And the first ‘best recipe’ of 2012 is…

Thai Curry Stew with Turkey and Zucchini!

I’d yanked this recipe out of November’s CL (I took A LOT of recipes from that one…  Must have been all that Thanksgiving yumminess) since it looked like something Andrew would like.  It was one of two ‘how to use turkey leftovers’ recipes from famed NYT columnist Mark Bittman, so I knew it would be good.

Despite zucchini being terribly out of season, I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway.  I was lucky enough to take home some of our leftover turkey from grandma’s and after measuring out the 3 cups I’d need, threw it promptly in the freezer until I had time to make the soup.

It’s fantastic!  It’s a bit hot; I used 1.5 of the 1 to 2 dried Thai chiles called for.  I don’t know that I’d use fewer chiles next time; I think my palate is becoming more and more tolerant of heat these days (must be eating too many wings…).  It’s also a little hands-on; you basically grind up your spices, chiles, coconut milk, garlic and cilantro in a food processor before adding them to your cooking onions and carrots.  Once you’ve done that, though, you’re pretty much done.  Throw in some of the zucchini, simmer for 45 minutes, blend (optional), then add the rest of the zucchini and the turkey.  It’s served over brown rice, but you could just have it as soup, too.

As I was getting everything ready, I realized it would be a fantastic time to try out another recipe I’d been hanging onto for awhile now: Carrot-Ginger Salad Dressing.  You know that dressing that comes on salads when you go to a Hibachi/Japanese Steakhouse?  THAT’S what I’m talking about.  I adore it and always try to savor the flavors in my mouth in hopes of recreating at home.  Real Simple featured a recipe and I yanked it as well, and have been holding onto it ever since.

Since I was making this on a whim, I had to look up a sub for miso (white soybean paste that adds a salty flavor) and I had a couple from which to choose: tahini (fresh out–darn), soy sauce (didn’t seem like it would really work since the textures are so different) and anchovy paste.  Of all the things to have on-hand, ANCHOVY PASTE was the winner!  Thank you, Heather, for your generous donation of tubed anchovy paste to my fridge during your move this summer.  It was a lifesaver!

It came out a bit intense on the salt/vinegar side, so I added a dash of lime juice to brighten it up.  All in all, I think it’s a great recipe, but it was pretty vinegar-y, so I made some notes to myself for next time.  Less vinegar/salt and add orange juice.  A friend told me she’d looked into the recipe and that OJ was an ingredient, which I think would add a bit of brightness and sweetness without adding to the tart/vinegar flavor it already has.

If you’re at all into Thai and/or curry flavors, the stew would be right up your alley.  I know I’ll be making this again–it’s the perfect ‘post’ post-Thanksgiving meal…  You know, after you’ve had a day or so to eat the actual Thanksgiving leftovers just like you did for the big day.