Red Thai Curry Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

sweet-potato-soup

Once again I saw a delicious-looking soup recipe on BrokeAss Gourmet that inspired me to make my own variation based on what I had in my pantry. This time it was Coconut Soup with Sweet Potato and Lime. I had red Thai curry paste so I made kind of a Thai curry soup, and threw in some kale because what don’t I throw kale in nowadays?

By the way, eat more kale! It’s good for you!

Red Thai Curry Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

olive oil (not authentic, I don’t care)
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt & pepper
some ginger if you have it but I was out
5 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
1 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
juice of half a lime

Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and salt, sauteing until onion is translucent. Add ginger (if you are lucky enough to not be out) and curry paste, and cook, stirring for a minute. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, simmering until sweet potato is easily smashed, but not falling apart (about 20 min). Add kale and lime juice, cooking for just a minute until kale wilts, then serve hot with lime slices and hot sauce.

I ate bowl after bowl, and started stirring in a little sambal oelek for some heat – so yummy! Zoeya liked it too once I convinced her that is was sweet potato (which she likes), not squash (which she doesn’t).

Ga Kho Xa (Lemongrass Caramel Chicken)

lemongrass-caramel-chicken

Less than a week into the New Year and my excitement has transformed, but in a way, I am even more motivated – disappointment, frustration and spite are pretty motivating. I’m putting together a plan of attack. A plan of attack!

I was listening to The Nerdist podcast, an interview with Emma Caulfield (who I love! Admittedly for Buffy but also for doing all this other creative stuff and embracing web culture), and she said she is really busy and frustrated which is how I feel sometimes. The host Chris Hardwick throws out some sage wisdom, ideas like “controlfreakism” and “make your third reaction your first reaction.” Hmm.

But enough reflection. She says she turns off the internal chatter by running, I do it by cooking (obviously). This week I made ga kho xa, which is Vietnamese lemongrass caramel chicken – my friend Gloria sent me several recipes for what to do with my lemongrass. Small triumph, I managed to turn my frustrations into something sweet and salty and delicious.

Ga Kho Xa (Lemongrass Caramel Chicken)

Adapted for convenience from Gloria’s recipe

1 lb chicken thighs or drumsticks – leave on skin and bones for more flavor
2 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar (I actually misread this and there should be more sugar in the sauce, but I’ll just tell you what I did and it was still yummy)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped in half and smashed with a rolling pin
1 onion, sliced
2 red chiles, thinly sliced (I left this out per usual for Zoeya, served with chili sauce for me and Shan)

In large bowl, marinate chicken with 1 tsp fish sauce and 1 tsp brown sugar.
In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and set aside.

In large deep pan, sear chicken skin-side down with some oil until browned.  Add a little bit of sauce to the pan to coat bottom of pan.  Allow sauce and chicken to caramelize.  Flip chicken and add in the remaining sauce cooking over medium heat until sauce thickens and chicken is fully cooked. Remove lemongrass stalks.

Serve with rice. I served with brown rice and sauteed kale.

My plate looks like My Plate. Also, Zoeya is so silly.

Frenchy Lentils and Roasty Beets

frenchy-lentils

Cute little French lentils have an earthy flavor – perfect for fall! – and take nicely to flavors both sharp (dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar) and sweet (carrots, molasses). They go really nicely with roasted beets, which I just love, mostly because they turn everything they touch an obscene magenta. I learned an ingenious method to cook them, which is just to trim the stalks and roast them whole with a little olive oil. After they cool, the skins will slip right off, and you can avoid staining your fingertips and cutting board.

Frenchy Lentils and Roasty Beets

For lentils:
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp molasses
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 c French lentils
water
dash balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cook onion, garlic, salt and pepper, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add paprika, stirring for a minute, then tomato paste. Add dijon, molasses, carrots, lentils, and about 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary, until lentils are softened. Adjust seasoning (you’ll probably need more salt), and finish with a dash of balsamic vinegar (and maybe another little drizzle of olive oil).

For beets:
1 bunch beets, trimmed
olive oil

Heat oven to 450°. Arrange beets in a pan lined with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until a fork easily goes through the beet. Allow to cool, remove skins, and slice.