Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb 14th - Breakfast Grits aka Polenta and Red Thai Asparagus and Prawn Coconut Curry

Breakfast Grits

1/2 T olive oil or butter
2 T finely diced red onion or shallot
2 T finely diced carrot (half a medium carrot)
1 minced jalapeno
2 T finely diced fennel bulb, about 1 layer

5 T fine yellow cornmeal
1.25 c water
1/4 t salt
1 T butter
1/2 all natural, no sodium veg stock powder
1/4 c shredded cheddar

Sautee the vegetables for 5 min on medium heat in a small saucepan, non stick if you have one. Add the water, stock powder and butter and bring to a boil. Season to taste.

Lower the heat to simmer. While constantly whisking with a small whisk, sprinkle in the cornmeal. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes. Season to taste. Stir for another few minutes. Add the cheddar. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

I was going to have this with a poached egg but we're out. Oh well. Still YUMMO.

We were supposed to go to Voya's for dinner for Valentine's but we hit a glitch so we visited the Olympic pavillons and stage at Granville Island instead. The Atlantic Provinces pavillon at the Arts club had some seafood goodies but like all the centres, there was a crazy line up. We bought some vegetables at the Public Market just as they were closing, assuming we didn't stand a chance of getting in to a restaurant.

D made the curry. We're using the Red Thai Paste I reviewed a few weeks ago. My Valentine's request that it be mouth searingly spicy. He accomplished that! I was surprised he could eat it. I topped it with some chili flakes and I REALLY didn't need to.

I think I've mentioned that D and I have two polar approaches to Thai curry methodology. I like to brown my veg before adding the paste. I call it an Indian approach. I don't know what to call D's method :P. He fries the paste first, adds the coconut milk and then the vegetables. Eitherway, it tastes fantastic. We've stopped telling eachother how to do it :)
D's Valentine's Red Asparagus and Prawn Coconut Curry
(serves 4 or two dinners with small seconds and two lunches)

1/2 T vegetable oil
3-4 T red curry paste
1 tin coconut milk
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed, chopped
1 c button mushrooms
1/2 white onion, sliced
2/3 c baby carrots
1 small orange yam cubed
20 large prawn, shelled
1 inch ginger sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
100 g of firm tofu, optional (I had it in the fridge from taco night)
1 tin water
1 lime, juiced on top of curry as serving.

Start the rice you're making to eat with the curry now.

Trim the bottom inch off the asparagus spears. An easy trick is to snap the spears near the bottom. They will break just above the woody point that is good to eat. Chop into 1 inch pieces.

Wash the mushrooms (this is okay because D is adding them to the liquid and not browning). Trim the bottom of the stems and cut in half.

Peel and cube the yam into 1 inch pieces. Microwave for 3 minutes. They won't but cooked through yet. They'll cook in the curry but they take longer than the other veg.

In a large skillet or pot, heat the vegetable oil. TURN ON YOUR oven fan. Add the paste and stir around. Add the coconut milk. Stir around. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Add the yams. Simmer for a 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes. If it gets too thick, add some of the water you're swishing around in the coconut milk tin. Add the carrots. D added the carrots toward the end and they stayed slightly crispy. They were really great that way. I am not a fan of mushy carrots. The texture also keeps the whole dish bright. Add the tofu at the end. You only need to heat through if you do it D's way.

Cover and simmer on low for a 5 more minutes until the yams are tender or until your rice is ready.

Garnish with cilantro if you have it. We didn't have any. We juiced some line wedges on top. YUMMO!

We had a Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2008. It is a fabulous, sexy star of a wine. My favourite at the moment.

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