Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Coddled Eggs with Chives and Cheese

One way to chronicle my family's eating habits is by my parents' travels to Europe when we were in our late childhood and teens. Earlier than that, there were car trips but nothing very remarkable when it came to food. But once my dad became deputy director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the '70s, they started going abroad and we started eating differently.

A trip to London led to afternoon tea in Encino--not so much with the full complement of scones and pastries and clotted cream, but certainly the tea, which wasn't a feature of our lives before that. And English breakfast tea started showing up in the morning instead of coffee.

A trip to Amsterdam led to buttered toast with hagel--chocolate jimmies, specifically the DeRuijter brand (which is available online and at some specialty markets in San Diego; I found them awhile back at 99 Ranch Market.). And then there were the Tom Aches, Dutch pancakes made by our family friend Tom van Leeuwen, and taught to my dad, who taught me.

We started drinking espresso brewed in a machine my dad bought after returning from a trip to Italy. My mom found the Pioneer Boulangerie on Main St. in Venice, near Santa Monica, to buy baguettes and cheeses after they had been in Paris. My sister, brother, and I found ourselves learning about pâté and brioche and gougères. We were using olive oil, Dijon mustard, French jams, and cornichons. We didn't eat salami; we ate salumi or charcuterie.

And we were making coddled eggs.

Yes, my parents went to England one summer and came back with these beautiful little porcelain coddlers. Instead of scrambled eggs, we were now filling these delicate containers with butter and cheese and ham and herbs--and eggs, of course. Then they'd get sealed with their metal screw-on lid and, using the small loop on top of the lid, gently lowered into simmering water. The ideal result was an egg that had an opaque cooked white with a runny yolk, surrounded by melted cheese and other miniature accompaniments. Eating the egg required a tiny spoon, such as you'd use with a cup of  demitasse, and some toast for dunking.

I grew to love coddled eggs and still have the two porcelain coddlers my parents gave me from one of their moves. But I fell out of the habit of making them. Recently though I came across a Food52 ad on Facebook for glass egg coddlers and I was smitten. Because they were clear you could actually see how the egg was cooking. And the large removable handle was more user friendly than the little loop. They came in different sizes--to accommodate one to six eggs. I had to have one.

I ended up buying a 4-ounce coddler--same manufacturer--on Amazon (hey, free shipping!). It can hold two eggs, but works fine with one.

Now those who love making coddled eggs usually make them with cream. But it's not necessary. You can keep it simple with just salt and pepper or include whatever add-ons you like--cheese, ham, bacon, herbs, finely chopped vegetables... Do rub the interior with butter to prevent sticking--and add a little for flavor, too. And be sure to use really great, really fresh eggs. My favorites in San Diego come from Schaner Farms at the Little Italy Mercato.

So, here's how to make coddled eggs:

Place the empty coddler in a saucepan and fill the pan with water up to about three-quarters of the way up the coddler--below the lid.

Remove the coddler and bring the water in the saucepan to the boil.

Take off the lid and smear the interior of the coddler with butter. Place a small piece of butter on the bottom and any cheese or herbs or protein--but save some for the top, too. Crack an egg and add it to the coddler (for larger coddlers, add more eggs to fit). Then top with more butter, salt and pepper, and more flavorings. Place the lid on the container and seal.

Place the filled coddler in the boiling water, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 8 minutes and remove. If you're coddling more than one egg, it may require another minute or so.

Remove the lid and serve with toast.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Chile Verde Redux

Come New Year's Eve I become a hermit. I prefer being home with the dogs than out on the iffy roads filled with partiers. It's become kind of a tradition for me to cook up a stew--usually chile--that I can then enjoy for days and revisit later in the winter since I make enough to freeze.

One of my favorite stews is a Green Chile Stew my friend Laura Levy introduced me to about eight years ago. It's made with Hatch chilies, which are specific to New Mexico. But, here's the thing, the chiles are available in the fall. While over the years I have found vendors in San Diego who sell them, I neglected to buy any this year. In the past, I would buy several pounds, then roast and freeze them to use for just this moment.

