Monday, November 30, 2009

The Spice Market

I promised photos of the Spice Market in Istanbul . . . the photos speak for themselves. And, yes. It smells like it looks, only better.


Turkish Delight

Fresh Tea

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lemon Basil Martini

So, in this house, and the one I grew up in, we LOVE basil. When I found this recipe, I knew it was meant to be. Plus, it was the start of fall, and I had a planter full of basil waiting to be used. Unfortunately, mother nature didn't get my memo, and freezing temperatures (we're talking 30 degrees here) killed all of my basil. Ugh. So, making a full batch of this lemon basil syrup wasn't in the cards. I cut the recipe by 1/4 since I only needed 1 cup for the martinis.

I made these when my mom came to visit (when I make the panang curry) and they were amazing; and amazingly delish with the curry.

Lemon Basil Syrup
4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch)
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
9 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.

1 cup basil lemon syrup
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice, strain and serve. Makes 3 generous martinis.

Adapted from on 10/24/09.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Panang Thai Curry

There is a little Thai restaurant that my mom and used to go to for lunch in Madison (the name escapes me right now) and it had the BEST Thai curry. I have been searching for a comparable recipe for years, and I think I've found it. This simple dish brings all of the flavor of a Thai curry that you can replicate at home, with relatively common ingredients. I've made this dish a couple of times now and its great every time. (I made it once even for my mom, who agrees that it's just like the restaurant.)

If you decide to make this, which I hope you do, don't judge it until you've let it simmer for a while. I will admit that it seems a bit bland at first, but once all of the flavors have come together, you're going to love this exotic yet comforting dinner.

Panang Curry
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 cup chicken/veggie stock
1 13 1/2-to 14-ounce can organic light coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
1 tablespoon (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 cups 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices peeled carrots (about 4 medium)
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 large boneless-skinless chicken breast, 1 inch cubes or 2 14-ounce packages organic firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 1/2

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic; cook until shallots are tender, about 6 minutes. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and chili paste; stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup stock, then coconut milk, lime leaves, and brown sugar; bring to simmer. Season sauce with salt. Add cubed chicken (or tofu), carrots, and bell pepper; simmer over medium-low heat until carrots are tender, adjusting heat to low if beginning to boil and occasionally stirring gently, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.

Serve with basmati rice:
16 oz. Basmati Rice
28 oz. Chicken/Veggie stock
1 sm yellow onion, diced
1 lg clove garlic, pealed and smashed
2 Tbsp Olive oil

Add olive oil, onion and whole garlic clove to pot over medium-low heat. Sweat the onion over low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic. Add the stock and rice, and turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Adapted from Bon App├ętit | February 2009 by Jeanne Thiel Kelley on 10/17/09