Chilled Kimchi Soup with Ramps and Quail Egg

The summer is beginning to ramp up, which means we are fully booked from now until mid-July. Weddings, bachelorette parties, friends visiting, family visiting, conferences – our weekends are busy. Beyond that, we are trying really hard to not plan anything for the rest of the summer. It’s tough. I already have light suggestions in my calendar for what we might want to do, but for our first summer in New York, I want to maintain some semblance of flexibility to explore the city in which we live.

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Eric and I have started building up a bit of a routine to our explorations as well. Saturdays usually include a one-way long run – 8-10 miles to a destination that most often includes food and beer. With the weather having been so lovely lately, these one-way runs often turn into all-day patio-hopping endeavors. It’s fun. Sundays we switch it up with a bike ride to some of the farther-flung places: breweries, parks, other boroughs. We’ve found some good biking routes around the city and we certainly get our hill work in with the number of bridges we must cross on our rides.

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So this soup – it’s tasty. Spicy. Perfect for a hot day. You can use a chicken egg instead of a quail egg, though quail eggs are cuter. And you can skip the ramps if they’re no longer in season. Or add other greens if you want to amp up the health factor. Compared to most hot soups, you don’t want a fatty broth here – the fat will congeal when you chill the broth, making it rather unappetizing – so if you’re making your own, remember to skim the fat before you use it. The tofu fries add a nice crunch and texture and frankly just taste good. Slurp these up before a big bike-riding, patio-hopping, beer-drinking day.

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Chilled Kimchi Soup with Ramps and Quail Egg

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
2 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cups chicken stock
1 heaping teaspoon gochujang
1/2 cup kimchi
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 bunch ramps, roughly chopped
2 cups ice water

2 servings fresh Chinese or Korean noodles
4 oz extra firm tofu, cut into strips
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

green onion, shredded, to garnish
quail eggs, one per serving, to garnish
red chile, thinly sliced

To make the broth, start by sautéing the garlic and ginger in oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant. Add the chicken stock and gochujang and allow to come to a boil, whisking to incorporate the gochujang. Turn off heat and add the kimchi with plenty of its juices and rice vinegar. Make sure the ice water is ready, then add the ramps, stir so they are all submerged, then immediately add the ice water. Taste for seasoning – add salt if necessary. Put the pot in the refrigerator or the freezer if you want it to chill faster.

Make your noodles according to package directions until al dente. In a frying pan, fry to tofu strips in oil over medium-high heat until crispy on the outside. You might need to do this in batches.

For soft boiled quail eggs, bring a pot of water to boil, drop the eggs in and set the timer for two minutes. After two minutes, remove from hot water and submerge them in ice water.

To assemble, layer the the noodles, tofu, green onions, quail eggs (peeled and cut in half), and red chile in a deep bowl. Pour the chilled broth with kimchi and ramps over the top. Slurp to enjoy.

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Teff Porridge with Roasted Strawberries and Citrus

There is nothing like a little trip to get me inspired back in the kitchen. Eric and I managed to overlap work trips – Eric to Kenya for an Engineers Without Borders project and my own trip to Burundi. At the end, we snuck in two days in Copenhagen to relax, eat, and explore.

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We walked about 15 miles each day and ate so well – everything from smorrebrød to piles and piles of lumpfish roe. The Danes place an emphasis on quality and freshness, which is apparent everywhere you go. One of my favorite meals was lunch at GRØD, a tiny little spot devoted to porridge. My barley-otto with celery root and lovage was delightful so of course I had to buy the book.

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This recipe, though, is not from the book. It is the result of a welcome-home shopping trip to Mr. Piña that included super-on-sale strawberries and a bag of teff grains. Inspired by GRØD, this breakfast porridge hits all the right notes – wholesome and grainy, subtle hints of sweetness and acid, and a crisp textural crunch. Perfect for a weekend or those days you wake up at 5am from jet lag.

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Teff Porridge with Roasted Strawberries and Citrus

*You can use any citrus here, really. I had all kinds of yummy stuff on hand – pink lemon, blood orange, minneola tengelo, and cara cara orange. The same goes for nuts – I toasted a combination of pine nuts, almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.