Hatch chiles have a distinctive smoky, earthy flavor that similar chilies, like Anaheim, don't have. But I was craving this chile and so I started down the Google path to see what the experts would suggest as a substitute. I came across a piece written by the brilliant Tasting Table Food Lab writer J. Kenji López-Alt. It asked that very same question: Can you make a great chile verde without Hatch chilies? His answer was yes--and contends that while authenticity is nice, he'll settle for delicious.

Once I read the piece, which also addresses technique, I decided to experiment and play with some of his suggestions, while still keeping what I love about Laura's recipe. So...

1. I'm using poblano and Anaheim peppers. López-Alt suggested cubanelle peppers, but they're not in season now and hard to find in San Diego anyway. He also brings in jalapeños and since I like some heat, in they went, too.

2. López-Alt also includes tomatillos--both for flavor and their pectin to thicken the stew. I love tomatillos and a thick stew so in they went.

3. I took up the suggestion for roasting not just the peppers, but also the tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños. You purée them together with cilantro and add to the stew. Essentially (although López-Alt doesn't say this), you create a stunning salsa verde. So you could take the first three pieces of instruction in the recipe alone and have yourself a winning salsa verde. By the way, I have long broiled peppers (no gas stove) and then let them steam in a paper bag. I like his method of steaming them in a bowl topped by a plate.

4. I did not follow his directions for the pork, beyond salting it. I really enjoy the texture and flavor of masa-tossed and browned pork. And, to extract more smoky New Mexican flavor from the chile, I added some Chimayo chile powder I have stored in the freezer.

5. I did end up braising the stew for three hours in a low-heat oven with the lid askew to let a little steam out instead of much more quickly on the stove. And loved it--the stew cooks evenly, benefitting by being surrounded by gentle heat, and the pork becomes truly tender.

Now, that three-hour braise time ended up not working for me for New Year's Eve because I got too late a start. So, I broke it up over two days, prepping the salsa verde first that afternoon and refrigerating it overnight. The next morning while watching the Rose Parade I trimmed the pork shoulder and salted it. An hour later I was in full cooking mode. By noon I had the chile in the oven and by 3 p.m. I enjoyed my first bowl, the house filled with its spicy, earthy aroma. The pork and theYukon Gold potatoes were as tender as you'd desire after a good braising. The chile was far spicier than I'd imagine it would be but still very enjoyable. Because it was looser than I wanted, I cooked it a little longer on the stove and added a little more masa to thicken it--but later as I was letting it cool to refrigerate it thickened on its own, so don't worry that much if it's soupier than you think you want.

I still love Laura's version of her stew, but this is a wonderful variation and the science behind the changes makes sense to me.

Chile Verde
Adapted from recipes by Laura Levy and J. Kenji López-Alt
(printable recipe)
Serves up to 10


3 cups chopped roasted New Mexico or Hatch chilies - skins and seeds removed
OR, if not available:
5 poblano peppers
5 Anaheim peppers

2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed
2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed and sliced in half lengthwise
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper
2.5 to 3 pounds cubed pork shoulder
3 tablespoons masa flour
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground Chimayo pepper
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
32 ounces chicken stock
2 additional tablespoons masa (if needed to thicken)


1. Roast poblano and Anaheim peppers by placing them directly over the flame of a gas stove until deeply charred on all surfaces, about 10 minutes total. If you don't have a gas burner, broil them or char on an outdoor grill. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with a large plate. Let steam for 5 minutes, then peel. Dry chilies, discard seeds and stems, and roughly chop. Transfer to bowl of food processor.

2. Preheat broiler to high if you didn’t broil the peppers. Toss tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour onto to rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Broil until charred, blistered, and just softened, turning once halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to the food processor along with any exuded liquid.

3. Add half of cilantro to the food processor and pulse mixture until it is roughly pureed but not smooth, about 8 to 10 one-second pulses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve (can make this the day before).

4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 225˚ F.

