• Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Thai Cashew Stir-Fry & Lemongrass Infused Brown Rice

    I think I might be obsessed with Thai food you guys……..

    Like, if I just found out I only had a few days to live I’d probably make eating some Thai one of my top priorities. Have you ever thought about that, by the way? What would you eat if nothing else mattered and it was all about what you actually love to eat. If you could take away every other factor (nutrition, expense, calories, availability, etc…….), if none of those things existed what would you eat just because you genuinely love the taste?

    I find it hard to decide what I personally favor and you probably do too, becuase all of those things play a part in what foods have become our favorites. It totally reminds me of a part on Gilmore Girls when Loralai is trying to figure out her dilemma of whether or not she actually likes pop-tarts because she does or because they were something her mother never let her have. That is such a hilarious show.

    I think I can honestly say that I love Thai food for it just being Thai food. The fact that this stir-fry is also really healthy and pretty easy to make is just an added bonus to that love. Yeah, I definitely would put it near the top of my list, but maybe not at number one, I’d have to seriously consider what would be first. So what would be on the top of your list? It’s a hard call to make isn’t it?

    I got some cashews a while back and I’ve been debating over what to use them in for the longest time, but I finally decided to do Thai first because it just sounded amazing.

    Also, my mom bought me some dried lemongrass a few months ago and I had totally forgotten about it until I found it lost under a pile of ingredients. I haven’t found fresh lemongrass in a long time but I thought if I infused into rice it would be almost as good. If you can find fresh, I’d totally say to use that because it would probably be even more amazing, but using a tea steeper to keep the hard pieces from getting lost in the rice seemed to work really well. I also used dried lime leaves, which are a Thai flavor staple so they were destined to go together in a recipe.

    By now you’re probably thinking that my ingredient list is forever long. Okay, I know I put a lot of things into this but some of minor things can be omitted, I listed them as optional, but I’d recommend using as many of the items as you can because a huge part of good Thai is all the different layers of flavor.

    You’ll have to let me know when you think of your ultimate favorite foods. Not only do I find it interesting to hear, but I am always excited for inspiration from my readers about what I should make.

    Thai Cashew Stir-Fry & Lemongrass Infused Brown Rice

    Lemongrass makes the most delicious addition to this easy brown rice and goes perfect with this simple veggie stir-fry.

    Ingredients

    Lemongrass Infused Brown Rice:

    • 2 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
    • 6 cups water plus more if needed
    • 1 tablespoon dried lemongrass
    • 5 dried lime leaves
    • 2-3 teapoons sea salt or to taste

    Thai Cashew Stir-Fry:

    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 6 cloves garlic minced
    • 1/2 cup whole cashews
    • 1/4 fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1 large onion sliced
    • 2 medium carrots julienned
    • 2 medium red bell peppers sliced
    • 1 large zucchini sliced
    • 1 cup baby corn
    • 1 tablespoon mirin
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
    • 1 cup soy sauce or tamari is gluten free
    • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
    • 3 cups vegetable stock
    • 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
    • 2 teaspoons red curry paste check ingredients if gf or vegan
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch divided (or arrowroot starch)
    • 1 block firm tofu drained and dried of excess liquid cubed
    • fresh limes and additional whole cashews for serving if desired

    Instructions

    Lemongrass Infused Brown Rice:

    1. Pour 6 cups of water into a medium pot and place lime leaves and lemongrass inside a mesh tea steeper/infuser; bring to a soft boil. Add salt and rice, cover with lid, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente, about 30 minutes. 2. Add more water if needed. Turn off heat when done and cover to keep warm. Remove tea steeper before serving.

    Thai Cashew Stir-Fry:

    1. While rice is cooking, start on the stir-fry. Combine, garlic, ginger, add cashews, and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until finely minced (alternatively you can chop well by hand). Set mixture aside for a moment.

    2. Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Combine tofu, pepper, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Add tofu to pan and stir over heat for about 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove tofu from pan with a slotted spoon than place in a medium bowl. 

    3. Add sesame oil to the pan now and place back over high heat. Add onions, peppers and carrots and cook until onions are starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini, baby corn, and cashew mixture to pan and cook about 5 minutes more until zuccini is tender.

    4. Pour in the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, coconut milk, stock, chili garlic paste, and red curry paste and reduce heat to medium low. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small dish until smooth and add to wok. Stir sauce gently for 6-7 minutes(ish) until it begins to thicken. Stir in tofu and allow to simmer in sauce until warmed.

    5. Serve over rice and top with cashews and lime juice if desired.
  • Dairy Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Indian Red Coconut Curry + Homemade Pitas (Vegan)

    Who’s in the mood for some Indian food?

    Because it’s really something you have to love and be in the mood for, although this recipe might be an exception. I’m pretty sure I’d eat this everyday and still not get tired of it. I didn’t get the chance to find out because it was devoured really fast. I’m not sure exactly what it is, maybe it’s the coconut milk, but once you have one taste you just don’t want to stop.

