The Daring Cook’s July Challenge: Nut Butters

Almonds, asian, Basil, Cashews, Chicken, Curry, Daring Kitchen Challenges, Indian, Main Course, Noodles, Rice, Rice Vermicelli, Salad, Sauce, Seafood, Shrimp, Thai

Savor my Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Curry

asian, Curry, Rice, Thai

A few weeks ago I had some people over for dinner and because I have been having a curry craze ever since I moved back from Israel I have been making lots of curries.  A makes fun of me when we go out for Thai food because I have some curry with my rice… I love it so much I could almost lick the bowl! Living in Boston was great because there are so many places to get (a) good food and (b) great ethnic food so we loved it! Now that we are in Miami things are different. (a) Everything is much more expensive and (b) there is not as big a variety of foods here as there was in Boston. You do have your good Thai/Sushi restaurant as well as your great Italian, but nothing like DaLat in Worcester or Le’s in Boston where you can eat an excellent meal for like $10 bucks including a drink! So I decided to make my own.  I have yet to make my own sushi which I have been wanting to make for quite some time. Just a side note, last night we ordered sushi from this place we had been once and it was gross, nothing like yucky sushi.

SO I have been experimenting with Curries. Curries with coconut milk or without, vegetarian or not.  Since we eat Kosher, we never have chicken curry or beef curry when we go out to eat. It is always tofu or just plain vegetarian. Learning how to make these at home has given me the opportunity to eat chicken/beef curry.

Curries are pretty simple to make. The great thing about them is that you can make them with any vegetable you have at home, any kind of protein, and serve it with rice or noodles.

A few months ago I got a Curry Recipe book at TJMaxx and I absolutely love it.  I am on a mission to try every single recipe possible. The biggest challenge has been finding all the ingredients needed, but I have currently solved that since I found the Asian market near my house the other day.  Anyways I have been writing this post for about 5 days now and I think I have forgotten how I made this specific curry but I will share a similar one from my book.  I used this recipe as my guide but added a few things based on the flavor I was getting.


  • 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp of Red curry paste (You can add more if you want)
  • 1 1/4 cups of vegetable stock
  • Fresh Vegetables (Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Bean sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.)
  • 1 – 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
  • Freshly cooked rice to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a preheated wok  and add the onions and celery and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  2. While the onions and celery are cooking place the cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan to cook until you smell the aroma of the spices.  Grind in a spice mill.
  3. Add the ground spices and the ginger to the pot and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the squash and sweet potatoes and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  5. While the squash is cooking, mix the curry paste and the vegetable stock in a separate bowl. Make sure the curry paste has diluted.
  6. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, and vegetable stock mixture to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 3-4 minutes. Cook until the squash is tender.
  7. Add the vegetables to the wok (pot) and cook for about 3-4 minutes until they are hot but still crunchy.
  8. Sprinkle cilantro over the curry and serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice.

Bon Appetit!

บอน appetit!

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Disney Princess Half Marathon: Ginger Garbanzo and Peppers Salad

Appetizer, Indian, Salad, Thai, Vegetarian

Hi Mati!

I hope that you are feeling better after. your last post.

Well, I am just getting around to writing about my meal last Friday which was a TOTAL success. I got a lot of help from my mom and my aunt that made delicious Salmon and Beef and I took care of the rest.  I really have no idea how working moms do it all. Not that I am a mom or a soon to be mom, but every time I put together an event on a day that I work, I cannot imagine doing the same when children are in the picture.

My weekend was great! Packed and didn’t have much time for resting.  Friday night we had dinner at our place and we  had 13 people over for dinner. Saturday morning we packed the car early and headed towards Orlando with my in-laws for a wedding. That night A dropped me off at the Disney Hotels because I was waking up at 3:00AM on Sunday to ran the half marathon.  Mati, what an amazing accomplishment to finish that race, 13.1 miles running nonstop…well only to take pictures with the different Disney characters.  There were about 13,000 people running, mostly women, there were only 95 men I think.  When I saw the finish line I almost hyperventilated from the excitement. Here are my times and positions:

Francine's Race Times

Then we spent the whole day at Epcot walking and enjoying the beautiful day.

So, what have I been cooking?

Friday I made a yummy Ginger Garbanzo salad with peppers and  a flavorful vegetable curry. I also made Poppy Seed cake for my mom’s birthday and I will post them all separately.

Here are the recipes.

Ginger Garbanzo and Peppers  Salad

I got this recipe about a year ago from the NYTimes- Mark Bittman. Sometimes they have his 4 minute recipe on the front page in the form of a video and I have played with this recipe a lot. I absolutely love it!  And Mark Bittman is great. Take a look at his site: and his site on the NYT.


1 tablespoon cumin seeds or ground cumin

3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (rinse canned ones)

3 bell peppers, red, yellow, orange, or green; cored, seeded and diced (You can use all colors too)

1 red onion, diced

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced, or more to taste

1 tablespoon sugar, optional but recommended

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves.


1. In a dry pan, toast cumin seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind to a powder using a spice mill, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. If using ground cumin, lightly toast.

2. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients but cilantro. (You can prepare dish up to this point in advance; let sit for up to 2 hours.)

3. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if you like, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

* I did not add the onion because my dad does not like onions much but it adds delicioso flavor to the mix!