Here it is again, the start of another month. That means it is also the end of another SOS Kitchen Challenge (and I’m not foolin’!).
In March, Kim and I featured none other than the delicious and nutritious adzuki bean. Our readers were inspired by both the sweet and savory possibilities, and delivered a multitude of delicious-looking recipes.
From truffles to tarts, soup to salad, and even vegetarian “bacon”, we had it all. And, oddly enough, Kim and I were on the same wavelength and created very similar bean dips, completely separate from each other. I guess great minds do think alike!
Be sure to check out all the great recipes in the Linky below, and prepare to get your bean on!
Anxious for the next SOS Kitchen Challenge? We are too! I’m really pleased with the next ingredient selected for the April SOS Kitchen Challenge. This month’s ingredient is fresh, seasonal, and perfectly suited for a wide variety of savory dishes. And if you can figure out how to use it in a sweet way, you deserve a medal of honor.
If you are (or were) an English major in university–or even if you know someone who studied English–you are probably familiar with one of the most common themes in literature, ”appearance versus reality.” You know the one: it’s the notion that things are not always what they seem to be on the surface, and the way we appear is not always the reality. To wit:
Macbeth.Appearance: Nobleman kills King at wife’s behest, then usurps power and lives a life of riley with wife. Reality: Wife goes slowly crazy with guilt about said murder. And all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten her little hand.
The Matrix. Appearance: Cool dude in shades is tracked relentlessly by deadly, humorless government agents, ostensibly in possession of superpowers. Reality: Unlike the other zillions of human USB ports linked up to a giant computer, this dude is The One.
Charlie Sheen. Appearance: Narcissistic star of mediocre comedy show garners too much success and implodes in waves of cocaine, prostitutes, goddesses, Tiger Blood and zingy retro one-liners. Reality: Very astute marketing ploy.
You see what I mean.
In my case, when it comes to meeting people for the first time, appearances may belie the reality. My outward demeanor may be someone who is comfortable–nay, aloof, even–in social situations, when the reality is that I’m stammering and sweating and feeling entirely “highschool reject” inside. As a result, it can take me a very long time to forge real friendships with people since, as a rule, I say very little for the first oh, five years or so. (Real life example: I worked as a volunteer for my friend Eternal Optimist for five years before I called it quits. If she hadn’t invited me to join her book club, which led to socializing together, which led to a real friendship, we would likely never have spoken again).
Sure, I have made friends with people in a more spontaneous way. When I first encountered my friend Sterlin, for example, it was as if we’d known each other for years. We just had so much in common: both bookworms, both nerds, both yearning for a boyfriend and both in the possession of a wacky sense of humor. It was soul sisters from the first crazy conversation. More often, though, it takes me weeks, months, or years before I establsh true friendships.
And this is why I love blogging so much: you are in regular contact with a core group of people, many with whom you exchange daily or near-daily emails, comments, tweets, Facebook messages, etc. And since I’ve always been more comfortable with the written versus the spoken word, this situation suits me just fine.
Yes, Kim is a force to be reckoned with! Her bubbly optimism and consistent good nature come across in every blog post. And the first time we spoke on the phone, I felt as if I were talking to a dear friend, or my old roomie from college, or my younger cousin. We chatted easily for almost an hour, sharing information, ideas, food stories, health tips, anecdotes, our blog vision, and more. When we began to plan the SOS Challenge as a joint venture, I knew we were on the same wavelength and didn’t hesitate to jump right in.
Given our similar diets and our affinity for many of the same foods, it made perfect sense that Kim and I would come up with matching recipes as our “savory” installments this month–without having discussed it first! Kim recently posted her adzuki dip and today I’m adding this adzuki sandwich spread to the list. Yes, the recipes are a little different from each other (mine is a bit thicker, and Kim’s adds a bit more spice), but otherwise they appear to be two sides of the same bean.
Just remember, though, that’s only the appearance of things. The reality is that each recipe offers a protein-packed, nutrient-dense and delectable spread for appetizers, sandwiches or wraps. In other words, you should try them both out!
And also. . . .
New Recipe on the DDD Facebook Page!