5. Dredge pork cubes in masa flour in plastic bag until all pieces are coated. Brown in oil in large Dutch oven or pot. Add onions and lightly cook until slightly colored (not browned). Stir frequently and scrap up brown bits from bottom of pot. Add cumin and Chimayo pepper. Stir till fragrant.

6. Add potatoes, chicken stock and pureed chili mixture to pot and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for about three hours.

7. Remove from oven and skim excess fat. Check consistency; if it needs to be thicker slowly add a small amount (no more than two tablespoons) of masa at a time and stir until thick. You can also heat it up on the stove to a good simmer and let reduce. Too thick? Add some water. When it’s reached the right consistency for you, stir in remaining cilantro and season to taste with more salt.

8. Garnish with sour cream, diced onions, cilantro, cheese, and lime wedges. Serve with corn bread or homemade tortillas.

The chile can be chilled and stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen. The flavors will deepen over time.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tapestry and Cooking Like an Israeli

Phew, we're past the holidays and feeling newly refreshed. Okay, I know, Jauary 2 is the ultimate hangover day, even if you haven't been drinking. But it is time to get back to real life and work and events. One coming up this weekend is Tapestry: A Community Celebration of Jewish Learning, which will be held on January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. The evening will feature a havdalah ceremony closing out Shabbat, followed by two hour-long sessions featuring everything from Jewish values for parenting teens, Jewish mysticism, The Inner Lives of Hebrew Letters, and Yoga to Building an Epic Spiritual Fitness Plan, and Cooking Like An Israeli.

What got my attention, of course, was Cooking Like an Israeli, a food demo being presented by The Spice Way's Debbie Kornberg. So I spent some time talking with Kornberg about what she plans to do in the demo--and got a terrific recipe from her Roasted Eggplant with Tahini that I'm sharing below.

Kornberg, who has been in business in her Encinitas shop for two-and-a-half years, has products also at Harvest Ranch Market, and is collaborating with Premier Fitness Camp, will be exploring ways to cook healthy foods and digs back to biblical times to show its impact on contemporary cuisines, using, of course, spices.

So, she'll be demonstrating how to make Moroccan Dukkah, a dry dip with blanched toasted almonds as a base, but includes sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and nigella seeds. Nigella seeds, in fact, date back to the time of King Tut, so these are ancient seasonings. The Dukkah recipe she'll be sharing is from our mutual friend, cookbook author Kitty Morse.

Kornberg will also be preparing Fattoush, a salad with arugula, cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, Feta, and purple onion that also features pita bread seasoned with za'atar and sumac and baked like croutons that are then tossed into the salad.

Finally comes the Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Dressing. Kornberg wants people to understand tahini's versatility--that it's not just a sidekick to hummus. In this dish, the tahini is blended with garlic, lemon juice, Hungarian sweet paprika, and water. The eggplant is sliced into long halves and baked to soften. It's then placed on a serving dish and the tahini sauce is poured over it, along with pomegranate seeds. It can be an appetizer course served with pita or other flat breads.

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate
by Debbie Kornberg
(printable recipe)
Serves 4 to 6 people

1 eggplant
1/2 cup The Spice Way Fresh Tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon The Spice Way Hungarian Sweet Paprika
¼ cup to ½ cup water, depending on desired consistency
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon The Spice Way Hummus Tahini Seasoning Mix
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Slice eggplant in half down the middle so you have two long “boat” halves. Place on a non-stick cooking sheet at cook in the oven at 450 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until fully cooked and toasty brown on top. During the cooking process, poke holes on top to help cook the eggplant all the way through. 

2. While eggplant is in the oven, start tahini sauce. In a food processor, mince garlic. Add tahini, lemon juice, paprika and water. Continue to blend. (Use less water first test out the consistency. (With more water, it makes a great salad dressing too!)

3. Take cooked eggplant out of the oven and with a knife cut a crisscross pattern along the meaty surface of the eggplant and cut along the sides to help release the eggplant from the skin but still keep it inside. 

