Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thai Orange Curry

Technically, this is a red curry, but the tumeric in the curry paste gives the final dish a wonderful orange colour. The key here is to make your own curry paste--it's not too hard and the taste is fabulous. No one sells dried chiles around here, so I bought about 10 bags of them the last time I was in Columbus (there is a Mexican grocery store on Cleveland Avenue I used to frequent when I lived there). The paste is not too hot (best for the kids), but you can make it hotter by adding a few more Japanese chiles in place of one Guajillo chile. You can also add as many serranos as you like to the final dish. The recipes are veganized and slightly adapted from True Thai.

Curry Paste
- 4 large dried Guajillo chiles
- 2 dried Japanese chiles
- 2 stalk lemon grass, lower section, trimmed and sliced
- 3 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsbp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp tumeric

1. Stem and de-seed chiles and soak for 30 mins in hot water. While the chiles are soaking, pulse the lemon grass in a food processor until broken down into small pieces.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor and process into a paste, as smooth as you can get it. Add the water you used to soak the chiles as needed (about 1/2 cup) to make a smooth paste.

Thai Orange Curry
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup, or so, curry paste from above
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 8 lime leaves (I used dried), or zest of 1 lime
- serrano chiles to taste, sliced in half, lengthwise
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup basil leaves (Thai or Italian)

1. Heat coconut milk and curry paste in a saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add chickpeas, lime leaves (or zest), chiles, sugar, and sauces. Bring to bubbling again, then lower heat, cover and let gently simmer for at least 20 mins.
2. If using dried lime leaves, remove. Add salt as needed. Adjust curry paste and sauces as needed. Right before serving, add basil leaves and mix in until wilted. Serve with rice.

Monday, May 9, 2011

3rd Annual Mother's Day Brunch

Sunday was the 3rd Annual Mother's day brunch. This year's guest list was 30 people, a big step up from the first brunch I hosted, and 10 more than last year. More people meant a simplified menu. I had all sorts of plans to make danishes and croissants and donuts, but I just did not have the time to pull it off. But, rather than lament what I did not make, let's talk about what I did. First up: muffins. I decided that mini-muffins would be best since they would allow people to sample a variety of food without getting full from a mega-muffin. I made a batch each night in the days before the brunch (24 mini muffins per batch) and stuck them in the freezer. I went with the lemon poppy seed, pumpkin bran, bakery-style berry, and espresso chocolate chip from Vegan Brunch. Next: cinnamon rolls from Artisan Breads Everyday. The great thing about this recipe is that it does not call for an egg in the dough and is easily made vegan. I like the recipe better than the one I blogged about before (though the pic for that post is the background for the brunch invite I sent out). I also made lemon currant rolls. I always make them for the school bake sale and so they have become a thing. I always give the people what they want. This time I just used flax eggs and did not bother with the whole tofu thing. They turned out great. You can also see some vegan apple muffins my neighbour brought over. Next up is Vegan Mom's scrambled tofu. Simple and plain, and the kids don't freak out. Next to that is a bowl of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and pepper for those who wanted to dress the tofu up a bit. In the chafing dishes (new this year--borrowed from a friend) are roasted baby potatoes and a ton of pancakes (from Vegan Brunch).
We lined up three tables and sat 20 in the dining room/living room, with a kids' table in the summer room. Guests brought juice, tea, coffee, and fruit salads to round out the menu and we all went to town (I had to blur some faces because I did not ask anyone if I could post the pic). All in all, a great success!