    I went with a more mild kick this time because the last time I made a curry I way underestimated the amount of kick in the green curry paste that I was using and it was like a mouthful of fire with every bite. I may be kind of a spice wimp when it comes to really hot food, but my brother basically drinks hot sauce and he even thought it was too spicy. Anyway, let’s just say I learned my lesson and went very light on the red curry paste until I got it to my opinion of a perfect spice level. Yeah, so respect the curry paste but feel free to add as much as you can take.

    One of my favorite parts about this is that it’s so easy to make. Okay, I know I say that a lot but I just want you to know that this isn’t some complex and unattainable goal. It’s a very realistic weeknight dinner option and you’ll be so happy you tried it. I added some tofu to mine, which is something I rarely use, but wanted to try. You can skip it altogether or use chickpeas instead.

    The pitas do take a bit longer so if you don’t have the time feel free to grab some pitas from the store, or go with rice instead, or both. I mean, the pitas are fabulous but the curry is the star of this show here. If nothing else, you can even eat it alone like a stew but you have to try it. Don’t fear the curry and you’ll thank me later.

    Indian Red Coconut Curry + Homemade Pitas (Vegan)

    Try something new tonight and make this, totally from scratch, curry with the softest homemade pitas!

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    rising time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup warm water
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoon oil
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour

    Curry:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 small onion diced
    • 1/2 head cauliflower florets
    • 2 medium carrots diced
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon red Thai curry paste
    • 1 12- ounce can full fat coconut milk
    • 2 cups tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (plus more for garnish)
    • 4 teaspoons curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Optional:

    • 1 14 ounce package organic, firm or extra-firm tofu
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • OR
    • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    Instructions

    Pitas:

    1. Combine yeast, sugar and water in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve then allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly. Mix in oil, salt, and flour and stir until it starts to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic or a damp towel then place bowl in a warm spot to rise for about 1 hour. After about 45 minutes, turn oven on to 450 degrees F (230 C) and place a baking tray on the top rack.
    2. Divide the dough into 8 balls and roll out balls into circles, about 10 inch diameter. Remove hot pan from oven and carefully place first 2 pitas (or 3 if they fit) flat on tray and bake for 2 minutes then quickly remove tray from oven, flip pitas, and bake for another 2 minutes. Remove pitas and repeat this cooking process for the rest. Wrap pitas in a foil packet to keep the warm and soft. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. (They can also be frozen.)

    ~Crispy Tofu~ (optional, skip this step if not using)

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. For crispy tofu, it needs to be pressed first. Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel or paper towels and place a heavy object on top, like a pan or cans (or use a tofu press). Let drain for at least 15 minutes. Unwrap the tofu and cut into cubes. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Set aside until ready to add to curry.

    Curry:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat and add onion, carrots, and cauliflower. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until starting to soften, then add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
    2. Stir the curry paste with 1 cup of water and pour into pan, followed by coconut milk, tomato sauce, and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add curry powder, garam masala, salt, and pepper (and chickpeas if using). Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. If including, add the tofu now and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until heated through. Serve hot with warm pitas.


  • Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Indian Green Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry (Vegan+GF)

    I told you there would be Indian food, so you’d better have come prepared for some flavor and spice. Sometimes mundane Mondays just need a little kick, you know what I’m sayin’? This is definitely one of those Mondays.

     

    It was a long week and I could feel myself aging over the weekend. Well, that and I kind of sort of turned 19. I know, most people get excited about birthdays and enjoy all of the attention, but I’m kind of over the whole institution and would really prefer to just skip it from now on.

    Besides, once you pass 16 birthdays become kind of arbitrary and obligatory, don’t you think? Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. Regardless, celebrating the beginning of my last year as teenager feels a so final and a little bit scary. I don’t think I’m quite ready to grow up yet and know that I’ve got no clue what I want to do with my life.

    Can I just get a little pause here for a second to figure things out, please? I mean, wasn’t I supposed to have all of the answers by now? The future looks so blank and empty in my mind and it feels like approaching the edge of a cliff and knowing you have to jump or be pushed into the abyss…. Okay, sorry. This is a bit too deep a subject to discuss over a bowl of curry so let’s just talk about the food, shall we?

    So I know you’re probably all a little confused by the lack of bright orange in this so-called “sweet potato curry”. Well, there are sweet potatoes in it but, for some unknown reason, the sweet potatoes around here are purple skinned and white on the inside. Weird right? Surprisingly, they taste even better than the vibrant orange ones that I’m used to. Like candy potatoes, which pretty much equals awesome in my book.

    The green part of this curry is thai green curry paste which is such an awesome ingredient. You’ve got to get some. Now, if you aren’t into spicy food than you may not be as into it because that stuff packs a punch. I added coconut milk and lime at the end to help mellow the spice a bit, but it still clears your sinuses, let me tell you. Oh, and just a tip, you probably don’t want to eat a whole spoonful by itself. Not that I know from experience or anything, just a suggestion. I kept thinking of a line from the Bollywood episode of Psych when they’re eating Indian food and Shawn says “I’m sorry, was this chicken seasoned with molten lava?” and Gus is like “I see dead people.” Best scene ever.

    If you’re a fan of Indian or you’ve never tried it than you have to make this. Well, not have to, but you should. Just have a glass of something to drink ready for the spice lightweights.

