What to do with 1/3 Can of Coconut Milk?

 

kale, potatoes mustard seed coc milkI tested an adaption of a lovely red lentil soup from the new Plenty More by the inimitable Yotam Ottolenghi (recipe will go up on the Seasonal Recipe Collection soon) but that undertaking left me with about 1/2 cup of leftover coconut milk. I’ve had leftover coconut milk go bad on me before. To avoid that I made this simple braise with cumin and mustard seeds, a bit of turmeric and ground cumin, potatoes, kale, said coconut milk and a handful of chopped roasted tomatoes. Paired with warm cornbread and a radicchio, beet, parsley and walnut salad it was a typically random dinner in this household. I may well make this combination again and might even devote more than 1/3 of can of coconut milk to it to make it saucier and serve it with naan or rice or some such.

Potatoes and Kale with Mustard Seeds, Tomato and Coconut Milk

You can play with the spices here. . . add ginger and/or garlic if you want. Add coriander or hot peppers of some kind. .. use other root vegetables or other greens. . . you get the point!

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut, sunflower, etc.)
1/2 onion, finely diced
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin if that’s what you have)
1 teaspoon black/brown mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into smallish dice (or 3 smaller ones)
1/2 cup roasted, canned or fresh tomatoes
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped, stems chopped very finely
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat preferably), or more
1/2 cup water (or more or tomato juice if you’re using canned tomatoes)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the spices and salt and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly.  Add the potatoes and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the kale, coconut milk and water. Bring everything to a simmer, turn down and cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, adding a bit of water, more coconut milk or juice from canned tomatoes if things dry out too much) or until the potatoes and kale are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.

Imperfection

parsnip carrot celeriac garlic roasted

Roasted parsnips, carrots, celery root (celeriac) and garlic cloves–delicious as is or turned into soup.

 

The always inspiring Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com wrote a post last week about writing a blog for a dozen years and the importance of having a voice and a point of view. She muses about how she could do more video work or more this or that that others suggest she might do but that what she really wants to do is write recipes and take beautiful photos.

For years I posted a recipe once a week and then as my business shifted and I got busier I posted less and less often in part because, unlike most other blogs I love and follow who post recipes, I rarely had the perfect, tested-multiple-times, beautifully-photographed-step-by-step recipe to post, so I didn’t post at all. Well my business (and life’s mission) is not called Cook With What You Have for nothing. And cooking-with-what-you-have everyday to make simple, nourishing food for those you love is often messy and rarely terribly prescriptive. So, I’ve decided to post much more often again and if it’s four different salads in a row that all turned out deliciously but just used what I happened to need to use up then so be it. I won’t be posting them to suggest that you exactly emulate what I did or that it was the best thing I’ve made in months, but maybe it will inspire us all to look around our kitchens and gardens and use our imagination and have a meal of this and that and feel satisfied.

Roasted Root Vegetables and Garlic

Case in point. . . I needed to clean out my refrigerator before the next CSA share arrived and found a bunch of small parsnips and carrots and half a celery root. I scrubbed and trimmed everything and tossed them on a baking sheet with some oil and salt and a head’s worth of garlic cloves and roasted all until browning and fragrant.

I ate some of this goodness for lunch, standing at the counter before heading out the door for a meeting. The rest was reheated in plenty of  vegetable broth (inspired by a post of Heidi Swanson’s many years ago!) with a bit fresh sage and thyme and then pureed and eaten for dinner with a bit of olive oil and plenty of black pepper. It was too dark by that time to take a photo of the soup and it was tastier than it was pretty so use your imagination.

Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

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