Green Curry In A Hurry

Slow Cooker Recipe

It’s taken me a while to get the hang of creating my own slow cooker recipes. Sometimes it’s hard to judge just how much liquid you’ll need to put in. Especially if the recipe includes dry beans and lentils. I think I’ve finally gotten a pretty good feel for it, and was pleased enough with this quick curry recipe to share. In the winter nothing beats hearty soups, and warm curries as a comfort food. As a quintessential quick and easy recipe we’ll be making very little from scratch here. It’s perfect to throw together on a busy day for a busy tomorrow.

While you can make your own curry paste we kept it quick and easy by using store bought. We used Thai Kitchen green curry paste, but you can use whatever you can find at your local supermarket. Just be sure to check the label as some curry pastes contain anchovies or fish sauce. For additional flavor you can toast the curry paste with onions and garlic in a skillet before adding them to the slow cooker, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have the time.


Green Curry In a Hurry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Add an additional 1/2 cup to 1 cup of broth for a soupier curry.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 13.6 oz full fat coconut milk (one standard can)
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple (optional)
  • 1 cup dry green lentils
  • 1 medium purple sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3-4 limes

Directions

  1. In a frying pan toast up the yellow onion, garlic, and curry paste in some oil. This will impart some additional flavor. If you don’t have time for this, or don’t want to do it just skip this step.
  2. Add the curry paste, yellow onion, green onion, garlic, vegetable broth, crushed pineapple, and coconut milk to the crock pot. Stir well.
  3. Rinse your dried lentils, and closely inspect them for any pebbles before adding them to the crock.
  4. Dice the green bell pepper, and cut the potato into even sized cubes. You can remove the skin from the potato if you’d prefer, but I like to keep it on for some additional texture and nutrients. Add the pepper and potato to the crock.
  5. Juice two limes into the curry mixture, and give all of the ingredients a good stir.
  6. Rest the crock in the fridge overnight, so the lentils have time to soak.
  7. Cook on low power for eight hours, or high for four. Serve on rice, or noodles.
  8. Garnish with additional green onions, and a lime wedge.

Vegan “Scallops” And Risotto

I’ve written before about how much I loved shellfish before I went vegan, and how that was one of the only food groups I found difficult to give up. Previously, I’ve shared a recipe for vegan “scallops” with white wine cream sauce. The recipe featured “scallops” made from king oyster mushrooms with a decadent pasta bathed in white wine cream sauce. I really enjoy using oyster mushrooms in this application. When marinated well they provided a close approximation to both the taste and the texture of scallops. I created this new recipe with fine dining in mind. Nothing says fine dining quite like scallops. To keep the upscale feel I prepared it with a creamy herb risotto, pomegranate gastrique, and a garnish of fresh micro-greens.

I feel like there’s a misconception that “fancy” food is difficult to make, but it’s really minimalist and quite simple. Consider this one for your next date night in, or dinner party. This recipe doesn’t take too long to put together, and will impress even your carnivorous friends. The most time consuming part of it is stirring the risotto while the broth cooks out. Don’t skip out on making a gastrique for this dish. If you’ve never made a gastrique it may seem tricky, but it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The gastrique adds a light touch of citrus and pomegranate that adds some freshness to the scallops.


Vegan Scallops and Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Scallop Ingredients

  • 5-6 large king trumpet or king oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water mixed with vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive or caper juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • additional white wine to deglaze the pan
  • 2 tbsp earth balance or other vegan butter

Risotto Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup blend of chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cube not chick’n bouillon
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp follow your heart grated vegan parmesan
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Gastrique and Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh micro-greens
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Cut down king oyster mushrooms into large scallop sized chunks excluding the caps. Score the “scallops” if you’d like (this helps add flavor), and set them aside.
  2. Dice the caps, and set them aside. You can cook these down and add them to the risotto for a nice textural element.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the Oyster mushrooms to the marinade, and place into the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Dice the onion, and mince the shallots and garlic for the risotto. In a large pan, or sauce pan, simmer the shallots, onion, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the diced mushroom cap, so that it can cook down.
  5. Add the arborio rice to the pan, and let it toast for about two minutes.
  6. Add the 1/2 cup of white wine, and let it cook down while stirring periodically.
  7. Add a cube of not chick’n bouillon to four cups of water. Microwave on high, and whisk to dissolve.
  8. Add the broth to the risotto one cup at a time. Allow it to cook down in between adding each cup.
  9. The risotto should be almost completely done cooking when you add the final cup of broth. When you add the final cup allow it to cook down half way, and then add in your fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan. If you can’t find vegan parmesan sub two additional tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  10. While your risotto is cooking start the gastrique. Aim to start it about halfway through the cook time on the risotto to allow everything to finish around the same time.
  11. To make the gastrique cook minced shallot in butter in a small sauce pot until it becomes translucent.
  12. Add pomegranate seeds, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, wine, and vinegar. Whisk periodically.
  13. Allow gastrique to cook down to about half the volume it originally was. Remove from heat, and strain. The sauce should thicken up as it cools, but if it still seems thin you can cheat a bit by putting it back on the stove, and adding a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of water to get it to thicken up.
  14. Once the gastrique and the risotto are fully cooked you’ll want to make the scallops. They only take about five minutes to cook, so just cover the other dishes to allow them to stay warm. In a separate pan heat some butter. I saved some herbs, shallot, and garlic to season the scallops with, and if you’d like to do this too add them in now.
  15. Once the pan is hot enough, you should hear it sizzle when you put the scallops down, add all of your scallops to the pan on one of the flat sides. You can add drip some of the marinade on top of them as they cook for added flavor.
  16. Keep a close eye on the scallops as they cook. Once they have a nice sear on the bottom immediately flip them. Once a nice sear is starting to develop on the final side deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine, and lemon juice. Top them with some sea salt and pepper, and then remove from heat.
  17. Plate your scallops, risotto, and gastrique up nicely with a side salad of undressed micro-greens. For our dishes we brushed on the gastrique, loaded the risotto into a small bowl to shape it, and placed it on the plate. We arranged the scallops neatly around the risotto, and garnished with citrus slices and micro-greens. Enjoy.

