Friday, June 26, 2009

Food Friday: Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Rice

Please welcome my guest blogger Deb Jenkins. Deb is one talented lady who is an inspiration to many. I would like to take my Friday blog and dedicate it to Deb. You can find her weekly articles in The High Plains Reader in its All About Food Section.

Well, it is absolutely definite, without us knowing it summer has decided to just come in spurts here and there. So I guess the best thing to do about that is take what I can get. As you have gartered, if you read this column I have spent a lot of time eating out at one particular restaurant in the last month. However now I am going to chill and start making some tasty items at home, while the weather allows it for eating outside. However I still want to have spicy and Asian. I have for you a recipe that is outstanding! I have eaten, more than I should have, of course, of the Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Rice , made by Kate and Will K. They even made their own curry paste! What I want you to know is that you can change this to be vegetarian by , of course, leaving out all meat items and the fish sauce. Make a flavorful veggie stock in stead. Also if there is an allergy to peanuts this recipe gives you the option to use vegetable oil for frying and of course you can leave out the peanuts all together. Personally I think that the peanuts should be served on the side. Then you can add however much you would like.

The other thing too is there are many things in this recipe that you may not have just hanging out in you kitchen. Don't let that stop you from making it. Two things you could do. Save the recipe until you have all the products or have a cooking party and have everyone bring two items to make the dish. So you say, "then what do I do with all the left over items?" Well I say put them away for the next Asian adventure. Oh yes, one more thing. Please, please, be careful working with raw chicken. Wash your hands, leave it in the fridge until you are REALLY ready to use it. Wipe up after any spills of raw chicken drippings. Do not use anything else in the container the raw chicken has been in. Just get rid of it in the sink or dish washer right away. Can you tell I have a thing about raw chicken and meat in general?

The curry paste of course you can even freeze. Mike and I love adding it to anything we eat. I am beginning to think that the two of us are from another planet. We have probably burnt out any taste buds we have. Ah the price one has to pay.

All I am trying to say is have fun with this, laugh a lot when you make it together and moan a lot form the fabulous taste of the food when you eat it! We did.

This recipe started out with the following statement: Throughout the tropical world the combination of rice and coconut milk provides nutrition and great taste. This version is spiced with fresh curry, basil, and lime.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Rice
3- cups cooked jasmine rice( should be leftover
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
8 ounces boned chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 cup 1-inch cubes red onion
1 tablespoon julienned fresh red hot chili or sweet peppers
2 heaping tablespoons fresh curry paste
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 heaping tablespoon julienned Thai Basil leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh roasted peanuts
Serves 2 as a complete meal. 3 to 4 as part of a larger meal

With your clean hands, break up the rice into grains ad set aside. Put the coconut milk in a saucepan and over medium heat, reduce to about 1/2 cup. Set aside

Toss the chicken with the cornstarch, salt, and the sesame oil, and set aside.

Heat a small wok or sauce pan over medium heat and add 1 cup oil. When hot but not smoking, add the chicken, and cook, stirring until the meat just begins to turn color. Remove to drain; reserve oil.

Heat a clean wok or skillet to hot and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. Add the onion and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Push the vegetables slightly to the side and add the curry paste to the pan. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the rice; cook, stirring and separating the grains, until the rice and curry paste is well mixed.

Add the chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the reduced coconut milk. Stir until hot, then stir in the peas and the chicken. When piping hot, add the lime juice- sugar mixture and the fish sauce. Stir in the basil leaves and peanuts and serve.

Yellow Curry Paste
30 dried red chilies
1/4 cup coriander seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon powdered turmeric
3 tablespoons chopped fresh galangal
2 bunches coriander (roots and 1 inch of stems only)
15 garlic cloves
2/3 cup chopped shallots
3 stalks lemongrass (bottom 2 inch only)
3/4 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons mam nem ground (fish sauce)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Over medium heat in a small skillet, toast the dried chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns until fragrant. Grind to a medium powder in a spice grinder or blender. Add the turmeric to the spice mixture.

Put the galangal, coriander, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and 1/4 cup of the peanut oil in a food processor and grind to a paste. Add the spice powder, salt , fish sauce, and lemon juice and continue to blend. Remove the paste to a bowl and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup oil. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate. It will keep a week or so.

