Thai Red Curry

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I think one of the best purchases I made while living in Thailand was the Thai cookbook I bought at AsiaBooks in Bangkok.  The recipes are all translated into English, and call for ingredients than are readily available in North America.  I guess it’s an Americanized version of Thai cooking, yet the recipes all taste very authentic.

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Tonight I decided to make a version of the Thai Red Curry recipe found in this book.  I adapted the recipe a bit, adding some different veggies.  I used pre-cooked frozen shrimp, which meant that not only is this dish super delicious, it is also ridiculously easy to make.  I suggest serving it on top of a heaping bowl of rice.

 

Thai Red Curry

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (fresh)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (juice drained and discarded)
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ lb large shrimp (cooked, peeled, and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tbsp sugar

Method:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add curry paste and sauté until you can smell the aroma of the curry (a couple of minutes).
  3. Spoon the thick and creamy top layer of coconut milk into the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir together the curry paste and coconut milk until well combined.
  4. Add the lime leaves, pineapple, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, and the rest of the coconut milk.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil for 2 minutes
  6. Add the shrimp, fish sauce, and sugar. Boil for 1 more minute. If using uncooked shrimp then boil until shrimp turn pink.
  7. Serve over steamed rice.

Enjoy!

-Kristen

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Lemony Lentil Soup

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Kurt and I are still oven-less, which means I’m still having to be creative when it comes to cooking our meals.  Today I was craving lentil soup, but couldn’t find a vegetarian friendly recipe that I wanted to make.  I searched my cookbooks, pinterest, and found nothing.  I ended up partially following a recipe for non-vegetarian lentil soup from the back of a package of lentils, making it vegetarian friendly, and partially just winging it.  The result was delicious and Kurt approved (I always know a recipe is a keeper when Kurt goes back for seconds).

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This soup was easy to make, and smelled so amazing.  The addition of lemon and parsley makes this soup much more fresh and summery, rather than a hearty winter soup.  It was perfect for a sunny day!

 

Lemony Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ cup green lentils, cleaned and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

 Method

  1. in a large saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat
  2. add garlic and sauté for approximately 5 minutes
  3. add onion, celery, and carrots and sauté for another few minutes, until vegetables begin to soften
  4. add lentils, broth, water, lemon rind, salt, pepper, cumin, and bay leaf
  5. bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour, or until lentils are tender
  6. once lentils are tender, add lemon juice and continue to simmer for 30 minutes more
  7. remove bay leaf and serve
  8. garnish with parsley, and white vinegar to taste

Enjoy!

-Kristen

Life Updates + Moscow Mule Recipe

Hey everyone, sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately.  Lots of exciting things happening in my life that seem to have distracted me from blogging.  As some of you may know, I am an aspiring veterinarian.  This last fall, I sent in my application for veterinary school at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon.  The process of accepting applicants is quite drawn out, and I was starting to wonder if I would ever hear from them about an interview offer.  I finally got an email from the college on May 15th, and they wanted to interview me on the 25th!  I basically had to put my life on hold so that I could fly to Saskatoon for the interview on such short notice.  Although I was incredibly nervous, I felt like my interview went really well, and it was a very positive experience.  However, all applicants are ranked on their grades, and then given an interview score, these two scores are combined and only the top 20 applicants are accepted.  They only interview 40 people so the fact that I even got the chance to interview is fantastic.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the college about their final decision, which could take up to a couple of weeks.

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University Bridge over the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon

I also received some excellent news on Monday the 25th.  I entered a short story I had written into a creative writing contest recently.  My piece was chosen as the winner!  My prize is that I get to attend the “Write on the Beach” workshop hosted by the Federation of BC Writers in June, and at the workshop I get to read my piece.  I am so incredibly excited for this opportunity.  Writing has always been a passion of mine, and it feels great to be recognized for my writing.

