Panang Curry Meatballs

It was on off week. This is how my husband, I , and my dog Lucy felt after watching the Downton Abbey season finale online.

lucy

WHAT?! How could ____ be dead?!

Then it was  the sudden real (not television) death of one of our beloved chickens. She had a happy life and to our knowledge did  not seem sick , but death is part of  chicken ownership I suppose.

But on the fourth day of this moping around I knew it was time to get back in the kitchen.

A friend of ours recently invited us over some Panang Chicken. She told me how to make it, and we rushed to the Oriental grocery to explore. I honestly could have spent hours perusing the aisles, and brought home some pickled quail eggs, galangal, panang paste, palm sugar, and frozen chopped lemongrass!  The store carries fresh veggies like bok choy and bean sprouts, and I don’t think I will ever buy any Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese ingredients anywhere but there at Viet Huong Oriental Grocery .

Panang curry paste is a  mixture of dried chilies  ground into a paste that lends flavor without calories and can be stirred into a sauce or liquid. The can will keep in the fridge a few months.

panang curry paste

You can control the spiciness of any dish by how much panang you add.

Enjoy this take on Panang Curry with some broccoli and cauliflower stirred in for your veggies!

 

panaeng meatballs

 Friends, I hope you are looking forward to more posts on starting a garden and urban farming. Spring is just around the corner and our guest bedroom is basically a greenhouse right now!

In health and fitness,

Lydia

Panang Curry Meatballs

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Meatballs served over brown rice in a creamy, fiery panang sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef (grassfed)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 lime (large)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped finely )
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced or grated)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons panang paste (red in color)
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar ((use brown sugar as subsitute))
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups brown rice (cooked)

Directions

Step 1
Mix the ground beef in a bowl with ginger, salt, pepper, chopped red pepper, and 1 egg.
Step 2
Roll the beef into meatballs , approx 2 inch diameter.
Step 3
In a large saucepan(that has a cover), heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Place all the meatballs in the pan. Brown for 5 minutes on each side (do not disturb or move the meatballs around between flipping them).
Step 4
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and panang paste over medium heat and stir until fully combined. (NOTE: Use only 1 tablespoon of panang to keep this dish more mild. You can always add more if you want more heat later.)
Step 5
Pour this liquid into the saucepan with the meatballs and add a 1/2 Cup water. Simmer them 10 minutes on medium high-heat covered.
Step 6
Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar as best you can and simmer another 5 minutes.
Step 7
Serve over cooked brown rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway

Peanut Chicken Stew

Have you jumped on the peanut train yet? Well, clearly I have because I am posting a second peanut recipe , and I still have another jar to use up. Peanut butter protein balls perhaps next?

My husband began calling this Peanut Chicken Stew “crack” stew because neither one of us could walk by the pot without hovering over it, swiping spoonfuls before and after dinner.

It is that good. I have been dreaming about this stew  since we finished it one week ago. This is really special. It makes you feel good, so good, that I made it again today to pair with homemade bread and friends!

peanut chicken stew

When you read the recipe, you are going to jump out of your  chair and proclaim I am crazy for putting together the strange mix of ingredients….I jumped out of my chair the first time I saw peanut butter, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rotisserie chicken,coconut milk, turmeric, brown rice, fresh herbs and other healing spices mixed together.

The, I tried it because I was curious, and I am  now a peanut-stew-convert.

On another note, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks.Life over here has looked like this-

work. cook. eat. sand. repeat. paint. cook. eat .repeat.paint. repeat. clean.repeat. think about starting the garden. paint.

Our dining room is now painted, and we are working on the impossible task of the kitchen, which entails removing 50 year old wallpaper, sanding with my purple swimcap on to protect my  hair , balancing on a 15 foot tall ladder at a 60 degree angle, and finding dust bombs from the sanding on every surface. Today we painted trim. Ick.

I am looking forward to the part where I have a glass of wine and marvel at the newly painted  walls.

Until then, I’ll be eating this peanut stew while the weather is still cold, and  enjoying this cream sauce without the cream from Eating Well. I used it to make a killer healthy macaroni and cheese  last week and in homemade tomato soup.  Alas,  the healthy  mac n’ cheese was downed before I could photograph it. Food blogger photography problems….the subject disappears quickly.

 

To Your Health,

Lydia

Peanut Chicken Stew

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Peanuts
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This peanut chicken stew , filled flavorful ingredients and superfoods, is the perfect cold-weather healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 roasted bell pepper (chopped finely)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons grated coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 16 oz can plum tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 rib rotiserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Note

You can puree this stew before adding in the coconut milk , peanut butter, and chicken and rice for a smooth and creamy soup.  Then warm it up, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve. I prefer the chunky stew though.

