The original inspiration for this dish came from Jamie Oliver but I can’t remember if it was from one of his TV shows or cookbooks. Whatever the case, it’s become one of our staples as it’s quick, delicious, and versatile. I started making it with cherry tomatoes instead of fennel but one day  I didn’t have cherry tomatoes, tried the fennel instead, and everyone liked it better. I still make it both ways, and sometimes I use thyme instead of basil. However you make it, it looks great, tastes great, and is an easy addition to any meal.

2 peppers, cleaned, sliced in half, seeds removed

1 fennel bulb, cleaned, and sliced into thin strips

several basil leaves, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

olive oil

sea salt and pepper

Clean the peppers, cut in half, and place in the bottom of a cast-iron pan. Fill the peppers with sliced fennel, garlic, and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and a couple of turns of the pepper mill. Bake in the oven at 400 for 20 or 30 minutes until they are cooked to your liking.

This recipe is from the Tassajara cookbook. I made it last night – Friday night, after a long week, it was getting late, didn’t have a tonne of motivation, wondered about pulling some shriveled left-overs out of the fridge, but instead I dug in, bucked up, and pulled out the necessary ingredients for this veggie Thai red curry. I’m so glad I did. It was quick. It was easy. It was yummy. Andrew’s reaction? “It’s kind of hard bothering to eat meat when you’ve got food like this. And kind of hard to justify going out for Thai food. That was ridiculously good.” I made one batch since I hadn’t made it before and, post-dinner, we concluded that I should have doubled or tripled it.

Since it was the end of the week and I hadn’t refreshed the supplies for a couple of days, I didn’t have exactly the “right” ingredients so I made some substitutions – tomatoes for red pepper, sugar snap peas for beans, shitake mushrooms for crimini. It worked beautifully so my guess is that you could probably throw in any veggies and it would be awesome. This one’s a keeper for sure.

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 cup green beans, stems removed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup crimini mushrooms, ends trimmed

1 14-oz can coconut milk

1 – 2 tbsps Thai red curry paste

2 tbsps brown sugar

2 tbsps tamari

1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into slivers

20 – 30 fresh Thai basil leaves, whole

In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the cauliflower to al dente, about 4 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. In the same pot of water, repeat with the green beans; set aside. In a saute pan, add the oil and cook the mushrooms until they’re browned and have released some juices; set aside.

In a wide saucepan, add the coconut milk,  sugar, and tamari. Add the curry paste – start with a small amount of curry paste and then taste for spiciness. Add more as desired. Add the cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, and half the basil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil and serve with rice.

coconut curried vegetables

February 2, 2010

This is a mainstay in our family. LOVE this recipe. It’s from the amazing Vij in Vancouver and goes with almost anything. Make double or triple as it keeps well (and even freezes well).

1/2 cup olive oil

25 to 30 fresh curry leaves

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1 tbsp + 1 tsp chopped garlic

2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 12 ounce can coconut milk, stirred

1 lb zucchini, chopped into 1-1/2 inch pieces

1 lb cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2 inch florets

2 red and yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces

3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Keeping your head at a distance from the pot, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle for about one minute or until a few seeds pop.

Immediately add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes

Add tomatoes and remaining spices and sauté for 8 minutes or until oil glistens on top.

Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add zucchini. Cover and simmer to five minutes. Add cauliflower and bell peppers, cover and simmer for another five minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Serve over basmati rice.