So, I flew to Saskatoon on the 24th, had my interview on the 25th, got the good news about the writing contest while still in Saskatoon, flew back home the evening of the 25th, and was up bright and early in the morning on the 26th to ride the Heart and Stroke Foundation Big Bike!  It’s been a crazy few days, to say the least.  My team and I successfully raised $1220 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  I surpassed my goal of raising $100 myself, and ended up raising over $500!

riding the big bike

riding the big bike

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team banana republic

And to round out this blog post (because it doesn’t already contain enough amazingness), I thought I’d include a yummy drink recipe.  Moscow mule mugs seem to be quite popular lately. Every time I walk into HomeSense, Winners, or Pier 1, I see them. They’re great for cold beverages on a hot day because they actually keep your drink nice and cool.  And of course, what better drink to have out of a Moscow mule mug than a Moscow mule itself. Here’s how I make mine:

ingredients to make a delicious moscow mule

ingredients to make a delicious moscow mule

yumm

yumm

 

Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • Lime wedge
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • ½ cup ginger beer (Old Jamaica Ginger Beer works best in my experience)

Method:

  • Squeeze lime wedge into mug
  • Fill the mug with ice
  • Add ginger beer and vodka
  • Mix with a stir stick and serve

Enjoy!

-Kristen

Thai Recipe – Cucumber Soup

As some of you may already know, I once lived in Thailand for a year as an exchange student.  Although back in the days when I lived in Thailand, I wasn’t much of a cook, I’ve now developed quite a passion for it.  I also have quite a passion for Thai food, but am VERY critical of Thai food sold in local restaurants.  I’m often claiming that dishes don’t taste like they did in Thailand, or they use ingredients that Thai people would never use.  The best solution seems to be for me to just cook my own Thai food, and tonight that’s exactly what I did (with some help from Kurt).

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Ever since our oven stopped working, I’ve been struggling to only cook dishes that need not be roasted, baked, or broiled.  Thai food is perfect for this as many Thai’s do not have ovens in their home, and therefore everything is cooked in pots or pans on the stove-top.

One dish I loved while living in Thailand was cucumber soup.  A sort of bland soup, it’s best described as the chicken noodle soup of Thailand.  My host mom made it a lot since my host grandma couldn’t eat much spicy food.  It’s normally made with pieces of ground chicken, but I opted to use mushrooms instead, making this dish totally vegetarian.

When I first told Kurt I would be making cucumber soup, his reaction was “that sounds gross”. But he actually ended up enjoying it so much he said I can add it to my recipe rotation.

 

Cucumber Soup

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch long segments
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Method:

  1. Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan
  2. Add mushrooms and allow them to cook through (approximately 5 minutes)
  3. Add cucumber, fish sauce, and soy sauce
  4. Remove from heat and serve

 

Super easy, yet healthy and delicious!

Let me know what you think of this recipe.  Yummy or just too weird to try?

 

Pizza on the BBQ

A couple of nights ago, Kurt and I wanted to try making pizza, including the dough, from scratch.  My beautiful friend Nicole had given me a recipe for pizza dough months ago, and I decided it was time I tested it out.  The dough was simple to make, and turned out great.  However, as soon as we had all our ingredients prepped and were ready to start assembling our pizzas, our ancient oven shot sparks everywhere and proceeded to die.  So we turned to plan B, which was making pizzas on the BBQ.  The result was a delicious yet slightly charred pizza.  It was so yummy that I think from now on I’ll only ever barbeque my pizzas instead of baking them.

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BBQ Pizza

  • Servings: 4
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For the dough:

  • 2    1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup oil

Topping suggestions:

  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • basil
  • chicken
  • pepperoni
  • cheese
  • pizza sauce
  • onions
  • pineapple
  • ham
  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together water and oil
  3. Slowly add water/oil mixture to dry ingredients, kneading to combine
  4. Cover dough and let rise for approximately 20 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, prep all topping ingredients
  6. Once dough is ready, shape it to fit into a greased cast-iron pan
  7. Top with pizza sauce, cheese, and other toppings (we used tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh basil)
  8. BBQ at approximately 450 degree for 8 minutes, until cheese is melted and dough is cooked through

Have you ever made pizza on the barbeque?  Let me know what you think!

