Monday, September 10, 2018

Red Curry with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas

I never gave my mom enough credit with being able to put beautiful, delicious, and varying meals on our table every night of the week, in the midst of her crazy busy schedule. Now that I'm an adult and the primary cook in my little family of two (just Chris and I right now), I'm already feeling the struggle of finding the time to grocery shop and get a tasty and satisfying meal on the table each night of the week. I definitely have a few go-to meals that I turn to, and a new one that I've added into the rotation this year has been weeknight curries!

Curries are so incredible for weeknight meals for so many reasons. First of which, I love that most curry ingredients are items I already have kicking around my kitchen, which means not having to run to the grocery store before mealtime. I also love the ease and speed in getting a beautiful, restaurant-worthy curry on the table, not to mention how forgiving they are once reheated. Curries reheat beautifully, making them a fantastic option for weekend meal planning, as well as using the leftovers for lunches throughout the week, and freezing for future emergency dinners. Last but not least, they are so delicious and are a great excuse for enjoying a meatless meal. While curries are fantastic with chicken, beef, seafood, goat, and more, I tend to mostly make protein-packed vegetarian and often even vegan curries so that I don't have to go to the store to buy any additional meat.
I often draw inspiration for my curries from some of my favourite restaurant curries that I've enjoyed around the city. One of my favourites is the red curry from Sukhothai, which includes tender and sweet cubes of squash immersed in the flavourful sauce. With this curry on my mind, and local squash in abundance in the grocery store, I came up with a delicious and feel-good weeknight curry to add to my collection of homemade curry recipes. I often make curries on Monday's before our evening yoga class, so to give this dish a hit of extra protein to give me the energy to get through the class, I also added some chickpeas, that added a bit of texture to the dish as well. I know chickpeas are not traditional in a Thai curry, but for a weeknight meal it's more about creating a delicious and satisfying dish that works for me than going for authenticity.

I hope you enjoy this curry and add it into your own weeknight meal rotation! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
1 - 6 chillies (depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 Tbsp cilantro stems, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp whole coriander seed
vegetable oil for sautéing
4 large shallots, diced
pinch of baking soda
5 - 6 Tbsp red curry paste
2 - 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed (you may sub in other types of squash if you wish!)
1 can (540mL) Metro Irresistibles Life Smart Chick Peas with no salt added, drained and rinsed
handful of kefir lime leaves (optional, if you can't get your hands on them, just add a squeeze of lime juice)
400mL coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp lime juice
1-2 Tbsp fish sauce
pinch of brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
jasmine rice to serve

  1. In a mortar and pestle grind together garlic, ginger, chillies, cilantro stems, lemon juice and salt until you form a paste. 
  2. Heat a large pot to medium heat. Add a glug of vegetable oil and add in the cumin and coriander seeds. Once the seeds become fragrant, add the shallots and pinch of baking soda. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently. Every two-minutes or so, deglaze the bottom of the pot with a small splash of water, using a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Continue this process for 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a deep brown colour. 
  3. Add in the prepared garlic paste, along with the red curry paste and butternut squash. Stir to coat and cook for 1-min. 
  4. Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, chickpeas, and kefir lime leaves and bring to a boil. Season with salt and reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until squash is tender. 
  5. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and cilantro and taste for seasoning. Season as needed with additional fish sauce, salt, chillies, and brown sugar to balance flavours. 
  6. Serve with jasmine rice, garnished with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately or keep in fridge for 1-week, or freeze for future use. 
This post was created in partnership with Metro Ontario. 

Listening To:
Roll (Burbank Funk) - The Internet

Sausage & Apple Phyllo Bites

Pies, crumbles, muffins, cakes; It's easy to come up with plenty of delicious sweet dishes using apples, but with apples so abundant this time of year in Ontario, I was itching to move away from familiar sweet flavours and create a savoury dish using local apples. While it's still pretty early, I'm always looking for new dishes to add to my potluck repertoire to bring for my family's Thanksgiving. We always do a potluck format for our big family holiday dinners, so that everyone can contribute to the work and celebration. While a lot of family members have their favourites that they like to stick to each time, I tend to get bored easily and am always looking to switch things up with something new and exciting!

With savoury apples on the brain, I kept swimming around the idea of creating my own version of a sausage roll, but this time with apples as well! I love the combination of pork and apples together, and with sausage rolls as a popular Thanksgiving appetizer (it's such a delicious and comforting way to kick off a meal!) I knew I could create something special that I would be proud to serve to my family!
To make my own sausage rolls a little bit different, I first added sweet and sour Granny Smith apples to aid in rounding out the flavour of the sausage meat. I also added some fresh rosemary still kicking around in my garden, and chose to wrap my rolls in phyllo dough as opposed to the traditional puff pastry, to give them more of a crunchy exterior. I also spread two different types of mustard (one dijon and one with lots of texture) right on the interior of the phyllo to allow the flavours to blend during baking. I love mustard, but I find that sometimes sausage rolls can be a bit bland, and when dipped in mustard, the flavour is improved, but can overpower the roll all together. Adding the mustard right into the roll avoids this, and gives a much more rich and well-balanced flavour.

I was so happy with how these sausage rolls turned out, and cannot wait for my family to try them! These will be so easy to transport to my aunts house that we are hosting Thanksgiving at, as well as reheat without losing their texture or flavour.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 large Granny Smith apple, small dice
1 lb. fresh Italian sausages, casings removed
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
Metro Irresistibles Frozen Phyllo Pastry, thawed
about 1/2 cup Kozliks Triple Crunch Mustard
about 1/2 cup Metro Irresistibles Traditional Prepared Dijon Mustard
about 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Maldon Salt, for garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to season


  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Heat olive oil and add onion, apple, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. 
  2. Add sausage meat and break up with a spatula, and cook until browned. Add rosemary and stir to combine. Taste and season as needed with additional salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Filling may be made in advance.
  3. Preheat oven to 375ºF. 
  4. Stir together both mustards in a medium bowl. Lay out your phyllo pastry and cut into four even strips widthwise. Take one stack of phyllo strips and place them on a work surface. Cover both stacks of phyllo with damp cloths. 
  5. Working one at a time, lightly brush one sheet of pastry with butter and layer another sheet on top. Brush lightly with butter once again, and lay a third sheet of pastry on top. Leaving a 1/2-inch border from the end of the strip, spread about 1 tsp of the mustard mixture. Top with about 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp sausage and apple mixture. Roll in the half-inch border on the end and both sides, like you're wrapping a present, and carefully roll up. Place on a greased baking sheet, and continue this process with the remaining pastry and filling. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and score with a knife. Sprinkle a little Maldon Salt on top of each one for garnish (optional). 
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately or refrigerate. To reheat, place in a 200ºF oven for about 10-20 minutes, covering with aluminum foil if they start to get too dark. 
This post was created in partnership with Metro Ontario. 

Listening To:
Darling - Real Estate