the recipe sharer

Archive: May 2014

Thai Butternut squash and seafood curry


This has the most amazing flavors and I have made it at least 6 times, always successfully. With the yellow (or red) curry paste, go carefully as different curry pastes have different strengths. You don’t want to overpower the seafood.
If you use green beans as the green vegetable, make sure you parboil and shock them in cold water before adding them to the pan.

Serves 4 generously.
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk ( about 1 2/3 cups)
1 to 2 tbsp yellow or red curry paste ( I used 1 tbsp)
1 1/2 cups fish stock
3 tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pla is a great one)
2 tbsp sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, each cut into 1/3’s and bruised with the flat of a knife
3 keffir lime leaves, (or regular ones if you can’t get keffir lime leaves) stalked and cut into very thin strips.
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into large, bite sized chunks
1lb 2oz salmon fillet, skinned and cut into large bite sized chunks
1/b 2oz peeled, deveined raw shrimp
Bok Choy or any other green vegetable of your choice
1/2 to 1 lime, juiced or more to taste
Cilantro, for garnish

Skin the thick creamy top off the can of coconut milk and put it into a large saucepan or Dutch oven with the curry paste, over medium heat.
Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat the cream and paste together until combined. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish sauce, fish stock,  sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric.
Bring to the boil then add the butternut squash. Cook on a fast simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 mins.

*  You can cook the recipe up until this part in advance, maybe leaving the butternut squash with some bite still in it as it will continue to soften as the pan cools. Either way, when you’re about 5 mins from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood.

To the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and shrimp. When the salmon and shrimp have cooked through, which will only take about 3 to 4 minutes, stir in any green vegetable you’re using – sliced, chopped or shredded as suits and push down into the sauce with a wooden spoon.
When the green vegetable is cooked, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it.
Take the pan off the heat and pour the curry into a large bowl and sprinkle over the cilantro; the point is that the cilantro goes in just before serving.
Serve with more chopped cilantro for people to add to their own bowls as they eat and some plain Thai jasmine or Basmati rice.



Chilled corn soup with prawns, avocado and tomato relish

Chilled corn soup with avocado, shrimp and tomato relish

This is the season for gorgeous chilled soups, whether you serve them in shooter glasses or bowls like this picture. I will be posting several of these over the next few summer months, as I love starting a meal with a refreshing and zingy flavor.  You can make them well in advance so they are ideal for dinner parties or spontaneous lunches. Recently we held a house concert here at our home and I made my chilled cucumber soup (also on this blog) and set out 40 shooter glasses and two large pitchers of the soup. There was a constant group hovering over the pitchers refilling their glasses.

Serves 4
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 large leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 ears corn, husked, silk removed
3 cups chicken broth
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
6 oz grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
8 to 10 leaves fresh, thinly-sliced basil
8 oz small or medium prawns, peeled and de-veined, tails removed
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

In a large saucepan on low, heat oil until melted. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until softened.
Meanwhile, over a large bowl, cut the corn kernels from the corn cobs (A sharp, serrated knife would work well). With a heavy knife, cut each cob into 2 to 3 pieces.
Add the corn kernels and pieces of cob to the pot with the leeks. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup of water, and increase the heat to high. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and discard the cobs. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then purée soup with an immersion blender. (Alternatively, carefully purée soup in batches in a food processor or blender.) Transfer to a large bowl, cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
In a small bowl, toss avocado, tomatoes and basil
Heat a nonstick skillet on medium. Season the prawns with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until just opaque.
Just before serving, chop the prawns coarsely and stir the lime juice into chilled soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with avocado-tomato mixture and prawns, dividing evenly.

Meaty melanzane parmigiana

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There is not much to say about this as it’s a complete meal and all you need to do is make a green salad. Simply divine!
What could be nicer than ground meat in with the Melanzane Parmigiana? This comes direct from the one and only BBC Good Food magazine.

