Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thai Fresh Green Curry

Well, I don't know that I want to blog about food.  My job requires me to think about food way too often (there's breakfast, then second breakfast then elevenses.....).  However, I think that this time of the year cooking begins to get interesting because many things are not growing in many places.  A year or so ago I ran across this recipe in the book Real Vegetarian Thai .  I have told a couple of people about it and even promised the recipe to some... It is called:

Butternut Squash (OR OTHER VEGGIES) in Fresh Green Curry

This simple fresh curry paste takes only minutes to prepare.  It envelops sweet golden chunks of butternut squash  with a beautiful and savory green sauce in the time it takes the accompanying rice to cook.  Try making it with any prepared curry paste for an even simpler dish (see note).  (sarah's note:  I made it tonight with carrots, broccoli, green and red peppers--you can really put anything, including meat into this sauce.)

1 small butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallots or yellow onion
1 tablespoon corsely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger
2 fresh green jalepeno chilies or 1 fresh green serrano chili (I omitted this because of tender palates...)
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Trim off the stem and blossom end of the butternut squash.  Halve lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers.  Cut into large chunks and carefully peel each chunk.  Cut the peeled chunks into 1-inch pieces.  You will have about 4 cups.  Set aside.
In a small food processor or the jar of a blender, combine the shallots or onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, the 5 tablespoons water, ad 1/2 cup of the cilantro.  Grind until you have a faily smooth paste, pulsing the motor and stopping often to stir down the sides of the container and incorporate all the ingredients.  You will have about 1/4 cup bright green paste  Set aside.
Shake the coconut milk can well.  Spoon out 1/2 cup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Cook stirring occasionally, until it thiickens and releases it sweet fragrance, about 3 minutes.
Add the curry paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, mashing scraping, and stirring until the paste is dissolved into the coconut milk and is heated through.  Add the remaining coconut milk, the remaining 1/2 cup water, the sugar, salt, and butternutsquash.  Raise the heat to haigh and bring he curry to a rolling boil.  Stir well, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil, and continue cooking until the squash is tender and the sauce is smooth and evenly colored a soothing green, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cut all but a few of the basil leaves crosswise into thin strips.  When the curry is cooked, stir in te basil strips and the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl  Garnish with the reserved basil leaves and serve hot or warm.


NOTE: This recipe makes a moderately hot curry.  If you like your curries very hot, increase the amount of fresh chilies to suit your palate.  • To substitute prepared curry paste, omit curry paste ingredients, and begin by cooking 2 tablespoons prepared curry paste in the 1/2 cup coconut milk (start with ONE, if you don't like it too hot!!)  •  Butternut squash and other hard winter squash are a challenge to peel.  Use a chef's knife or a Chinese cleaver if you are handy with either one of these tools, or use a good paring knife, holding each chunk steady on your cutting board and cutting down along its side to remove the peel

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ghosties, goblins, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night

The one blog I read faithfully is always right up to date, which must mean that Soulemama is way more on top of the blog thing than me, duh. I think that's one reason why I procrastinate blogging... there's so much that I could have blogged about and didn't, that I just don't. Hmmm.

Well, anyway, the stuff everyone has been waiting for is of course, photos of the kiddos in their Halloween get ups. Here they are, my friends: A pirate, (after the impractical, yet easy to make ghost costume was ditched for some more familiar togs; Snow White, complete with hair as black as ebony; and Lucinda the Good Witch.

A new little one...

Lest I jump straight into costumes and Halloween parties, let me pause and remember my lovely week in Texas, with my sister and her family, where I was fortunate enough to 
 be a part of the birth of my new niece, Kailey Anna Ruby. As always, the birth was miraculous, inspiring and left me filled with hope and lots of positive energy. It was also just nice to hang ou
t with my sister and her family for a whole week, since I never get to do that. I feel like I know them all at least a little bit better now.

My job of being a doula is always rewarding and wonderful, and working with my sister's family in that capacity was pretty amazing. It wasn't really 'work', now was it? I felt like I was on vacation, most of the time, because it was really just like being at home, except there were two other adults and one less child, so it was fun and easy--a feeling that I really wanted to take back home with me.

I could go on and on and on about all of the little details, but I think I'll let the photos do the talking:


Fall is....

Well, for one thing, fall is nearly over, isn't it? I guess we have about one third of fall left. However, yesterday and today, the weather has turned so tremendously cold, that it really seems wintry outside. Mittens are in order, and hats, and possibly long johns.

Fall is always a busy time, perhaps for everyone, but I seem to tend to kick the creation part of my life into overdrive starting around the end of September. And, usually around about this time, I'm ready to go to sleep until January 1st or so, because I've already burned my candle at both ends, albeit in celebratory ways. This year has turned out to be not much different than most in this regard. I've had a few recent reality checks, from the kiddos, from Robert and from my own body and (lost) mind.

With all this creativity happening, I often have the thought, "Oohh, that needs to go into the blog," and then, it is 1 or 2 o'clock am and I need to sleep instead of blogging. That is pretty much the case tonight. But, since we have just returned from a nice Thanksgiving with Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, and Honorary Aunt and Uncle, who haven't even seen what our Halloween costumes were like, well, it seems like possibly the rest of the relatives may be in the 'want to know' about how fall has been before it's dead and gone, too.