigerator to be consumed when they wish.

Who hires personal chefs? No, not (only) rich people! Most of our clients are working parents with a family to feed and no time to spend menu planning and cooking. They want to eat wholesome, homemade food in their own home. This is a convenient and affordable way to eat delicious food made with love by trustworthy hands at home.

On our weekly cookdate my mentor and I normally prepare three to four entrees plus side dishes each serving four, which takes between 3-5 hours. I normally join my mentor at her clients' homes, but this week for the first time I did one all on my own. I provided a list of menu options and my client selected three entrees. I purchased the groceries and cooked the meal in their home. It was a joy to create this meal and felt so natural to plan my own cookdate. Here is a look at the menu they selected.

Fizzy Chicken with Lemon Vinaigrette
Served with sweet roasted carrots

Chicken breasts are pan seared then gently cooked in fizzy sauce made from club soda, butter, and red pepper flakes, and is served with a creamy lemon and chive vinaigrette on the side.  

Baby carrots roasted in the oven with walnuts, red onion and raisins, then tossed with dill and cilantro.

New Orleans Shrimp Creole
Served with basmati rice and French baguette
A thick stew made from seafood stock, tomatoes, veggies and shrimp, spiced up with hot sauce and cayenne pepper, served with warm baguette for dipping.

Basmati rice cooked with onions, butter, scallions and parsley is perfect atop the Shrimp Creole.

Indian Chicken Tandoori with Yogurt Sauce
Served with a feta, chickpea and veggie couscous salad
A creamy yogurt sauce full of delicious mid-eastern spices coats chicken thighs, served with a cool cucumber sauce with paprika and dill (not pictured).
A couscous salad tossed with lemon and olive oil and bursting with fresh veggies, chickpeas, herbs and feta cheese makes a refreshing and healthy side dish.
Once all these fabulous foods are prepared I package them in handy-dandy plastic containers, label, and place them in the client's fridge.

What will they eat first??
Then I leave re-heating instructions and well wishes for happy eating!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Portobello Mushroom Ravioli with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

This is a quick and easy dinner that is impressive enough for company and simple enough for a weeknight. I combine store-bought mushroom ravioli with a delicious fire-roasted tomato sauce made with onions, garlic and portobello musrooms. A splash of balsamic vinegar and cream add luscious texture and flavor, and make this a truly special meal. Serve with lightly toasted ciabatta bread smeared with garlic. Enjoy!

Portobello Mushroom Ravioli with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce
A flavorful sauce surronds scrumptious ravioli and mushrooms.
Serves 4

1 package mushroom ravioli
2 15 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 8 oz package sliced portobello mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 T heavy cream
1 T balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Kosher salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet heat over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and allow to brown on both sides. Remove mushrooms to bowl and set aside. Add a splash of oil and the sliced onions. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds then add the fire roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and allow sauce to simmer for 10 minutes until slightly reduced. Stir the mushrooms back into the sauce and add the cream and balsamic.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Do not overcook! As soon as the ravioli is ready add it to the sauce, and stir until coated. Add a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve with garlic bread.

Recipe by Sarah Lang