Monday, September 19, 2011

Corn and Cashew Nut Curry

It's hard to believe that the summer is already coming to an end. This year, like every other, I try and savor all the beach days, the cold beers on sticky evenings, the smell of sunscreen and just plain being out in the sun.

Thought it's still in the upper 80s here in Okinawa, I know that October will soon be upon us and, after that, the zooming by of holidays in one fell swoop.

So, in an attempt to hold on, just a little bit, to summer, but still welcome the fall, I'm sharing this recipe (from my India's Best cookbook) for Corn and Cashew Nut Curry. I recommend serving this over a bed of jasmine or basmati rice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (*I can't get them out here so I go without.)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • scant 1 C cashew nuts (*or an abudant cup-and-a-half if you're like me)
  • 1 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 14 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, finely chopped
  • 7 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 C boiling water
  • generous 1 C drained canned whole kernel corn
  • 4 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce (*I omit. ::shivers::)
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • a small bunch of fresh basil, chopped
Directions:
  1. Remove the central rib from the kaffir lime leaves. Roll the leaves into tight cylinders and, using a sharp knife, slice through the cylinders to give thin strips.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan or wok. Add the shallots and stir-fry over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add the cashew nuts and stir-fry for a few minutes until golden.
  3. Stir in the red curry paste. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the potatoes, lemon grass, tomatoes and boiling water.
  4. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Stir the corn, celery, lime leaves, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce into the pan or work. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, until heated through, then spoon into warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle with the sliced spring onions and chopped basil, and serve.
Et voila!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Speaking of THAI Chicken Pizza ...

I guess this would be an opportune time to shout from the rooftoops mention that I'll be hanging the apron up and heading to ... Thailand! I can't wait for the adventure that lies ahead. We'll get our big-city fix in "The City of Angels" (Bangkok) and then head down south for a little piece of sandy paradise, and if, I play my cards right, maybe even a little elephant playtime. :)


<3 <3


Thai Chicken Pizza

As you can imagine, I miss certain things that I don't have access to here in Okinawa. Obviously my friends and family are what I miss the most, but next in line (in no particular order, but probably something close to reality) are: Ross, Starbucks Gingerbread Lattes (they do offer Pumpkin Spice out here, though!), AC Moore/Michael's, driving through the Virginia mountains in early fall, wineries, and just being able to share those things with my closest family/friends.

I was reminiscing the other day about my trip back in March/April to Hawaii with my dear friend Kara. We were so blissfully happy the day we found a Ross, even if it was in a rough-and-tumble, we're-gonna-see-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter-for-sure area. Almost as exciting was the night we had California Pizza Kitchen after a hot, but fun at the Honolulu Zoo. It reminded me so much of my cherished Mom/Daughter Dates I used to share with my mom. We used to go C.P.K. and order two personal Thai-Chicken Pizzas and, wouldn't you know, it's one of the few things in this world than can slow down any of our conversations because it's just that good. In honor of kinda-sorta missing home as well as kinda-sorta being really proud of myself for adjusting so well to living on the other side of the world/being a better cook, I'm sharing this Thai Chicken Pizza recipe from Pillsbury - a dead-ringer for a taste of "home."



Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6


Ingredients/Directions for Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1/4 C smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp crunch peanut butter (optional)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root (*Substitute a heaping tsp of ground ginger if you need to.)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
Combine and stir all the ingredients in a small bowl. (Try not to taste-test too much ... you won't be able to stop!)

Ingredients for Pizza:
  • (1) 11 oz. can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1/2 C Thai peanut sauce (Use what you made above if you're not using store bought.)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 C chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/2 C julienne (matchstick-cut) carrots
  • 1/4 C sliced green onions (4 medium)
  • 1/4 C chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 C (6 oz.) finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Directions for Pizza:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or grease 15x10" or larger dark or nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; starting at center, press dough into 15x10" rectangle (filling the entire sheet).
  2. In a small bowl, mix peanut sauce and ground ginger; spread to within 1/2" of edges of dough.

  3. Top with chicken, carrot, onions and peanuts; sprinkle with cheese.

  4. Bake 14 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Et voila!
(I recommend this with a nice, cold glass of Chardonnay - mmmm!)