Monthly Archives: August 2011

Daring Cooks: Sri Lankan Beef Curry and Carrots with Tropical Flavors

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

I won’t go too much into Appam, as I didn’t make it. Right now, I am not eating grains or yeast, so I figured making a yeasted rice flatbread wasn’t in the cards. However, if you want to read about how to make these (and they look like the perfect accompaniment to a saucy curry!), check them out over at Mary Mary Culinary.

I did, however, jump right on some Sri Lankan curry! I love curries made with coconut milk. Spices + coconut milk = comfort food. (I’ve already mentioned this in my previous post about a Thai-inspired curry, but it’s really true!) This curry was different than most I’ve made; it used fresh curry leaves and tamarind pulp. Lucky for me, there is an Indian grocery not far from our house, and I was able to pick up the necessary ingredients.

As this curry simmered on the stove, the intoxicating aroma of spices filled the house. I could hardly wait until it was ready. I served it with spaghetti squash for me, brown rice for the hubby, and some amazing carrots with lime, peppers, shallots, and cilantro that was bright, fresh, and lightened up the heavier curry. It was a lovely meal. Next time, I think I might opt for a lower temperature when cooking the meat, and perhaps swap out the beef for a lamb or goat. The London Broil I used was a bit too lean, and ended up a tad dry for the dish. However, the flavors were sensuous and won me over.

Sri Lankan Beef Curry, adapted from Mangoes & Curry Leaves

1 lb boneless beef (I used London Broil)

1 T coconut oil

10 fresh or frozen curry leaves

1 green cayenne chili, finely chopped

generous 1 c  finely chopped onion

1 t turmeric

1 t salt

½ c coconut milk

1 T tamarind pulp (I had a jarred tamarind pulp with no seeds)

3 c water

1 T arrowroot powder

Dry Spice Mixture:

1 T coriander seeds

1 t cumin seeds

one 1-inch piece cinnamon or cassia stick

seeds from 2 pods of green cardamom

1. Cut the beef into ½ inch cubes. Set aside.

2. In a small heavy skillet, roast the dry spice mixture over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continuously, until it smells amazing!

3. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind/pound to a powder. Set aside.

4. In a large, wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, green chile, onion and turmeric and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the meat and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so all surfaces of the meat get browned.

5. Add the reserved spice mixture and the coconut milk and stir to coat the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.  Add the tamarind pulp to the 2 cups of water. Whisk in the arrowroot powder.

7. Add the tamarind/water mixture to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a strong simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot.

Carrots with Tropical Flavors, adapted from Mangoes & Curry Leaves

1 lb carrots, about 5 medium, peeled

1 T coconut oil

about 8 fresh curry leaves

2 T minced seeded green cayenne chiles

3 T minced shallots

2 t rice vinegar (I used lime juice)

1 t salt

¼ t honey

½ c coconut milk

¼ c water

coarse salt, optional

cilantro (coriander) leaves to garnish

1. Julienne or coarsely grate the carrots. Set aside.

2. Place a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then add half of the curry leaves, the chiles and the shallots. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring.

3. Add the carrots, stir, and add the vinegar/lime juice, salt, honey and mix well. Increase the heat and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until they give off a bit of liquid.

4. Add the water and half of the coconut milk and bring to a fast boil. Stir, cover tightly and cook until just tender, 5 minutes or so, depending on size. Check to ensure the liquid has not boiled away and add a little more water if it is almost dry.

5. Add the remaining coconut milk and curry leaves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired, and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

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Filed under Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Raw Zucchini Noodles and a Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

Do you know what this is?

It’s zucchini noodles!

What are zucchini noodles? Well, they’re not really noodles, but rather, they are very thin strips of raw zucchini. I have a spiral slicer, and thought I’d put it to use making noodles. I wanted something grain-free to eat with a chicken curry, and this was just the thing.

The spiral slicer does make this super-easy, but if you don’t have one, you can use a vegetable peeler to make wide, flat noodles. Just peel the zucchini lengthwise into long strips, rotating as you go, until you get to the seeds. If you want, you can saute the noodles really briefly (like for a minute, tops), but I even enjoy them totally raw. They make the perfect base for any saucy dish. While I enjoy spaghetti squash as well, zucchini is a lovely change. (and since zucchini is in season, why not?)

So how about that curry?