Veggie Winter Chili

Lately I’ve been having a craving for chili, and with the weather turning colder in the last couple of days, it seemed like the perfect time to make a big pot of veggie chili, curl up under a blanket, and read a good book.  I wanted to make something other than my usual sweet potato and black bean chili, but was unable to find a recipe that I was satisfied with.  So, I decided to try my hand at coming up with my own recipe.

Delicious veggie chili with black beans, lentils, mushrooms, and beer.

Delicious veggie chili with black beans, lentils, mushrooms, and beer.

By the way..  although I’ve been told I can cook and bake quite well, I always follow a recipe and lack confidence in my ability to improvise while cooking.  I didn’t really even start cooking anything until a couple years ago, and I was such a hopeless cook at that point that I didn’t even know where to find a sweet potato at the grocery store.  I had no idea what flavours go well together, how to chop veggies, or what it meant to “sauté”.  So, for me now to be making up my own recipes is quite impressive, if I do say so myself.

I threw together a combination of veggies we had on hand, some canned veggies and beans, and frozen corn, which made this chili super easy to make.  I also added a can of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale, because I love the chocolately taste of this beer, and I thought it would add a nice depth to the chili.  You could use any dark beer you like, or leave out the beer entirely.  However, I do recommend that you should try to get your hands on the Granville Island Lions Winter Ale, because not only does it add an extra layer of flavour in this dish, but it is just plain delicious to drink on it’s own.

Granville Island Winter Ale - tastes like liquid chocolate.

Granville Island Winter Ale – tastes like liquid chocolate.

I if had planned it more in advance, I would have made some yummy corn bread to go along with dinner, so I guess I will just have to save that recipe for another time!  The resulting chili was (to quote Kurt) “so f*cking delicious” that I should add it to my recipe book to make it in the future.  He even went back for seconds (great success).

 

Veggie Winter Chili

  • Servings: 6
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  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (796 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can Granville Island Lions Winter Ale
  • 1 (540 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (540 mL) can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 10 dashes of Tabasco
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • sour cream
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil, onion, and garlic on low until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and beer.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
  3. Add black beans, lentils, corn, mushrooms, and spices.
  4. Turn down heat to low, cover, and simmer until mushrooms are cooked, approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Top with grated cheddar, sour scream and enjoy.

Mom’s Pineapple UpsideDown Cake

Pineapple upsidedown cake is one of those classic, unhealthy, delicious, easy to make desserts that I remember from my childhood. Lots of butter, brown sugar, and pineapple slices take a simple white box cake to next level deliciousness, and turns it into something gooey, sweet, and satisfyingly sweet.

My mom used to make this cake a lot for a family friend who loved pineapple upsidedown cake. Kurt had a craving for it the other day, so I requested the recipe from my mom, and tried my hand at making it. It turned out just like I remembered it, except that when I turned it upsidedown, the cake fell apart a little bit. Oh well, it still tasted great!

All you need to make this cake is butter, brown sugar, some canned pineapple slices, white cake mix, eggs, and vegetable oil.  Easy peasy.

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Here is my mom’s recipe, word for word:

 

Mom's Pineapple UpsideDown Cake

  • Servings: 16 cake slices
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MOM’S PINEAPPLE UPSIDEDOWN CAKE

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (19 oz/ 540 mL) pineapple rings drained with juice reserved
  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  1. Melt butter in 9×13 cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over top evenly. Arrange drained pineapple slices over sugar.
  2. In a large bowl combine cake mix, eggs, pineapple juice, water, and oil. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter evenly over fruit.
  3. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes then turn upside down onto a large platter.

not the prettiest cake I've ever made, but it was definitely delicious!

not the prettiest cake I’ve ever made, but it was definitely delicious!

Side note: Kurt and I are currently living in an older house, with older appliances. One of which being a stove that I don’t quite trust to always be at the temperature it says it at. I had it set to 350 while baking this cake, but checked on the cake after only about 30 minutes and was surprised to see that it was already golden, and almost a little burned, on top. With that being said, you may want to experiment with the baking times, just in case it really does only take 30 minutes to bake and it’s not just my old oven.