4. Place eggplant on serving dish. Take tahini and pour over roasted eggplant and garnish with remaining parsley, tahini seasoning mix and pomegranate seeds. Serve as an appetizer course with pita, pita chips or any kind of flat bread. 

Tapestry registration info: Pre-registration $45; JCC Member Price: $40; Teachers $18.  At the door tickets will be $55 if any remain. Registration begins at 6:15 p.m., Havdalah begins at 7:00 p.m. To see the entire lineup of speakers, sessions and to register go to sdcjc.org.  Or call the JCC Box Office: 858-362-1348.

The Spice Way is located in Camino Village Plaza at 260 N El Camino Real, Encinitas. Kornberg offers free cooking demos at the store. On January 14 she'll be doing a session on Meal Prepping and on January 20 she'll have a demonstration on cooking with spaghetti squash, using pesto, black truffle, and pasta sauces. To see upcoming events, visit the website.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Nuts

I love spiced nuts, especially my recipe for those from Union Square. You know, their Bar Nuts. But I was surprised to see a recipe in The Kitchn for Slow Cooker Spiced Nuts. As in, why would you do this?

But curiosity got the better of me and since I have an Instant Pot I thought I'd check it out. Only instead of their "spiced nuts," which only include ground cinnamon as the spice, along with some vanilla paste, I thought I'd amp it up with a sweet and savory version--like the Bar Nuts.

My garden is filled with herbs so I clipped rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage. I chopped them up and prepped everything else--melted the butter, whisked the egg whites. And I added cayenne pepper to this to get that kick of heat. After prepping, you make the sauce in the slow cooker pot. Then add the nuts, stir up the mixture to coat the nuts, and let it rip--or, in this case, gently cook. It's actually a very easy recipe--but, it's a slow cooker recipe so it requires patience. And your presence. Unlike other slow cooker recipes in which you can head out and it all takes care of itself, with this recipe you need to stir the nuts in their salty, herbaceous sweet sauce every 20 minutes. 

The recipe also gives you an option in cooking times. Cook low for three hours or high for one hour. I went all in since this was, after all, a slow cooker recipe. But after three hours it still didn't look done--whatever that was. So, I amped the heat up to high and gave it another half an hour.

And I liked them. They're gooey, and the nuts won't be crisp as they would if you toasted them. But they actually have a lovely almost creamy texture and addictive flavor. You'll be as stuck on these as kettle corn. And don't try to have any self control. They only last a week in an airtight container at room temperature.

P.S. These are perfect little holiday gifts!

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Nuts
Adapted from The Kitchn
(printable recipe)
Makes 6 cups

2 large egg whites
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper (optional)
6 cups raw, whole nuts, such as almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts

1. Lightly coat a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Place the egg whites in the slow cooker and whisk until frothy. Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, herbs, and cayenne pepper, and stir into a thick syrup.

3. Add the nuts and stir with a spatula until they are evenly coated.

4. Place a double layer of paper towels over the top of the slow cooker to catch condensation. Cover with the lid and cook, stirring every 20 minutes, until nuts are fragrant, lightly browned, and the coating appears dull and not shiny, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on the LOW setting or 1 to 1 1/2 hours on the HIGH setting. If you go with 3 hours on LOW, you can add another half hour on HIGH.

5. Stir one final time, then pour onto 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer, separating the nuts as much as possible, and cool completely.
6. Once cool, break apart any nuts that have stubbornly stuck together and transfer to a serving dish, jar for gifting, or airtight container for storage. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tillie's Chocolate Bit Cookies

Holiday baking is upon us. I tend to associate Chanukah with two cookies: snowballs and rugelach. Both are cookies my Nana Tillie made, and later my mom and I. But there's one more cookie from Tillie that I hadn't thought about in years--chocolate bit cookies, a layered treat with a cookie base, topped by chocolate chips, then brown sugar merengue, and finally chopped walnuts. One bite gives you a crisp cookie popping with sweet chocolate, then comes the snap of the merengue and savory warm crunch of the nuts. It's heavenly. When I came across the recipe on a couple of index cards clipped into in a denim cookbook she made for me decades ago it caused a reflexive smile.

