The Pizza Bible

pizzabibble (1 of 1)

Respect the Craft

“Craft is the difference between good and great. It takes a few extra steps, the right equipment, a little more time, and a fair amount of practice. But if you’re up for it, the payoff is golden.”

Tony Gemignani

If anyone ever wanted to master the art or ‘craft’ of making a quality pizza pie at home, “The Pizza Bible” by Tony Gemignani is the book for you. If you have ever been to ‘Tony’s Pizza Napoletana’ or ‘Capo’s’ in San Francisco, then you have sampled his credentials. In The Pizza Bible, Tony shows us how to make the same outstanding pizza he is famous for at home. The aptly named ‘Pizza Bible’ is the ultimate guide to the craft of making pizza.

Tony Gemignani is a San Francisco Bay area native who started out making pizza in his brother’s restaurant in Castro Valley, California. It wasn’t long before he was wowing the patrons with his amazing ‘throwing’ skills. Tony’s talent for throwing pizza lead him to the Las Vegas pizza throwing championships where he became the top pizza thrower in the world. He went on from there to win numerous other accolades such as the Triple Crown for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Lecce, Italy. Perhaps his greatest honor is winning the 2007 World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, the first American and non-Neapolitan to win this honor. His master credentials from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli more than qualify him to run The International School of Pizza where he certifies chefs from all over the world. Who better to write the holy grail of pizza cookbooks than Tony?

Tony’s motto is “respect the craft” but it might have been “go big or go home”. In that spirit, this book is for the serious pizza devotee. It may be named the Pizza Bible, but it is more like a textbook. The book begins with a section called The Master Class. Readers are urged to read all the way through these 19 pages before even attempting any recipes. In this section, the reader will learn about many topics such as theory, baking percentages and equipment as well as a primer on ingredients. After that section there is a three-day practice course in making pizza and mastering two kinds of dough. You might want to think of this section as ‘homework’, but in the end (as Tony points out in the book) “you get to eat the final exam.” The Master Class section is crammed with information and tips and ends with “The Theory of Pizza Relativity”. Here the reader is encouraged go with the visual cues instead of relying on recipes alone. As with any baking, there are so many factors from the weather to the age of the flour that affect the end product. If making great pizza were easy, everyone would be making it. There is a reason people are lined up to get a table a Tony’s ‘Napoletana’!

After you have completed The Master Class, you are ready to move on to the mouthwatering recipes. The chapters that follow are broken down into regional styles. Regional American pizza is well represented from California to New York, with stops in between in Detroit and Chicago. From there he has an entire chapter devoted to Napoletana and another on other regions of Italy. In a chapter on globally themed pizzas such as the ‘Barcelona’ and ‘München’, Tony treats us to some recipes inspired from his travels across Europe. One of my personal favorites, Calzone, is included in a chapter entitled ’Wrapped and Rolled’. A chapter on Focaccia and bread (in this case, Ciabatta) rounds things out. The pictures look so great you will want to get started right away…just don’t forget to do your homework first.

This book is the most definitive resource on pizza I have ever seen and a must-have for anyone aspiring to make world-class pizza at home. The information, pictures, and tips are precise, to the point and easy to follow. As long as you are not expecting instant results I think you will love this book. After having completed the Master Class myself I am ready to get started. The first effort for me will be “a cross between Chicago deep-dish and a Sicilian with a touch of Detroit”. It sounds like an old flame of mine, but in reality it is a deep-dish style pizza cooked in a cast iron skillet with a crispy white cheddar crust. It features provolone, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses in addition to ‘Sweet Fennel Sausage’ and roasted red peppers. If you think that sounds good just have a look at page 95. School is out; I’m going in!

9781607746058

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce

Tim’s Spaghetti Sauce

I never gave my ’S’ghetti Sauce’ much thought. It certainly has evolved over the years and since I make it to suit my taste it goes without saying that I like it. Paul likes it. He even told me he thought it was the best he ever had (blush). When I make lasagna with it (which is what I use it for nine times out of ten) I get rave reviews. If you are thinking they are just saying that because they are my friends you obviously haven’t met my friends. Since I have wanted to post my Lasagna recipe for a long time and since I couldn’t do that without posting the sauce recipe first, I decided to break it down into two posts. Here is my two cents about spaghetti sauce.

Spaghetti sauce is about as American as apple pie. Most of us know that a heavy meat-laden tomato sauce with some pasta drowning in it is about as far as you can get from real Italian food. I don’t care. I’ve been to Italy and I know what a plate of real Italian spaghetti looks like (and for the record I love that too). But I’m talking about the spaghetti that you find in a dark American ‘Italian’ eatery, the kind with red-checkered tablecloths, lots of garlic bread and a candle burning in an empty Chianti bottle. That’s my idea of a spaghetti dinner! It’s the kind of comfort food that always takes me back to my childhood, the one that I’m serving up here.