As I’ve mentioned before, I will occasionally post recipes (as “Notes”) on the Diet, Dessert and Dogs Facebook page. These are often really quick recipes that would otherwise be lost if I waited to write up an entire blog post about them–so I just add a brief note to the fan page and you can access them there. A few days ago, I added this quick and easy soup for a fast and delicious weeknight dinner. The HH and I both loved this Squash and Pecan Soup.
Place all ingredients except for green onions in the bowl of a food processor and mix until smooth. Add the green onion and pulse just until combined. Store, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Makes about 1-1/4 cups (300 ml).
So: I’m going to make an effort to try to attempt to give it my best shot and strive to endeavor to maybe have a crack at liking winter a little more. I mean, I can’t complain about it right through until April, can I? (okay, don’t answer that). Well, with inspiration from Alicia’s “Happy Thoughts” at the conclusion of each of her blog posts, I decided earlier today to start the -23C (-10 F) day with three positives of my own. Three reasons to smile first thing in the moring? Well, that’s gotta melt away all that snow and ice anti-winter sentiment, right? And each one of these items, I daresay, is worth a cheer.
#1: Raw Raw for Our Winner!
I was delighted with the positive response to my most recent giveaway and am so glad that you all were as impressed with the company as I was. And as I mentioned in the review, the oils are great for use in raw dishes. Raw raw!
[Meghan (on the right) and me. Apologies for the blurry pic. . . darned pocket camera!]
It was great to meet Meghan and observe her über-enthusiastic and friendly demeanor in person. With my recent resolve to continue eating healthfully and introduce in a more “clean” diet over the next few months, I had already decided to consume more raw foods. And, as Meghan commented in her class, raw dishes are the perfect antidote to our natural inclinations during the chilly season, when we are more likely to overdo cooked and hot foods. I knew I’d find some great inspiration for new raw recipes at the class–and I did! (Oh, and we got to spend 2-1/2 hours with like-minded people in Meghan’s cool loft, too).
Here’s the raw “cous cous” salad, one of the many dishes that we scarfed downgobbled upinhaled enjoyed while there:
Raw Raw for Meghan’s cooking classes!
#3: Raw Raw for–Fennel!
[Raw fennel slaw with carrot, beets, ginger and black sesame seeds.]
It’s probably an understatement to say that my sisters and I “don’t like” fennel.
The CFO, for instance, was once out to dinner with some friends when she ordered a chicken and pasta dish. Here’s how the situation played out:
CFO: I’d like to order this chicken and asparagus dish, but I need to be sure it doesn’t contain fennel.
SERVER: No, Miss, absolutely not. No fennel.
CFO: Okay, then, I’ll have this.
The dish arrives. The CFO takes one bite and her face screws up like a beach ball being turned inside-out.
CFO: Ugh! Ptew! Bleh! This dish has fennel in it!!
FRIEND #1: No, it doesn’t. I’m eating the same thing. There’s no fennel in it.
CFO: I’m telling you, there is fennel in this dish.
FRIEND #2: Here, let me taste it. (slurp, chomp). Nope, no fennel.
CFO: It has fennel!
FRIEND #3: Let me try. (chew, chew, swallow). There’s no fennel in that, CFO! You must be imagining.
The others continue to eat their respective dinners, but the CFO won’t touch her pasta. The server walks by.
CFO: Excuse me, server, but could you tell me if there’s any fennel in this dish?
SERVER: No, that dish is made with asparagus and peas. No fennel.
CFO: Are you absolutely,one hundred percent sure? No fennel? No fennel AT ALL?
SERVER [looking a little less confident now]: Well, let me go ask the chef. [he trots off].
The server returns.
SERVER: I asked the sous-chef and he said there’s no fennel added to this dish. We use a pre-mixed spice mix, and we are sure there’s no fennel in that. Besides, we only inclue about 1/4 teaspoon of the spice mix in the entire pasta sauce, which serves 50 people. . . .
CFO: Would you mind checking if there’s fennel in the spice mix, please?
SERVER [rolls his eyes a little too obviously]: Well, Miss, that would require pulling down the original box of spice mix, which is in our pantry behind five other boxes of rice and other supplies. . .
CFO stares at him without saying anything.
SERVER: Fine. I will be right back. [trots off]
The server returns.
