Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pasting supper together

Recently my husband and I made two dishes that required paste.
    Not glue, of course, but spice pastes: Harissa in one dish, and green curry paste in the other.
    Both recipes, from the pages of Martha Stewart Living, are intensely delicious and very easy to make, making them ideal for weeknights. Both are terrific vegetarian dishes, too.

My husband and I were absolutely in love with Green Vegetable Curry (click for the recipe).
    I take the recipe’s title to have a double meaning – there are various green vegetables in the dish and the curry paste used in it is green too.
    Green curry paste is a type of Thai curry, and is easily found in the Asian foods section of many large supermarkets.
    It is spicy, so my husband and I used just one tablespoon of paste instead of the three listed in the recipe. This made it tame enough that even children could give this recipe a try.
    The dish’s secret ingredient is coconut milk. It mixes beautifully with the curry, shiitake mushrooms, green beans, baby bok choy (we substituted bok choy), bell pepper and basil leaves.
    Be sure to serve this lovely curry over jasmine rice.

Moroccan Vegetable Soup (click for the recipe) was both exotic and comforting at the same time – not an easy feat! It is a nice twist on everyday vegetable soup.
    The dish is flavoured with harissa, a type of North African hot-chile paste. Like curry paste, it is hot and spicy, so we used one tablespoon instead of the two listed in the recipe. Harissa can be found in the Asian foods section of large supermarkets.
    We found Israeli couscous, which is slightly larger than regular couscous, at a bulk/speciality foods store.
    The recipe calls for the main vegetables, carrots and rutabaga, to be cut quite large – three inch- and two inch-long pieces. This was correct, as the vegetables are cooked so as to be tender enough to break up with a spoon while eating them if desired.
    If you have leftovers of the soup, which warm up beautifully in the microwave, be sure to store it separately from the couscous. Then put the two together in a bowl, microwave them, and you’ve got a delicious lunch!

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