1/2 cup teff grains
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chia seeds
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups milk of your choice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
pinch of salt

2 pounds strawberries, trimmed and sliced
slices of whatever citrus you like
toasted nuts and seeds
toasted coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange the strawberries on a baking pan. Cut the ends off the citrus fruits and squeeze the juices over the strawberries. Arrange very thin slices of citrus over the top. Bake for an hour.

In a pot, mix the teff, oats, and chia seeds with the milk and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes until it reaches the consistency that you want. I like it a bit runny still. Towards the end, add the maple syrup and salt and stir to combine.

In a dry pan, toast the nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes. They will all toast at different rates so best to do each type individually.

Top the porridge with the strawberries, nuts/seeds, and coconut flakes. You can cut the rinds of the citrus slices and add those as well.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Tahini

Happy New Year! Eric and I rang in 2015 playing a dreidel drinking game (which I – the only non-Jew in the room – won) and dancing to the Phil Collins Pandora station at our new-to-me, old-to-Eric friend’s apartment. And maybe it was Phil Collins, or perhaps it was the coffee I drank after dinner, but I managed to stay awake until 3am – a real feat for me considering my propensity for falling asleep at 9pm.

Brussels-Gochujang-Tahini

On New Year’s Day, I felt some of the first pangs of missing Chicago. Tired, slightly hungover, and craving some comfort food, Eric and I set off on a search for good, authentic Mexican. Having lived for years around the corner from at least five taquerias in Chicago, we were used to rolling out of bed and being mere minutes away from Eric’s beloved carne asada tacos at Guanajuato Carniceria. And perhaps we haven’t found our spot yet, but sadly, the bland carnitas topped with cheese – yes, cheese – just didn’t do it for us. After that, we made our way to Xi’an Famous Foods for something that actually is done really well – Chinese food.

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Anyway, on the healthier, new-year’s-resolution appropriate end, here is a nice little roasted veg dish that is pretty filling and flavor-packed. My brussels sprouts went perhaps a little over – I’m still getting used to the erratic temperatures in my new oven – but the crispy, burnt ends were actually kind of good with this spicy tahini, which is the real star of the show here. This sauce would be good over so many vegetables and noodles, so don’t feel brussels sprouts are the only way to go here. Make a big batch and use it all week.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Tahini

2 cups or so of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small daikon, peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup tahini
1 heaping teaspoon Gochujang
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 leaves fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, combine the brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until crispy, approximately 15 minutes or so.

Thinly slice the daikon and place in a bowl with the white vinegar. Fill with water until all the daikon is submerge. Place in fridge.

In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tahini, Gochujang, and rice vinegar. Stir well and set aside.

In a pan, dry roast the pine nuts over low heat. In a mortar and pestle, smash the basil and olive oil together with a pinch of salt, then add to the dry-roasting pine nuts. Stir for another minute until fragrant and just warmed through.

To serve, smother the brussels sprouts in the Gochujang-tahini and top with pickled daikon and basil sunflower seeds.

 

Spiced Soy Dressing with Green Veg

Must. Stop. Cooking. Chinese. Food. This is what I’ve been telling myself lately. It is true, my cooking patterns follow my travel patterns, and I’ll often cook a few meals inspired by recent travels. But it has been four months since I visited China and still all I want to eat is Chinese food. Specifically, Sichuan-inspired Chinese food. Eric is sick of the mouth-numbing meals I present to him, often opting to forage for nuts in the freezer rather than having a second helping of whatever spicy, salty thing I put forth.

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So this will be my last one. It’s a somewhat healthy dish, too. I used broccoli, snow peas, and baby bok choy, but the real recipe here is for the dressing. It can go on veg – any veg – or even over noodles. It’d be great served over a soft tofu. I even braised a brisket in a similar liquid (with the addition of chicken broth, subtraction of chile oil) for our “Jewish Christmas” celebration. Not that I’m Jewish, and Eric is only sort of culturally Jewish, but we went with it.

By the way, how cute and funny are these chopsticks? I bought them in the airport in Nairobi because they were, well, too funny to pass up. They’re actually quite hard to eat with because one chopstick is bowed out in a weird shape, but I still use them to cook with and for funny photos.