Vegan Pad Thai

I love Thai food. There’s a wonderful Thai restaurant called Thai Gourmet a few minutes from our house. If you live in Pittsburgh I’d highly recommend trying them. It’s probably where we get 95% or more of our takeout meals from when we order in. They’re really great about making most of the menu items vegan if you ask. I’ve liked everything I’ve ordered from their menu, but one of my favorites will always be Pad Thai. With its perfect balance of flavors it’s popular for a reason. My version of Pad Thai might not be super authentic, or do a great homage to Thai Gourmet’s, but it’s still pretty tasty.

The biggest reason I developed a Pad Thai recipe is because Nick has a peanut allergy, and I wanted him to be able to experience the flavors of one of my favorite dishes. I use almonds for this recipe, but feel free to keep it more traditional and use peanuts. I’ve also subbed rice wine vinegar in place of tamarind paste, because I know it can be difficult to find if you don’t live near an Asian market. I like to make my recipes easy and attainable for everyone. If you are lucky enough to live close to a store that sells tamarind paste feel free to use it instead. You might need to tweak some of the other ingredients to get the right flavor, but it should be a pretty easy substitution.

We used Just Egg in this recipe to add a great textural element commonly found in the dish. It was nice to have a Pad Thai with fried egg in it, since I haven’t had egg from an actual chicken in going on three years now. Pad Thai is still great without the egg, but it’s nice to have the additional texture. Thai Gourmet does a great job of cooking longer strips of tofu which really satisfy my craving for the eggy texture without ordering the dish with fried egg. If you can’t find Just Egg, or don’t like it the recipe is fine without the egg. I find the egg to be a great addition that helps appease your friends and family members that still choose to be carnivores.

When it comes to the bean sprouts I’d advise skipping them, or thoroughly cooking them if you’re immunocompromised, or serving this dish to someone in an at risk group like an elderly family member, or kid. Sprouts are delicious and nutritious, but are identified as a food with a heightened risk of carrying food borne illness. If you’re not an at risk member of society sprouts are great, and a pretty necessary element of this dish. Just make sure you wash them thoroughly before consuming. If you’re unable to find fresh sprouts at your local grocery store there are usually canned sprouts in the international section.

Vegan Pad Thai

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu, we used the Nasoya extra firm pre-pressed
  • 10.5 oz Ka Me Express Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1 cup of almonds or peanuts, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup Just Egg
  • 1/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/4 cup water with one cube of No Chick’n Bullion, or other vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 4 tbsp coconut brown sugar, or other vegan brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp chili garlic paste
  • a pinch of ground white pepper
  • a pinch of red chili flake to taste

Directions

  1. Start by prepping all of your ingredients. Chop the almonds or peanuts finely, and set aside in a bowl. Slice and juice one of the limes into a separate bowl. Quarter the other lime/s into wedges. You can prep as many limes as you want, but you’ll need at least two of them for the four servings this recipe makes. Mince the garlic, and chop your green onions. We chopped the white part of the onions finer, and left the green stems of the onions bigger chunks to add texture.
  2. Prepare the sauce in a large mixing bowl. Microwave 1/4 cup water with the bullion. I use a glass measuring cup to microwave it in. You can add the miso to the water as well to help it melt. Whisk together thoroughly, and add miso and bullion water to the large mixing bowl.
  3. While the water is still hot, whisk in the coconut brown sugar to help it melt. Add lime juice, chili garlic paste, almond butter, hoisin, and tamari. Whisk together to fully integrate the ingredients.
  4. Cut tofu into small squares. In a large skillet or a wok heat sesame oil, and fry the cubed tofu. Set aside in a bowl or on a plate. I like to line a plate with a paper towel to catch the extra grease.
  5. Fry up the Just Egg according to the instructions on the bottle. Scramble it into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside with the tofu.
  6. Heat more sesame oil up in the large wok or skillet. Toast up red pepper flakes (optional) to reach whatever level of heat you desire, minced garlic, and some of the green onion. Once the ingredients become very aromatic add the sauce to the pan.
  7. Whisk the sauce periodically as you heat it. It should start simmering at the sides, and becoming thicker in consistency. Add in julienned carrots and green onion to taste. Once it has thickened up a bit add the Pad Thai noodles. You can buy Pad Thai noodles that aren’t already cooked, and cook them before starting to prepare the dish, and set them aside. Rice noodles can be tricky, and if you’re a beginner at cooking I’d recommend buying the precooked Ka Me noodles. The noodles come in two packs. Use both packs.
  8. Using tongs ensure the noodles are saturated with sauce, and then add in half of your bean sprouts. Add in some of the crushed/chopped nuts, more green onion, tofu, and Just Egg. Taste the dish to see if the spice level is what you’d like. If you want it hotter add more chili flakes.
  9. Cook for two minutes periodically turning ingredients with tongs to ensure saturation. Sauce should be nicely adhered to all of the ingredients, and not sitting in a puddle in the bottom of the wok/skillet. Remove from heat when complete.
  10. Plate with additional bean sprouts, chopped nuts, and lime wedge. Enjoy.