Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

There are few people I know who love food, who do not love a delicious creamy curry dish.  Unfortunately, as we all know, they aren’t the most healthy dish.  The main reason for this is what makes them so delicious… coconut milk.  Coconut milk is delicious, sweet, creamy, and the perfect counterpart to the sharp and spicy flavors of a good curry paste or powder.  This delicious nectar of the southeast Pacific Gods is seemingly perfectly created to support the lives of the struggling people who have lived in that region for so long.  One can of coconut milk falls in at a whopping 640-700 calories per can 81% of which comes from its 63 g of fat…

A pork and peanut curry I made with the coconut milk alternative

Now that may have been great for the impoverished vegetarians of southeast Asia who work from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep.  But I’m thinking it probably is not so good for us lazy Americans.  So how do we get around this without giving up curries?  Well I have found a pseudo way around over half of the calories and 57 grams of the fat.  To the left is one example of a Thai style curry I made with my little short cut secret to maintain the taste and integrity of the dish while being healthier.  It works very well, so well you probably wouldn’t know the difference if I didn’t tell you.

So here is my secret to a healthy coconut milk alternative, followed by an Indian style shrimp curry I made the other night….

Healthy Coconut Milk Alternative

1/4 c. sweetened angel flake coconut

1 can 2% evaporated milk

Place the coconut in either a blender or a food processor and add the milk.  Blend for 10-12 seconds and let the coconut “steep” for about an hour.  Strain the milk to remove the coconut puree, and use as directed for coconut milk.

The coconut in the food processor

The coconut and milk post blending, ready to sit

My Healthy Curry Mise (plus the requisite cooking cocktail...)

Healthy Shrimp and Spinach Curry

1/4 c. peanut oil

1/2 c. onion, finely diced

1/2 c. red bell pepper, finely diced

1/2 c. carrot, thinly sliced on the bias

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced

1 tbs curry powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 can of Healthy Coconut Milk Alternative (see above)

1 lb shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined

2 c. finely shredded spinach

First begin by heating a wok over high heat, add oil and wait until the surface of the oil “dances.”  Add the vegetables and stir fry until the onions and peppers have cooked but not browned, and the carrots are beginning to soften, as below.

Veggies in the wok, softened, and ready for seasonings

Add in the garlic, ginger, and the seasonings and cook, stirring for 30 seconds to a minute, until the seasonings have released their aromaticity.  Reduce the heat and add in the Healthy Coconut Milk Alternative.  Bring to a slow simmer as below, and stir occasionally to eliminate a skin and prevent scalding for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.

A gentle simmer to thicken the sauce

Once thickened nicely, add in the shrimp, increase heat to medium high, and cook until shrimp are almost finished… between 5-7 minutes (look for them to be turning a gentle pink, but still vaguely translucent).  Once the shrimp are within 2-3 minutes of being finished, add in the spinach and continue to cook for the final 2-3 minutes, just enough to finish the shrimp and wilt the spinach.

All done cooking, spinach gently wilted

At this point all that is left to do is pour some over some rice and, as always enjoy…

Healthy Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Healthy Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Just for the record, final stats come in (1/4 prepared recipe with 3/4 cup of rice) at 459 calories per serving… so Enjoy!!!


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In the never-ending struggle to decide what to make for dinner, I found myself in a somewhat familiar position… kneeling on the floor in front of the open fridge digging and diving in to see what needed to be used.  After a careful perusal, and a single bite from a few cold leftovers, I came to the conclusion that it was an excellent night to use up some near-spoiling veggies and have an appetizer dinner.

I found myself planning the typical things…stuffed mushroom caps, cheese and meat platter, bacon wrapped dates, rumaki… when I decided to mix it up a little.  I wanted to expand, to branch out, maybe make something not in my typical repertoire.  This led inevitably to a good 30 minutes nose deep in The Joy (only about 10 of which were actually spent looking for what I set out to, as I was, most expectedly, distracted).

When I surfaced, it was with a plan.  A plan for hot crab dip.  Since its inception that night, I have made the dish three more times, the last reincarnation used simple white crab meat (not lump) because it was on a ridiculous sale.  The dish was still delicious, and no taste change was noted, the only difference was a smoother consistency.  This will forever be a quick, easy, and relatively cheap, appetizer alternative which is sure to please and impress!

So with no further adieu here it is…

Hot Creamy Crab Dip:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. mayonnaise

Shown here in its first incarnation (without the almonds as I didn't realize I had forgotten to buy them until I was home).

1 1/2  tsp horseradish

1 tsp worcheshire sauce

2 tbs shallots

2 tbs parmesean

6 oz lump crab meat

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 tbs slivered almonds

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth.  Mix in by hand lump crab meat and nutmeg.  Transfer to an oven safe dish and sprinkle slivered almonds on top.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips or triscuits, and as always… Enjoy!

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