Monday, November 23, 2015

Curry sweet potato chicken noodle soup

El Nino has yet to impress me. I find myself possibly, in the very slightest of ways, wanting snow. I'm sure I will get over this small desire soon enough. Snow will anger me with its wanton ways and I will hope to never seen it again. But for now I can't fight the urge to watch it fall outside my window cup of hot chocolate in hand.

Even without the snow, my food cravings have completely shifted. So when the weather man said 6" of snow would fall this week and it didn't, I still wanted soup. Noodle soup. I also happen to be in possession right now of 6 tons of potatoes, root vegetables, and winter squash. This year we elected to extend our farm share through the winter. I love it. I really do. It matters where your food comes from, how it is grown, and who grows it. Now seven months a year I know exactly where my food comes from. I visit the farm every Wednesday to pick up a bounty. I will be making 100 varieties of pumpkin and butternut squash soup, bread, and pasta until February and I will enjoy every moment of it.

This soup was the perfect antidote to my need for something warming and used up some of my large supply of potatoes. The curry gives it all the kinds of warming spices you are wanting this time of year. The coconut milk gives it a little richness without the addition of dairy. Snow or not it's deeply satisfying.

Curry sweet potato chicken noodle soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons, minced and peeled ginger
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store
1 tablespoon garlic chile paste, also found in the Asian aisle
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 14 ounce cans light coconut milk
5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons fish sauce (Asian aisle)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2" cubes
1 pound dried pad thai rice noodles (Asian aisle)
3/4 pound chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger. Cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add in curry paste, garlic chile paste, and curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and then turn to low to keep warm while you prepare the sweet potatoes and noodles.

Bring water to boil in a large sauce pan. Add sweet potatoes and boil until slightly softened, 7-8 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to reserve for later. Use the water you boiled the sweet potatoes in to cook the rice noodles according to package directions.

Increase the heat on the stock to medium and bring to a simmer. Add chicken and cook 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Turn off heat and add back in sweet potatoes.

Place rice noodles in individual bowls, pour broth over the top, and serve with lime wedge and cilantro.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Potato pull-apart rolls

Woops...It looks like I disappeared for a few months. Summer got the best of me. I want to be outside, must be outside, when the sun is shining. But you can bet I have been cooking.

Have you heard of Malcom Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule? The basic idea is that if anyone does something for 10,000 hours they will become experts. He posits that this is how Bill Gates became a computer tycoon. I think I'm getting close to reaching that 10,000 hours spent baking and cooking. I feel I have grown leaps and bounds in the past few months. I love food. I really do. From the ground to the plate. I will keep cooking and sharing.

In the past few months, Blake and I have started an America West book club. The America West is one of our greatest loves. We have created a list of books, both fiction and nonfiction, that we want to read and discuss in this lifetime. We just kicked off Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Maria Doria Russel.

For fun, because life should always be fun, we decided to make a cowboy dinner in tandem with beginning the book. Coffee rubbed steak, baked beans, and potato pull-apart rolls made up the menu. Health food if you will. These rolls would be perfect for Thanksgiving. They are fluffy, buttery delights. Here's Blake taking the theme seriously.

Potato pull-apart rolls
Adapted from Bon Appetit, makes 18 rolls

2 medium Yukon Gold potato (you want a 1 1/2 cups when pureed)
1 cup 2% milk
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for brushing
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon sea salt

Boil potatoes in small sauce pan for 30-40 minutes until soft. Puree in a food processor or blender.

Proof the yeast: Heat the milk up in the microwave until it is warm not hot. This was about 30 seconds in my microwave. Add yeast and sugar to milk and stir until sugar dissolves. Let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy. This is how you know your yeast is active.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together yeast and milk mixture with the potatoes until no lumps remain. Add butter and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and add half the flour. Mix on medium until a sticky wet dough forms. Add eggs, egg yolk, the rest of the flour, and salt. Knead on medium high for about 5 minutes. Brush the top of the dough with butter and let rise in a warm place covered for 40 minutes. The dough should be about 1 1/2 times its original size.

Brush a 13" by 9" baking dish with melted butter. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and roll the dough into 18 balls with your hands. Place dough balls into the baking dish, brush with melted butter again, and let rise uncovered for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush dough one more time with butter (the more butter the merrier) and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are a golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.