Thai Curry Beef Stew

by Lynne on April 5, 2015

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If you had to guess how much liquid is in a spoonful of soup, what would you say? A teaspoon? Tablespoon? Well, when I eat this Thai Curry Beef Stew, I ask myself, how can so much flavor be contained in one little spoonful. How can there be such depth and complexity in that small amount of red brown elixir that accompanies the beef, carrots and noodles of each bite. I’m telling you, this dish will send you to Thai food heaven.

Thai Curry Beef Stew 2

The curry paste for this stew contains just about every great Thai flavoring ingredient, including lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, shallots and garlic. Also, guajillo chiles and the big flavor item: shrimp paste. I happened to have a paper-wrapped block of Malaysian belacan that I used, but I have also made it with jarred shrimp sauce and shrimp paste. If you have never cooked with shrimp paste, this recipe is a great first time to dip your toe in the water.

Thai Curry Beef Stew 3

Here are four little jars of different shrimp sauce and paste, from different countries. I got several at my local Asian markets to try, because the cost is small and they last forever. So far, I have made this recipe with the Koon Chun brand and it was marvelous. If you really want more in-depth information, check out this Wikipedia article.

Thai Curry Beef Stew 4

The curry paste is made with a Thai granite mortar and pestle. You can really pound with this heavy duty tool. The recipe calls for pounding each ingredient to a paste, one at a time, before adding the next. Thus, the chiles and lemongrass are pounded a lot by the time you get to the shallots, making a really creamy concoction. If you don’t have the granite mortar, you could use your mini processor, but the texture will turn out differently. That brilliant orangey-red color comes from the fresh turmeric and guajillo chiles. Really astounding.

So, don’t wait. Make this Thai Curry Beef Stew and be prepared to have your socks knocked right off!

Thai Curry Beef Stew 5

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Red Lentil, Carrot & Avocado Salad

by Lynne on March 17, 2015

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Do you ever go through your pantry and check all the expiration dates to see what you need to use up? Well, that’s how I happened to be making a red lentil salad. The weather was hot and I didn’t feel like soup, so salad it was. For me, there are three nice things about red lentils: first, they’re surprisingly sweet tasting; second, they cook really fast, because the hulls have been removed; and three, they’re chocked full of healthy nutrients like potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, plus they’re particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. That’s right, they’re a super food.

So, eat a lentil salad, feel healthy and have a great day!

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Picadillo with Green Olives and Raisins

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The first time I ate Picadillo was in 1972. I had some neighbors from Costa Rica who invited me over for dinner, and served a diced potato and minced steak picadillo, sort of like hash. I didn’t know much about cooking back in those days, so my memory of dinner isn’t crystal clear. It was [...]

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Arepas ~ Venezuelan Corn Flour Flatbreads

Thumbnail image for Arepas ~ Venezuelan Corn Flour Flatbreads February 13, 2015

All of us, at one time or another, have had food made from ground corn, be it cornbread, corn tortillas, tortilla chips, tamales or polenta. In my pantry there is a new kid on the block called pre-cooked white maize meal or “harina de maiz blanco precocida”, which is what I used to make [...]

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Waldorf Turkey Salad

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Following Thanksgiving I had some great turkey leftovers. After the obligatory turkey, butter, salt and sourdough sandwich, which I look forward to every year, I needed to find something new and different to use them up. I also had a lot of celery left from making the stuffing. I had apples and pecans on hand. [...]

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Almond Fantasy Bar Cookies

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If you love almonds, these bars are going to light your fire. Seriously. They have the most saturated almond flavor of any food item I have ever encountered. That is why I called them Almond Fantasy, because they are beyond reality, beyond any other everyday almond flavored thing you have ever eaten. They are made [...]

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Arañitas con Mojo de Ajo ~ Shredded Green Plantain Fritters with Garlic Onion Sauce

Thumbnail image for Arañitas con Mojo de Ajo ~ Shredded Green Plantain Fritters with Garlic Onion Sauce January 10, 2015

When green plantains started showing up at my grocery store about 10 years ago, I was totally fascinated. I had no idea what they were, except they looked a lot like green bananas. Then I happened to eat dinner in my local Cuban restaurant, and fried plantains were part of the accompaniment for the pork [...]

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Top 10 Recipes of 2014 ~ Reader’s Choice Awards

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Happy New Year Everyone! I hope 2014 was as great a year for you as it was for me and Cook & Be Merry. For everyone who visited my blog, Thank You. And to all my great commenters, you are the absolute best! You make my day and make my blog so much more [...]

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Grasshopper Cream Cheese Pie

Thumbnail image for Grasshopper Cream Cheese Pie December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays everyone! Thank you so much for all your visits and comments over the past year. They have meant so much to me. You are the best! I hope you have great times with your family and friends this coming week, and of course, wonderful food. That’s what life is all about, right? Delicious [...]

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How to Make Chocolate Shards

Thumbnail image for How to Make Chocolate Shards December 12, 2014

My original reason for making these chocolate shards was to embellish the top of the Grasshopper Cream Cheese Pie that I was planning on making. I wanted something on that pie that was sort of a show stopper and really photogenic. My fantasies were just pie in the sky, you might say.

If you like this, [...]

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Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Thumbnail image for Chocolate Wafer Cookies November 29, 2014

As part of my holiday baking this year, I decided to make a pie with a chocolate wafer crumb crust. The kind where you crush the wafers, add melted butter and press them into the pie plate. The pie was a Grasshopper Cream Cheese Pie and I was really excited to make it.
I went to [...]

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Cheddar Garlic Crackers with Parsley & Pecans

Thumbnail image for Cheddar Garlic Crackers with Parsley & Pecans November 22, 2014

One of the great things about the holidays is family, friends and neighbors come to visit. Not all are coming to dinner, maybe just an afternoon visit. These Cheddar Garlic Crackers are such a great idea for noshing, especially since you can make them ahead of time and just whip them out of the fridge [...]

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Avocado & Pecans

Thumbnail image for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Avocado & Pecans November 15, 2014

As Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, I am finalizing my chosen side dishes and making my shopping list. I decided on this brussels sprouts dish, because I thought it would be a nice color contrast to the Roasted Carrots & Parsnips I will also be serving. I discovered this dish in a Food & Wine magazine [...]

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Roasted Carrots & Parsnips

Thumbnail image for Roasted Carrots & Parsnips November 7, 2014

Thanksgiving is almost here! Thanksgiving is almost here! Yeaaaaa! If you’re like me, this is your most favorite meal of the year. That may be intensified by the fact that we only eat it once a year, and the build-up and anticipation add to its wonder and perfection. For me, I could go with just [...]

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Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup

Thumbnail image for Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup October 29, 2014

I have really been enjoying cooking and eating Korean food lately. I am totally smitten with the red pepper powder (gochugaru) and red pepper paste (gochujang), and Dak Galbi is one of my most favorite recipes of all time. Recently I decided to make my Dak Galbi even more authentic by adding Perilla leaves; however, [...]

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