Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

I asked our chef for a suggestion for a recipe that would bolster us and her immediate response was Thai chicken soup.  I found this simple recipe on about.com it has that distinctive Thai flavor – a balance of spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Tom Ka Kai can either be served as an appetizer or as the star player (noodles can be added if you’re planning to make this soup as a main entree).  For hot sauce of course I recommend our own farm made hot and smokey sauce and you can toss in any veggies of your choosing.

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock (Serves 2 as the main entree, or 4-6 as an appetizer)
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, sliced, OR 1-2 cups roasted chicken or turkey
  • lemongrass stalk, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 4 kaffir limes leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
  • 1-3 fresh red chilies, minced (to taste), OR substitute 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 1/2 to 1 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2+ Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar (optional, according to taste)
  • handful fresh coriander leaves aka cilantro
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • optional: other vegetables, like sliced bell pepper or cherry tomatoes
  • optional: *wheat or rice noodles, if serving as the main course (see tip below)

Preparation:

  1. Slice and mince the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk. Retain the upper stalk for the soup pot.
  2. Place chicken broth in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. If you have leftover chicken or turkey bones, add those too. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add fresh chicken (or leftover chicken or turkey) and mushrooms. Also add the prepared lemongrass (including upper stalk pieces), plus kaffir lime leaves and fresh chili. Boil 5-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
  4. Turn heat down to medium. Add the galangal or ginger, 1/2 can coconut milk, the fish sauce, and extra vegetables (if using). Stir well. Simmer gently 1-2 minutes.
  5. Turn heat down to minimum. Add lime juice and stir.
  6. Do a taste test. Look for a balance between spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Start with salty, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough (1 Tbsp. at a time). If too sour, add the sugar plus a little more if you need it. If too spicy, or if you’d like it creamier, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
  7. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander, basil, and spring onion over each bowl. For an extra kick of flavor, add a dollop of either store-bought or our own farm made smoky hot sauce available at the farm store.

Source: http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaisnacks/r/namprikpao.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is a terrific fall treat, however tends to have a shorter shelf life than some of the sturdier types like Kabocha – so don’t leave it on the counter too long.  You may already have your favorite way of preparing Spaghetti Squash.  If not, it’s time to experiment!  There are two schools of thought when it comes to prepping the Squash itself. (we prefer method 1 as you can use the seeds to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!)

Method 1) Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Rub inside of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake cut side down in a baking dish for 20 minutes at 400-450 until squash is easily pierced with a fork.  Remove from oven and cool.

Method 2) Alternate cooking method: Pierce squash with a ice pick or small knife in many places so the squash does not explode in your oven.  Bake whole squash in a baking dish for one hour at 375, until easily pierced with a fork.  Allow to cool, cut in half, discard seeds.  Gently move flesh away from the shell, creating the spaghetti-like strands.

Spaghetti Squash can be served up in a variety of ways …
1) With a topping of melted butter and a variety of chopped fresh herbs.
2) With a topping of Fresh Tomato Sauce, with or without meatballs (try Turkey meatballs)
3) With a topping of sauteed veggies of your choice – try tomatoes and zucchini sauteed with onions, or mixed mushrooms sauteed with garlic and finished with a dash of cognac.

Posted in Side Dish, Winter Squash | Leave a comment

Jicama Salsa

Jicama (HEE-kah-ma) is an edible root that’s mild and crisp with a hint of sweetness.  It can be peeled, cubed and roasted in the oven like a potato.  We prefer to eat it raw as a kind of chip to scoop up a favorite dip – just peel and make thin slices.  Or eat it raw with just a sprinkle of lime juice and chili powder.

