Last Monday felt like Christmas morning…for more reasons than one. I was absolutely exhausted after staying up until 3:30 am finishing up a draft of my first dissertation chapter. I also received a present in the form of a box of “rescued” organic produce from Hungry Harvest, a produce delivery service based in Maryland that has expanded to serve the Triangle area. My box included a variety of goodies from apples and oranges to kale and summer squash. This company’s mission to reduce food waste is admirable, and it is cost-effective, as the price of these boxes save customers money they would spend on “prettier” fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. I honestly do not understand how stores throw away produce like this, as my box full of less-desirable items was a sight for sore eyes. I admire Hungry Harvest’s efforts to save these delicious treats, and I was so excited to brainstorm recipes involving the contents of my box.
While cooking provides a sense of relaxation and a means through which I can release stress (any other fans of chopping veggies after a long day?), I often feel overwhelmed when I buy produce during a week when I have plans to eat dinner out with friends or at a media event. Thus, I hesitate to buy large bundles of fruits and veggies because I do not want these gems to go to waste. However, I occasionally buy too few items and am left consuming canned soup or frozen food, both of which are fine, though not particularly exciting. Finding and inventing recipes that I can customize depending on what’s in season have helped me solve my dilemma of selecting that perfect Goldilocks level of produce. This curry recipe incorporated a significant amount of the box I received, and it yielded enough servings to last me into the fall. I am a compulsive freezer (another way I try to avoid wasting food), so I loved that I could freeze this curry as well. I hope y’all try this recipe and include whatever fall fruits and vegetables you love. Use the code “GRADSCHOOLFOODIE” for 30% your first order at Hungry Harvest.
Fall Thai Green Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 small Gala apples
2 summer squash
3 green bell peppers
1 lb. new potatoes
2 red chili peppers
1 serrano pepper
3 13.5 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
~8 tablespoons green curry paste (adjust to your spice preference)
2 packages of extra firm tofu
Cilantro, for serving
Limes, for serving
Naan and rice, for serving
- Drain the tofu, and place paper towels around each block. Sandwich the tofu between plates, and place a heavy pot or book over the plates to release the excess water out of the tofu.
- Prepare your favorite type of rice according to package directions.
- Chop apples, squash, bell peppers, and potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
- Finely mince the habaneros, chili peppers, and serrano pepper.
- Place the peppers and produce in a large soup pot along with the coconut milk, broth, and curry paste.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
- After the apples and potatoes are fork-tender, reduce the heat to simmer.
- Heat a large skillet to medium.
- Spray the skillet, then swirl the two tablespoons of oil around until you’ve coated the pan.
- Place the tofu in the skillet, and don’t worry if it doesn’t all fit. You can cook this in stages.
- Cook the tofu until crispy. Feel free to play around with the temperature. I heated the tofu on high heat for a few minutes to sear it, but make sure to monitor the stove if you decide to follow my lead.
- Once the tofu is crispy, add it to the soup pot, and heat the curry on medium again for about 5 minutes.
- Heat the optional naan in the oven while you finish cooking the curry.
- Spoon the curry over rice, and serve with naan, a sprig of cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.