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Monday, July 27, 2009

Thai Basil, Gazpacho, and Peaches with Amaretti

Thai Basil Curry
Thai basil has stronger and spicier flavor than the common sweet basil, which makes it perfect to use for Thai curry dishes and soups. The purple flowers are edible as well. You can make this dish as a simple vegetable curry or add tofu or chicken to make a one dish meal. I like to serve it with brown rice. Feel free to vary the types of vegetables used in this dish.

2 garlic cloves
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small red chili, minced (optional)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onion
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2-1 tsp green curry paste (add to taste)
2 Tbsp, chopped cilantro
juice of 1 small lime
1/4 c. chopped Thai basil
1/2 lb. tofu** or chicken strips, cooked
Salt and pepper, to taste
Brown or white rice

Saute the garlic, ginger, and chili in the canola oil for ~2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the red pepper, onion, and zucchini; saute until tender ~5-7 minutes. Add the green onion and saute for another minute. Add the coconut milk, green curry paste, cilantro, lime juice, Thai basil, and cooked tofu or chicken; simmer for a few minutes and then season with salt and pepper. Serve over steamed rice.

** To cook the tofu (extra firm tofu recommended), drain off the liquid and slice into strips. Dust the strips with cornstarch and saute in canola oil until lightly browned on each side.

Here is another recipe idea for using Thai Basil from Epicurious.com
Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chopped Peanuts and Thai Basil

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
This is great cool soup for hot summer days and is especially wonderful to make with fresh heirloom tomatoes. The skins of heirloom tomatoes are usually very thin, so I don't bother to peel them. The smoked paprika is a common ingredient in Spanish cooking and gives the soup a special taste.

~2 lbs. Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber; peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c. chopped red onions, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp. Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Pimenton, smoked paprika (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

To make a garnish for the soup: finely chop a combination of the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, and red onion into small dice; set aside. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the soup for about 2 hours to let the flavors blend and serve with the garnish.

Roasted Veggie Mix

I often like to roast of combination of vegetables to use dishes throughout the week. One of my favorites is a combination of garlic, onions, eggplant, zucchini/yellow squash, Sungold tomatoes, and bell peppers. I like to use the roasted vegetables for wrap or pita sandwiches, a filling for crepes with herb goat cheese, vegetable lasagna, and omelettes.

I simply chopped all of the vegetables and mix them together with ~2 Tbsp olive oil. I spread them out on a large sheet pan lined with Aluminum foil and roast in a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring the mixture every ~10-15 minutes to ensure even browning. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Peaches with Mascarpone and Amaretti
This recipe is very easy to make and delicious. It pairs fresh peaches with Italian mascarpone cheese and crushed Amaretti cookies. Gingersnap cookies could be substituted for the Amaretti.

Brown Sugar
Mascarpone Cheese
Amaretti Cookies

Preheat broiler. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. Sprinkle the top of each peach half with brown sugar and top with a pat of butter. Broil until the brown sugar is melted. Top with Mascarpone cheere and crushed Amaretti cookies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chinese Red Noodle Beans and Zucchini

Chinese Red Noodle Beans
Some members may have received Chinese Red Noodle Beans in their box this week. They are also known as Chinese Long Beans or Yard Long Beans. They come in red and green varieties.
Here are some links to recipes using the beans:

Spicy Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans with Peanuts

Chinese Long Beans with Cracked Black Pepper

Spicy Long Bean Beef Stir Fry

Greek-Style Orzo Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta commonly used in Greek cooking. You can also make this dish with couscous instead. This dish can be served either chilled or at room temperature.

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 1/3 cups diced zucchini
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint (optional)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain well and let cool to room temperature. Saute zucchini in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until slightly tender. Combine cooked orzo, zucchini, tomatoes and onion in a large bowl; toss well. Combine parsley, lemon juice, basil, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and mint together; stir well with a whisk. Stir into orzo mixture; add feta cheese and olives, tossing gently to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Zucchini
This is a simple sauce for pasta that uses fresh tomatoes and zucchini. The cooking time for this sauce is relatively short since the ingredients are very fresh.

8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup diced zucchini
1 pint cherry tomatoes (orange or red), halved
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

4 oz fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden brown ~5 minutes; add the zucchini and saute until slightly tender. Add the cherry tomatoes and saute for a few more minutes and then add the basil. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until "al dente" (tender but still firm to the bite), ~8 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.