Meatless Monday: Red Curry with Vegetables

Some of you may recall when I first made this curry dish and couldn’t stop talking about it or how crazy easy it turns out curry-making is. You could say it sent me racing down a curry-making rabbit hole. Curry-based anything – I love it. It really is unbelievably easy to make, and as a bonus, your kitchen/home almost instantly fill with amazing smells. Still, in spite of my curry fascination, I’ve mostly stuck to similar dishes that use either a yellow curry or a basic coconut curry. This introduced a new flavor profile to my at-home recipe Rolodex (extra points for outdated cultural references right?!), and is beautiful and full of color, flavor, and good smells. This recipe has a little hint of a bite to it, as red curries can, so if serving to littles like me, I strongly recommend having additional coconut milk on-hand to mix into their bowls to temper the punch. “A little spicy” aside, this was a delightful Meatless Monday victory, and you should totally try it. If the all-veg version isn’t enough for you, any protein would work beautifully with these flavors. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDredcurry2
* 1T coconut oil
* 1 sweet onion, rough chopped
* salt
* 1T grated fresh ginger (about an inch or so of ginger root), or ginger paste
* 2t minced garlic
* 1 bell pepper (any color), julienned
* 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
* 5oz sliced button mushrooms
* 2T red curry paste
* 14oz can coconut milk (plus extra for smaller eaters’ bowls)
* 1/2C water
* 5oz bag baby spinach
* 1 1/2t raw (aka turbinado) sugar
* 1T low-sodium soy sauce
* 1t rice vinegar (if you don’t have rice vinegar, add the juice of a second lime)
* juice of 1 lime
* for garnishing: lime wedges and a handful of fresh basil cut into thin strips

WHAT TO DO
Heat a wok or large, high-sided pan over medium heat, then add the coconut oil. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute for 3-4 minutes, mixing frequently, until they soften and become translucent. Add the ginger and the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until all the aromatics are released (bonus perk: your sinuses are now also cleared!).

redcurry1

Add the pepper, carrots, and mushrooms and cook about 4 minutes, until the crunchy veggies begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Then add the curry paste and stir through for about 2 minutes.

Now add the coconut milk, water, spinach, and sugar. Stir to combine and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

redcurry2

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and another pinch of salt. Stir to mix through, and then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over rice and garnish with some fresh basil and a wedge of lime. Be sure to take a moment to appreciate how amazing your home smells while you’re at it!

Chunky Salmon Patties

salmonpatty4We have been trying to incorporate more fish into our diet recently. I didn’t like fish at all (except tuna salad) until I was a full-grown, independent, out of college, out of grad school even, real actual adult, so I’m pretty fresh to this game. Conveniently, I went from totally not wanting anything to do with pretty much most seafood, to wanting every kind of sashimi and sushi in front of me at all times, and on top of that, our Tiny Sous Chef basically emerged a seafood fanatic — her father’s daughter — so *deciding* to add more fish to our routine wasn’t so hard. In reality, though, my limited experience with fish does make this a little tricky. I have to be willing to try preparing proteins I’ve literally never handled. It’s one thing to order a beautiful halibut dinner at a restaurant, it’s quite another entirely to know intuitively, or at least confidently/comfortably, how to work with it yourself. Or even to order it. Man oh man does the seafood counter intimidate me! Long story short, I figure out one preparation and I kind of stick with it for a while. Which, logically, gets boring.

My mother in-law usually eats with us on Wednesday evenings, which has become a really lovely tradition. And she loves salmon, but rarely prepares it for herself, so I frequently like to make it for her when she’s here. But it’s-another-salmon-fillet-dinner gets a little tiresome, too, so I wanted to mix things up a little. Quick side discussion – how do you like your salmon? Got any great recipes or tips you’d like to pass along? Please do!

I decided to make salmon burgers for dinner – that’s different, right?! And after scouring books and blogs for recipes, decided to try something really out of my element, a patty made with *fresh* salmon that could be whipped up on a busy weeknight. The result was, if I do say so myself, totally wonderful. Keeping the salmon a bit chunkier, rather than ground, gives such a rich and luscious texture to the burger patty. Fresh and bright, light, flaky, and herby–in spite of a little extra prep work, this patty is great, and is actually really simple to make, and you probably already most of the ingredients (maybe not the salmon and dill) at home. Plus! It got serious thumbs up from my MIL who also reminded me that if she didn’t like it she would not pretend, so, hey, you know it’s legit. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb fresh salmon, boneless and skin removed, chopped into a small dice (you can definitely make this using a canned salmon, by the way – it will still be delicious!)
* 2T Panko breadcrumbs (plus possibly a little extra)
* juice of 1/2 a lemon
* 2T red onion, diced tiny
* 1T fresh dill, chopped
* 1T mayonnaise
* 1T grainy Dijon mustard
* 1t salt
* 1/4t black pepper
* 1T olive oil
* 1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving

WHAT TO DO
Mix together your diced salmon and Panko until well combined. Add the lemon juice, red onion, dill, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine, using a large spoon. Press and crush the salmon down a bit as you mix – to help everything stick together. But allow for some larger chunks to hold up. If your consistency seems a bit loose, add a little bit more Panko, half a teaspoon at a time, until you like the texture and the mixture holds together well.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil glistens, form the mixture into patties (this recipe will yield 4-6 patties, depending on the size you want to make them) and place them into the pan.