For a quick salsa combine all of the following in a bowl and chill before serving:
Tomato – 1 cup, diced small
Jicama – 1 cup, peeled and diced small
Scallion – one large, minced (or a small onion)
Lime Juice from half a lime
Ground Cumin – 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste
Cayenne Pepper – a dash, or to taste
Salt to taste

Optional extras:
Radishes – 1/2 cup diced
Cucumber – 1/2 cup, peeled and diced
Mint – 2 tablespoons chopped
Cilantro – 2 tablespoons chopped
Jalapeno – 1 small minced (remove seeds for less heat)

Posted in Appetizer, Cucumber, Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Potato and Tomato Gratin

Ingredients:
3 cups sliced leeks (discard dark green tips)
Potatoes - 1 1/4 pound , unpeeled, in 1/4 inch slices (try red or yukon)
Rosemary – 3 TBS chopped fresh, or 1.5 TBS dry
Gruyere Cheese – 1 1/2 cups grated
Tomatoes – 1 1/4 pound, cut into 1/4 inch slices (any type or color on hand)
Breadcrumbs – 1/2 to 3/4 cup plain panko, or whatever you have on hand
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375.  Prepare a 2 quart gratin dish with cooking spray, olive oil or butter.
2. Heat a tablespoon of Olive Oil in a medium nonstick skillet.  Add leeks and saute until limp and starting to brown, about 10 mins.  Remove from heat.
3. In a medium saucepan cover sliced potatoes with cold water and a generous amount of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 5 minutes until potatoes are barely tender.  Drain well and then toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the fresh rosemary (or 1/2 TBS dry).
4. Assemble – start by spreading all the leeks on the bottom of the dish.  Top with a layer of tomato slices, then a sprinkle of rosemary, then a layer of potato slices, then a layer of cheese.  Continue alternating until dish is full, or you are out of potatoes and tomatoes.
5. Make a mixture of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, rosemary, cheese with a light drizzle of olive oil.  Top the dish with the mixture and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the dish is well browned and juices have reduced.  Allow to cool and set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Posted in Cooked Vegatables, Herbs, Potato, Side Dish, Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Stewed Greens and Tomatoes

From the NY Times … inspired by a Greek recipe from Diane Kochilas’s book “The Greek Vegetarian.”  This works with any kind of green – including kale, swiss chard, amaranth, purslane … try a combination, there’s no limit!

INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds of greens – washed, stem if preferred
Salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional if desired for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 pounds of tomatoes, chopped.  Remove seeds and peel if preferred (or 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel or dill
2 tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the greens. Blanch chard for 1 minute, Collard or Kale for 2 minutes. [Alternate: steam the greens in a large steamer – 2 minutes for chard, 3 to 4 minutes for kale.]
2. Transfer to the ice water to stop cooking, then drain and squeeze out water. Coarsely chop and set aside.
3. In a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is tender and beginning to color, 5 to 8 minutes, and add the garlic, paprika and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrantl
4. Add tomatoes to onion mixture and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the greens, herbs and diluted tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the greens are very tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, bulgur or just some good, crusty bread.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead and reheat.

Nutritional information per serving (4 servings):  185 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 26 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary fiber; 529 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 8 grams protein

Posted in Cooked Vegatables, Cooking Greens, Kale, Tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Squash Chips

Ingredients:
2-3 summer squash (zucchini or yellow squash) – sliced 1/4 inch thick
Olive Oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup Panko (or bread crumbs), plain or italian
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450, prep your baking sheet with cooking spray or use parchment
2. Toss squash with olive oil to lightly coat.
3. Mix parmesan, panko, salt and pepper in a bowl .
4. Press squash into coating mixture on both sides, and place on baking sheet
5. Bake until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fried Green Tomatoes

Mid-summer and the tomatoes are getting ready to turn red, but before they do enjoy this classic side dish.

Ingredients:
2-3 Firm green Tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method:
1. Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices, sprinkle with salt & pepper, let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Place flour, milk, eggs & bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes.
3. Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in skillet on medium heat.
4. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs.
5. Fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 4-6 minutes on each side or until brown.
6. As you cook the rest of the tomatoes, add olive oil as needed.
7. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Posted in Appetizer, Cooked Vegatables, Side Dish, Tomatoes | Leave a comment