thai i love you.

did you see this curry that alicia made? did you? oh it makes me swoon. i went straight to the store yesterday and bought up some shrimp and green curry paste. i plan to get down to business this afternoon. i love curry, masaman being my favorite. a totally funny and random side note, i met a girl named curry yesterday. cool, kinda. ok so, like i said, i love curry, and i fully extend that love to thai food in general. and indian food. i love all the spices and layers of flavor. and i like to tell myself that if i didnt have two small tummies to feed everyday, i would make these kinds of things more often. last weekend i had my first go at a peanut sauce recipe that i tossed with a chicken vegetable stir fry and some rice. it was good. yummy good. and the huffsters even had a few bites apiece (and then finished out dinner with two glasses of milk and one huge banana each. hey at least they are getting their calcium and potassium, right?). so here is the recipe, adapted from the food network kitchens i believe.

peanut sauce good for just about anything savory
2 tsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic minced
1 c chicken or vegetable stock (more for reaching your desired consistency)
1/2 c peanut butter (regular or natural)
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbls rice or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
sugar to taste (i like mine a little more sweet and added about a tablespoon)
chopped cilantro for garnish if you like. i like.

sauté the ginger and garlic in a small sauce pan in a good bit of olive oil for a few minutes, until garlic is softened and fragrant. add the stock, peanut butter, soy sauce and vinegar and let simmer for ten minutes to melt and thicken on medium heat. watch it. mine got pretty thick pretty fast, and i ended up adding about another half cup of stock to thin it a bit. i wanted it more pour-able. add salt and sugar to taste. you might not need any sugar, especially if you use regular peanut butter. and that is it. so easy and so good.

i stir fried a combination of carrots, red and yellow bell pepper and broccoli with a dash of salt and pepper, and a splash of stock (it was right there). tossed in some pan grilled chicken cut into bite sized pieces and piled it on rice and topped with the peanut sauce and cilantro. yum. if i would have had some crushed peanuts i would have sprinkled a few on there too. i imagine that you could easily make this sauce with crunchy peanut butter too. and really put it on just about any veggie or meat, rice or noodles.

i will definitely let you know how my green curry comes out. if it tastes even half as good as that picture (courtesy of alicia, thank you sweetie!) looks i know i will have a happy tummy tonight. plus, the two big huffsters are spending the night with my mom, making dinner that much more enjoyable. dont get me wrong, they are good eaters for the most part, but i can only take so many nights in a row of "what is this??" "eeewww" "can we have broccoli cheese soup??". so david and arlo and i will sit down to a nice quiet dinner, enjoy a glass of wine (none for arlo) and relax. devil wears prada perhaps? i think so.


in case you missed these...

have you seen the sweet (lord in heaven!!) goodness that molly has been dishing over at orangette for the holidays? like these chocolate blocks (photo courtesy of said sweet molly)? you realize of course that the possibilities are endless here. i am having visions of espresso beans, candied ginger, pretzels... i could go on and on. i also made a batch of these lemon cookies with a few modifications, first i couldnt find a meyer lemon, and second i was too lazy to buy turbinado sugar, so i went with a regular lemon and dusted mine with powdered sugar. still fabulously delicious. think lemon flavored shortbreads almost. yum. then there are mav's pizzelles and cookies. how badly do i want one of those griddles? very. and then of course there is melissa's norwegian apple cake. good night. i love this recipe for so many reasons, but mostly because the way melissa writes it is exactly the way i cook. oh you know, a pinch of this, a bit of that until it tastes good, until it looks right. probably not very helpful when trying to impart a recipe, but so true to my form. i know that most of these posts have been about cookies and cakes and holiday goodies, but i promise you that i have been thinking about weekly fare. i hope to start a discussion about what you make throughout the week soon. after i get done making just one more cookie recipe...


do you still have a can of pumpkin?

potato + pumpkin + leek =
if you do, dont shove it to the back of your pantry for next year. drag that can out, grab a few potatoes and pick up some cream and leeks from the store on your way home tonight. you are going to want to make this one. this little number comes directly to me from one special lady that i know has plenty more amazing recipes tucked up her sleeves, or at the very least stuffed in an apron pocket somewhere. thanks amy!