Before we get browning our beef let me give you a little background on Timmy’s S’ghetti sauce. I remember making spaghetti dinner for the family in my teens. Mom worked so making dinner was my job. ‘Chef Boyardee Complete Spaghetti Dinner’ was a staple. If it just occurred to you that my family might not be Italian, then you would be correct. ‘Chef Boyardee Complete Spaghetti Dinner’ consisted of a can of sauce and box of dry spaghetti plus a can of Kraft cheese. All that you needed was a pound of ground beef and you were on your way. As my weekly s’ghetti dinners progressed, I began adding various things to kick it up a notch. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t, but no one complained (much). Fast forward to adulthood and I am still making s’ghetti dinners, only now no one is complaining. I’ve picked up a few tips and techniques from friends that I’ve met along the way and made up a few of my own. It was difficult writing it all down since I have never measured or made it exactly the same, but over the years it has gotten fairly consistent. This basic recipe is a great starting point and will provide you with great results, but feel free to veer off course all you want. Mine is seldom the same every time either.

The key to great sauce is browning the meat thoroughly. I start my sauce by browning the meat (ground beef and mild Italian pork sausage) along with the onions. I carry out this step in my wok. I seem to get the best results in my iron wok and I like that there is plenty of room, but any heavy skillet will do. Now when I say brown, I mean brown! You want some real good sizzle and color, and it’s ok if it sticks to the bottom (that is the goal). You don’t want it to burn, but sauté it until you have a rich deep color. That crusty brown layer (AKA fond) is where a lot of that great flavor for your sauce is going to come from. All you need to do is add some red wine (deglaze) to loosen all that up, and you have a flavorful base component for your sauce. I add the garlic at the end of this step so I get some browning on the garlic without burning it and ruining the sauce. The other thing I do that is out of the ordinary is that I finish and simmer the sauce in a crock-pot. The reason I use the crockpot is so that I can simmer it for a long time without getting up to stir. A more traditional approach is to simmer for a long time in a pot with no lid in order to reduce and thicken the sauce. I used to do this until I burned the bottom of the pot and ruined a large pot of sauce. This recipe makes a sauce that is very thick without the need to reduce. I use canned chopped or stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. I might use fresh tomatoes in the summer, but I never dream of it any other time of the year because they have no flavor. I also never use a green bell pepper but instead prefer roasted green chilies because I like the flavor better. Dry porcini mushrooms reconstituted in red wine add some extra mushroom flavor. If I have a ‘secret ingredient’ at all, it has to be ‘Better Than Bouillon” beef bouillon paste. I love this product! For the record they did not pay me or even give me a free jar to say this…I just love the stuff! Since I am making a meat sauce, I want it to be meaty and this bouillon kicks it up a notch.

spaghetti sauce

This recipe makes about 6 quarts of sauce, enough to feed an army (as my grandmother would say) and easily enough for a lasagna and a large plate of pasta. I usually use half of the sauce and freeze the rest. The seasoning is conservative and you may want to add more. I use dried herbs as they are available all the time, but using some or all fresh herbs dramatically improves the sauce. The general rule of thumb is to use 2-3 times the portion that is called for when substituting fresh herbs for dried. Listening to Italian opera and drinking a nice red while preparing this sauce will greatly improve your results. Prego!

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 3/4 lbs. mild Italian sausage
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz. white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2-3 cups red wine
  • 4 oz. can green chilies, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 rounded tablespoon beef bouillon paste

Instructions

Because the crock-pot takes a while to heat up, begin by plugging it in and setting it to the highest setting. Add all the tomatoes, sauce, and paste and cover while you brown the meat. In a large skillet, add a couple teaspoons olive oil and when it is hot add the beef, sausage, and onions. Use a wooden spoon to stir and break up the ground meat as you brown off the meat and onions. Continue cooking until the meat has started to brown well. Add the chopped garlic and continue to brown. It should start sticking to the bottom of the pan which is good, just do not let it burn. After you have browned the meat, add the two cups of wine to deglaze the pan and loosen all the tasty brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the meat and onions to the crock-pot. Remove the reconstituted porcini from the wine and give them a rough chop, reserving the wine that they soaked in. If necessary, add a little olive oil to the skillet and sauté the fresh mushrooms and porcini. Sauté until cooked soft and browned, using the reserved wine to deglaze and loosen any stuck-on bits. When finished with the mushrooms, add them to the crock-pot. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. The sauce will be ready in about two hours from the time it starts to boil. Do not lift the lid unless necessary and allow the sauce to simmer.

