31 December 2008

Vegetable Curry With Coconut Milk

I hope you are having wonderful holidays so far and that you're looking forward to a pleasant New Years Eve!

Unfortunately, I was sick over Christmas and haven't been able to think of anything more flavorful than mint tea and dry toast for a while. But I'm feeling better now (apart from being up in the middle of the night with blog insomnia!) so I'm posting one of my favorite go-to recipes. This is a good every day recipe because it's comforting and creamy (but without any dairy), and you can put in whatever veggies you like, but it's also a recipe you can serve to company, a bit exotic but not toooo scary for conservative eaters. On top of all that it's vegetarian, vegan even, if you use something non-dairy instead of the ghee or butter.

Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk

(for 4 people)

1 carrot

2 potatoes

a handful of green beans

a handful of cauliflower

1 tomato

1 onion

1 piece of ginger (2cm)

1 small piece of hot pepper (more or less depending on the strength of the pepper)

1 stick of cinnamon

4 cloves

25cl (1 cup) of coconut milk

2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)

a pinch of pepper

Peel and wash the carrot. Cut it into pieces (3-4cm long) and then into sticks. Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into chunks. Snap the ends off the green beans, wash, and cut in half. Detach and wash the cauliflower and boil a few minutes in salted water until almost cooked. Wash and cut the tomato into 4 pieces. Peel and cut the onion into slices putting aside the first layer for later. Peel, wash and chop the ginger.

In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee on medium heat and add the onion for 2 minutes. Add the hot pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and stir for another 2 min.

These pictures are a version I made with turnips instead of cauliflower.

Add the vegetables (except cauliflower), 20cl of coconut milk (a little more than ¾ cup), and 10cl of water (a little less than ½ cup). Salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for around 15min on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked. Add the cauliflower and the rest of the coconut milk. Test the seasoning, adjust if necessary and cook for another minute.

In a small frying pan, heat the rest of the ghee. Cut into slices and brown the layer of onion that was put aside. Add the onion to the pot, and/or use for garnish.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! May 2009 be fun and flavorful!

19 December 2008

Traditional Christmas Shortbread

En français ici.

One of my favorite things about Christmas, is that it's a holiday about giving. I love giving presents, almost more than getting them, seeing people's eyes light up the way they do when you've found the perfect gift. I don't think this means that Christmas has to be about spending as much money as possible, though, or getting the newest, most high-tech gadget (although that can be fun sometimes). As I mentioned in my last post, one of the best things to give to all your friends for the holidays is homemade baked goods, especially when you want to give a little something to a lot of people. When I was little, I was part of a large church community and all of the families exchanged presents. Unable to buy gifts for that many people, most of the presents were homemade, often edible and they became traditions. Every year, we looked forward to a special spicy nut mix from one family, peanut brittle from another, yogurt-covered pretzels from a third etc.

My contribution to this tradition every year was homemade shortbread. Super yummy, easy to produce large batches and simple to make even for an 8-year-old (with some parental supervision I believe, although the way I remember it, all my dad did was the math to figure out what baking pans to use). The recipe I've always used was found in the Joy of Cooking, back when I was eight (ok, some of you are going to say I should stop acting like that was so long ago, I'm not that old, but 17 years makes a difference!). When they revised Joy of Cooking, the recipe got changed. I still use the old one. It's still one of the simplest recipes I know, and crumbly and rich and sooo good and... Well just try it. You'll see.

Preheat the oven to 325F (170F).


1 cup butter, softened

Sift together:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Blend the dry ingredients into the butter. I recommended rolling up your sleeves, washing your hands and getting them involved in the process. (The dough will be crumbly, and that's a good thing.) Pat into an ungreased 9X9 inch baking pan and press the edges down. If you want to decorate your short bread, sprinkle colored sugar on top (or the decoration of your choice) before baking.

Pierce with a fork every 1/2 inch. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325F (170C). Cut squares while warm (or at least score deeply where you want to cut) in the pan. Wait until cool before removing them. If you try to cut them cold, they'll crumble badly.

I'm submitting this recipe to Food Blogga's Eat Christmas Cookies Event:

Click on the logo to see the amazing array of recipes already submitted.

Happy Holidays!

