Category Archives: Cooking

Tofu and Squash Panang Curry

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If you like Thai food, you’re going to love this dish! Not only does it taste like something right out of a Thai restaurant’s kitchen, but it’s also a lighter, healthier version! I find that restaurants frequently add way too much salt, butter, and cream, resulting in feeling overly full after a meal and sensing that greasy aftertaste on your lips. This curry includes lots of fresh ingredients and a light sauce, which still embodies full flavors that leave you satisfied after a meal.

I was a little hesitant at first to try this recipe from Cooking Light because when I glanced down the list of ingredients, they seemed like an odd combination when mixed altogether. But I was fortunately wrong. It is exactly all these ingredients that make this dish so delicious!

To be completely honest, this dish takes a bit more preparation because of all the ingredients, but trust me, it’s well worth it. And after the ingredients are prepped, this dish comes together in no time at all. It is also recommended that you drain the tofu, leaving it to rest for 30 minutes to get as much liquid out of it as possible. Thirty minutes would be ideal, but 10-15 minutes is fine too; this step definitely helps enhance the texture of the tofu in the final product though, imparting the tofu with a spongy texture that almost seems like it could have been lightly fried!

I think this dish would also be very adaptable. You could easily add other vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, snap peas, etc, just make sure you adjust the sauce depending on the amount of veggies you use. Feel free to substitute veggies too, using broccoli in place of the bell pepper for example.

Enjoy!

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Tofu and Squash Panang Curry 

Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup curry and 2/3 cup rice per person

Ingredients:

Rice:

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup uncooked brown jasmine or basmati rice

1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 tsp kosher salt (1/8 tsp table salt)

cilantro (optional)

 

Curry:

1 (14 oz) block extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes

3 tsp (1 TBP) olive oil- divided

2 TBP creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 TBP Thai red curry paste (can be found in International section of grocery store)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk (also can be found in international section of store)

3 TBP lower-sodium soy sauce

1 TBP brown sugar

3 cups cubed peeled butternut or kabocha squash (if you buy this pre-cut, it saves a lot of time)

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup sliced shallots or onion

1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind

2 TBP fresh lime juice

fresh basil leaves to garnish

Directions:

For rice: Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes. Add cilantro, fluff rice.

1. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

2. While tofu is draining, combine peanut butter, curry paste, cumin, and coriander. Combine coconut milk, soy sauce and sugar in separate dish. Then chop pepper and shallots, prepare squash and lime rind, and squeeze out lime juice.

3. When tofu is ready, heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 TBP of oil to pan, swirl to coat pan. Add tofu, saute 8 minutes until golden brown, stirring off and on. (You can also return to the preparations in step 2 while the tofu is cooking, just make sure you remember to stir it.) Remove tofu from pan and put a dinner plate over dish to keep warm.

4. Return pan to medium heat and add 1/2 TBP more of olive oil, swirling to coat. Add peanut butter mixture from above, cooking 15 seconds. Then add coconut mixture stirring until smooth. Add squash, pepper and shallots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Gently stir in tofu, rind, and lime juice. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle individual portions with torn basil leaves and serve over rice.

Adapted from Cooking Light 

 

 

 

 

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Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese

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For those of you who know me, you most likely have heard me rave about scrambled eggs with cream cheese and if you’re lucky, I’ve made you try it! Most people have been skeptical of this combination of ingredients, but if they’re adventurous enough to try it, they change their minds and agree cream cheese was essentially made for eggs. Like ketchup and french fries! After you try this out, I predict you might have a hard time returning to plain scrambled eggs and need to have a constant supply of cream cheese in your fridge.

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You might ask, how does cream cheese make eggs so much better? Well, the cream cheese lends a slight tangy flavor to your eggs, making them more flavorful, with a creamier texture. Aside from the proportions (listed below), the key to perfect eggs is also how you cook them. As you will read below, the trick to creamy, cooked through eggs (without being overcooked) is cooking on a very low light and stirring pretty much constantly with a kind of folding motion. Make sure you spread out the cream cheese so it is evenly incorporated throughout and there are no small chunks. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the cream cheese from the egg white. If you notice any light brown spots, the eggs are overcooked. So as soon as the eggs achieve that creamy, homogenous, light yellow appearance without being watery, immediately remove them from the pan to the plate. Even when you turn the burner off, the eggs will keep cooking due to the heat of the pan.