Makes about 2 cups
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Have a great week and be safe , eat well. Any questions or comments email

Monday, June 22, 2009

Motivational Monday: How To Find More Time To Read

We all have a stack of books that are calling our name…..I can hear mine right now….”Melissa, read me to laugh……read me to be a better business person… me because you want to be a better parent……read me to learn how to speak Spanish” (ok that last one is a lie). I am a book addict and I have a problem. I am sure there is a 12 step program out there that my family will sign me up for. As well as a book lover, I am also a busy mom, wife and entrepreneur. I have found a few ways to find extra time in my day in order to find time to read and I would like to share them so that you can find a few extra minutes to escape and read a good book.

1. Carry a reading bag with you: Put magazines, mail and the current book you are reading so that they are at the ready. When you are waiting at that doctor appointment, you are then not forced to read a Highlight’s from 1967. Keep this bag in your car for when you have to wait that extra 20 minutes for your child to get done with practice.
2. Check out books on tape/CD from the library: I typically do this in the summer when I am spending about an hour a day running kids from here to there. I was shocked when I found out how fast we were going through books. On long car rides I would check out a couple of the Happy Potter books as they are always an entertaining read. The side benefit is that you don’t hear the kids yelling as they are quiet so that they can hear the story.
3. Read as the passenger: When we go on trips longer than 30 minutes in the car I always bring along my reading bag. My husband likes to think while he drives which allows me to read.
4. Buy a Kindle from Amazon: I did not think I would love my electronic book reader as much as I have. One of my favorite functions is the opportunity to download a sample of the book. I am notorious for buying books and reading only a few chapters and never getting back to them. This way I am not locked into purchasing the book. Whenever I hear a book suggestion on the news, in the paper or from friends, I download the sample on my Kindle. My other favorite function is being able to download a book anywhere. I was on my way to the lake on Saturday and I then downloaded two books while in the car and started to read one within 60 seconds. (you may have sticker shock when you see the price of the Kindle, but I received mine as a gift from my husband and parents…..I also figure that the way I read it will pay for itself in no time as most books are $9.99 and I don’t waste money on unread books since I can download the samples for free).

To Simplified, Joyful Living,

Melissa Schmalenberger

If you like reading my blog, please consider becoming a follower and leave a comment. If you don’t like reading my blog, then just be on your way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom: Pareto Principal

Have you heard of this….I bet you have. Roughly 80% of the causes come from 20% of the causes. If you are in business 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients. If you wear clothes, you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. This is true everywhere you look. You probably use the same 20% of dishes, glasses, pot, pans, and beauty products 80% of the time. Need to downsize, start paying attention to the 20% that you use and start letting go of the other 80%.

To Simplified, Joyful Living

Melissa Schmalenberger

Monday, June 15, 2009

Motivational Monday: Create a Happy File

  • I cannot remember where I came upon this idea, so I apologize if it was yours and I am not giving you proper credit. About a year ago I created what I call a Happy File for each member of my family. I created a hanging file folder for each member of our family and put it in our filing cabinet in my desk. What I put in it is things that make me smile about that person. For my kids, it could be a kind word from a teacher. For me, it could be notes that I have received from clients and friends. For my husband, it would contain his yearly reviews at work.
  • When I was discussing this concept with a friend last week, she has a virtual Happy File on her computer where she puts emails that made her laugh. So when she is having a tough day at work, she goes into her Happy File and finds that video clip of that silly thing that made her laugh.
  • My challenge to you would be to create a Happy File for yourself and your immediate family or even coworkers this week. What would happen if we all started to shift our focus to the positive in our lives?

    To Simplified and Joyful Living,
    Melissa Schmalenberger

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Friday: Sushi, Sashimo or Teppanyaki

Please welcome my guest blogger Deb Jenkins. Deb is one talented lady who is an inspiration to many. I would like to take my Friday blog and dedicate it to Deb. You can find her weekly articles in The High Plains Reader in its All About Food Section.

What: Sushi, Sashimi or Teppanyaki anyone??

