July 21, 2011

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Coconut and red curry, with a splash of lime and sesame is the grandest mixture of flavors I have ever tasted. As a family, we eat this soup about once a week. No joke. It's easy to make, and it is beyond delicious. Try it! 

1 15-ounce can of coconut milk (I don't recommend using light)
2 cans' worth of water or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, or ginger paste
1 heaping cup fresh snow peas
1 cup string beans, cut in half
1 large carrot, diced
Small handful of Thai basil leaves, left whole
1/4 cup lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free, if needed)
A few splashes of sesame oil
Pinch of chili powder
1 pound firm tofu, lightly pressed and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt or Gomasio, or more to taste
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips (for garnish)
Freshly ground black pepper (for garnish)
  • Bring coconut milk and water just to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  • Add curry and ginger. Whisk until both are well-incorporated.
  • Add carrots and spices (except basil leaves). Cover and simmer until carrots are almost soft, but take care not to overcook them. Nobody likes a mushy carrot.
  • Add tofu. Cover and simmer a few more minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients (except garnishes). Cover and simmer for just a few more minutes, until beans turn bright green but are still crisp. 
  • Garnish with bell pepper strips and freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Makes about six servings.
  • Optional addition: If you really like the coconut flavor and want to take it over the top, add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil when you put in your tofu. It's amazing!
NUTRITIONAL INFO (per serving):
Calories: 168.2 / Total Fat: 14.7g (Saturated Fat: 8.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g) / Cholesterol: 0mg / Sodium: 577.8mg / Potassium: 389.6mg / Total Carbohydrates: 105g (Dietary Fiber: 3.2g, Sugar: 2.4g) / Protein: 10.6g / Iron: 19.4%

July 4, 2011

Baked Butternut Squash Sticks


Who says July 4th fare can't be healthy? A loaded veggie burger on a multigrain deli flat, butternut squash french "fries," and loads of fresh watermelon with blueberries and strawberries on the side, makes a great Independence Day meal without blowing your arteries out. That's how we do it!
Now I know you may be thinking, "Butternut squash fries?! Why, God, why???" But there is no need to consult your maker on this one. These baked "fries" are delicious, and abundantly nutritious. Plus, they're easy to make - and it's really fun to dig into a weird looking squash. For added chuckles, let your guests' kids spoon all the seeds out for you, and then chuck the gooey innards at their slightly-hammered parents. That's 4th of July in nutshell right there. Ahhh, sweet Americana... 

1 large butternut squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of chili powder
Dash of cayenne (optional)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the rind from the squash. Keep peeling until all the little green lines have disappeared.
  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and all that other goopy stuff.
  • Now, cut the neck off of the squash and cut large wedges, as equal in size as possible.
  • You can do the same with the "bowls" of the squash or you can save those for another recipe. Stuffed butternut squash, anyone?
  • Toss your wedges and spices into a large bowl that has a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Secure the lid and shake the wedges around until they are all well-coated.
  • Place in a single layer on a large, lightly-oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the fries over, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until outside is crisp and inside is soft.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • Enjoy!