Serves 6
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
2lbs ground lamb
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
3 large bay leaves
2 x 14 oz or (1x 28 oz) can chopped tomatoes or tomato passata
a good glass of drinkable red wine
1 lamb or chicken stock cube
1 good handful of fresh basil, sliced roughly
1 tbsp sugar
5 large eggplants, sliced lengthways into 1/4 inch slices
2 x 7 oz balls mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
8 oz good parmesan cheese, grated
6 oz mascarpone cheese

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or flameproof dish. Add the ground meat and brown over high heat, breaking up with a fork as you go. You may need to do this in batches. Once well browned, tip onto a plate and set aside.
Add more oil, the garlic and herbs to the pan and gently cook for 1 minute. Tip in the tomatoes and red wine and bring to a simmer, stirring up any meaty bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the ground meat to the pan, crumble in the stock cube and add the sugar and seasoning. Gently simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally, splashing in more water (or lamb/chicken broth, if you have some) to keep it saucy if you need to. If you have time to simmer for longer, go for it – the longer the better for great flavor and intensity. Now fish out the herb stalks and bay leaves.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle or frying pan. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil, then griddle in batches. You want each slice softened and slightly charred, so don’t have the heat too high or the eggplant will char before softening. Remove to a plate as you go.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Set aside some of each cheese to go on top. In a large baking dish, spread a large spoonful of meat mixture over the base, then a layer of eggplant and season well. Spoon over more meat sauce then scatter over some fresh basil, mozzarella, parmesan and blobs of mascarpone cheese.
Add another layer of eggplant and some seasoning. Repeat, layering everything up and finish with a layer of meat sauce. Top with your reserved cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden and the meat mixture is bubbling.






Asian spicy ground pork (or turkey) and green soup

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So soothing, cleansing, light and tasty. Oh, and easy too!  I found this in an old Bon Appetite magazine and adapted it slightly.

Serves 2
1/2 lb ground pork (or turkey)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated and peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped (I roast mine for more flavor)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, or kale, beet greens or other greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Thai fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz wide rice noodles

Mix the ground pork, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes and cumin in a medium bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pork mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a fork, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to the boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the torn greens, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles between the bowls and ladle the soup over






Crustless Spinach and feta quiche with sumac


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This quiche is elegant and delicious enough to serve guests, but also a great pie to have in the refrigerator to slice and eat for breakfast (lunch or dinner) all week long. You can lighten up the filling using all milk rather than half milk and half cream. Consider this your blank slate for any vegetables you have on hand, such as sautéed mushrooms or bell peppers.

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 box (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces feta cheese
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sumac, divided
4 eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Swiss, Gruyere, or mozzarella cheese

Heat the oven to 350°F. Brush an 8- or 9-inch pie plate with olive oil.
Squeeze the thawed spinach to remove as much water as possible. Shred and scatter the spinach over the bottom of the pie plate. Crumble the feta over the spinach, top with the onions, and dust with a tablespoon of sumac and a healthy pinch of kosher salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with a teaspoon of salt until they are smooth. Stir in the parmesan, milk, and cream. Pour the eggs over the spinach and feta.
Top the eggs evenly with the Swiss, Gruyere, or mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sumac.
Bake the quiche for about 40 minutes, or until it is puffy and golden and doesn’t jiggle in the center when moved. Serve the quiche immediately with more sumac dusted over each slice. Refrigerate and eat the quiche for up to a week.


Carb free, gluten free, healthy pizza with cauliflower crust


How good does this look? Crunchy, crispy, totally carb-free pizza!

Serves 2 to 4
½ head cauliflower (about 2 cups riced)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
Prep a cookie sheet or pizza stone by grease it with oil. You can grease the cookie sheet or use greased aluminum foil. It will stick if you don’t grease it properly.
Remove the stems and leaves from the cauliflower and chop the florets into chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice. If you don’t have a food processor you can grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or chop it.
Sauté cauliflower “rice” in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook until translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes.
In a bowl combine the cooked cauliflower with all remaining ingredients.
Spread dough out evenly over the greased foil (or stone) – about ¼ to ⅓ of an inch thick. The pizza should be about 9-10 inches in diameter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through the middle.
Remove the crust from the oven.
Top with pizza sauce and toppings. Be careful not to add too many heavy toppings as you don’t want to weigh down the crust.
Broil the pizza for 5 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted. Allow the pizza to cool for 2-3 minutes then cut and serve. Enjoy!



Asparagus and crab salad


This makes a light and gorgeous start to a casual dinner party or even an “al fresco” dinner.

20 asparagus spears, trimmed
2 oz baby arugula leaves
4 oz white crab meat

For the dressing
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
juice ½ lime
brown crab meat, if you have it, but it’s not crucial to the recipe, rather more luxurious!
olive oil, for drizzling

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 2 mins until just cooked.
Drain, tip into iced water to refresh and drain again. Cut each spear on the angle into 2-3 pieces.