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Everyone has been asking how we like New York, so I’ll address that here for everyone else…

We love it!

We sort of just picked up our Chicago life and transported it to New York. We have been doing run-to-brunch and exploring new neighborhoods, museums, shops. The Chinese grocer is a bit more convenient here than it was in Chicago, but I still end up buying way too many heavy items and then carry the burden home on the train. The six flights of stairs to our apartment actually aren’t so bad, though we definitely try not to forget things like wallets or umbrellas on our way out the door. We can’t wait to start biking more once we know our way around better and the weather gets warmer. And we even took a weekend trip to the Hudson Valley over Christmas to hike and relax outside the city.

One thing has been on my mind, though: where are all the breweries and tap rooms?? I would have thought that Brooklyn – so loaded with empty warehouses and whatnot – would be so into the brewing scene, but I must say, it is sorely lacking. I miss places like Revolution Tap Room or Half Acre – sunny, open spaces for all my suds-ing needs. I mean, can I fill my growler around here? What is up, hipsters?

**sidebar: yes, I am aware of the few breweries that do exist in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and beyond. It’s just that between all the beer we drank in Chicago and all the various little cities we’ve visited over the past two years, I would have thought the beer scene here would have been more, um, blown up.**

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Spiced Soy Dressing with Green Veg

1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup xiaoshing wine
1/4 cup chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon red sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon green sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
3 whole cloves
4 dried chiles (I used Tianjin chiles found at the Chinese grocer), ripped up

1/2 cup chile oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oil
black sesame seeds for garnish

To serve: blanched broccoli, snow peas, bok choy, noodles, etc.

Combine soy sauce, water, xiaoshing wine, vinegar, and all the spices, including the chiles, in a sauce pan. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain out the spices and taste – depending on your soy sauce, it could be too salty. If it tastes good as is, combine 1 cup of the spiced soy sauce in a mason jar with the chile oil. Cover and shake to combine. If it is too salty, add a bit of water until you find the taste you desire. Then mix with chile oil.

Fry the garlic in the oil over medium-high heat until they are crispy. Watch closely as they will burn quickly. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and dry them on a towel or paper towel.

Serve over veggies or noodles. Top with garlic chips and black sesame seeds.

Sichuan Chile Peanuts + Green Bean Salad

Well, it’s official, Eric and I are now card-carrying New York City residents! Library-card carrying, that is. Last weekend we walked into a Brooklyn public library and walked out with actual evidence that we, in fact, live here, as well as a few shiny loaner books for good measure. To solidify things, we walked on to the Greenpoint Green Market, bought the biggest bunch of kale I have ever seen, and spent the rest of the weekend drinking beer. At the end of it, we concluded that we are living the exact same life we lived in Chicago, just in Brooklyn. I’m beginning to realize that no matter where in the world you place us, we’ll always be the long-run-on-the-weekend, drink-good-beer, buy-lots-of-kale kind of couple.

Sichuan Chile Peanuts

As for these peanuts, well, I’ve been meaning to experiment with them after eating boat loads of Huang Fei Hong in China. What an addicting little snack – I just had to recreate it at home. And, to boot, I happened to have a giant jar of Sichuan chili oil, making this project so not a pain in the ass. 

Oh, and see that new background in the photos…. yep, that’s my new kitchen counter! My kitchen is considerably smaller than our place in Chicago – my baking pans and pizza stone don’t even fit in the oven – but it is also nicer and better laid out. Get used to a new marble backdrop to my photos!

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And then, feeling frisky, I took it a step further and made this green bean and edamame salad with a Sichuan-inspired dressing and those tasty little peanuts for texture. So there, now you have three reasons to make some Sichuan chile oil! I promise, it’s worth it.

Sichuan Beans + Edamame

Sichuan Chile Peanuts + Green Bean Salad

Some of the Chinese ingredients here may seem obscure, but do try to seek them out. Green Sichuan peppercorns, in my opinion, are not replaceable with the red. They have a more citrusy and pleasant flavor than the red and make the peanuts particularly addictive. See my post linked below for the chile oil on sourcing them. The Shaoxing wine has become a staple in my kitchen. It has such a lovely, unctuous flavor that adds that hint of complexity to the dressing.