This is definitely an easy weeknight curry. I didn’t make the curry paste from scratch. (shocker, I know) I used Thai Kitchen red curry paste. This made the whole dish come together much more quickly. While it’s not a traditional Thai curry (I haven’t seen many Thai curries with red cabbage and yellow squash…I just threw them in there because I had a ton of vegetables in the house that needed to be eaten, and it sounded tasty to me.), the flavors still worked well together. It was warm, slightly spicy, and comforting – all great attributes in a curry. (Aren’t saucy curries like, the ultimate comfort food? They are to me – and it doesn’t matter if it’s an Indian curry, a Thai curry, a Jamaican curry, or a totally-new-invention curry. They all make my belly happy.) And those zucchini noodles? They kept it from feeling heavy. In the summer, that’s a definite plus.

Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

2 T coconut oil, divided

1 T Thai Kitchen red curry paste

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c coconut milk

1 5-inch piece lemongrass, smashed with side of knife (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or omit)

3 Kaffir lime leaves (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or sub a bit of lime zest)

1 medium yellow squash, sliced

1 ½ c sliced red cabbage

1 tomato, chopped

2-3 T cilantro, chopped

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Swirl to heat, and add curry paste. Stir the paste around for a few seconds to get it sizzling. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, and add to the skillet. Stir until the paste is evenly coating the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened well and flavors have melded. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While the curry is simmering, heat another skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining coconut oil and swirl. Add the squash and cabbage and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the squash is lightly browned and the cabbage is starting to wilt. Add the tomatoes and stir for a moment. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables to the curry and stir. Serve on top of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 3-4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Easy Canvas Prints – It’s Time to Decorate!

I have a problem. I take a lot of photos. Mostly of food (duh), but I also have lots of photos of family. Where do I keep them all? On my hard drive. Where no one can see them. Sure, sometimes, they’re uploaded on Facebook, but that’s not exactly the best use of some of my favorite photos.  So when I recently received a complimentary canvas print for review from EasyCanvasPrints.com, I was pretty excited. I opted to have one of my photos printed on canvas to decorate our kitchen. (I chose the photo used for these Lemon Earl Grey Cookies I made earlier this year.) I’ve been meaning to hang some of my photos around the house, and this gave me the kick-start I needed.

Just check out this canvas. It has wonderful quality – it looks so professional, and you can choose to have the photo wrapped around the sides of the canvas, or have a solid edging in any color you wish. I was so impressed with this canvas. It’s now hanging on a small wall in my kitchen, so every time I walk in, I can admire it.

My canvas on my wall!

I also love that this company is (somewhat) local to me – they’re based out of Austin, Texas. Texans gotta stick together!

 
This would be a great opportunity for you to clean out that hard drive (c’mon, I know you have more than a few photos just knocking around on there) and be proud of your favorite photos. It’s easy to do. It’s also a great idea for a gift. Have photos of your children? Grandma would LOVE to have them on a canvas print! The possibilities are endless. Me? I’m contemplating taking some amazing photos the next time we travel, and blowing up my favorite one to hang on our wall. That way, we can be reminded of a great time every day.
 
 

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Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Life As A Plate (Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, Crockpot Chili)

grain-free primal bread

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is one of my favorite blog events. I’ve said it time and time again, but I love the opportunity to really get to know another blogger – test their recipes, read a lot of their posts, and the best part – taste their food. This month, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is being hosted by Sea over at Book of Yum. (She’s also the creator of this great event.) I was excited to adopt one of my new favorite bloggers – AndreAnna at Life As A Plate.

AndreAnna is inspirational to me. She struggled with weight issues (her story is here), but finally has found a new life through eating primally (via the Primal Blueprint – check it out over at Mark’s Daily Apple) and through Crossfit. She’s completed a Warrior Dash. Her blogs are definitely entertaining – one minute, you’re laughing at her wit, and the next, she will bring you close to tears as she shares deep, emotional, inspirational streams of thought. She cooks amazing meals that make me drool. In short, she is a badass. (I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that term on this blog, but it’s by far the best descriptor I have for her.)

So what does little Tasty Eats At Home do when adopting AndreAnna? Try to keep up! I love primal/paleo eating. I have dabbled in and out of this for a while, finding that I feel better with fewer grains, fewer starches, and much less sugar (even natural sugars). So I knew her recipes would jive with my body. But what to make? Surprisingly, I made foods that aren’t normally associated with this time of year – rosemary olive oil bread and crockpot chili. Why? Well, the bread was just calling my name – and I had rosemary in the garden – and the crockpot chili didn’t involve any heating of my kitchen at the way-too-hot-to-think hour of 6pm. (I avoided that issue with the bread by baking it early in the day on Saturday.) Both were amazing.