SERVER: Well, Miss, I am sorry to tell you that yes, there is fennel in that spice mix.
Vindication! Luckily, the CFO isn’t allergic to fennel (or the conversation would have ended much earlier–like, when she keeled over); she just hates it. Needless to say, she returned the pasta. With a nose like that, I don’t know why she never went into the perfume business.
While I might not be as sensitive to its presence in spices, I am also not exactly a fan of the licorice flavor of cooked or dried fennel (which is odd, since I used to love black licorice–though in that case, I suspect, it had more to do with the exhorbitant amounts of sugar in the candy). When I read about Alysa’s “Hated Veggie Challenge,” I knew immediately that for me, the reviled veg in question would have to be the dreaded fennel bulb.
I’ve often been told that the raw form offers up a milder, sweeter flavor and a lovely crunch that can convert even the staunchest fennel-phobe. And so, I went and bought myself some fennel and concocted a slaw.
I whipped up a creamy dressing that I thought would work with an anise-like flavor. I paired it with grated beet and carrot for some sweetness and familiarity. I sprinkled it with black sesame seeds for visual appeal. And then–I took a tentative forkful.
And I loved it! Whoo hoo! Yay! Yippee! The fennel famine has finally ended!
Perhaps my taste buds have matured since my 30s; perhaps they’ve merely dulled. Perhaps the beets along with the Asian-inspired creamy dressing concealed the major licorice flavor and I am just not recognizing it. For whatever reason, I found the slaw to be a very tasty, satisfying side dish that I would definitely make again. Creamy, sweet and a bit salty from the miso, the ingredients here seemed to work harmoniously for a winning collaboration of tastes and textures. Raw Raw for raw fennel!
Raw Asian Slaw with Fennel, Beet and Carrot (ACD Phase II and beyond)
This is a really quick and easy side dish or first course to pair with a warm winter meal. Or have it on its own with a hearty slice of bread slathered with almond butter for a light lunch.
For the Salad:
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and shredded (or sliced into thin shreds)
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
about 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin matchsticks
For the Dressing:
1 Tbsp (15 ml) light miso
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp/30 ml)
10-15 drops plain stevia liquid, to your taste
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) water, as needed
1 heaping Tbsp (20 ml) black or white sesame seeds (raw or toasted)
In a medium bowl, toss together the fennel, carrot, beet and ginger. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice, stevia and salt and pepper until very smooth. Slowly whisk in the water until desired thickness is reached (it should be thick and creamy, but just thin enough to pour).
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve. Makes 4 servings. Will keep up to 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
Variation: We liked this dressing so much that I used it again the next night in a Broccoli Slaw: I substituted a head of broccoli (including stems), chopped, in place of the original veggies and added about 1/3 cup (80 ml) lightly toated almonds. Fabulous!
* Or, It’s a Privilege to Eat You (thanks, Whole Foods).
Happy “Celebrating Our Country’s Freedom Day” to both Canadians and Americans (and anyone else who’d like to take part in the party!).**
And before I forget (because I’m at that age when I do forget), let me also say “THANK YOU” to everyone for your amazing, supportive, generous and kind comments and emails while I’ve been away! Of course, I would have returned to the blog in any case just because I love it, but your encouragement may have hastened the process just a wee bit.
It does feel great to be back. And just what have I been doing for the past month, you may ask?
Well, most importantly, I’ve been assiduously following my ACD and have definitely made progress in terms of overall health (in fact, as my naturopath studied my live blood cells under a microscope the other day, he commented, ”The membranes look really healthy. They’re in great shape.” Alas, if only he’d been able to say that about my hips and thighs). Still, I’m sure my immune system was flattered.
While a couple of the most annoying symptoms do still persist, I’ve determined to continue with the regimen, which will likely mean a few more months of restrictions. So for those of you who are relatively new to my blog, you should know that I don’t normally consume gluten-free foods exclusively, but I will be doing so for a while longer. I’ll be eating more vegetable-based dishes and more raw foods as well. And some fruits are back on the menu, though (and let me tell you, even the serpent in Eden wasn’t this gleeful to see apples).
With the school year just completed, I thought I’d summarize my last month and save space by posting a report card instead of writing about it at length:
Student: Ricki Heller; Term: June 2009; Program: Get the Candida Out! Age: You’re kidding, right?
