Friday, October 29, 2010

Yellow Coconut Curry

From Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, there was:
Yellow seedless watermelon
Kabocha squash
Japanese turnips
Yellow carrots
Romaine lettuce
Red chard
Green cabbage
Green peppers
Baby pumpkins
Red cherry tomatoes
Pink and yellow Brandywine tomatoes

Tierra Miguel Foundation provided biodynamically grown:
Orange carrots
Green chard
Flat leaf parsley
Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes

Grandpa Weiser and Weiser Family Farms provided onions, mixed heirloom potatoes, and parsnips.

One of our choices at pickup today: turnips or parsnips. Brent says add a little brown sugar to turnips to sweeten them up a bit. Parsnips are sweet enough on their own.

Winnetka Farms provided beautiful Italian salad greens: Three kinds of Cicoria: Treviso, Mantovano, and Castel Franco; Cornetto di Bordeaux endive; and Riccia rossa or Curly Red lettuce. Craig gave us a recipe as well; posting it pronto.

But first, Tara says: Loved having Winnetka Farms contribute to the harvest today. Craig and I have had many conversations on the phone. Finally we met in person last weekend at Artisanal LA. He is such a passionate grower. A dream to have for our CSA. Those amazing pumpkins were his as well. Huge Italian heirlooms, dopey happy and orange and plump, and sort of hungover. Kate? I hope yours made you smile.... It sure had character.

At Silver Lake Farms, our little microgreens department - Bruce and Rachel - scored a major breakthrough this week, conquering arugula. We'd been having trouble getting it to germinate and take off well. Now we know the trick. Arugula at pickup soon ! Today it was radish microgreens and pea shoots, grown with biodymamic compost. We love love love our compost pile as you can see above.

David Davis and his lovely lady, Flora Ito, provided the gorgeous avocados today. They have huge trees producing on an amazing piece of land in Glassell Park. We're talking about having me grow there. Very exciting! A third growing ground...

Back in the kitchen, and today's recipe from Shelley is inspired by Thai cooking and uses many of the vegetables in today's box. There are many complex and wonderful flavors in Thai cuisine. However, this simple and delicious coconut curry is super easy to make.

What I like best about this recipe is its flexibility. You can make it with many different kinds of vegetables and/or meats. Sometimes, I use just onions, carrots, celery, and chicken. In the summer, when zucchini squash is over-running my garden, I'll add zucchini to the mix.

My favorite way to make this curry is with five or six different vegetables and no meat. And while I vary the ingredients frequently, I always start with onions and include carrots. From there, you can be creative. You'll want to start with 5-6 C of chopped vegetables in addition to the onion.

As for the curry spice: You can mix up your own curry powder if you'd like. I simply use a very generous amount of pre-mixed sweet curry powder. If you prefer hot, you can use that instead. Let your taste be your guide.

Yellow Coconut Curry

1 onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise
2-3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into coins
1/4 green cabbage, coarsely chopped into large pieces
1 kabocha squash, scrubbed, seeded, partially peeled and chopped into 1" cubes**
1-2 spring Thai basil (optional)
1-2 T oil
2-4 T prepared curry powder, or more to taste
1 can (about 14 oz) coconut milk + 1/2 can water
salt to taste

1. Slice the onion lengthwise and set aside.

2. Prepare 5-6 C chopped vegetables and set aside. Use the vegetables listed above or substitute (or add) others to your taste, such as broccoli, zucchini or other summer squash, red pepper, eggplant, Thai eggplant, potatoes. Most vegetables work, but tomatoes tend to disintegrate with long cooking. If you want to use tomatoes, add them when the curry is nearly cooked through.

3. Heat the oil in a large saute pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the curry powder and toast slightly.

4. Add the onions, cover and cook until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the remaining 5-6 C chopped vegetables, Thai basil (if you're using it), 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 can water and 1/2 t salt.

6. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender - 10 to 20 minutes depending on the type of vegetables and how you chopped them.

7. Uncover, check seasoning, adding more curry or salt, if desired. I sometimes add 1-2 t sugar, honey, or agave syrup. If the sauce is too watery, cook uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. If it's too thick, add a little water.

I like garnishing this curry with cilantro sprigs and serving it over brown rice, but Jasmine rice is also delicious. You can skip the rice altogether and eat it like a soup if you prefer.

If you're so inclined, you can add some peeled and sliced mango. Pick a firm, but ripe mango and add it when the curry is nearly done.

**The kabocha squash skin may be too tough to eat even after cooking, but keeping the skin on prevents the squash from turning to mush during cooking.



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