After a couple hours, taste and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. This recipe makes about 6 quarts.

Nutri Ninja Blender (Sponsored Post)

As a participant of the 2014 IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference) I was invited by the folks at Ninja to review their blender. They provided me with a blender, and I was happy to test it out. I received no compensation and as always, the opinions expressed here are my own.

nutri ninja blender

The Nutri Ninja® | Ninja® Blender DUO™ With Auto-iQ™

When I contemplate adding another appliance to my already overstocked kitchen, many thoughts go through my mind. Will I have the room for it? Will it make my life easier? Will I use it enough to justify the real estate it will occupy in my cupboard or on my counter? Since I already had a blender that I don’t use that much, I wasn’t sure that I needed another one. It wasn’t until I unboxed my Nutri Ninja Blender that I realized that this is no ordinary blender. After a month of use, I am happy to share my thoughts and experiences with you.

My first impression was that it is a beautiful machine. That shouldn’t matter as long as it does a good job, but if it is going to sit on the counter, it should look good too. It’s also heavy! That’s probably due to the 1300-watt motor that powers it. This hefty motor drives the unique Total Crushing® blades in this blender that are the reason the Nutri Ninja is go good at what it does. The Ninja felt solid and well made. I was impressed that not only did it come with a large 72-ounce capacity pitcher for big jobs, but it also included two smaller cups (24 and 32 ounce). These smaller cups (for preparing individual or small servings) come with a separate blade and include two snap-on lids. The snap-on lids make it possible to blend a drink, pop on the lid and be on your way. Since my workday starts early, this feature is very welcome. Within minutes I can blend up a delicious smoothie and have no mess to clean up (or have one waiting for me when I get home).

To put the Ninja to its first test, I decided to revive an old favorite ‘Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup’ recipe. I make this soup frequently when the weather gets cold, and I wanted to see if I could simplify the recipe and still get great results (if not better). In the original recipe, I used a whole butternut squash. It had to be cut, roasted, scooped and simmered with other vegetables, and then blended with a hand blender or in two batches using a conventional blender. After a bit of tinkering, I tried out my modified recipe using the Ninja. I was very impressed! The soup came out much better in the Ninja, incredibly smooth and silky and thicker. The large 74-ounce pitcher did a fantastic job, and it was big enough to do the entire pot of soup at once. I include the recipe here. You can have a look at the old recipe here, but I will be making the new improved version in the future.

Butternut squash chipotle soup

Cream of Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup

Cream of Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubed
  • 1 20 oz package pre-cut fresh butternut squash
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 28-32 oz. stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, and another 1/2 cup for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Over a medium high heat sauté the celery, carrots and onions in a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently until the vegetables start to soften, but do not brown. Add the potatoes and garlic and sauté a few more minutes. Add the butternut squash and enough stock to just barely cover the contents of the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the squash is very soft (about 40-45 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool (about 30 minutes at least). When the soup has cooled, pour it into the Ninja 72 ounce pitcher, place the lid on, and press the ‘Auto IQ Puree’ button. The Ninja will blend the soup and shut off automatically. Return the soup the pot. You can finish the soup by bringing it to just under a boil and add the sour cream and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

After trying out the large pitcher, I was eager to check out the small cups. For a while now I have wanted to start my day with a smoothie, but because I start so early there never seemed to be enough time. The Nutri Ninja inspired me to give it a shot. I got in the habit of preparing the ingredients for my smoothie right in the cup the night before and putting it in the fridge. In the morning all I had to do was put in a little ice and blend them. Very simple! The cup would come off the machine; the blade would go in the dishwasher, the cap went on the cup and I was out the door. I tried out a few different recipes in the book, but lately I have enjoyed experimenting with my own combinations. Usually, regardless of what I put in, the results are tasty, with some combinations working better than others. The book that came with the Ninja was a great place to start. In addition to numerous recipes, there was also a lot of great information plus a flavor chart of tasty suggested combinations. I was impressed with the cookbook. The largest portion was expectedly devoted to juice drinks. There were also chapters on ‘Infused Waters and Teas’, ‘Breakfast’, ‘Soups Sauces and Entree’s’, ‘Entertaining’, and ‘Desert Treats’. In addition to all the great recipes, there was lots of great advice and tips for healthier eating, maximizing nutrition and much more.