The bread was soft. Pliable. Moist. Brittany enjoyed it at dinner (in fact, she had 4 slices!) with butter. I enjoyed it unadorned, restraining myself from matching Brittany slice-for-slice. I omitted the parmesan cheese, but threw in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes for a punch of flavor.

The chili was just as satisfying. In spite of the heat, I had a generous bowl (plus a tiny bit of a second helping) for dinner, and then portioned myself out some more for lunch the following day. It was even better the second day, and was a hearty meal I looked forward to eating. I didn’t put the ingredients in the crockpot in stages, as I wasn’t home to do so, but dumping everything in together and leaving it to simmer for hours worked just fine. I enjoyed it with onions and cilantro. Yum.

There are many, many more delicious recipes I could devour from AndreAnna’s blog. Collard greens? Yes, ma’am! And she and I must think alike, because she posted a kohlrabi slaw recipe too (looks SO good). And just in case you think there isn’t room for dessert on a primal diet, AndreAnna has desserts covered too.

After reading her latest post, I am further inspired. AndreAnna has the drive to push herself hard, encourage others to do so, but also has an incredible amount of grace. I think that I’ll also sign up for Warrior Dash next year- even if I finish last, I know I’ll finish. Thanks AndreAnna!

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups

Menu Plan: Week of Aug 1 – Aug 5

photo courtesy of dreamstime.com

Yep, it’s that hot in Dallas this week. It’s been hot for a while. We have had 30 days in a row of 100+ degree weather. Today will be the 31st. No relief in sight, according to the weather forecast:

Yikes. Needless to say, there will not be any turning on of my oven for a few days. Dinners will be prepared on the stove, the grill, and in the crockpot. So even though we’re eating chili in August, I figure it works, since the crockpot puts out virtually no heat. (And chili is delicious any time of year!) Every little bit helps.

Monday:

Breakfast: egg “muffins” – chopped zucchini and turkey chorizo with scrambled eggs, baked in a muffin tin (made these this weekend when the sun went down, so the house wasn’t too hot); steamed kale

Lunch: garden salad with leftover grilled chicken

Dinner: crockpot chili, spinach, slice of rosemary olive oil bread (from Life As A Plate - more info on this soon, as I’ve adopted AndreAnna this month for Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger!)

Snacks: bites of leftover grilled chicken, handful of hazelnuts

Tuesday:

Breakfast: egg “muffins”, sauteed spinach

Lunch: crockpot chili, rosemary olive oil bread

Dinner: garden salad with grilled chicken (or alternatively, dinner out. I have a soccer game at 5:30. It’s indoor, thankfully.)

Snacks: homemade beef jerky, baby carrots

Wednesday:

Breakfast: egg “muffins”, rosemary olive oil bread, sauteed spinach

Lunch: salad with grilled chicken or steak slices

Dinner: liver and onions, steamed spaghetti squash, steamed broccoli

Snacks: celery with almond butter, beef jerky

Thursday:

Breakfast: egg “muffins” and spinach

Lunch: leftover liver and onions and broccoli, or if no leftovers, tuna salad with celery sticks and baby carrots

Dinner: picadillo (making this again – gotta share this recipe soon!), guacamole, fresh homemade salsa, spaghetti squash

Snack: handful of hazelnuts, baby carrots

Friday:

Breakfast: egg “muffins”, spinach or yellow squash

Lunch: leftover picadillo and guacamole

Dinner: paleo chicken strips (from Everyday Paleo – cooked in skillet), roasted potatoes, sauteed okra

Snacks: celery with almond butter

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Filed under Meal Plans

Winners of Lindsay Olives and Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen Giveaways!

Alright, I know you’ve been dying to know who the winners of the Lindsay Olives giveaway and the Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen giveaway were!

The winner of the Lindsay Olives giveaway is Iris of The Daily Dietribe! Congrats Iris!

And the winners of the two copies of Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen are:

Jeanie of Allergy Free and Gluten Free

J Craiker of My Mommy Blogs

Congratulations to the winners! Winners, please email me at alta2924 at hotmail dot com with your mailing address.

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