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My husband wasn’t too sure about my plan of inviting a mixed martial arts fighter to crash on our couch for a few days this week. Can’t imagine why. I was super excited – I mean, how often do you get to meet an MMA fighter who is also a nanny (or “manny” as he calls it), and a burgeoning superfoods expert? See, that’s the great thing about couchsurfing – you have a chance to meet really interesting people who can teach you something brand new. Like last night, when I learned how to make easy Thai Red Curry.
That’s Couchsurfer Mike giving his curry the Thumbs-Up, just after adding in a handful of fresh chives.
Mike is just what the Couchsurfing site is all about. Cool people freely giving (a couch) and getting (red thai curry dinner extraordinaire), but Mike came with an unexpected bonus he doesn’t even know about. Maybe it was the Goji berries we snacked on (aka. “the happy berry” – and No Mom, I’m not doing drugs), but I think it was more being required to focus on meeting someone new that lifted my spirits on a really rough day. So there you have it. For one couch, you too can have a great dinner with great company and feel the weight of the world very briefly lifted from your shoulders. Not a bad deal.
Here is the recipe I learned from Couchsurfer Mike for Thai Red Curry:
1 Tb olive oil
2 heaping spoonfulls of Red Thai Curry paste
Chopped onions, and as many colors of bell peppers as you can find
1/2 lb shrimp
1/2 lb tilapia
Salt (or chicken bouillon packets) to taste
Chives or chopped green onion.
1 cup dry Basmati rice (and 2 cups water for cooking the rice on the stovetop)
Cook your rice first using package directions and set aside.
Heat the oil and add Red Thai Curry paste. Stir occasionally and cook until aromatic (ie. until it makes your entire kitchen smell amazing).
Add the onions and bell peppers and cook for a few minutes.
Add shrimp and tilapia, cooking until shrimp turn pink and tilapia turns opaque.
Salt to taste, and make sure it’s spicy enough (may have to add cayenne if you like it as hot as I do).
Garnish with chives or green onion.
Serve over rice and enjoy with a nice cold beer.
Did you learn any new tricks in the kitchen this week? Share them in the comments, and if you’ve got a food or travel post, join today’s link party and share it!
Here’s how to join the WanderFood Wednesday Food & Travel Link Party:
Post a food-related post on your blog.
Include a link to WanderFood Wednesday in your post, like “Part of the WanderFood Wednesday Recipe Swap.”
Add your blog name and post title to the “Mr. Linky” form below, with a link directly to your post. That’s it!
Sometimes you don’t go looking for a recipe. A recipe finds you. After my pilates class this morning (hey, food bloggers have to burn off those blog posts!), I was craving carbs. But I didn’t want to get on a carb high, followed by a creative crash-and-burn, so I thought “Gee, what do I have in the kitchen to curb the carb craving?” Sweet potatoes. Specifically, purple ones.
So I looked up “Sweet potato pancake recipes” on the iPad (handiest kitchen gadget since the toaster, I’m tellin’ ya), and discovered it’s kinda Southern. Which got me thinking: bourbon and Bisquick. Not being able to find the Bisquick, I reached for the nearest insta-pancake mix I had in the cupboard, which happened to be Trader Joe’s pumpkin pancake mix. So far so good.
I mixed 3/4ths cup pumpkin pancake mix with 2 eggs, 2 Tb vegetable oil, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt, then scooped as much of my baked purple sweet potato out, and added just enough milk to create a pancake mix consistency. Honestly, this is my favorite way to cook. No recipe, just feelin’ it. Then, I added a dash of bourbon and a handful of walnuts.
Three trial pancakes later (why do the first ones always come out UGLY?!), two perfect pancakes flipped their way out of the pan. Brown on the outside – and purple on the inside.
While we were in Rome, my husband and I took a cooking class with the appropriately named Cooking Classes in Rome, and on our menu of things to make were stuffed squash blossoms. I’ve always been curious about stuffed squash blossoms. I mean, taking the flower of a prickly plant, stuffing it, and frying it? What? Who thinks of these things?! Turns out, it is just as fantastic as it sounds. More even.
For 4 people, you’ll need:
8 Fresh squash blossoms (Farmers Markets are the only places I’ve seen these, and they are in season right now!)
2 cups Flour
1 very cold beer
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella, chopped into small rectangles
4 thin slices of prosciutto
1 glass Sparkling mineral water
1 tsp olive oil
1. Clean the squash blossoms carefully, and poke a finger in to remove the pistil and stalk without damaging the petals.
2. Cut thin slices of prosciutto (or eggplant for vegetarians) and wrap them around the mozzarella rectangles. Carefully insert the wrapped cheese into the blossoms.
3. Prepare the beer batter by mixing 2 cups of flour with the ice cold beer until it resembles pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add the sparkling mineral water until it achieves pancake batter consistency. Now add one teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. The colder the beer, the crunchier the batter will turn out to be.
4. Heat up enough oil to cover the stuffed squash blossom (at minimum) in a deep pot. When it’s frying-hot, dip the blossoms in the batter, then deep fry until the batter turns golden brown.
5. Remove fried squash blossoms to a paper towel and pat off excess oil.
Lauren Van Mullem loves food that is locally sourced and globally inspired. Having traveled to some of the top culinary destinations in the world, she not only wants to sample the local flavors, but to be able to create them at home for her friends, family, and husband. But most of all, she wants to understand the culture surrounding the cuisine. She likes her curries hot, her tagines rich, her soba cold, and will try making nachos out of anything.
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For Women Traveling to India is the definite guide for any WanderGal traveling to the subcontinent.