Frozen green peas would work well here instead of edamame, also.

Oh, and the peanuts are a delicious snack on their own and go surprisingly well with both beer and red wine.

for the peanuts:

1 cup raw peanuts
2 tablespoons green Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon red Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon Sichuan Chili Oil (see this recipe)
3-4 dried red chile peppers, such as ancho, finely chopped

for the green bean salad:

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
5 ounces shelled frozen edamame
2 tablespoons Sichuai chile peanuts

1 tablespoon Sichuan chili oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed to a paste in a mortar and pestle
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder, optional

To make the peanuts, heat the oven to 250 and coat the peanuts in the Sichuan pepper oil. Spread them evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. After ten minutes, pull them out and stir them around, then add the peppercorns. Mix and bake for another five minutes. Check them at this point – they should be browning and well roasted. Be careful, as they begin to burn very quickly. For me, they were perfect, but yours may take a couple more (or less!) minutes. When done roasting, add the chopped dried chile and mix well. Set aside.

For the salad, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the green beans for 1 minute. Drain and shock them in cold water. Cook the edamame according to package directions. In a small jar or bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and shake or stir vigorously. Toss the edamame and green beans with the dressing. Top with peanuts.

Stone Fruit Salad

I’ve been keeping a mental list of the millions of things I love about summer. Besides the weather, happy people everywhere, and endless activities, one thing I have been appreciating lately is the changing availability of fruits and vegetables. After a long winter of squash and potatoes, a new fruit or vegetable comes into season each week during the summer! One week we have asparagus, the next I’m buying cherries by the bushel. It’s pretty neat and the limitless variety keeps me both inspired and eager to eat.

Stone Fruit Salad

So here we are in stone fruit season with yet another salad. I mean, who cooks in the summer? Mostly I crave big bowls of lettuce simply dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, but every once in a while, I’ll get fancy and make my salad something special.

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Now, I don’t usually eat salads with balsamic vinegar. Maybe it was over done in the early aughts, but I just do not care much for it. With stone fruits, however, this yogurt balsamic works perfectly over their acidic sweetness. Top it with sweet corn and jicama, and you have the perfect mid-summer salad.

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Stone Fruit Salad with Sweet Corn, Jicama, and Yogurt-Balsamic

*Vary the amounts of each based on your preference. The dressing recipe yields a big batch; store leftover in the fridge if needed.

arugula
nectarine, sliced thinly

peach, sliced thinly
plum, sliced thinly
cherries, halved
jicama, peeled and julienned
sweet corn, shucked

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, smashed in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the sweet corn using your favorite method. I just boil the cobs for about 5 minutes. Let them cool, then cut the corn off the cob. Layer the vegetables and fruit in a salad bowl or on a plate.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a large mason jar or bowl. Shake/whisk to combine. Pour over the salad and eat!

 

Savory Yogurt

Yogurt. I don’t really remember eating it much until I studied abroad in Australia and found the creamiest of creamy yogurt. Seriously, why is Australian yogurt so creamy? I think it’s the bacteria profile. I’ve tried to find similar varieties in the US but haven’t been successful. Those so-called Australian-style brands don’t replicate my memories.

It was also in Australia that I discovered Greek yogurt covered in fruit, muesli or granola, and honey. In 2006, the Aussies were eating that stuff like crazy. At least, they were in the little coffee shop and cafe that I worked in. Quick shout out to the Aussies that pay a livable minimum wage. As a barista and occasional sandwich maker, in 2006 I was making $17/hour. Seriously.

Anyway, it was only a couple years ago that I started eating yogurt of the savory variety. I don’t even know why. One day, instead of adding honey, I threw in a little salt, and I’ve never turned back.

Savory Yogurt

My most recent iteration of savory yogurt includes truffle salt, but I’ve eaten varieties covered in za’atar, sprinkled with sumac, aleppo pepper, and dried mint, or others that are reminiscent of tzatziki. Sometimes just a dusting of cumin and ground coriander do the trick. For texture, add roasted nuts or seeds. I’ve even used edamame before. Think of yogurt as a blank canvas and you’ll start to see the possibilities.