Sriracha is a delicious hot sauce, but you can substitute tobasco is you have no sriracha on hand.

 

Directions

Step 1
Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat until it is translucent. The add in the spices, garlic,and ginger and saute 2 more minutes.
Step 2
Add the chicken broth, grated carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, sriracha, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer with the top on for at least 45 minutes.
Step 3
Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter and whisk until combined.
Step 4
Stir in the roasted chicken and cook another 2 -3 minutes on medium high until the chicken is hot. Garnish with fresh chives or cilantro.
Step 5
Serve atop the cooked brown rice in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

 

 

 

Carb-Loading Peruvian Style

Besides bringing back a nasty rash on my face and arms from Peru, I brought with me plenty of knowledge about Peruvian food, and items like quinoa, a bag of Lydia-made chocolates, some delicious jam of Andes -mountain wild berries, a tea made of the husks of the cacao bean, and some dried peppers and spices.It was worth the  attention we received from US Customs in the Miami Airport.

I planned on making a few of our favorite dishes when I got home,  and finally after a month, I have a new  recipe for you to try! They call it “cuy”.

I call it a large rat….and someone’s  pet…Just kidding, we are not making cuy on here, people.

Let’s talk about Aji de Gallina now, which is much more pleasant than cuy.

A couple weeks ago, I finally had some time to tinker with this  Peruvian recipe using the Peruvian pepper powder, aji amarillo.

Runners and active peeps, listen up, because this recipe is carb-heavy and low on fiber, which in our case is a good thing the night before a race. Usually, I am enthusiastic about stuffing myself with as much fiber as possible , but the night before a race or long run,   us running-folk stay away from fibrous foods and need to load up on simple carbs .

2BlueEgg’s version of Aji de Gallina

 

This dish is delicious, with a  slightly spicy chicken cream sauce over rice with a side of potatoes, boiled egg, and garnished with black olives.

You can make this with dried chile pepper powder or any dried pepper powder, but it is traditionally made with a ground yellow , fairly mild pepper called aji amarillo.

This recipe is simple and makes a huge amount, so you can eat on it all week if you have a marathon coming up or simply eat it, unbutton your pants and chill on the couch watching Seasons 1 and 2  of Downton Abbey, no marathons required.

I created this version on my own after learning it from both my cousins’ Peruvian cook in Argentina  and from a restaurant in Peru. Mine uses white bread, but I think I prefer it using saltines.

I ate this dish the night before my twenty mile run , and it certainly did its’ magic, because I had  a perfect long run and felt energized all day afterward. Let’s hope it and a pasta diner 2 nights before the race will fuel 26.2 miles !

 

Aji de Gallina

Serves 8-10
Prep time 24 hours
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 25 hours
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Try this chicken dish for a change from typical chicken and rice. Aji amarillo pepper, eggs, olives, chicken, potatoes, and rice combine to make one flavor-packed Peruvian meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (whole)
  • 4-5 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
  • 6 cups white rice (cooked)
  • 1lb golden potatoes
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 7 slices of white bread
  • 1.5 cups fat-free evaporated milk
  • 6T walnuts (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 large onions (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons aji amarillo powder or chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 cup chicken broth or stock

Note

A Dairy Free version:You could replace the evaporated milk in this recipe with almond milk, and replace the cheese with nutritional yeast.

If you have no white bread:A couple sleeves of saltines would substitute well.

Directions

Step 1
Bake your chicken in the oven ahead of time or even 1 day before at 375 degrees until the juices run clear.
Step 2
Once chicken is cool, remove all meat from bones and chop it.
Step 3
Meanwhile, saute your onion at high heat, then medium heat until nearly caramelized(should be brown). Boil your potatoes until fork tender and set aside.
Step 4
Toss in the chopped garlic to the onion mixture and saute for 2 minutes. Then deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Step 5
Stir in the pepper powder
Step 6
Soak the bread in another dish in the evaporated milk for 5 minutes, then tear it up into small pieces
Step 7
Add the bread and rest of the milk to the onion mixture.
Step 8
Stir for 1 minute, then transfer to a blender or food processor until pureed.
Step 9
Return to the pan on low heat, and add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth or more, depending on how thick you want the sauce.
Step 10
Keep it hot, and add the chicken pieces. Warm on low to medium heat just until chicken is hot.
Step 11
Serve immediately over rice. Garnish with boiled potatoes, sliced boiled egg, and kalamata olives!

 

 

 

 

 

Light Jambalaya

I guess it is time to reveal my Cajun roots, y’all. Half-Cajun that is.

