Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Indian curry turned up to 11

I often cheat when cooking. If I don't get home until 5 and we're both starving by 5:30, I have to make dinner quickly. So for example, tonight I thought we had all the ingredients for a decent curry, and it sounded good. But cooking potatoes and carrots in half an hour? Not gonna happen. So for this recipe, I cheated like crazy.

1 Tb olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 cup hot curry paste
1 lb trimmed green beans in 1-inch pieces
1 cup of sliced summer squash -- your choice.
1 carrot
6 small potatoes (I mean really small -- not Russets, but little Yukon Golds or something)
2 Tbs peanut butter
1 tsp cumin seed
hot sauce to taste

Put a pot of rice on to cook. Once it's on, you can leave it alone.

Okay, here's the cheat: Cut the potatoes into cubes (1-inch or so) and the carrot into thinner slices. Put a pot of water on to boil with a steamer basket inside. Put the potatoes and carrot into the steamer basket and turn on HIGH. Do that FIRST, before mincing the garlic or trimming the beans or anything.
Now, back to normal. Sautee the garlic, then add the curry paste, the cumin seed, and the coconut milk. Add the green beans and stir occasionally over medium heat. After about 3 minutes, add the squash (you don't want it to get mushy). Add the peanut butter (not really necessary, just gives a little depth of flavor) and stir well. When a fork will go through the potatoes very easily (or just taste one and see if it's done), add the potatoes and carrot to the beans and sauce pot. Stir everything well and let them simmer together for at least 5 minutes. (If you had cooked the potatoes in the sauce, they'd be more infused with flavor, but that also takes a lot longer. The 5 minutes of simmering does a pretty good job, though.

As for the hot sauce, you'd be fine without it. I tasted the sauce and some veggies at this point, and it was quite good. But I'm a daredevil and my husband's a heat freak. I asked him whether he wanted it as-is, medium, hot, or HOT hot. He told me to turn it up to eleven.

I got out Dave's Insanity Spontaneous Combustion sauce. I shook it over the pan and stirred and tasted. It wasn't bad, but wasn't hot, either. I shook once more all around the pan and stirred and tasted. I could feel a burn, but not much of one -- not one that lingered. I shook once more, and, well, that did it. We both found ourselves sniffling, and I'll admit to having cried. It was good though.

Fake paella

I made real paella once. It took about twenty ingredients and took forever to cook and wasn't that good. Last night I briefly glanced at a paella recipe and then improvised from there, and it was pretty good.

2/3 cup medium-grain rice
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
sun-dried onions, reconstituted with boiling water (keep the water)
1 zucchini and 2 yellow summer squash diced or thinly sliced
various mild peppers (about 5)
Gimme Lean sausage
1 cup torn basil leaves

Sautee the garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add the onions, sausage, and squash and sautee. I wanted roasted peppers, so I threw the peppers in a dry pan over high heat and turned them until they were blackened in several places, then rubbed off the skins and cut the peppers into strips. Add them too. Sautee everything for about five minutes, stirring frequently, then scoot everything over to one side of the pan and add a little more oil. Pour in the rice and stir it briefly into the oil, then mix everything together (veggies, sausage and rice) and add 2 cups water. Stir occasionally and cook until all the water has been absorbed by the rice. Add the basil and stir until it wilts. Salt to taste.

I can't entirely remember all the seasonings I threw in here -- this is why I try to blog the same night. Oh well. It was really pretty good.

Oh, the only reason I used sun-dried onions is that they're all I had and it really needed onion.