Cook about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 4. Serve warm with lemon wedges – on a bun or over a beautiful fresh salad.

salmonpatty3

Baked Garlic and Feta Turkey Meatballs

Raise your hand if you like meatballs?! <shoots both hands and also feet up in the air>

There are some good standby recipes when it comes to meatballs, though. And lots of folks swear by a “best meatballs ever” recipe and don’t like to waver from the path. Know what I mean? If you’re one of those, I encourage you to open your mind (and mouth!), but I won’t judge you if you don’t try variations, because, well, I get it. I also have a tried and true go-to, but I also really like to mix it up sometimes. I’m sure that’s shocking to you if you read along with me here. But seriously, meatballs are not one thing. There is a basic formula, sure, but it’s so malleable. You can take it so many different directions with just a tweak here or there. I made this recipe up on my way to the grocery store. No, seriously, I did. It’s because once you have the formula down, it’s THAT easy to change it up! They are light easy and super quick to pull together. They can be served any number of ways – over spaghetti, rice, or zoodles (zucchini noodles), in a pita with some fresh salad, in a hoagie roll with sauce all over them, or just plain even. They are beautifully flavored and moist and delicious, so here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDgarfetturmb1
* 1lb lean ground turkey
* 1/4C Panko breadcrumbs
* 2-4t minced garlic (depending on your garlic preference… pretty sure you know where I land on this one…)
* 1/4-1/3C crumbled feta cheese
* 1t salt
* 1/4t black pepper
* 1/2T dried parsley
* 1 egg

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 375F. Cover a baking sheet in foil, and spray the foil lightly with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Now. Super easy. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix together – careful not to overwork – until fully combined.

Form the mixture into approximately 1-inch balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe should make 12-15 meatballs.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then turn the broiler on high and cook another 2 minutes to brown the tops and get a little extra crisp on them.

Whoop! Amazing baked turkey meatballs packed to the gills with deliciousness ready to serve! Enjoy!garfetturmb2

Meatless Monday: Spinach, Mushroom, and Sweet Onion Calzones

There was this great little calzone shop in the town I grew up in for a few years. D.P. Dough. Man, those were some good calzones. When that shop opened up in town, it was the first time I’d ever had a calzone, and for a while there, I probably could have had one every day. Revelatory! They were actually a chain, I guess. There was randomly one in town where my cousins went to college.

A calzone is an oven-baked folded pizza that, according to the Interwebs, originated in Naples, Italy. A traditional calzone uses a salted bread dough, and is baked in a super hot oven after being stuffed with meat (ham or salami) and mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan or pecorino cheese. But I haven’t seen (or made) a traditional calzone in a while – and why limit yourself, really??

This past weekend, My Tiny Sous Chef and I took a little trip out east to visit my parents for a few days. Every time we take her back to my home town, where I lived from the time I was four until I left for college at 18, I share just one or two more childhood memories with her–often at least one of those has to do with food (of course). Maybe that’s why the idea of calzones popped into my head. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did. You can get fancy and complicated with calzones if you want. Or you can keep it simple. Or somewhere in between. But on a weeknight — and a Monday after a weekend away, at that! — this easy and delicious version will satisfy every time, guaranteed. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDcalzone6
* 1 bag baby spinach
* 5oz sliced button mushrooms
* 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced thin
* 2T olive oil, divided
* 8oz ricotta cheese
* 3/4C-1C shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
* 2t minced garlic
* 1t dried oregano
* 1lb prepared pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s)
* grated Parmesan cheese
* your favorite pizza or marinara sauce, warmed up, for serving

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 500F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, set aside.

Boil some water in a medium-sized pot. When it gets to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add the whole bag of spinach. Leave the spinach in the water just a minute, to wilt. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a pan and cook the mushrooms and onions just until softened, a few minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, mushrooms, onions, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, the other tablespoon of olive oil, 1 egg yolk, garlic, and oregano.

calzone1

In a small bowl whisk together the full egg with two tablespoons of water to prepare an egg wash. Set aside.

Flour a working surface and cut your pizza dough into four equal sized pieces. Roll each out into an approximately 6-8-inch round. Place a quarter of the cheese and vegetable filling on one half of each round – pile it up. It will look like a lot, but you want it to be *stuffed* so don’t be shy with your filling. Be sure to leave about a half-inch to an inch border around the edge.

Fold the other half of the dough round over the filling and pinch the edges together. Crimp or fold the seam (or just press it together) to seal. Brush the seams and each calzone with the egg wash and place the calzones onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 small steam vents in the top of each.

calzone5

Bake at 500F for 8 minutes. Then remove the calzones from the oven, brush the tops with the remainder of the egg wash, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake another 7 minutes. Allow the calzones to cool slightly before serving so that the filling can set and isn’t runny, and so you can pick up your calzone for ultimate dipping in the warmed marinara sauce!