My Mom hails from the heart of Cajun country: Lafayette, Louisiana. Let me tell you , she and that entire side of the family can cook.

She  makes a hard-to-beat seafood gumbo, crawfish etoufee, and fried crawfish, but so do my grandfather, Pa, and cousin, Nicole. Pa usually spends the entire visit with us in Savannah  looking over my mom’s shoulder when she is cooking, and clandestinely dumping cayenne pepper into the etoufee because its not spicy enough. He’s a character. He also says “fark”  instead of fork in that thick Cajun accent you see on “Swamp People” ,  gets 20 year olds’ phone numbers because he like to paint them, and fishes sun- up to sun-down in the bayou. Did I mention he is in his mid-80’s? Sounds like a reality show in itself, really.

But I digress, back to the Cajun-food, the sole reason I grew up loving to cook!

Gumbo was always reserved for cold weather and special occasions growing up. Pretty much every Christmas Eve, the kitchen is a bustle of people making their respective dishes, but Mom or Pa can be seen making good ‘ole gumbo. And all of the neighbors invite themselves over because they know when Pa is in town, gumbo is not far.

Jambalaya is a dish we eat every year at the beach on vacation because it is quick, cheap ,and everyone on the face of the Earth seems to love my Mom’s recipe, even picky people.

Crawfish etoufee, my personal favorite, is a  rich crawfish and sauce dish served over white rice.

Lastly, fried crawfish. You toss those little mudbugs up with some cornemal and flour, deep fry, and eat like candy with ketchup. Yum.

Before I tell you more about my lightened up version of jambalaya, here is some advice on Cajun food:

#1Cajun food does not have to be spicy, but  if you order it in Lafayette, Louisiana, it will be. Do not ever order anything “Spicy” in Cajun-country unless you want to spend dinner wiping off rivers of sweat from your forehead and dabbing your lips with ice or milk… Order” mild”, and you can expect it will still be spicy, but in a good way that does not completely erase all flavor from the dish!

#2 Do not expect any Cajun dish to be remotely the same anywhere you go.In New Orleans, they cook in Creole-style, so you will find lots of tomatoes and okra.

In Lafayette, you will find true Cajun food. No okra or tomatoes in their gumbo, and everyone eats  this scary-looking, delicious sausage  called “boudin” . It’s a staple in the Cajun household. My Dad made it once  with a sausage -maker he bought himself  the Family for Christmas, but that is a whole other post in itself….

#3 Order boiled crawfish if you are visiting in crawfish season. You won’t be sorry. Try to ignore the other Cajuns in the vicinity sucking the heads to get all that flavorful juice out. You don’t have to participate.

#4 Never count calories while in Louisana . It’s futile.

Ok, now that you have read through that incredibly valuable advice, let me introduce you to a lightened up version of  one of my personal favorite Cajun dishes, jambalaya! I made this recipe up completely on a whim yesterday because I had some ground turkey that needed cooking, and honestly, was rather skeptical that I could make it work. I was delighted that it turned out better than any jamabalaya I have ever made. Bold statement, I know, but I am serious.

This recipe uses brown rice instead of white, much less butter than the traditional recipe calls for, and instead of the traditional sausage or chicken, includes ground turkey.  I swapped canned tomatoes for fresh.

If you are a runner like myself or athlete of any form, you will find this is a perfect dish to fuel a long run or workout the next day because it includes whole grains, little fat, and   is dairy-free if you replace that butter with Earth Balance!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Translated “Let the good times roll!”

Ground Turkey Jambalaya

Serves 6-8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This lightened up jambalaya gives a new twist on an old Cajun classic!

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey breast
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 heaped teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 extra large, beefsteak tomato (diced)
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups brown rice (uncooked)

Directions

Step 1
Cook the 2 cups raw rice in 5 cups of chicken broth until all water is absorbed. Reserve the other 1/2 C of broth for later use.
Step 2
Meanwhile, saute the pepper and onion for 5 minutes in 2 Tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. Add in garlic and saute another minute or two.
Step 3
Dump in all the spices and tomato paste and stir with the onion mixture until combined.
Step 4
Keeping pan on medium-high heat, mix the ground turkey and broth in with the spices and onion mixture.
Step 5
Cook and stir the meat mixture until cooked through. If it drys out, add a little bit of chicken broth as needed.
Step 6
Add bay leaf and stir the cooked rice into the mixture. Stir until mixture is thoroughly mixed and has taken on a reddish color.
Step 7
Stir in fresh chopped tomato and 1-2 more tablespoons of butter and season to taste with more salt and pepper.