Something spicy – curry in a hurry

Easy food is the best food. Yes, you can order in. And it can be delicious. Or it can be cold, overly salted, too fatty, and full of things you know you shouldn’t eat. So if you arm yourself with a few quick options, you can rustle up a meal whenever you’re hungry. Here’s one I like to make – you can make a lot, or a little, depending on what you have. The proportions are not exact…adjust to your taste!

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat some cooking oil, about a tablespoon. 1/4 cup of vegetable or other broth will also work. Dice an onion and throw it in to get started. Turn it down if it is browning, you want it to just start to become translucent. Meanwhile, what other veg do you have? For two people, plan on around 2 to 2-1/2 cups of chopped vegetables. You can use frozen if you don’t have fresh. Don’t worry! Add these to the pot and stir, as you chop them. Here’s what we used yesterday:

1 onion (as above)

1/2 zucchini

1 spicy red pepper

6 cremini mushrooms, halved

4 green beans from our garden

There isn’t a vegetable we haven’t tried in this. Once they are all in the pot, add curry powder or paste to taste. Powder is easy to keep, adds a lot of colour and flavour, and is CHEAP. I used about 2 tablespoons or 30ml.

Once you’ve stirred this in, add about a cup of cooked chickpeas (half a jar of frozen, or half a can, with liquid). Add another half cup of water, and stir in 2T/30ml of coconut milk powder, OR add half a cup of coconut milk, OR half a cup of soy or nut milk, and some shredded coconut – sweetened or not, it won’t matter.

Simmer it for about 20 minutes. This means dinner in less than 30 minutes, start to finish. I served mine on leftover brown rice. Alternately, you can start the rice about half an hour ahead, but honestly, just cook a big pot once a week and keep it in the fridge to use as needed. Another option is to add a diced large potato or six or so baby potatoes, halved, or a small sweet potato, diced, to the other veg and simmer along. Let it thicken a bit with the lid off if you prefer it thicker.

If you have some basil leaves, they are lovely stirred in. A dollop of yogurt (vegan or dairy) adds a nice touch. Or a few coconut flakes on top are also good. Enjoy! Delightful with lemonade, fizzy water, a beer, or a glass of white wine.

Are you up for the challenge?

As the supply dwindles toward shopping day, it can be tempting to run out to the store for just an item or two. But let’s face it, most of us in the developed world have enough food in the house. I’m not talking about low-income households, who face true hardship in feeding their families. But for the rest of us, “there’s nothing to eat” often means “I’m not sure how to make a meal out of what’s in the house.” 

This year we moved back to a location where I am in walking distance of a plethora of food sources. So when I started to throw together a quick chowder for lunch, I realized I didn’t have any potatoes. I have sweet potatoes, but I have plans for those. Those of you who know me, know that not having a meal plan is an unusual situation. But did this predicament really call for desperate measures? I think not.

Hence, this classic simple chowder now features turnip (more appropriately, rutabaga, but that’s not what we called the big purple and yellow root vegetable where I’m from).  We are still working hard to choose local first, and the veg in this dish came from across the street – and before that, from farms here in our own province. We’re happy that our neighbourhood FreshCo makes an effort to clearly identify local items, and usually has a good selection of those. If you want to know what’s in season in Ontario, check out this handy guide. Many provinces and states have something similar.

Here’s the result – it was pretty tasty. What do you have on hand that you can use up to keep your grocery bill in check this week?

  
For two:

2 c / 500ml water

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 c diced turnip

1 onion, peeled and diced 

1 6 oz / 180 g frozen fish fillet, slightly thawed and cut in 1″ / 2.5cm pieces

1 c / 250ml 1% milk

Fresh ground pepper

Bring the vegetables to the boil in the water. Turn down and cook for 11-12 minutes on medium low heat. 

Add the fish pieces and simmer for another 7 minutes.

Stir in the milk until heated through.

Serve with a grind of fresh pepper.

Vegetarian Delight

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In preparation of the coming onslaught of hot cross buns and bunny cake, we’ve been sticking to the straight and narrow, diet-wise. Fortunately this isn’t much of a sacrifice when we have great recipes like Kozlik’s delicious mustard chickpeas.

We made a few substitutions but it’s easy to do that with their versatile recipe. A little avocado in orange juice is a nice sidebar.

Veggies Bursting with Colour

20111214-202416.jpg. Don’t you love a meal that looks fussy, but isn’t? Tonight we made Beet Wellingtons (check our recipe page!) and a tasty salad with hothouse greens, tomatoes and mushrooms.

For the dressing, we used some of the red pepper and rosemary pesto we made in the summer, thinned with some wine vinegar.

Tasty, fast and packed with colours. Mmm.

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