"Shortbread" de Noël

In English here.
Je sais que Noël peut souvent être une saison de tension et d'angoisse plus qu'une saison de joie, mais même dans les années un peu difficiles, j'ai toujours adoré Noël : la festivité, les décorations, les lumières, les chocolats et donner des cadeaux. J'aime donner des cadeaux. (Recevoir, c'est pas mal non plus.) J'aime la petite lumière dans les yeux de quelqu'un à qui on a donné quelque chose qui fait vraiment plaisir. Quand j'étais petite, je faisais toujours des petits gâteaux pour tous mes amis. J'utilisais une recette d'origine écossaise qui s'appelle shortbread, mais que D. appelle "butterbread" -- quand vous regardez les ingrédients, vous allez comprendre pourquoi. C'est une des recettes les plus faciles à réaliser que je connaisse, bien pour inclure les enfants, il est facile d'en faire beaucoup et ça plaît à tout le monde !

Préchauffer le four à 170C.

Ecraser :

225g beurre, ramolli

Tamiser :

300g farine
70g sucre glace
1/4 c.c. sel

Avec les doigts, mélanger le beurre avec les autres ingrédients. Mettre la pâte dans un plat allant au four et appuyer bien pour que la pâte soit distribuer de façon equilibrée. Saupoudrer de sucre coloré si vous souhaitez. Percer avec une fourchette tout les 1 ou 2 cm.

Cuire 25-30 minutes au four jusqu'à ce que le dessus soit doré. Couper pendant que c'est encore chaud pour empêcher les gâteaux de tomber trop en miettes.


08 December 2008

Holiday Pecan Pie

Pour mes lecteurs français, je n'ai pas traduit cette recette car il y a trop d'ingrédients qu'on ne trouve pas (ou difficilement) en France. Mais ne vous désespérez pas : il y a plus de bonnes recettes à venir en français bientôt !

Thank you all for you kind comments. It was a difficult week but things are slowly getting back to normal. I'm a bit exhausted, but I've been meaning to post about my very favorite thing about Thanksgiving (yes, I know, we're getting closer and closer to Christmas, but at least I'm in the holiday spirit) and that's pecan pie.

I say "Thanksgiving" or "holiday pie" instead of "Christmas pie" and that's because D. is a certifiable Grinch when it comes to Christmas (there's may even be a greenish hint to the skin that comes on towards the beginning of December, and becomes more pronounced when surrounded by shoppers "getting in the spirit"). I personally love Christmas so I don't let grinchy-ness get in the way of preparing to give presents or listening to the soundtrack of the nutcracker on repeat. And almost everyone enjoys edible presents like Clementine-Walnut Meringues, for example, or Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls (and more ideas on that to come). But Christmas, like Thanksgiving, is often about eating good food at home with family, and this pecan pie could certainly fall into that category.

It's simple to make, can be made ahead of time and is oh so yummy!


1 pie crust

2 cups (250g) pecans coursely chopped, plus 10 whole for decorating the top

3 large eggs
1 cup (215g) light brown sugar
1 cup (2 dl) dark corn syrup (yes, I know, corn syrup is bad for you, but this is only recipe I ever use it in so I let myself splurge. It makes the consistency so perfect!)
5 Tbsp (70g) melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp salt (unless you used salted butter, in which leave out the salt)

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) and spread out the chopped pecans on a cookie sheet. Toast the pecans in the oven until golden 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together until well-blended. Stir in the toasted pecans. Warm the pie crust in the oven until hot to the touch (a couple minutes, no more). Pour in the filling and arrange the 10 whole pecans on top in the pattern of your choice. Bake 35-45 minutes, until the edges are firm and center is set but still a bit quivery (it will continue to harden as it cools). Let stand for at least an hour or more before serving to allow it to set completely. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

06 December 2008

Hi everybody, just a quick note to say I apologize for being completely absent from the blogosphere for the past week. I had to leave abruptly due to a family emergency, but I'm looking forward to catching up on all your latest recipes and hopefully getting a post up tomorrow or Monday.

Je voulais juste poster rapidement pour dire que si j'étais complètement absente de la blogosphère depuis une semaine, c'est parce que j'ai dû partir de façon abrupte à cause d'une urgence dans la famille. Je viens de rentrer et j'ai hâte de rattraper un peu ma lecture de vos recettes et de faire un vrai poste demain ou lundi.