Easy-peasy Curry Sauce

We had some leftover basmati rice from Indian food the other night. My daughter didn’t want it, so I decided to whip up a quick curry sauce and serve it over the rice with some tofu. Having had a small breakfast, this recipe scores points for being fast and simple enough that a geek like me can make it. It owes a lot of credit to the Thai Tofu and Winter Squash Stew recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone but much less watery.

2 garlic cloves (or equivalent in minced garlic)
2-3 chile peppers (to taste)
1 Tbsp ginger, minced finely
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
juice of 1 lime (I forgot this, so I’m considering it optional)
¼ c cilantro (optional)
⅓ c chopped peanuts (optional)

Add a small amount of peanut oil to a pot and heat at medium low. Add the garlic, chiles & ginger & cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Add the curry, sugar, turmeric & soy sauce & cook a few minutes more. Then add coconut milk & add approximately half the can worth of water. Bring to a boil. Add in any veggies, tofu, or anything else you want to add (or not). If using cilantro and/or peanuts, add those right before serving.

Serve over rice, tofu, with veggies, etc.

Awesome, simple and fast stir fry

I just made a really awesome stir fry with some ingredients we just had lying around the house. I don’t consider myself a good cook (or, really, much of a cook at all), so I was surprised at how good this came out, considering it was sort of a “well, this sounds good” process of throwing things in the frying pan (I guess most good recipes fall into that category). I didn’t measure anything and it’s all to taste anyway, so I’m not going to include amounts of anything, just what I used (which is also to taste).

  • Tofu
  • Bell peppers (I used frozen bell peppers that were cut into strips — would be even more tasty with fresh bell peppers)
  • Tomatos (I used what we had — grape tomatoes, cut in halves)
  • Corn (again, frozen, but fresh would be more awesome)
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar (a small splash)
  • Chile oil (small amount or to taste)
  • Garlic (minced or freshly pressed — I used minced from a squeezy tube)
  • Ginger (minced or fresh, grated — I used fresh, grated with a cheese grater)
  • Brown sugar
  • Peanut oil

With the frozen ingredients and literally no prep time (other than cutting the tofu into bite-size pieces), the whole thing took about 15 minutes to cook.

Fry the tofu in the peanut oil until golden. (I could have let mine go for a bit longer, but I was hungry and started adding in the other ingredients before the tofu was fully golden, which would have added a few minutes to my time, but it wasn’t a problem at all.) Add the soy sauce (enough to coat the tofu). Add the bell peppers. Add the tomatoes. Add garlic. Add ginger (I just grated it over the frying pan). Mix it all up. Add brown sugar (I used maybe 1Tbsp for one bowl of awesomeness). Add the rice vinegar and a little more soy sauce.  Add the corn and mix everything up. Serve when the corn is cooked through.


Non-specific Citrus-Berry Punch

You know how Froot Loops don’t taste like any actual fruit known to man?  They kind of actually taste like some kind of non-specific citrus/berry thing?  Well, after taking my first sip of this drink, I had the exact same reaction.

1 shot rum (preferably white rum, like Bacardi)
4 oz Raspberry soda
fill the rest of a 8oz tumbler with equal parts grape juice and lemonade
serve on the rocks

pink goat cheese fondue

like this, except pink

i discovered/created a fondue recipe that i think is kind of awesome and offbeat.  the (possible) problem with it is that it’s pink.  sort of mauve actually.

traditionally, fondue has 2 – 3 cheeses: gruyere and emmentaler are pretty standard.   you can also use appenzeller or raclette (swiss, not french, although french would do in a pinch if you needed to) or even jarlsberg if the stinky feet cheeses are getting to you.  also traditionally, those of us even remotely lactose-sensitive are going to be bent double after eating a large enough portion (say, half a fondue-pot full).

the other thing is that, while fondue typically calls for a dry white wine, a good, bold red (like a pinot noir or cabernet of syrah) pairs better with with the sort of aged cheeses used in fondue (or so says my wine and cheese book).  i’ve decided the white is strictly for aesthetics.

my first foray into throwing the rules out the window was for Valentine’s day, for which pink fondue could be considered somewhat thematically appropriate.  that wasn’t the goal, of course — the idea was just to make a goat fondue (goat milk is easier to digest than cow milk and has been found to not cause the symptoms of lactose intolerance) and pair it with a wine that both went better with the cheese (the same wines that pair well with gruyere and emmentaler also pair well with goat cheeses, especially aged goat cheeses) and that we both liked better (we prefer reds to whites any day).

thus began the first experiment.  for this, i got cypress grove lamb chopper and a mahon reserva.  my first choice to go with the lamb chopper was cypress grove’s midnight moon, but that was unavailable pretty much everywhere (my theory is that the goats were “kidding” — a time of year when goat dairies do not produce as much milk because the goats are giving birth to and nursing their kids, something i learned when i was working in grocery).  i had forgotten (until i got home) that mahon, unlike a lot of other spanish cheeses, was cow milk, not goat or sheep.

the result was really good.  the cheese didn’t melt as smooth as fondue usually does, which i’m guessing was because the aged mahon was pretty dry and goat cheese, in general, has a less smooth texture than cow cheese.  we used a smoking loon pinot noir and, aside from the pinkness, it was really good.

so last night i thought we’d go for an encore, and last night’s ended up being even better.  so here’s the recipe, more or less:

8oz (1/2 lb.) cypress grove lamb chopper
8oz (1/2 lb.) young (6 mo.) manchego
1 cup red wine (in this case it was Goats Do Rome South African red)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch
1 clove garlic
pinch of pepper
dash of nutmeg

my recipe says to get a clove of garlic and rub it on the inside of the fondue pot.  well, i didn’t have a single clove of garlic lying around, so i got some crushed garlic and scooped some with a spoon and rubbed it onto the pot with my fingers.  the result was garlic-y but tasty (if you like garlic).

next, mix the wine and the lemon juice and heat on medium until bubbly.  pour yourself a glass.  turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese.  mix the corn starch with 1 Tbsp more wine.  the original recipe says kirsch, but the idea of cherry liqueur sends e running for the hills.  pour corn starch/wine mixture into the fondue.  stir regularly.  drink profusely.  add pepper and nutmeg to taste (original recipe called for white pepper but using black pepper didn’t seem to hurt anything).

serves two with room for dessert

the manchego melted a lot better and fit the goat theme.  the fondue still doesn’t have the same elasticity that you get with the traditional cow’s milk cheeses, but that’s goat cheese for you.  i’m still holding out to try this with midnight moon, an aged goat gouda, but that will most likely have to wait until next time.

i have this philosophy about fondue that you can’t really screw it up.  some cheese melts better than others, and some pair better than others, but cheese is pretty much cheese, and if you have a few cheeses you like, why not throw them together in a pot and melt it?  if you like cheese and you like fondue, you’ll probably like what comes out regardless of if it’s by the book.  for this reason, i think that fondue is the ultimate anything goes gourmet food; you don’t need to be an iron chef, you just need to like cheese.

spicy aztec coffee

we’ve been out of (flavored) creamer, so i invented this.  i’ve decided it’s awesome.

2 heaping tsp Lake Champlain Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate (if you needed to, the Allegro Mayan Drinking Chocolate that you can get from Whole Foods would probably work)

Coffee (maybe slightly less than you’d usually pour into your cup)

Creamer/Milk/Half & Half (i think this works better than doing it black, but you can probably do that too)


scoop the chocolate mix into the cup first.  pour in the coffee.  pour in however much creamer makes you happy.  stir.  revel in awesomeness.