And then I realized I had to make it.

Tillie used to send me these Chocolate Bit cookies wrapped in wax paper, along with the snow balls and her other legendary sweet, mandelbread, all packed tightly in a shoe box--mailed first class all the way from Arcadia, Calif. to Manhattan, NYC, where I was living and working after college. They would arrive at the mailroom at The William Morris Agency, where I worked, the box wrapped in a brown paper grocery bag. If I was lucky, by the time the mailboy (yes, then always a guy) delivered the box to me the tape and twine were still intact and the cookies still cookies, not crushed into crumbs. But I never got many home. Once I opened that box, it would be a free for all among my friends and co-workers. That box's arrival always was bittersweet. I loved the treats inside but it would make me weepy with homesickness.

My Nana passed away many years later, after I returned to L.A. and I got her to make me that little cookbook. The chocolate bit cookie seemed to have died with her. My mom and I annually make the snowballs and mandelbread. I still love making rugelach. But for some reason the chocolate bit cookies hadn't stayed in play.

But they're back now!

I actually have two versions of the recipe--one handwritten by Tillie and the other in the calligraphy my mom was focused on back in the '80s. They were slightly different. Tillie used Crisco, Mom used butter. The number of eggs was a little different. And so on. I figured the best way to tackle it was to have Mom come over and make them with me.

That's what we did last Sunday afternoon. For my mom, reading recipes isn't good enough. It's all about the feel. She's very insistent that you have to internalize the texture when making these and other cookies. And these cookies have a special meaning to her. Tillie made them for her when she was a child.

For this cookie, the layers can seem a bit intimidating if you haven't made them. Tillie even acknowledged this on her index card, at the end of the recipe.

"This may sound like a difficult cookie--but it is not," she wrote. "Enjoy--enjoy. Nana"

She's right. It's not. We fiddled a little, compromised a little. Instead of all Crisco or all butter, we used a 3-to-1 ratio to get the butter's richness and flavor and the crispness you get from shortening. We added an extra egg white to have more merengue, doubled the amount of walnuts, and tried a slightly longer baking time. I think we ended up with a cookie Nana would enjoy. Mom certainly did!

Tillie's Chocolate Bit Cookies
(printable recipe)
Yield: About 30 squares, depending on how you cut them

12 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons shortening, like Crisco
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces chocolate chips
3 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
2 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped


Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Cream together butter, shortening, and sugars. Slowly add the egg yolks, water, and vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix well.

Pat cookie Fill a small bowl with water and wet your fingers. Then use your fingers to press mixture into a 10 X 15-inch cookie sheet. The water will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Spread chocolate chips evenly over the dough and lightly press in.

Beat egg whites and slowly add brown sugar. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.

Dot merengue mixture on top of chocolate chips and cookie dough, then smooth evenly with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top of merengue.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Note: These cookies are freezable, but the merengue texture won't be as great after defrosting. Also, my mom tells me that if you are eating them a day or so after baking, heat them very briefly--like 7 seconds--in the microwave to freshen them.

Happy Chanukah!

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Curry Via Oh Momo!

At the risk of being labeled a pseudo-Sandra Lee with her semi-homemade dishes, I have a thing now for Oh Momo! Fresh Curry Paste. Launched by Momoko Jackson of World Curry in Pacific Beach (Yes, you must go eat there!), the red, green, and yellow pastes are an easy way to add a ton of flavor to a stir fry, soup, or curry dish that you'd like to simplify to get dinner on the table quickly on a week night.

I'll be writing a story on their global house-made curries for the San Diego Union-Tribune's food section for February, but for now I want to introduce you to their retail product, which you can find at the restaurant, Specialty Produce, Frazier Farms, Jensen's in Point Loma, and Catalina Offshore Products.