Alright it is absolutely official, I AM OBSESSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not using that lightly either. I took the advise and tried this new place"Kobe's". It is a Japanese Sushi restaurant located at 4228 15 th Ave. SW. Fargo . At first I thought ya, cute but the food is going to be the ticket of course. Well, I walked in and was greeted with a wonderful smile from the hostess Jo Jo, asked which table I would like to sit at, of which there are three choices the Teppanyaki table where they make the food right in front of you, the Sushi Bar, where of course you can also watch things being made and talk with the Sushi chefs and lastly a table or a booth. I chose the table; in fact that is what I have chosen each time. I always seem to have the same waitress too. However I don't think she knows each time that it is me ,again. Or she is just being very polite and making me feel new each time, works for me. Jo Jo however does know it is me each time I come in. I still get the big smile.

I have to say that my taste for Sushi has grown a lot in the last year. I have gotten a little braver as to what I will eat. Still not sure though on the eel roll though. JB swears by it, I think I prefer just to watch others enjoy it. So Kobe's is not all about raw fish. It is so much more. What I like is if you enjoy Asian cuisine you have found your home. Here are just a few mentions of items from their menu. There are a variety of soups like Miso, my favorite, to Vegetable tofu and Chicken Edamame soup, which would be Japanese soy beans. I have not tried that soup. I have had the beans before in Minneapolis at a restaurant and enjoyed them a lot. Salads range from traditional Seaweed salad, something I really want to learn to make BADLY to Avocado Garden Salad with sesame seeds. Appetizers, now I have had two of them so far Shrimp Shumai, steamed Shrimp Dumplings and Thai Style Crispy Calamari. Well my favorite, without question, was the Calamari.

Both of these appetizers are lightly fried. When I say lightly I could not emphasize that word enough. Mike and I could not believe that we were really actually tasting the Calamari and not deep fried batter. And there is no way on the green earth that I can express to you the presentation of that appetizer or our main dish for that matter. Let's just say if I was to give it a score, a high number has not been developed yet to place on it.

The menu is easy to read and the wait staff is more than ready to help you answer any question on it. What I have learned in going to Kobe’s is that I love the sashimi. Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of very fresh raw seafood, sliced into thin pieces about 2.5 cm. Where as Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice, and while raw fish is one traditional sushi ingredient, many sushi dishes contain seafood that has been cooked, while others have no seafood at all.
That last statement is important to those that think they have to have raw fish to eat sushi. You do not!

The last time I ate there I had the Sushi and Sashimi Combo. Although when you read the menu it may look like you could share this dish, Mike thought that it would be a great idea; needless to say I did not! They waitress agreed with me, love that. Anyway we both got the same dish and we finished it with out any problem, this is another dish that there would be no way to explain the presentation, Amazing! Oh gee I said the last time I was there. I am so wrong. The last time I was there I had the lunch Platter from the Sushi bar. I choose the Kobe’s Roll Special only $8.95. You choose two rolls from a choice of 21 rolls. I had the spicy tuna roll and the spicy yellowtail roll. Now that would have been enough, YA think? But no I had to have some noodles.

When Mike and I were there I saw a lot of people ordering noodles. This was in the evening. I just had to try them. So it too was worth being in pain from eating too much. These fried noodles were, well special in my world of good simply food hitting my palate. You are just going to have to try them when you go. I actually shared them with Bobbi. She liked them too.

OK now I do not want to leave out one of the most important things about Kobe’s, the Teppanyaki table. This is one of those you have to be there to see it moments. What a show. The night Mike and I were there one of these areas had a large group; the chef at this table was so much fun to watch as he entertained his guest. That is what it was like although all of us are in the same room the focus of the chef was on that table and making those people enjoy this food experience. He made volcanoes out of onion rings, threw rice balls in the air and caught them with his hat, did an unbelievable show of Asian art with knives, only time I was glad not to be at that table, and made some amazing food. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point, if you don't then I give up. Just go and have your own experience with the food and the people working there. Check out there menu on line.

Fargo, we are so very lucky, the culinary world is coming here in leaps and bounces.

If you have any questions or comments please write to Eat well and be safe until next week.

