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Some Like it HOT

January 26th, 2015

My dad was recently in Thailand for two weeks and when he asked me if I’d like him to bring something back for me I immediately said “RED CURRY”! I love.love.love red curry, it’s one of my favorite flavors.
Red Curry
He got me tons of it in a few different flavors. As you can imagine, I’m ridiculously excited to try it. In fact I may to drive to the lobster pound to get a few pounds of clams just to try it. Clams with red curry is one of my favorites! Here is a great recipe if you’re interested. I’m interested to see how this curry is different from the curry I’m used to buying here in the US, no doubt it’s going to be AMAZING, and hopefully a lot hotter than the curry I get here.

What’s your favorite ethnic spice?

Friday Favorite: Toasted Spices

January 16th, 2015

One of the things I love about making ethnic food is the toasting of the spices. After doing this for the first time many years ago I’ve been toasting spices every since. It really helps bring out the flavors from dried spices.
toasted spices
Last night I found myself toasting these fragrant spices to make duck pho and it reminded me how much I love them. If you’ve never given this a shot I’d highly recommend it! All you need is a hot dry skillet, I use cast iron of course. Add the spices and shake the skillet for 30 seconds or a minute and that’s it. You’re finished, your spices will be fragrant and the flavors will be enhanced. I guarantee you’ll take the time to do this from now on.

Do you toast spices before using them?

Freezer Soup

December 9th, 2014

I’m a cook from scratch kind of person and I really hate producing food container waste. Thus I have all sorts of wide mouth pint mason jars in my freezer filled with all varieties of ingredients. When I’m cooking I often double or triple a recipe and freeze some. I do the same when preparing individual ingredients. Thus I can make a pot of delicious soup with ingredients from my freezer is only an hour and it will taste like it has been simmering all day!
Soup 1
Yesterday was the perfect soup day, but I was busy running errands and working until about four. No problem, I went to the basement freezer and came upstairs with: chorizo, black beans, red beans, green peppers, sweet corn, chicken stock, and spinach. I pulled onions, carrots, and garlic from the pantry along with a few spices and a soup was born. I love using wide mouth half pint mason jars for freezing because with only a minute or two submerged in warm water the contents will come out quite easily. They defrost quickly in a pan on the stove and are the ultimate homemade convenience food.
Soup 2
In about 30 minutes I had a delicious pot of soup, a big one to eat on all week for lunches. Some of it will probably end up back in wide mouth jars and in the freezer for when we need a bowl of soup in minutes. Best of all, it’s healthy, mostly homegrown, and best of all there was not one can or package that had to be thrown away!

What’s your favorite quick meal during the cooler winter months?

Cranberry Apple Relish

November 25th, 2014

Here at Chiot’s Run we LOVE cranberry relish when it comes to Thanksgiving Day meals. I make a big batch each year and we take some to all of our holiday gatherings. It’s a quick and easy side dish and it really adds a great flavor to your turkey meal. I made a big batch last night to take to Ohio for our Thanksgiving celebrations.
cranberries 2
My cranberries are purchased from a small farm, the apples are from our heritage apple CSA.
cranberries
CRANBERRY APPLE RELISH
1 (12-16 oz) bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar or maple syrup
1 cup of cider (you can use water if you don’t have cider)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and cook covered for about 30 minutes (make sure you keep it covered as cranberries have a tendency to pop). Uncover, taste and adjust sugar and seasonings to your family’s liking. Cook until desired consistency; if you like it thick cook longer, if you like it thinner you can turn off now or add water if it’s already too thick. Chill and serve.
cranberries 1
I made a double batch because you really can’t have too much cranberry relish, at least that’s what I think. If I have leftovers it will grace the top of a meatloaf later in December.

Do you take a big scoop of cranberry relish at the table, or do you pass it on to the next person?

Thinking Outside the Bowl

October 29th, 2014

I’ve been trying to add more vegetables to my diet, which means I’ve been adding them in at breakfast. All too often my breakfast consists of scrambled eggs and a little sauerkraut on the side, not unhealthy, but not as diverse as it could be. Salads have been my go-to breakfast recently, with a side of smoked salmon, bacon, smoked sardines, or some other kind of protein. It’s actually a very convenient way to eat up dinner leftovers if you don’t have enough for dinner or don’t feel like eating the same thing a few nights a week! It’s also a great way to eat up the extra vegetables from the garden in the summer before they make their way back to compost.
breakfast of champions
Yesterday morning I had venison cooked up with taco spices, mixed with onions, peppers, and sweet corn (leftovers from Sunday night’s dinner). The homegrown mix of scarlet mustard greens, lettuce, cilantro, and arugula were dressed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette with a sprinkling of dulse (which is seaweed for those who haven’t heard of it). I enjoyed a grapefruit on the side and a spot of kimchi as well. The only thing lacking was avocado, which I sadly didn’t have. It was delicious and kept me going late into the afternoon. I really felt like got a ton of vitamins/minerals/antioxidants, more than I get from my all to often plate of scrambled eggs. So far I’ve managed to keep up the plate full of vegetables for breakfast for the past two weeks and I notice a big difference in how I feel. Definitely something I’m going to keep up with!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy vegetables for breakfast?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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