TOPICS AND GRADES:
Adherence to ACD: 100% (not an off-program crumb since March 7, 2009)
Current strictness of ACD Phase (II): 95% (allowed some fruit and oats now)
Current health status: 80% (only one really nagging symptom left)
Percentage of weight lost toward goal: 66% (lost 28 pounds–only 17 to go!! Regular updates on the Progress Tracker.)
Percentage of airtime devoted to Farrah as opposed to Michael: 2.5% (It should be a crime, really.)
“Good for you, Mum! But they forgot to mention that you share and play well with others (especially canines). And we agree–even though Michael seemed to be fond of animals, what about poor Farrah’s fifteen minutes?”
The most important thing I’ve discovered over the past month, however, is that I am a lousy multi-tasker. So rather than attempt to keep up with work, blog, cooking, promoting a cookbook, baking for said cookbook, Facebook, and any other “-book,” I’ve decided to slow the pace somewhat. I will still be blogging regularly, though perhaps not quite as often. And while I promise to keep reading all the blogs I love, please forgive me if I don’t comment as often as I used to–but know that I’m still there!
And now, on to the über-healthy (and ACD-friendly) recipe!
On weekends, the HH and I usually enjoy a leisurely brunch before starting our day in earnest (well, if a meal at 9:30 or 10:00 AM can properly be called “brunch.” You see, as in most areas, when it comes to mornings, the HH and I are polar opposites. When I lived on my own, my natural proclivity was to wake at 6:30 AM every day, weekends included. In contrast, the HH, left to his own devices, would have just fallen into bed around that time, then sleep until long past noon. Our compromise is a 10:30 brunch).
Our typical habit (once the meal is dispensed with) is to sit across from each other, sipping our respective hot beverages (He: Hazelnut Coffee with Full Cream and Sugar; She: Green tea, straight up) while we read the newspapers. In a positive spin on that scene from Citizen Kane, we read choice tidbits aloud to each other (too nerdy, I know). The HH invariably peruses the Real Estate section in The National Post. The other day, for instance, he pointed out that they were profiling the home of artist Ken Danby, at around $3 million. There was also a suburban mansion with a 2,000 square foot (610 metre) kitchen. A 2000 square foot kitchen!!! Do you think they’d let me live in the pantry? (No, seriously. I understand that bulk bags of rice can serve as very comfortable pillows.)
Running in the social circles I do (okay, more like “speed-walking in the social circles I do”), I can often forget that there are a lot of incredibly wealthy dudes in Toronto (even without Prince and the Torontonian wife he divorced who once lived on The Bridle Path ). A casual stroll along Bloor Street West in the tony Yorkville area will yield sightings of Chanel, Hermes, LaCoste, Tiffany & Co., Harry Rosen, Holt Renfrew, Dolce and Gabbana, and pretty much any other unattainable-to-the-average-shopper stores you can think of. As for me, I get a kick out of peeking through the smoked glass windowpanes, gawking at all those privileged folk who can buy $1500.00 thong sandals without batting a (false) eyelash.
Given the average net worth of shoppers in the area, it makes sense that Toronto’s first Whole Foods Market decided to set up in Yorkville. After all, they don’t call it ”Whole Paycheck” for nothing.
About a week before their grand opening (in an effort to curry favor with local residents), they published this recipe for their popular Kale and Seaweed Salad in the local paper (in fact, I do believe I read it aloud to the HH over brunch). I also remember thinking, “This is one of their most popular recipes? Are all those rich customers slightly touched as well?” Having never tasted sea veggies at the time, I couldn’t imagine the magical commingling of salty, mineral-rich arame with chewy bits of barely-cooked kale, peppery shards of fresh ginger and crunchy sesame seeds, all bathed in a smoky, nutty sesame oil dressing.
In order to sample it from the source, I (along with throngs of other curious shoppers) made the trek to Yorkville and purchased a small container of the stuff (price: about $6.47 for three miniscule forkfuls). I must admit, though, I was smitten; it is truly an inspired mix of ingredients, and one that I still, all these years later, love. But I couldn’t bring myself to buy it again for that price since I, unlike the local denizens, am not a magnate/ celebrity/ third-generation billionaire/ ostentatious nouveau-riche/couture designer/ plastic surgeon/ or other financially privileged resident.
Luckily, the salad is easy to make at home, and it’s become a regular feature in our summer menus. It’s also the perfect introduction to sea veggies for anyone who’s never tried them and may feel a little wary; arame is one of the mildest forms of seaweed, decidely not ”fishy.” The recipe is also fairly quick to prepare, despite the presoaking and then boiling of the arame. (While the seaweed soaks, simply cook your kale and prepare the dressing; then rinse the cooked seaweed with cold water and toss all together). And don’t forget that sea veggies offer an ample nutritional boost, helping to foil cancerous growths, keep your thyroid healthy (lots of iodine, there!), prevent cardiac disease and inflammation, and provide a full array of minerals and vitamins (particularly iodine and Vitamin K ).
As we munched on our portions of salad the other night, the HH remarked (and I quote verbatim), “I really love this salad.”
So go ahead, give kale and seaweed a try this summer. At the very least, you can feel as if you’ve been intermingling with the upper crust for a little while.
1-1/2 cups (about 0.5 oz/ 15 g) dry arame or other strands of dried seaweed (such as hijiki)
1 large bunch kale, washed, large vein removed
2-inch (5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchstick pieces
2 Tbsp (60 ml) roasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) reserved soaking water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) toasted sesame oil
In a medium bowl of cold water, soak the arame about 20 minutes, until softened. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the liquid. Place the drained arame in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then cover and turn off heat. Let sit 5 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Place the drained, cooled arame in a large salad bowl.
Meanwhile, steam the kale or cook in a minimal amount of water until just tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the kale and rinse with cold water; spin in a salad spinner to dry. Chop roughly or tear into bite-sized pieces. Add the kale to the salad bowl with the arame. Sprinkle with the ginger and sesame seeds.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the Bragg’s, reserved soaking water, and sesame oil. Pour over the salad and toss to mix well. Arrange on a serving platter or individual plates, discarding excess liquid (the dressing is quite thin, but I found you need all the water to offset the saltiness of the Bragg’s or soy sauce).
Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. Makes 4 servings (but only 2-1/2 in our house). Will keep, refrigerated, for 2 days.
*or, How to Get Your Meat-Loving Guy to Love a Vegan Meal
How often does this happen to you? (I promise, this is not an infomercial): You come across a new recipe that sounds wonderful, and, fired up with anticipation, you can’t wait to try it. You rush home, prepare the dish, and it’s received to unanimous acclaim. This recipe instantly becomes your “go-to” dish, and you repeat the performance over and over many times during the following weeks. You keep returning to this item, in fact, and it instantly pops into your head whenever you think about what to cook. The page for that recipe in your cookbook acquires the rippled, stained appearance of a trusty pair of Keds you’ve worn for a whole summer, through mud and grass and lakes, covered as it is in little splatters of sauce and oil and water.
And then–just like that–you happen upon a new recipe, one that piques your interest just as much as the other one, and you abandon your old standard as easily as the office gossip moves on to the next best friend. It’s not that you don’t enjoy it any longer; it’s just that it has run its course, and now you feel like trying something new. And so there’s another novel recipe that you try out to universal accolades. . . and the cycle continues.
Well, a few evenings ago, I met my friend the Eternal Optimist for a chatty dinner at a lovely restaurant in town that serves pan-Asian food. What’s great about this place is that, along with their hip, funky, lacquered decor and fabulous grub, their multi-page menu devotes one full spread just to “Vegetarian Meals.” And they’re always happy to do up a tofu-based version of their Chicken-Lettuce Wrap for me, which means I get to enjoy their awesome hoisin sauce and eat an entire dinner for under $10.00.
That night, however, I opted for a spicy rice noodle dish with eggplant and basil, lip-smacking good. And while I was patiently grappling with the shimmering, slippery noodles between my chopsticks, I was reminded of a recipe I used to make over and over, a couple of years ago, and then suddenly abandoned: Bangkok Noodles.
The recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook I found in a remainder bin a few years ago, called the Fruit Cookbook, by Nicole Routhier. It’s one of those tomes that contains a plethora of interesting recipes, but few that seemed practical to me (as I would have had to buy an entire package of one ingredient for 1/4 teaspoon in the recipe). In the end, I think I tried out maybe a half dozen recipes from that book, and while they were all very good, I set it aside and promptly forgot about it.
This week, however, my memory and the available ingredients came together in a perfect confluence of desire and means. Just that morning, I had peeled and cut a fresh pineapple, leaving the juicy golden chunks in a container in the fridge for later consumption. And, as it happened, this dish calls for pineapple chunks. Time to resurrect the Bangkok Noodles!
Because my HH and I have vastly different eating styles, this recipe is perfect to bridge the chasm: I make up the noodles as I like them, serve up two plates, and the HH tops his own with some pre-cooked shrimp. The perfect compromise, and we both get to enjoy a meal we like.
The HH didn’t really remember this dish before I served it, as it’s been at least 2 years since I last cooked it. I’ve always loved the combination of curry spice with smooth, velvety coconut milk, and, as is my wont, I added extra veggies to the recipe (which, actually, calls for none). I also love the play of colors in this meal, as well as the alternating crunchy, juicy, lustrous and sturdy textures.
My HH was a little skeptical when he saw the vegetable-heavy ingredients bathed in the deep golden sauce, but was comforted by his own stash of cooked crustacean placed in a heap on top of the noodles. After we dished it up, we sat down at the table, slurping up our noodles across from each other in contented silence.
And then, in the middle of the meal, it happened. The HH said something he’s never said before, not in the almost-eleven years I’ve known him.
“You know, this doesn’t really even need the shrimp. It would be just as good without it.”
And suddenly–The skies were flooded with light!
And the sea parted and The Girls ran into the opening, chasing after the graven image of the calf (they didn’t realize it wasn’t real!).
The lands became fecund and there was new life, and legions of young veggies sprang up and they overtook the shrimp!
And so, Paradise was born, right in my little kitchen. And it was good.
It was very, very good.
Okay, I’ll concede, maybe the HH’s comment wasn’t quite that miraculous, in the grand scheme of things. But it was the very first time he’s suggested that a vegetarian main course did not require the addition of animal flesh. Perhaps there’s hope yet. Only problem is, I probably won’t be cooking this for another 2 years or so.
However, for those of you looking to please a carnivore with a vegetarian entree, I’d definitely recommend you give this a try. And since this noodle dish appears capable of inspiring a conversion of sorts, I figured it might just be good enough for Ruth’s huge birthday bash over at Once Upon a Feast. I’m submitting this recipe for the Presto Pasta night’s one-year anniversary event.
Bangkok Noodles with Cashews and Pineapple
adapted from the Fruit Cookbook by Nicole Routhier
Bangkok Noodles with Cashews and Pineapple
Despite the long list of ingredients, this dish comes together fairly quickly. It’s also infinitely adaptable to your own tastes in vegetables–I just add what I have on hand and look forward to a slightly different experience each time I make it.
[Note: I've added my own changes/additions to the original in square brackets.]
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
[1/2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into chunks]
2 tsp. Thai yellow curry paste
1 Tbsp. curry powder, preferably Madras brand
1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk, well-stirred
1 cup chicken broth [I used vegetable]
1-1/2 tsp. sugar [I used agave nectar]
3 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce [I used tamari soy sauce]
[1 red pepper, cut in 1-" squares]
[1/2 cup green beans, trimmed]
[1 Tbsp. organic cornstarch, if needed]
1 pound dried rice noodles (the flat, long kind)
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
[1/2 cup toasted cashews]
1/2 cup finely shredded (chiffonade) basil
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak about 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain and keep covered while you prepare the sauce.
Heat the oil in a large frypan or wok over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and eggplant, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and powder. Cook, mashing the curry paste with the back of a spoon, until the mixture is aromatic, another minute or so.
Stir in the coconut milk, broth, sugar, soy sauce, and remaining vegetables. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. [My sauce didn't thicken. So I skimmed off about 1/4 cup liquid, mixed it with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, and returned that mixture to the pot, allowing it to simmer for another couple of minutes, and this thickened the sauce enough.]
Add the pineapple and cashews along with the noodles, and stir to coat, until it is heated through, about another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.