Coconut Curry with Yesterday's Vegetables

Coconut Curry with Yesterday's Vegetables
Jennifer Woods

Lately, in this In Season/Meatless Monday series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week and see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using my leftover cooked collards, spaghetti squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and i'itoi onions.

I'm still slowly making my way through Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal and had a fridge full of cooked vegetables this week per Adler's suggestion to "Stride Ahead." I generally consider myself a pretty poor leftover eater and while I don't go to the extremes to serve the barely-enough portions like my Aunt Bonnie (Bonnie is a fantastic cook but she can't live with leftovers, so she makes sure there aren't any by not cooking too much), I just don't look forward to leftovers all that much. However, this last week, I did what Adler said and wound up with a fridge full of perfectly seasoned and cooked vegetables.

I must admit, it was hard to get used to not cooking from fresh every night, but it was a welcome change since I had more time to savor the meal and post meal happenings.

This recipe was such a hit it's getting filed into my permanent rotation and it's made in no time if you do have the leftover veg to add. If you don't, don't sweat it and just use what you have but maybe chop what you do have pretty small so that it'll cook more quickly.

Don't be jealous, but I even had leftover brown rice to serve with a healthy portion of curry so this whole meal took me about 10 minutes to make. It even tasted better the next day for lunch.

Hooray for leftovers. Now here's the recipe:   Coconut Curry with Leftover Veg adapted from this recipe easily serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil ½ cup or so onion chopped fine (I had a bunch of i'itoi onions to use up so those went in) 4 cloves garlic, minced 2, 1" pieces of fresh ginger, minced (my ginger is frozen in time in the freezer, so I grated 2 heaping tablespoons full of ginger with my microplane) a few teaspoons of something spicy, to taste (hot sauce or dried chile flake) -- this is optional 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (tamari or liquid amino acids are all wonderful stand ins) juice of ½ a lemon (the recipe calls for lime, use that instead of you have it -- but I do have 14 cups of lemon juice in the freezer to use) 2 teaspoons brown sugar 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, drained (can use a can or cooked from fresh) 4-5 cups of cooked leftover and already seasoned veg (can be squash, potato, sweet potato, tomato, cauliflower or anything, really) a handful (about ¼ cup) of shredded unsweetened coconut 1 25 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes with its juice ½ can of coconut milk cilantro leaves for garnish if you have any

Warm the oil in a medium hot largish pan. Cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic and ginger. Let the garlic and ginger mellow out for a minute and then add the rest of the ingredients (except for the coconut milk) and let simmer until properly holding hands and delicious. If the mixture is too dry, you can add vegetable stock or water. If it's too wet, then you'll just have extra of that sweet tart sauce. Add the coconut milk just after you've taken the curry off the heat and then give it a stir and taste. Add salt or pepper or more lemon juice if you think it needs it. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve over your favorite rice.

You have dessert, too, if you have any leftover rice. You can make coconut rice pudding. Let about a cup of rice cook down in a medium low heat pan with the rest of the coconut milk. If it needs more milk and you've run out of coconut milk, just add more of any other milk to get it to look a little like pudding pre-thickening. Let it cook down with some sugar to taste until it's nice and creamy, stirring occasionally. If it's not getting as thick as you'd hope it would be, in a small bowl stir a few teaspoons of cornstarch in a splash of water and then stir that into the hot pudding. Bring to a boil and then simmer until it's the way you like it -- eat hot or cold the next day.

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