    Indian Green Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry

    Nothing is quite as warming as a hot and spicy curry over rice. This recipe definitely packs a spice punch but can be adapted to your own spice preferences.

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
    Servings 6 servings

    Ingredients

    • 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
    • 1 small head broccoli florets slightly chopped
    • 1 small onion chopped
    • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
    • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
    • 1/2 cup shelled sweet peas
    • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
    • 2 tablespoons thai green curry paste
    • juices from 1 lime
    • 1 green chili pepper chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
    • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar optional
    • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt
    • steamed white or brown rice for serving
    • Additional basil leaves and yogurt for topping

    Instructions

    1. Add sweet potatoes to a large skillet and fill with about 1 inch of water. Cover and place over medium heat for about 10 minutes. When water has evaporated add broccoli and onions and pour in oil. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.
    2. Now add mushrooms, chickpeas, sweet peas, and green chile and stir over heat for 2 - 3 more minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk coconut milk, curry paste, lime juice, basil leaves, and coconut sugar together. Pour into pan, reduce heat to medium low, and cover for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally until sauce has thickened and potatoes are fork tender.
    3. Stir in coconut yogurt just before serving if desired.
    4. Serve over rice with additional basil leaves and yogurt if desired.


  • Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Thai Basil Lentils & Toasted Sesame Coconut Brown Rice (Vegan+GF)

    Who knew basil was so good in thai food? Why have I never tried this!

    You guys may remember me mentioning that I live in a major tourist area and also that this is my first summer living in this area. Well, all summer my sister and I have been riding our bikes to town on the weekends because there is this gorgeous park that we can cut through with all of these steep trails and paths. We kind-of live on top of a really tall hill so it’s downhill the whole way and so much fun. (it’s coming home that our legs pay for this).It was crazy busy when we went last month. We had to get off of our bikes and walk just to get through the crowds. There have been food trucks stationed everywhere and tents with open markets selling na-na to the tourists all summer.

    Some of the days we went, the beach was so packed you couldn’t see any sand, just a very colorful sea of color and movement. What I don’t understand is how they stand getting in the water. I mean, it’s not cold, in fact, we’ve had some pretty nice warm days, but the heat of the day only last for a few hours. There has not been one day that could have possibly tempted me to get into the lake, but that’s because I’m the one in the family that’s always cold. Lela, the same sister I ride with, has been begging me to swim but I just don’t see it happening.

    Anyway, we went riding last weekend and it’s like a ghost town compared to last time. Like someone flipped a switch at the end of February. Pretty crazy. We laughed about the fact that the guy at our favorite ice cream stop, who was occasionally a bit stingy during the herds of customers, gave us like twice as much as usual. We decided he must have been pretty bored after such a letdown in business.

    I’m sad that the summer is almost over. It flew by so stinking fast. However, I know that most of you are reading this from the Northern Hem and probably getting ready for the warmer seasons so I guess that makes this a good time for this recipe.

    I had all of this beautiful fresh basil that I wanted to use while it’s still in season. That’s what inspired this recipe. It’s still a great recipe that you definitely should try even if you’re skeptical.

    Oh, and a quick note on the ingredients: the hot red pepper I used was this kind that we happened to get at our produce stand this week and, I think , was called a rocoto pepper. At least that’s the closest thing I could find when I searched the internet for the name of a red pepper with black seeds (they were really hot). You can use any kind of spicy pepper, sauce, or dried spice. It’s just to add your desired level of kick. Then on the pad thai paste. I’m not sure if that can be purchased where you live but it is such a great flavor addition to this recipe. However, if you can’t find it you could probably sub pad thai sauce or just skip it. Just be sure to check the ingredients either way to make sure it’s vegan because it’s common for there to be fish ingredients in it.

    Thai Basil Lentils & Toasted Sesame Coconut Brown Rice

    Craving something exotic for dinner? This red lentil curry is just the thing!

    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour
    Servings 4 - 6 servings

    Ingredients

    Toasted Sesame Brown Rice:

    Thai Basil Lentils:

    • 1 small onion chopped
    • 2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
    • 1/2 of 1 small hot red pepper chopped (you sub dried spice like cayenne to taste)
    • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1 cup shelled sweet peas
    • 1 14-ounce can baby corn or sub with another veggie
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon Red Curry Paste make sure it doesn't have fish ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
    • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce if GF sub tamari or coconut aminos
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch) + 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 cups cooked lentils I used canned

    Instructions

    Toasted Sesame Brown Rice:

    1. Combine coconut milk and water in a medium pot and bring to a soft boil. Add salt and rice, cover with lid, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed snd rice is al dente. Add more water if needed. Turn off heat when done and stir in sesame seeds and oil. Cover to keep warm.

    Thai Basil Lentils:

    1. While rice is cooking, add carrots, garlic, onion, ginger, peppers, and sesame oil to a wok or large pan and saute over high heat until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and continue cooking until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add all remaining ingredients up until cornstarch and stir to combine.
    2. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and quickly stir into sauce. Add lentils and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
    3. Serve hot over rice.