It’s been almost 3 months since I graduated from school and completed my internship. I’m currently teaching cooking classes and working as a personal chef and freelance recipe developer. I’m also running around after my 3 boys every day. Needless to say, things are picking up around here. As such, our family meals generally fall into the 30 minutes or less category.
I think people assume I like to create very fancy and/or complicated dishes because I am a chef. It’s true, I did enjoy doing so in culinary school and at Bon Appetit. But, things were different in those environments. I literally had all day, free from any interruptions, to cook. It was heavenly but, alas, no longer my reality. Most of the food you see on these pages are the dishes I make in the short windows of time I have between picking the kids up from school and driving them around to karate, basketball, band practice, etc.
I really loved this recent piece in the New York Times, Chicken with Shallots, Chef Style. “What happens when food professionals are off work and cooking for children and spouses? At home, after all, these people are much like the rest of us. They’re not looking to show off or spend a lot of time at the stove. They just want to eat well, simply and fast.” Well put! As a bonus, the Chicken with Shallots recipe in there is very tasty and definitely worth a try!
Here is another pretty simple and fast recipe I put together this past weekend. It’s a slight twist on the traditional Thai Red Curry Chicken as I added some seasonal asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. I really loved it and I hope you do too.
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly or cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 1 bunch asparagus, touch ends broken off and 1cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces
- 1 8 oz package of shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp brown turbinado sugar (or ½ tsp granulated)
- 4 Keffir lime leaves (optional but they add a lot of nice flavor)
- 1 cup basil, torn
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- ½ lime, juiced, plus extra slices for garnish and flavor
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and marinate with rice vinegar while preparing other ingredients (about 10 minutes)
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large, straight-sided sauté pan. Once warm, add red Thai curry paste and press it into pan, mixing frequently for about 1-2 minutes until it starts to become fragrant and stick to the bottom.
- Add chicken and toss until covered in paste, about 2-3 minutes, before adding vegetables and mixing together.
- Add the coconut milk, keffir lime leaves and sugar and stir to bring up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmering for 15-20 minutes, until chicken in cooked through.
- Finish by stirring in torn basil, fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
- Serve in bowls as soup or over white rice.