Another great aspect of the Nutri Ninja is the Auto-iQ™ feature. I thought at first this sounded a little gimmicky but it truly is a great feature. This feature essentially is multiple automated programs built into the blender that takes all the guesswork out of how long you need to blend a recipe. At the push of a button, the Ninja will select the speed and time needed to blend everything perfectly. It will also stop and start again to allow the contents to fall back down for even and thorough blending. It is scary that this blender might be smarter than me at 5AM! In addition to being smart, it is a great time saver! All you need to do is push a button and walk away.

nutri ninja blender

Other great features include:

  • Suction cups to keep it firmly in place on the counter
  • Intelligent Auto-iQ™ feature
  • Safety features like locking cup/pitcher and caps.
  • Easy pour feature on the pitcher cap.
  • Total Crushing® Technology for the best blending I’ve ever seen
  • All the parts are dishwasher safe
  • BPA free

Pros In addition to all the great features I have already mentioned, this is a great all-purpose blender. It does a great job on anything you want to put in there from ice to cooked vegetables. I love the large 72-ounce pitcher plus the smaller cups are great for lesser jobs and to make individual servings.

Cons It’s large! If you are planning on keeping it on the counter under a cabinet, you might want to measure it first. It fits great with the smaller cup but not with the 72-ouncer. This wasn’t even an issue for me because I don’t keep any appliances on the counter anyway. I can honestly say that I couldn’t find anything else with this machine that I would change.

The Slanted Door

 

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The Slanted Door, a cookbook by Charles Phan

I was thrilled when Charles Phan released his first book, “Vietnamese Home Cooking”, that introduced his reader to the world of Vietnamese food. The book, published in 2012, was heavy on technique and went in depth with the description of the ingredients that make up this fabulous cuisine. It was a primer course, if you will, complete with a comprehensive glossary and detailed instructions that still managed to remain personal and intimate. As a long time fan of ‘The Slanted Door’ I was delighted again this year to find that Charles has released a second book titled “The Slanted Door” that is dedicated to this beloved San Francisco institution. As the name would suggest this book is all about the restaurant.

‘The Slanted Door’ restaurant has received numerous accolades over the years including the 2014 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year”. Critics love it and diners have made it the highest grossing independently owned restaurant in the country. If you love eating like I do, or if you’ve never gone to the restaurant but want to share the magic, then this is the book you need to have.

The first thing I noticed about the book is that it’s a great looking book (not unlike its namesake). It would look as good on the coffee table as it would on the shelf. However, if all you do is admire it on the coffee table you are making an egregious error, because so much of the great food that we have come to love at the restaurant is in the book! I’ve always thought that ‘The Slanted Door’ perfectly reflects all that is good about the San Francisco Bay Area food scene. The menu was groundbreaking but still managed to stay true to its roots maintaining an emphasis on local fresh ingredients to create heathy, balanced, exciting and original offerings. If he didn’t invent modern Vietnamese cuisine, Mr. Phan pioneered it. Fans of the restaurant will be happy to see that many of the most popular dishes are in the book. Dishes like ‘Caramelized Chicken Claypot’ and ‘Shaking Beef’, as well as relatively new dishes like the ‘Roasted Mushroom and Yuba Salad’, have been bringing people back to the restaurant since the beginning. Another favorite included in the book is the ‘Vegetarian Imperial Rolls’ along with the subtle tips that make them consistently crunchy. The recipes are all well written and easy to follow particularly if you are already familiar with some of the more exotic ingredients you will need. If you are completely new to this type of cuisine, you may want to start out with Charles’ first book, ‘Vietnamese Home Cooking’, as an introductory course. Then again, maybe you won’t…one look at the beautiful photography by Ed Anderson will more than likely have you running to the kitchen to get started.

Another groundbreaking aspect of ‘The Slanted Door’ experience has been its wine pairing which is touched upon in the book. When the restaurant’s location was moved from the Mission to Brannan Street, cocktails became an integral part of the ‘Slanted Door’ experience. In addition to the great advice on pairing Asian food with wine, there is also a chapter dedicated to cocktails. Here you will find familiar Slanted Door favorites like ‘Ginger Limeade’ (made with Hangar 1 Kaffir Lime Vodka from St George Spirits in Alameda). I was also pleased to see the ‘Mai Tai’ recipe that was originally invented in Oakland, California in 1944 at ‘Trader Vic’s’ (although oft times disputed). The cocktail chapter also features many of the restaurant’s desserts. Anyone not familiar with ‘The Slanted Door’ might be surprised to find that the desserts are not Asian at all. ‘Crème brûlée’, ‘Chocolate Soufflé Cake’, and ‘No-Bake Cheesecake with Walnut Cookie-Brown Butter Crust’ all seem to be a throwback to Vietnam’s imperial history with the French. This east-west fusion can be seen in other recipes as well such as the ‘Clams with Butter-Lime Sauce’. In this dish, traditional Asian ingredients are wonderfully balanced by the introduction of butter. This perfect union between east and west is one of my favorite characteristics of Vietnamese food.