Another ingredient I also love to put in my eggs to switch things up a bit is ricotta cheese. Particularly the kind you find at your local farmer’s market or farm stand. Ricotta also enhances the flavor and creaminess of your eggs, but makes the eggs a bit lighter and fluffier than cream cheese does. I use the same proportion of ricotta as I do cream cheese.

I highly recommend you try this recipe if you like eggs. Of course everyone is different in their preferences, so please experiment with proportions and cooking style to achieve your perfect flavor and texture! And as always, I’d love to hear how your creations turn out and any questions or comments you might have!

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Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese 

*I am listing the ingredients for 1 egg but you can double/triple/quadruple this recipe

Ingredients:

1 extra-large or large egg

3 small pinches of table salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

splash of milk or water (approximately 1/2 – 1 tsp)

1/2 TBP cream cheese (I like using the whipped kind- it’s easier to stir in), (or ricotta cheese)

butter for pan

Directions:

1. Crack egg(s) into a cup. Add salt, pepper, and milk or water. Scramble lightly with a fork.

2. Place a pinch of butter (doesn’t take much) into a small non-stick frying pan and turn on heat to low.

3. Spread out butter with heat-proof spatula so that it is evenly coated on pan.

4. Pour egg(s) into pan; then add cream cheese in little chunks, stirring quickly to spread throughout eggs. Cream cheese will melt fairly quickly. Continue stirring eggs, using a folding motion. When you see that eggs are no longer liquidy and almost cooked through, turn off the heat and immediately transfer to a plate. If you see any brown spots, this means eggs are probably overcooked. Although cooking over a very low light takes a bit longer, it helps prevent the eggs becoming overcooked and also helps even cooking and creaminess. This process should not take long, only a few minutes, depending on your stove. My stove gets hot quickly, so from the time I pour the eggs in to the time I remove them, it’s probably about 2 minutes or less.

5. Eat with your favorite breakfast accompaniment! Mine is a toasted homemade muffin or slice of quick bread that I’ve posted on this blog 🙂

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Halibut and Shrimp with Minted Broth

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Although I am always experimenting with new cooking recipes, I have yet to post any! But now it is time for the first one, a perfect summer dish when you don’t feel like cooking on the grill. This stew-like dish is light and evokes those fresh summer flavors like coolness of mint and tang of dry white wine. These flavors as well as the more rustic ingredients of carrots and leeks compliment the delicateness of the shrimp and halibut without overwhelming them. Then, a small amount of green curry paste rounds all the flavors out and delivers something irresistible.

And although you might be thinking for a dish like that, it must take a lot of time and work, surprisingly, you can whip this up in less than half an hour and then prepare a salad and toast some bread to go with it in the ten minutes that it’s cooking on the stovetop! This dish also goes nicely with rice, pasta, or cous cous, so take your pick! (Rice is in the picture below) Or bread is always good to sop up some of that delicious broth!

Easy, delicious, AND nutritious!

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Halibut and Shrimp with Minted Broth

Serves 4

Total time: 40 minutes, Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 TBP olive oil

1/2 TBP unsalted butter

2 large leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, and thoroughly rinsed

1 TBP minced garlic

2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 tsp kosher salt or 1/8 tsp table salt

4 (4 oz) halibut fillets

12 medium peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on

1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 TBP green curry paste

2 TBP finely chopped fresh mint

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add leeks and saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and carrots; saute 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Sprinkle fillets evenly on both sides with salt. Then arrange them in a single layer on top of carrot mixture in pan. Stir together broth, wine, and curry paste in a small bowl. Add this mixture to pan and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the shrimp, and simmer for 5 more minutes or until desired degree of doneness.*

3. Place 1 fillet in each of 4 shallow soup bowls; divide shrimp, vegetables, and broth evenly among servings. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 1/2 tsp mint.

*The original recipe says to add the shrimp and halibut at the same time and simmer for 10 minutes. You can do this, but I found that although the halibut was perfectly cooked, the shrimp became way overcooked since they only take a few minutes. Another option would be adding them at the same time to start with but then removing the shrimp after about 5 minutes of cooking so they do not overcook.

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine