This particularly glorious Spring continues to roll along while we continue to be required to avoid those places where we might best enjoy it, places like the Botanical Garden at City Park. Last year the Botanical Garden became ever the more compelling to me when the Kitchen in the Garden opened and area chefs and culinary enthusiasts began offering cooking classes, dinners, and demonstrations in an open air kitchen in a setting that is simply unrivaled for its beauty and ability to inspire. Despite the current closure of the Botanical Garden and its enviable kitchen the folks behind that program are still working to connect with us through the newly minted Chefs’ Cooking Series on Facebook, the first installment of which features beloved Chef Frank Brigtsen, looking tan and raffish in a broad headband as he cooks in his home kitchen. Check it out here.
Check in often as more chefs are being added to the online line-up for your home cooking and viewing pleasure. Obviously, watching these videos is free but participants are asked to please consider donating to the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund to which 100% of all funds collected will be donated to provide grants to members of our hospitality community who are suffering so greatly during this career-crushing, wallet-withering Covid mess. To learn more about the grant program or apply for a grant visit unitedwaysela.org/hospitalitycares.
Here is the recipe for the Thai Vegetable Curry Chef Brigtsen prepares in the video:
- 2 Tablespoons mild olive oil
- 1 ½ cups diced carrots
- 1 green bell pepper, large diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, large diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 cups diced yellow onions
- 3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
- 2 cups peeled, diced eggplant
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 Tablespoons minced pickled ginger (sub 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger)
- 4 teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 13.5-oz. cans coconut milk
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- 5 cups cauliflower florets
Curry Spice Mix:
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, bell peppers, and onions. Cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are soft and clear. Add the butternut squash and eggplant. Cook, stirring as needed, until the eggplant is soft and tender. Reduce heat to low. Add the salt, Curry Spice Mix, garlic, ginger, and Chili Garlic Sauce. Cook, stirring as needed, for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the broccoli and cauliflower florets. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring as needed, just until the broccoli and cauliflower are tender, but firm (al dente). Serve with rice.
CHEF’S NOTES: You may substitute 1 teaspoon curry powder for the Curry Spice Mix. Feel free to substitute ingredients and free-style your own version of this flavorful dish. My original version was a bit spicier, using 2 Tablespoons of the Chili Garlic Sauce, which I love. Modify to your taste. You could also use Red Curry Paste or Sriracha instead.
Chef Allison Vega re-opened Station 6 (105 Old Hammond Highway, 345-2936, station6nola.com) today for takeout and delivery! Let’s just say she has THE connection for the freshest Gulf seafood, including big-ass soft-shell crabs, which are on the menu this afternoon- served fried until golden and topped with sautéed lump crabmeat with a side of beautiful asparagus. This is as good as it gets! Among other things on offer is a family dinner for four featuring Crawfish Monica. But that amazing soft-shell crab? That sucker will not even make it home with me. I am going to flop down on the levee adjacent to the restaurant and eat it right there while gazing at the lake!
Station 6 will now be open Tuesday-Saturdays from 3-6 p.m. Visit the website to order.
As always I beg you to use this time celebrate the people and the community you love and reach out digitally or over the telephone to uplift someone who is alone or stuck in a place less interesting and beautiful than this amazing city in which we live. We need each other more than ever so take the time and make the effort to reach out. While you are at it make an effort to forgive past misdeeds and share some love. Please reach out to me if you have something to share or I can help in some way because You’ve Got A Friend in Me.