For someone with no formal chef training, Charles Phan has become a remarkable success and inspiration. This book is a chronicle of his journey from the humble beginnings on Valencia Street to its present location in the San Francisco Ferry Building. If all the book contained were great recipes that would have been enough. But what really made this book fun to read was learning all the background on the many great dishes I have enjoyed for years and hearing some of the great stories that have gifted San Francisco with this wonderful restaurant.
Pros: Great looking book, well written recipes, inspirational food and beverages. A must for fans of the restaurant.
Cons: Not a great start for people unfamiliar with Asian cuisine and ingredients, but nothing Google couldn’t solve.

Bottom Line: This book is much more than a pretty face. I’m sure the recipes in here will fast become part of my regular repertoire. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

the slanted door

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions and views that I have expressed are my own.

Spicy Satay Quinoa

Spicy satay quinoa

Spicy Satay Quinoa

While I usually like to think of myself as someone on the cutting edge (usually) sometimes I’ve been known to miss the boat (sometimes). That is the case when it comes to quinoa. It seems like it went to ‘never heard of it’ to ‘sick and tired of it’ overnight. I finally got around to trying it in the form of a flavored box mix I had picked up somewhere that looked good but tasted awful. After that dreadful experience I put it on the back burner. I just went on with life continuing to scratch my head over the popularity of this quaint little grain. Then over the summer we had a couple of visitors and I was forced to give it another try. Our friends Eli and Miri were here from Israel and Miri wanted to make some quinoa for us. As you can imagine I was a little less than enthusiastic. Miri made it very simply by sautéing a mirepoix of aromatic vegetables, adding some water, a bouillon cube and the quinoa. Happily, instead of having to figure how I was going to choke it down, I was treated to a light, healthy and delicious dish. It was ready in no time and everyone, including myself, loved it. I was amazed at how easy it was to prepare and wondered why anyone would ever bother with a mix. In addition to tasting good it is also considered a superfood, high in protein and gluten-free. It is easy to digest and is a great source of dietary fiber and phosphorous as well as being high in magnesium and iron.

After our friends left we continued to make it just the way Miri taught us. However, we eventually got braver and began experimenting with the recipe a little more each time we made it. Quinoa is like a blank canvas that is begging to soak up any flavor and texture that you want to add to it. It was after a long day at work that I was in the mood to eat some Thai food but not in the mood to cook it. I was staring at the huge bag of quinoa in the pantry and suddenly became inspired. I continued scrambling in my pantry for some coconut milk, curry paste and peanut butter. The results were fantastic! We loved the combination of flavors and continued to make this “new quinoa recipe” over and over until we got it down perfectly. If you like Thai Satay you are going to love this dish. One component of this dish that elevates it is the sweet and sour cucumber. Although it sounds like a bit of work it is easy to make. The quinoa is still great without it, but I am begging you to try it with the sweet and sour cucumbers. You will be glad you did.

Enjoy.

Spicy satay quinoa

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Spicy Satay Quinoa

Spicy Satay Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 rounded teaspoon red curry paste*
  • 2 rounded tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable) dissolved in 1 1/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed Thai Basil, chopped (chiffonade)
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa
  • Sriracha Sauce for garnish (optional)
  • For the Sweet and Sour Cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup of cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

Begin by preparing the cucumber relish. Cut the cucumber and red onion and place in a small bowl. Combine the vinegar, sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over the cucumber and red onion and set aside. For the quinoa begin by cutting the carrot, pepper, celery and onion into a ¼ inch dice and sauté in 1-2 tablespoons oil until soft and beginning to brown. Add the chopped garlic and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes. Push the vegetables over to one side of the pan and add the curry paste. Fry the paste for a minute or so being careful not to burn it. Stir in the peanut butter and blend with the other ingredients in the pan. Add the water and bouillon, coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, give it a stir, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Do not lift the lid until at least 15 minutes or so to check on it. After that it is ok to stir if necessary to prevent sticking or scorching the bottom. After 20 minutes taste for doneness. Plate and serve with Sweet and Sour Cucumbers.

*Most Thai red curry pastes are not vegetarian. Thai Kitchen brand is and it is easy to find in many major supermarkets.

Spicy satay quinoa

A note from Tim: most Thai red curry pastes are not vegetarian. Thai Kitchen brand is and it is easy to find in many major supermarkets. Use a vegetarian bouillon cube to keep this dish vegetarian.