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Posted by: John_Hamilton on 09/13/2011 04:16 PM Updated by: John_Hamilton on 09/13/2011 04:19 PM
Expires: 01/01/2016 12:00 AM
:



The Weekly Dish...By Devon Shires from Magnolia Cafe

Murphys, CA...I would like to talk to you this week about tweaking recipes to make one base recipe become the starting point for many more. Often we find ourselves searching for recipes that just sound good, maybe something different, out of the norm. This often involves a considerable amount of grocery shopping and then the dreaded leftover ingredients that merely clog your fridge with no sign of ever being used again. This feeling is made even more disappointing when you find you don't really love the recipe. There is a set of skills though, that every cook possesses, but that home cooks need to learn to tap into: the ability to tweak. If you think that a recipe calls for too much sugar reduce it; if you feel like a recipe needs more lime, go for it; if you feel like it is ridiculous to go to the store at 6:30 in the evening because you don’t have couscous and the recipe calls for it, use any pasta or rice, or whatever starch you have on hand!





The idea of cooking recipe-to-recipe is tricky for just this reason, the sheer volume of ingredients you would need to have on hand to complete those recipes is…problematic and expensive! I have a great friend who is one of the most intelligent women I know but by her own admission goes shopping almost every day to get ingredients for recipes, if she doesn’t have a recipe in mind, or just wants to have an easy meal, its pasta, garlic bread and salad. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great meal, but it is the prime example of how people, especially families, get into a food routine. So, break the boredom without going broke, and without the waste of all those fabulous ingredients you’ll need to buy.


The recipe I’ll be giving you this week is the product of tweaking, it is adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe for Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil Lime Couscous. My mother and I actually made this on the same night, she followed the recipe to a tee and I changed mine a bit to suit my budget, my pantry and my tastes. As you will see, you’ll have to buy red curry paste, and coconut milk and basil, and lime juice, etc… etc. So what to do with that leftover goodness? That is precisely what I would like to discuss. With any recipe, get creative! Creativity is the most important tool in the kitchen and even if you feel like you don't have any, here are a few tips on how to re-use and re-utilize those leftover ingredients. First, think soup! I know that especially in the summer, soup isn’t always our go-to, but most soups that are good hot, are great cold, they may need to be thinned out a little, but mostly, delicious! Always try to have boxed chicken or veggie stock on hand for when you’re looking to use leftover ingredients, or perhaps some veggies that are on the verge of going south. Remember too that soups freeze very well, use your freezer, love your freezer, you’ll love yourself for it on that next busy day when dinner slips your mind. Next, think salad! Why couldn’t a hot curry dish become a lovely crisp salad with shrimp and red curry vinaigrette? Finally, think lunch! My man works construction and eats like a lumberjack, so surplus food is rarely a problem in my house, but I like to find creative ways to change a plated dinner into a handheld lunch. For example, the recipe you’re about to see I simply put into a tortilla the next day for a Thai curry wrap, or you could even make a red curry mayo and spread it on bread to make a turkey curry sandwich- add a few slices of apple, a grating of carrot and a crumble of cashews and voila! So with your arsenal of creativity and soups, salad and lunch remixes, enjoy this Red Thai Curry Chicken with Basil Rice, from my kitchen to yours:

Red Thai Curry Chicken with Basil Rice
Serves 4

Curry:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 5 thighs)
1/3 lb button or *bleep*akke mushrooms quartered
4 scallions cut in ½ inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch section ginger, minced
3 T red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 T peanut butter
1 T sugar

Rice:
11/2 c white or jasmine rice, rinsed in cold water
3 c. chicken stock
1 c. basil, julienne

Garnish:
½ c cashews, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut in wedges
½ thinly sliced or shredded cucumber
1 large carrot shredded
¼ red onion very thinly sliced


1. cut raw chicken into 1” cubes and sauté with 2 T of vegetable oil, garlic and ginger
2. once chicken is cooked through, add mushrooms and green onions, sautee until softened then add red curry to coat
3. mix in remaining curry ingredients and simmer until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes
4. begin rice by bringing stock to a boil; once boiling stir in rice, reduce to med-low with lid half on until craters form (little holes), then reduce to low and cover completely, cook and additional 15 minutes
5. stir in basil
6. serve with rice as the base, then a generous scoop of curry and garnish appropriately

If you have any questions, ever, about the recipes here, or any questions about anything culinary, please don't hesitate to write to magnoliacafe64@gmail.com.

Hope to see all of you soon and happy cooking!

PS- The café is currently undergoing construction and we are hoping to be open mid to late October. I’ll keep you posted with opening. Thank you!

Devon Shires
Chef and Owner Magnolia Café
64 Mitchler St
Murphys, CA
magnoliacafe64@gmail.com



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