Happy New Year! I hope your celebrations were plentiful and your resolutions do-able! I know that when I return from Mexico, I will definitely be eating a little lighter than I was through the heady days of December’s party season and through our vacation (can you say “more eggs than you can poke a stick at?” LOL!). The choices I made for my RSVP Redux entries for November and December were deliberate, knowing I would be posting them at the beginning of a new year when everyone would be vowing to eat lighter.
As soon as I laid eyes on the November issue of Bon Appétit, I knew that the RSVP recipe I would make would the the Panang Curry. Around the time that issue arrived, I was extremely busy at work and with grad school (oh, you know and the blog!) and was making large batches of food ahead of time so that we would have proper food through the week for dinner and so that Neil would not have to raid the vending machine for lunch. I whipped this curry up in about 10 minutes, so fast, in fact, that Neil had no idea I had even made it so the day I sent it for lunch, he emailed me “I don’t know where that curry came from but it was GOOD!”. It’s rare that a lunch merits an email so I knew this was a winner!
This version of the favorite Thai classic is both bright and warming.
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
3 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 large leafy sprigs Thai basil or regular basil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/4-to 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2×1/4-inch strips
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
4 teaspoons tamarind paste
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Unsweetened coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, tamarind paste, and fish sauce can be found in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets. Kaffir lime leaves are sold frozen or sometimes fresh at Asian markets. If the lime leaves are unavailable, use 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel for each leaf.
Heat 1/2 cup coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, and kaffir lime leaves in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 3 cups coconut milk, onion, and basil sprigs; bring to boil. Continue to boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken, bell pepper, bamboo shoots, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.
The December choice came about partly by choice, partly by necessity – I knew I wouldn’t be making it until the last days before leaving for vacation so I made sure to have the necessary ingredients on hand. I liked the look of the Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola, and Green-Tea Vinaigrette for a quick weekday lunch amidst the December chaos!
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1tbsp minced shallot
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1tsp matcha green-tea powder*
3 tbsp corn oil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cups loosely packed mixed greens
2 pears, peeled, halved lengthways, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Purée vinegar, shallow, chives, mustard, basil and matcha in processor. WIth machine running, gradually add corn oil and olive oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
Place mixed greens, pear wedges, toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese in a large bowl. Ass 1/3 cup vinaigrette to salad and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad amongst plates and serve, passing remaining vinaigrette alongside.
*Matcha is a powder made from finely ground, dried green tea leaves, available in specialty or health food stores.
This was a super tasty salad – loved the tang of the vinaigrette and the green tea definitely added a lovely, unusual zing to the salad. I kept my pears with the peel on because I like the look of them but also because I happen to quite like pear skin. This would be a nice salad to start a dinner if you were entertaining friends – it’s very elegant yet so simple. Loved it!
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