Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pork Chops With Papaya Gravy

We had gone to the Oriental Supermarket over the weekend and I got a little too excited.  Every time I go there, I walk out with a cart full of fresh produce - half of which I can't pronounce.  On this trip, I noticed Papaya was on sale, and I went nuts.  Of course, we all know how long fresh produce stays, well, fresh, and a family of 4 can only eat so much a day.  So here I was with lovely cut up papaya, and nothing to do with it.  I decided to adapt a recipe I had found, and make a papaya gravy for my pork chops.  I don't have a formal recipe, but I'll tell you what I did - so simple, and it came out delicious.  In fact, I'm quite looking forward to the leftovers tonight!

Papaya Pork Chops
Season your chops with your favorite seasonings and let sit while you blend up the gravy.  I used chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, hot paprika, and seasoning salt.  Put the following in a blender (and adjust to your liking) - 3 garlic cloves, a chopped onion, 1 c chopped papaya, salt & pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Have about 1c stock standing by - you can use any stock, homemade or pre-made (although if you read to my Broccoli & Apple Soup post, you shouldn't be buying pre-made stock).  Brown your chops on med-high in batches for about 2-3 minutes per side depending on how thick they are.  Once all are browned and set aside, lower your heat to medium and add the stock to scrape up brown bits.  Than add your papaya puree and chops, ensuring they are covered in the sauce, and let it warm through for about 5 minutes on medium. 

I served these with a salad of mixed greens, chopped papaya, and feta and used the Kraft Mango Chipotle dressing.  I also had some steamed green beans on the side.

Fast and simple, healthy and delicious - enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thai "Chicken" Curry

I love curry.  As you know, I love food in general, but curry especially is something I look forward to experimenting with. 

The term "curry" is just a generic description for a large variety of dishes originating from India, Pakistan, and other Southern or South Eastern Asian cuisines.  West Indians also cook many curry dishes, although the spices in their curry powder is significantly different than that of the East Indians.  A curry dish can be made using meat, poultry, fish, tofu or paneer (my favorite!) and often includes various vegetables.  Curries can be wet or dry - with either a lot of sauce using yogurt or coconut milk, or very little sauce leaving the other ingredients to be heavily coated in the seasonings.

Thai curry is usually a saucy dish containing coconut milk or water, curry paste, and meat (or vegetarian protein).  There are different Thai curry pastes to choose from - red, green, yellow, panang and masamam which vary in heat levels - experiment and try them all to see which ones suit you best.

I adapted this recipe from my new favorite magazine, Bon Apetit.

Thai "Chicken" Curry
2 tsp oil
1 4oz jar or can yellow curry paste (this one is difficult to find, so I cheated and used 'Patak's yellow curry sauce'.  Red paste is easiest to find and can be substituted here as well)
3/4 lb carrots cut in 1/2" rounds (I left this out)
1 onion chopped (I used 2)
1 red pepper chopped
3 Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut in 1/2" pieces (I left this out - I don't do carbs!)
1 lb boneless chicken cut in 1" pieces (I used a pack of extra firm tofu, cubed small)
1 can coconut milk
Chopped basil and cilantro for garnish (optional - I used cilantro paste instead in the actual sauce)
I also added some broccoli florets

Heat oil in a large pot over medium.  Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the next 3 ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.  Add next 3 ingredients and 1 1/2c water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender, 20 minutes.  Of course, my version was much quicker because I didn't have chicken or potatoes to cook, so my meal was in the table in 15 minutes.  Divide among bowls & top with herbs.

I love the creamy decadence of this dish, it's so rich and satisfying.

I served this with rice for the BF and kids, and of course, mashed cauliflower for me.

Until next time!