Quick Red Coconut Curry Noodles

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe somehow convinced me to make this dish last night. I’ve avoiding learning to make my favorite foods—yes, it is absurd—so I can enjoy them at my favorite restaurants. Dumb. Glad the tides are turning. Next time I’d like to try this Thai Coconut Curry, which is a little different. I have a few cooking notes down below, but the quick take is that this tasted really great on a Saturday night and I will make it again with tweaks.

INGREDIENTS:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans light or regular coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cups sweet Thai chili sauce
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 (13.5 ounce) package rice noodles (about ¼-inch wide)
1 yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 red peppers, cored and sliced thinly
1 cup broccoli slaw or thinly sliced matchstick carrots
1 teaspoon salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot over medium heat, scoop the cream off the top of each can of coconut and put it in the pot. (If using light coconut milk, there won’t be cream to use, so use the 1 tablespoon oil called for in the recipe). The cream will be used as the “fat” instead of oil or butter. Along with the cream, add the curry paste and ginger. Let this simmer, stirring constantly, for about one minute.

Add the chicken and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Add the coconut milk, sweet Thai chili sauce, cilantro, and chicken broth. Bring this to a simmer.

Add the red pepper, broccoli slaw (or carrots) and rice noodles and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom, for about 5-8 minutes. The noodles will thicken and plump up as they absorb the liquid. The mixture will be slightly soupy when the noodles are finished cooking.

Take the pot off the heat and let the noodles sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture will continue to thicken. Garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

**Two cans of regular coconut milk is a little much for me. The creaminess, the fat content, the weight of it in my stomach veers over the edge just slightly, so next time I might try the light coconut milk cans or simply reduce the amount I’m using. I skipped the red peppers for the sake of my non-pepper loving family members and I doubled the amount of broccoli slaw. This works, but I’m craving more veggies. This recipe can definitely handle chunky vegetables. Some commenters noted they added fish sauce at the end, and other doubled the amount of red curry paste. Both seem like potential good ideas to me. I wanted more of a spice kick, but again, for my child in particular, I didn’t want too much heat. Really yummy recipe, the smells flooded my house with happiness. But I think I can do a bit better next time.

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Summer Coucous Salad

My church is full of good cooks. Some are actual noteworthy chefs in our city (small church, I don’t know how we got so lucky) and others seem to have the knack for deliciousness all on their own, surely a skill developed by years of cookbook reading and kitchen work. At our recent summer camp there were several amazing quinoa and/or couscous salads. This was one of them, and oh was it yummy. Thanks for the recipe, Jen!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous, uncooked
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 green onions, white and green parts chopped
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and let stand for five minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, red pepper, slat, paprika, and pepper. Set aside.

Add the chopped green onions, basil, tomatoes, lemon zest and feta cheese to the cooled couscous and toss. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir or toss until combined. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

**I couldn’t be bothered by low sodium or reduced fat options this time around. Bring on the salt and fat! At least, today. Tomorrow I might change my mind.

Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

chocolatechip_cookies_dark

Livia and I tag-teamed this recipe last week and were super happy with the results. This might be my new favorite chocolate chip cookie.

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
12 TB unsalted butter, melted
1 C loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 t vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until combined and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg and egg yolk until just combined, and then beat in vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Beat in the chopped chocolate.

Scoop or drop 1 1/2 to 2 TB of dough onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches in between. Sprinkle each dough ball with coarse salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until set in the center and slightly golden. Let cool completely–these are amazingly chewy once cooled!

**I used 2/3 dark chocolate chips and 1/3 semi-sweet. Someday I’ll get brave enough to try 100% dark.