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In other news, Eric and I went to Idaho for the 4th of July and my birthday and had a blast backpacking in the Sawtooth Wilderness, visiting the little towns of Stanley and Ketchum, and exploring Boise via breweries. It was a really fun and affordable trip thanks yet again to our Southwest Companion Pass. The full set is here, but below are a couple favorite pics.

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Now, go eat some savory yogurt.

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Savory Yogurt

*Vary amounts of each based on how much yogurt you want to eat! This makes the perfect mid-morning snack.

Plain, full-fat Greek or regular yogurt
High-quality sheep’s milk feta, cubed
Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Fresh herbs, chopped (I used cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, and mint)
Fresh cracked pepper (I had some tellicherry peppercorns on hand)
Really good extra virgin olive oil
Truffle salt (you could also use truffle oil and add salt to taste)

Put the yogurt in a bowl, top it with everything, stir, eat. Always add the salt to taste – a little bit, stir, taste, add more if needed.

Ethiopian Ful

I was cleaning out my cupboards the other day and found one of the few souvenirs I brought back from Ethiopia last summer: berbere, a deep crimson spice mix that flavors a lot of Ethiopian foods. It’s a bit spicy and really flavorful, and I’ve been using it on everything. Berbere vinaigrette. Berbere cheese sauce over roasted broccoli and romanesco. Berbere yogurt dip. And this, Ethiopian ful, which is basically a stew made with dried fava beans that is eaten for breakfast.

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I regret never having tried ful while in Ethiopia – though I filled up on nearly everything else – so I’ve been wanting to make this at home. And the verdict is… yum! It’s so, so easy, too. I added a bunch of toppings that I had laying around, but they’re all pretty much optional. I saw ful served with eggs and crusty bread in Ethiopia, but the avocado, yogurt, feta, roasted tomatoes all added something nice as well. Next time I’m thinking an aleppo pepper oil to drizzle.

Ethiopian Ful

Ethiopian Ful

The berbere here is essential. You can buy a mix online or at a local spice shop, or you can try making your own at home.

1 cup dried fava beans

1 teaspoon clarified butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon berbere
salt to taste

to top: sliced avocado, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, plain yogurt, soft-boiled egg, squeeze of lime, cilantro, sliced green onions, sliced chile peppers, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice

Combine the dried fava beans with 3 cups of water and cook on a low simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.

In a large pan, heat the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the berbere and cook another minute longer. Add the cooked fava beans and 3/4 cup water. Season with salt and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Break apart the beans a bit as they cook more.

To serve, top with any or all of the garnishes listed. Eat with a spoon or fork or as they do in Ethiopia – with bread as your utensil!

Green Curry Noodles

I have lived in Chicago for seven years now. That is an insane number to me, but I guess the old adage is true – time flies when you’re having fun. Still, I can’t believe I have lived here that long and only within the last couple years have I discovered how easy it is to get to the Korean grocery store and find all kinds of pan-Asian goodies. It has almost become part of my weekly shopping ritual.

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That said, if the Korean or other Asian grocery store is not part of your weekly shopping ritual, you can still make this dish. Admittedly, though, it just won’t be as good. It just can’t be! But if you want to go the extra mile, you can order a lot of ingredients online, and trust me when I say it is worth it. I tried making a version of this that included only easily obtained ingredients, and it just wasn’t the same. Still good, but when tasted side-by-side with the more authentic version, I had to admit that one definitely had more flavor and depth than the other.

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This noodle dish runs somewhere between a soup and noodle-with-sauce thing. You’ll have a bit of coconut-y juice at the bottom of your bowl, but there really isn’t enough broth to fill your bowl to the brim. The vegetables here are all optional and you can sub in whatever you think would taste good. I had spring onions from the farmer’s market, so those definitely made it in. I cooked all the vegetables separately, which may seem time consuming, but I like doing it that way so the flavors don’t get muddled. The end result tastes very fresh and healthful.

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Green Curry Noodles

*The curry paste recipe here is just enough for this dish, but feel free to double or triple the recipe to have a supply of curry paste. It freezes well.