pumpkin leek potato soup

3-4 leeks chopped
3-4 russet potatoes chooped
1 can pumpkin (15oz)
1/4 c butter
1 carton soup broth 32 oz. (or water)
1/2 cup half and half (or evaporated milk if you want less fat)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
juice from one lemon
1-2 teaspoons salt
cracked pepper
1 tbl brown sugar (to taste)

saute the leeks until wilty in the butter on low/med heat for about 10-15 min,season with salt and pepper. add chopped potatoes and the broth and bring to boil and simmer until soft, about 30 min. add canned pumpkin and puree with a stick blender or in a blender. stir in half/half and the seasonings. taste as you go. It should be sweet/sour with just a hint of cinnamon, adjust as necessary. If you are in doubt, add more brown sugar.

you can leave the potatoes unpeeled for a more rustic texture. It
makes a thick soup,feel free to add more broth or water to thin it to the consistency you like. and if you are like me, go ahead and crumble a little cooked bacon on the top. enjoy and stay warm if you just got buckets of snow like us midwesterners!


don't go empty handed

i hope everyone enjoys this time with family and friends. please relax and enjoy. indulge in some good food and conversation. and if you still havent found that little something to bring along with you on your visit, try this simple but delicious recipe sent to me by my friend sarah. at the very least it will make your home smell delicious!

Warm Mixed Nuts

5 c. of raw mixed nuts
1 T. olive oil
2 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. fresh rosemary
1/4 t. cayenne
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. course salt
Heat oven to 350. Place nuts in a single layer on baking sheets. Toast until golden and fragrant for 8 to 12 minutes rotating pans. Put in a bowl and set aside. Thinly slice the shallots into rings. Thinly slice the garlic lengthwise. Heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic until golden. (3 to 5 min.) Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Melt butter and pour over mixed nuts. Add rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt. Stir. Toss in garlic and shallots.


oh snap

ginger snaps to die for
ginger snaps are a necessity this time of year in my opinion. dont get me wrong, they are delicious year round, but now when it is cold (for some) and you have a cup of hot tea or coffee that is just begging to have a little something dunked in it, this is everywhere you want to be. these gingersnaps are thin and crisp, sweet and spicy and just that darn good. eliot and i shared a few during our afternoon fika last week, and then i had a few more (five...) that evening. ok, so they are dangerously addictive. but dont worry because this recipe makes the kind of dough that you keep in the freezer. if you have weak self control like myself, only slice off three or four and bake them. they are also perfect for that unexpected visitor. warm the oven, put on the kettle for tea, slice a few of these and in twelve minutes you sit down for a lovely visit over tea and cookies. i found this recipe last year on marikos blog and have been using it ever since. i promise dear readers, that soon i will give you more than cookie and dessert recipes. just bear with me, i have been having so much fun baking that it is hard not to share. ok, here you go. enjoy.

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

8 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cream butter until soft. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-incorporated. Sift the dry ingredients, and add to the mixture. On low speed, mix until it all just comes together. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible. Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight. Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8". Place on a parchment-lined sheetpan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.


soup IS a meal

potato of the sweet variety
in my book, soup is definitely a meal. i think i could eat soup everyday from now until march, and then switch to gazpacho. mmm. lately my favorite has been to take a heap of sweet potato and through magic of the culinary type turn it into a satisfying bowl of thick, silky soup. all you need is a hunk of crusty bread and a small bowl of salad and there you have it. a meal.

this recipe was adapted from i think october's cookie magazine.

chunky sweet potato soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 medium onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried sage (less if it is ground or to taste)
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cubed
6* cups chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan***

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes**. Stir in the sage and cook 1 minute more. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

* the original recipe called for 4 cups but i used a 6 cup can, which was nice because it tends to thicken after a day or two. but believe me it is still way yummy.
** i usually use this time to peel and cube the sweet potatoes, making the whole process much easier.
*** i like to keep a block of decent to good parmesan cheese in my fridge, and find it easier and prettier to shave slices with a vegetable peeler. so professional...
**** (getting ridiculous i know, but also satisfying to see that many astrics lined up) the first time i made this soup i only had one sweet potato on hand but happened to have a small butternut squash on my counter. threw that in along with the s.p. and it was just fine.

there you have it folks. so easy that when i made this monday night, i also made a pot of broccoli cheese soup for eliot and a batch of chili. the sweet potato goodness was all mine as the rest of my family is crazy and doesnt eat them, except arlo of course. if you are big fan of sweet potato/pumpkin/butternut squash (or anything else orange for that matter) like i am, then you should also take a look at mollys puree. to die for. i just said that.


have you made anything yet?

orange chocolate chip
i did, the orange chocolate chip muffins. they were stupid easy and so good. perfect breakfast this morning at work. have you tried anything yet? let me know and if you have and took a picture, even better! share share!