4228 15 th Ave. SW. Fargo
Phone: 701-23235623 or 701-282-8888

Monday, June 8, 2009

Motivational Monday: How to Pack and Prepare a Perfect Shore Lunch or a Great Father's Day Gift Idea

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such great people who are constantly supporting me in my adventure of becoming more organized while helping others become organized. I am so thankful that my friends think of sending me ideas for blog entries and newsletter articles. My friend Deanna and her husband Jim are experts at preparing a shore lunch and it is my pleasure to share them with you. Deanna is so organized, she even included pictures.....she gets an A++!
  • Need a great Father's day idea? The fisherman in your life would be so grateful to receive the items listed below in a new cooler. Love the idea of laminating the checklist and placing it taped to the cooler lid. What an easy and creative gift!
  • Now if you are like my husband, you are now asking yourself "what is a shore lunch?". My favorite go to guide for definitions, Wikepedia defines it as: A Shore Lunch is traditional in Northern USA & Canada. For decades outdoor enthusiasts have been cooking their catch on the shores of their favorite lake. From the far reaches of remote wilderness points, fishing guides would prepare the freshly caught fish for their guests on open flames along the sandy shorelines.

The Perfect Shore Lunch
By Jim Sinclair

See the photo of the checklist.

1. Checklist – type it up, laminate it and tape it inside a cooler so you always have it when you go fishing. One thing I’d add to the list would be a potholder – we have long-handled frying pans for cooking over a fire, but a potholder or oven mitt would come in handy.
2. Before heading out for the day: Chop the onions and put in a quart size Ziploc bag; chop the bacon and put in the same bag on top. Put all the spices in another Ziploc bag.
3. Load the cooler with all the food items and beverages. Put the paper plates, paper towels, silverware and utensils, lighter, fish cleaning glove into one of the garbage bags and seal it shut to keep everything dry (or put the beverages/ice in a separate cooler).
4. After you’ve caught your fish, pick out your shore lunch spot. Build a fire and set up a cooking grate or set up your camp stove (we’ve been using the camp stove most of the time because there’s either been a burning ban on due to DRY weather or you can’t find decent firewood due to WET weather).
5. Open the beans, leaving the cover on with about ¼” space for steam and start cooking it.
6. Start cooking the bacon. When the bacon is cooked but not crisp, add the onions. Save the Ziploc bag for dirty silverware.
7. When bacon and onions are cooked, pour off excess oil and add drained cans of potatoes.
8. In the second frying pan, start cooking the oil.
9. Filet the fish, pour the box of Fryin’ Magic into one of the garbage bags and coat each of the filets.
10. When the oil is hot (to test it, when it starts boiling, drop an unlit match in it and when it lights, it’s hot enough; if the oil’s not hot the fish will be greasy), drop in the filets and cook to a golden brown.
11. Eat and enjoy. There’s nothing better than eating FRESH walleye cooked outdoors!
12. Clean up the frying pans and put item -- including garbage -- back in the boat.
13. Relax and take a short nap before heading out to catch more fish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Motivational Monday: Swim Bag

Having all of the supplies in one central location is a key part of saving time and saving your sanity. How many of us have our swimming supplies scattered all over the house and garage? I am guilty of this as well. Now I have all of the swimming gear in one bag located off our laundry room. I placed it by our laundry room so when I wash and dry the suits and towels, they just go right back in the bag. Also when my kids take off their clothes to put on their trunks, they are right in the laundry room (genius I know). Maybe now I could get them to start a load of laundry while they are changing! Yeah right, I am a realist.

So here are the steps:
1. Gather all of your swimming odds and ends in one location. Grab that sunscreen, goggles, beach balls, flippers, life jackets, towels and sand toys.
2. Place the smaller items in zip lock bags so they don’t get lost
3. Add some additional zip lock or other water proof bags in the container as well (I like to bring my book and wallet with and they are not water friendly, but they stay dry in the zip lock bags)
4. Grocery plastic sacks are great to add to the container as well as they can hold wet suits and towels.
5. Place them all in one large bag or even a laundry basket.


To Simplified and Joyful Living,
Melissa Schmalenberger

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