Monday, August 27, 2012

stuffed peppers with Thai curry rice

adapted from Food & Wine
I generally avoid cooking with white rice, but it lends itself very well to this dish.  The combination of flavors is excellent. Even our 4 year old loved the rice stuffing and asked for more (and that doesn't happen very often)!

4 servings
4 large bell peppers
2 Tbsp butter or oil
2 medium shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (plus 1/4 or so reserved coconut cream for serving)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (for extra spice include seeds)
1/2-3/4 lb mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped basil (Thai basil if available), plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slice the tops off the peppers and cut the tops into 1/4-inch dice; discard cores and stems. Boil the hollowed out peppers until just tender, 4 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer peppers to paper towels and drain, cut side down. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
2. In a saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter or oil. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, curry paste, and the reserved 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp butter or oil. Add diced pepper tops and jalapeno and cook over medium heat, stirring, until tender, 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, 2-3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, 2 minutes longer. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. 
4. Add the vegetable mixture to the rice and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Season with salt. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and set them in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, until the rice filling is heated through. Garnish with basil leaves and dollops of coconut cream.

I took this picture before baking to avoid making a mess. Baking softens the pepper and allows all the flavors to combine more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

gingered stir-fry with shrimp and snow peas

pretty yummy meal made from pretty basic ingredients

serves 4
1/2 cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese chile-garlic sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp oil (I used coconut. Sesame would be good too or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
1/2 pound snow peas
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 small scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
steamed rice or quinoa, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk the chicken stock with the soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce and cornstarch.
2. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the ginger matchsticks and stir-fry over med-high heat until they are softened, about 1 minute. Add the snow peas and stir-fry until crisp-tender and the ginger is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Whisk the chile sauce, add it to the skillet and stir-fry until the shrimp are opaque and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute longer. Serve with rice or quinoa.