The curry pastes themselves aren't new. Momoko Jackson, who with her ex-husband Bruce Jackson, owns World Curry, has been selling them wholesale to markets that sell hot dishes--like Cardiff Seaside Market, Bristol Farms, and Harvest Ranch--and restaurants like the Brigantine and Karl Strauss Brewing Company. But only this past summer have the Jacksons been packaging and selling the curries for retail.

For home cooks, the fresh pastes are a wonderful short cut to add new flavors to dishes you may have become boring staples. They are also something that will last a good long while in your refrigerator--up to six months, even without preservatives. And, if you have a vegan or gluten-free eater in your household, these curry pastes will work. The green basil curry paste, for instance, contains  lemongrass, Thai basil, cilantro, shallots, salt, garlic, galangal, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and coriander, as well as organic can sugar, and non-GMO gluten-free soy sauce (something Jackson incorporated instead of fish sauce, which she said made no significant difference to the flavor).

I used the green basil curry paste for two dishes: a broken shrimp stir fry and what I'm calling my Orange Soup because it features Kabocha squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. With both dishes I added coconut milk. Beyond that, given that the curry sauce contains all the flavorings, I didn't have to add much more. It made putting on dinner so easy and the end result was delicious.

The broken shrimp stir fry doesn't have a recipe. I had picked up these shrimp pieces at Catalina Offshore Products and used half in a stir fry their Tommy Gomes had shown me how to make. The rest went into this dish for one--Just broccolini, half a yellow onion, some shitaki mushrooms, and a serrano chili from my garden.

I heated some peanut oil in my wok, added the vegetables and stir fried them. Then added the shrimp.

Once they were cooked, I added the coconut milk and green curry paste, took it off the heat, and stirred it well. Then I poured the mixture over a bowl of brown rice.


My Orange Soup was pretty easy, although obviously it took longer to cook.

Orange Soup with Green Curry Paste
Serves 6
(printable recipe)

Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 Kabocha squash, seeded and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
4 ounces Green Basil Curry Paste
1 cup coconut milk

1. Add vegetable oil to a large pot. Heat and add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
2. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash pieces. Mix well.

3. Add stock. Stir and increase heat to bring to a quick simmer. Skim foam.
4. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover. Simmer about 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

5. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until creamy and smooth.
6. Add curry paste and coconut milk. Stir well and serve.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tommy Gomes' Broken Shrimp Stir Fry

You never know what you're going to find at Catalina Offshore Products. I mean, of course, besides the seafood. Usually, COP's Tommy Gomes is out on the floor schmoozing with chefs and other customers and friends. And if you time it right, he's in his little open kitchen cooking up simple delicious dishes that show off the product.

It had been awhile since I'd been in but I was in the neighborhood and figured he'd be around to say hi to and I could pick up some fish for dinner. In fact, he was and, yes, he was in the kitchen cooking. On a wok. That I hadn't seen before. Usually, he's grilling something on the flat cook top. Tommy stir frying was new. Then he gave me a taste of the dish--stir fried broken shrimp with vegetables. It was fabulous!

Tommy made another batch and showed me what he did. There's no strict recipe but that's because it's just so easy. And I love the broken shrimp; it's simply raw shrimp that was leftover from other uses, shelled and chopped up. If you don't need to have beautiful whole shrimp for a dish, this is terrific (and cheaper).

Tommy's Broken Shrimp Stir Fry

Peanut oil
Chopped vegetables (any combination you like)
Broken shrimp
Olive oil
Your favorite marinara (jarred or homemade; Shhh, Tommy actually uses Ragu)
Black ground pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Heat the wok and add peanut oil. Add the vegetables and stir fry until cooked through.

Add the shrimp and stir fry until the shrimp turns pink.

Toss in some olive oil. (Tommy says it offsets any bitterness from the peanut oil.) Then add your marinara sauce--enough to coat; don't drown the stir fry with it. Mix well and add pepper and lemon juice.

Cook for another minute or so to combine the flavors. Serve over rice.

FYI, I'll have another related post soon with a divine stir fry using the broken shrimp--and OH MOMO by World Curry, a line of curry pastes from the owner of Pacific Beach's World Curry. Here's a sneak peak:

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