For the dressing
Mix all the ingredients together with some brown crab meat, if you have it.
Toss the asparagus through the dressing, then build a nest of asparagus spears on plates.
Place some white crab meat in the center of each nest, top with a small bundle of rocket.
Drizzle everything with a little olive oil before serving.

A ginger gin cocktail


Well it’s Memorial weekend here in the US and time to get out the barbeques and cocktails. I’m not a huge gin drinker, but this combination with the mint and ginger beer is a winner!

Makes one cocktail

10 mint leaves
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. lime juice
1½ oz. gin
2 oz. ginger beer
Mint sprig, for garnish

Muddle the mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and fill with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled cocktail glass; top with ginger beer and garnish with a mint sprig. Cheers!

Creamy gratin of roasted tomatoes

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A really delicious, creamy but summery side dish. It’s also great to serve as reheated leftovers with scrambled eggs for breakfast.
I’m addicted to any gratin, but this one uses intense, roasted tomatoes with fresh thyme. Well worth roasting the tomatoes yourself, as they’re so easy to do.
The roasted tomato recipe is below the main recipe.

Serves 6 to 8
30 oven-dried tomato halves
about 1/4 of loaf of bread: French, Peasant, focaccia, rosemary, etc.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1-2 tsp minced thyme leaves, preferably fresh
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp chopped chives or chervil
1/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese or Parmesan

Prepare the oven dried tomatoes. See the recipe below called “Oven dried tomatoes” These dried tomatoes can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to proceed with the recipe.
Prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 300ºF. Remove crusts from bread. Cut into 1/3-inch slices, and then cut into 1/3-inch cubes. Spread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until cubes are dry and crisp, about 40 minutes. Toss the croutons with a spatula about every 15 minutes for even cooking. Cool completely and store for about a week at room temperature. As an alternative, you can also use homemade croutons for salads.
Prepare gratin: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9×12-inch oven-proof dish with at least 1-inch sides that is large enough to hold all the tomatoes in a single layer.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, and add the garlic and time, and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic is softened, but not brown. Add the dried tomato halves and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook gently for a couple more minutes.
Add the cream and bring to a boil. Add the croutons and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the prepared gratin dish. Dot with the the remaining butter and bake for about 40 minutes until bubbly and nicely browned. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Oven temperatures vary, so your tomatoes may bake faster or slower than what’s called for in the recipe. The longer and slower you can dry the tomatoes, the better, because the flavors become more concentrated the longer the tomatoes bake. Through this process, normally bland winter tomatoes become fairly edible and summer tomatoes become super intense, delivering an out-of-this-world taste experience.
39 large fresh plum tomatoes             2 Tbsps kosher salt
2 Tbsp granulated white sugar         1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced             1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Place a baking rack on each cookie sheet.
Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stem core. Gently squeeze out most of the seeds and place the halved tomatoes closely together, cut side up, on the baking racks.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and sugar. Sprinkle generously over the cut side of the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature. The salt and sugar will help draw out the moisture in the tomatoes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 225ºF. Transfer the cookie sheets to the oven. Bake the tomato halves for 3 to 4 hours, checking about every 30 minutes. Rotate trays half way through for even baking. The tomatoes are done baking when they start to shrivel but are not completely dried.
When cook enough to handle, turn the tomato halves over and gently peel away the skins.
If you like, in a bowl, dress the tomatoes with the olive oil, freshly sliced garlic, black pepper and fresh thyme. Delicately layer the tomatoes in a flat container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Because all the moisture is not extracted, the tomatoes will spoil.

Lime and Pomegranate chicken thighs


This is a recipe from another great food blog, “A View from Great Island”
Very clean and zingy tasting and great for a healthy, light dinner.

Serves 2

For the chicken
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (not the juice drink)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

For the glaze
2 cups pomegranate juice (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the juice of 2 limes)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Set the oven to 400F
To marinate the chicken, put the yogurt, pomegranate juice, salt, garlic and chicken in a large zip lock baggie. Massage everything until well combined. Put in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. I turned the bag over once or twice.
To make the glaze, put all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and boil for about 20-25 minutes until reduced and thickened. Set aside.
Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat until screaming hot. Take the chicken out of the marinade, and let the excess liquid drip off before setting the chicken, skin side down, on the grill. Don’t move it for a minute or so until it gets nice dark grill marks.
Flip the chicken over, and then transfer to a baking pan that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. Bake the chicken for about 30-40 minutes, or until done through. Spoon a generous amount of glaze over the chicken, and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and lime wedges. Serve right away.