*I included my notes for substitutions in parentheses, but do try to find the real stuff.

2-inch piece of galangal (or 1-inch piece of ginger)
6-inch piece of lemongrass

2 cloves garlic
kaffir lime leaves (or zest of one lime)
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coconut oil

1 13.5-oz coconut milk (try to find one without any preservatives or additives)
13.5 oz water

6 oz somen noodles (soba would be great here as well) 
6 oz extra firm tofu, cut into thin strips
1 small sweet potato, cut into wedges or 1/2-inch strips
1 chinese eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch circles and halved
1 cup mushrooms of your choosing, sliced
3 stalks spring onions, halved
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

cilantro, for garnish
fresh red chile slices, for garnish

To make the curry paste, chop each of the ingredients into small pieces. In a mortar and pestle, grind the ingredients together – start with one, then once it’s mashed nicely, add another, and so on. Add a bit of kosher or other flaky salt with each ingredient to help macerate each one. At the end, you should have a nice paste, but if you’re having a hard time getting it to that consistency in the m&p, you can use a blender or food processor.

In a large pot, scoop a big heaping tablespoon of the coconut cream that gathers on one end of the can into a pan. Stir it around and let it sizzle. Add the curry paste and let cook for a couple minutes. Add the rest of the coconut milk and cream and water. Also add the tofu. Turn heat to medium low and let it slowly warm.

Meanwhile, cook your veggies and noodles (according to package directions). Here’s how I did my veg, but feel free to use your favorite method:
Sweet potatoes: steamed
Eggplant: grilled (on a grill pan)
Mushrooms: pan-fried
Spring onions: grilled (on a grill pan)

When everything is ready to go, add it all to the pot with the coconut curry. Toss the tomatoes in at this point as well. Taste for seasoning (add salt if it tastes bland or just off). Garnish with cilantro and red chiles.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

A couple years ago, I read this recipe for roasted strawberries and thought, “why would one want to alter a perfect summer strawberry?” Then I bought two pounds of strawberries at Costco – admittedly not perfect summer strawberries – and decided to try it. WOW. wow. The beauty of roasting strawberries is that it coaxes this deep, rich flavor out of even mediocre strawberries. I’m still not sure I would roast those little bright red beauties from the farmer’s market – those just taste too good on their own – but for every other strawberry in the world, this will now be my go-to preparation.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

This was also my first stab at a frozen dessert, and I must say… again… wow. The key here is to consistently churn and stir the yogurt as it’s freezing. If you have an ice cream maker, that works as well, but you can still get pretty nice results by just pulling the bowl out of the freezer every 30 minutes to an hour to stir the mixture around. The more frequently you pull it out and stir it, the creamier the result. As an experiment, I just let a bowl of yogurt freeze without any stirring. I ended up with a bowl of ice, essentially.

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I don’t really like big frozen strawberry chunks in my ice cream or frozen yogurt, so I just used the balsamic strawberry sauce that results from the roasting to flavor the yogurt and then poured the fruit over the top for serving. Much better than giant frozen chunks of strawberries mixed in. You might also notice some raspberries in these pictures. I had a few of those and therefore tossed them in as well.

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Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1 pound fresh strawberries, leaves removed, halved
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch or two of salt

1 quart full-fat plain yogurt
4 tablespoons maple syrup

finely shredded mint, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. On a deep baking tray, scattered the strawberries and cover with a bit of salt and the vinegar. Toss around to coat all the berries, then spread the berries into a single layer in the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. When done roasting, pour the strawberries and all the juices into a bowl and set aside.

In a metal bowl, combine the yogurt, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of the liquid that results from roasting the strawberries. Have a taste here… the yogurt should taste just slightly too sweet. When it freezes, that sweetness will dull a bit and be perfect. Put the bowl in the freezer. Every 30 minutes to one hour, pull the bowl out and stir the mixture, being sure to scrape down the sides and incorporate any icy parts. Continue to do this until it reaches the consistency you like, between 4 and 6 hours.

When ready to serve, scoop the frozen yogurt into a bowl, top with roasted strawberries and a bit more sauce, and garish with fresh mint.