Thai Butternut Peanut Soup

p1010006

 

 

1 cup sweet potato peeled and diced into ½ inch dice

1 cut carrot peeled and diced into ½ inch dice

3 cups butternut squash peeled and diced into ½ inch dice

Olive oil

¼ teaspoon curry powder

4 cups low sodium chicken stock (or homemade if you have in your freezer)

1 14 ounce can coconut milk

1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

½ cup chopped peanuts

Salt and white pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large soup pot that is suitable for the oven (with ovenproof cover), place the sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash.  Coat with a few tablespoons of olive oil, the curry powder, salt and pepper, cover and roast in the oven until all of the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on range top. You’ll see that some of the vegetables even have taken on a bit of color.

 

NOTE:  If you like you may remove the cover and roast uncovered for the full duration, and the vegetables will have a darker color and therefore more caramelized flavor. Either way the soup is delicious. 

 

After removing from the oven, add the chicken broth, coconut milk and ginger and simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat.

Check the seasonings all throughout cooking.  Add the peanut butter and stir well. Take an immersion blender and puree the soup or place the solids (taken out with a slotted spoon) into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.  Return to soup pot and stir.  Add the chopped cilantro, and chopped peanuts and again, check the seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper.  Enjoy! Serves 6-8. 

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

Ready to go into oven

Ready to go into oven

The finished cookies

The finished cookies

 

This is the easiest recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies, and I might add, the most delicious. No flour at all so they are great for all of you who are allergic to wheat.  Adapted from Food and Wine this month, I added a few things to really make them sing! As usual, cayenne pepper makes an appearance! Enjoy!

I cup of smooth peanut butter

1 cup of sugar

1 extra large egg

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder)

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons minced peanuts (minced in a mini chopper)

1/4 cup chopped bitter chocolate (finely please)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non stick spray. 

In a bowl, place all of the ingredients except the peanuts and chocolate. Mix well until the egg is blended in well.  Add the chocolate and the peanuts. 

Spoon with a small ice cream scoop onto the prepared tray and then take a fork, and make the cross pattern as you see above, flattening slightly. Bake for about 15 minutes rotating the pans once through the baking process.  Transfer to a rack to cool and then serve (preferably with a tall glass of milk!)

These cookies are just delicious and are going to be making an appearance for Chistmas this year! Enjoy! Makes about 20 cookies using the ice cream scoop, but if you use a tablespoon to form small balls, it may make up to 30 cookies.

Thai Curry Cornish hens with couscous

The finished cornish hens on couscous with the curry sauce

The finished cornish hens on couscous with the curry sauce

While at work today, I penned an ingredient list for what I think is the perfect fusion of Thai and Indian cuisines.  This marinade makes enough for two cornish hens.  The cayenne pepper lends a little kick and the peanut butter and coconut milk provide the perfect foundation for the curry powder.  A bold and delicious dish. Serve the hens on top of couscous that has been flavored with a little of the marinade, butter, salt and pepper. 

1 can light or full fat coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

3 teaspoons curry powder

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

Splash of rice wine vinegar

Dash of cayenne pepper

5-6 sprigs of cilantro

Whirl all ingredients in the blender and place in a small saucepan.  Heat over low flame until just up to the simmer and turn off the heat.  Let cool. 

Take 2 cornish hens and remove the backbones with kitchen shears and lay flat. Make a few slit in the drumsticks of each hen.  Pour about half the marinade on them and place in the fridge for about an hour. Just pour it out. Do not cross contaminate the marinade.  Keep marinade warm on the side. This will be your sauce to pour on the hens and for dipping too!

Preheat the grill to high and grill the cornish hens for about 8-10 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear when pierced.  While hens are on the grill make the couscous.

Couscous:

1 cup of couscous

1 cup of water

3 tablespoons of the marinade

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup frozen peas

Bring the water, the butter, the marinade, the seasoning and the peas to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as it comes to a boil, stir in the couscous.  Take off the heat and leave for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and season with salt and pepper.  A nice variation would be to add 1/2 cup of currants to the liquid and then 1/2 cup of pistacios or almond slices to the finished couscous (for some crunch).

Place the couscous on a platter and place the hens on top.  Drizzle remaining marinade over top of hens and serve. Serves 4

The simplest Chicken Curry

NOTE: If you want to turn this sauce into a Simple Chicken Curry, double the marinade recipe and add some warm chicken broth (maybe a half cup) to loosen it. Grill or broil some chicken pieces (cut pieces from one chicken) and add them into the curry sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Or, in the alternative, take boneless chicken breast (enough to be coated nicely with all that delicious sauce) and cut into pieces, sautee in olive oil until tender and done, and place in the warm sauce to warm through. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve with plain basmati rice and warm naan.