Endless Roadtrip USVI: Caribbean Comfort at Gladys Cafe

Last month Rob and I embarked on a big, amazing Caribbean vacation to USVI. We mainly stayed in St. Thomas but went to St. John for a few days, Water Island for one day, and also embarked on a boating excursion around the BVI: Virgin Gorda, The Baths, Cooper Island, Norman Island, and Jost Van Dyke. Do I recommend it? ABSOLUTELY. The Virgin Islands were a badass vacation: the perfect mix of relaxation and activity, plus home to the best white sand beaches I’ve ever experienced.

Charlotte Amalie St Thomas

We stayed in Red Hook, on the east side of the island, but the main town (and cruise port) in St. Thomas is Charlotte Amalie. While it’s very pretty (see the photo above – a clear day with no ships in port!), it gets crowded with tourists and shoppers when the ships are in. Charlotte Amalie is  home to tons of duty-free shops, jewelry stores, designer bag sellers, etc… not really my scene. But hey! If you love to shop you might dig it.

But you know what else Charlotte Amalie has? One of the most popular and beloved traditional Caribbean restaurants in St. Thomas: Glady’s Cafe.

Gladys Cafe St Thomas

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Curried Quinoa & Avocado Naan Flatbreads

Curried Quinoa Avocado Naan Flatbreads

Okay! These are my new go-to snack/app when I have people over for lunch/dinner and want to throw something impressive (but actually very easy) together. They’re pretty, colorful, and obviously most importantly, taste awesome. You can add as much or as little curry and cayenne as you’d like, depending on how spicy you like it.

Curried Quinoa & Avocado Naan Flatbreads

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Green Coconut Curry Chicken, Crock Pot Style

Homemade Green Curry Chicken
As I recently mentioned, I got me a crock pot! I’ve been trying to embrace my new slow cooker lifestyle by ummm, Pinterest-ing a lot of recipes to get an idea of good technique (such as the meat-searing tip in my recipe below!). I’ve also been trying not to be such a hot mess in the kitchen – usually I’m holding my phone to look at recipes, photos, etc. while simultaneously chopping and sautéing and almost dropping it into the sink. Horrible. So I have to give a shout out to the silly-named Monkey Kit, which holds up the iPad so I can cook hands-free like a normal person. They sent me a sample model and it has truly been a game changer, two thumbs up. Between this and the crock pot I really am becoming a human adult, I guess.

SO! This is the next meal I’ve perfected with my new slow cooker. For this recipe you could totally use red or yellow curry paste if you prefer it over green. Red curry paste is actually my favorite, but green is what I had on hand and it worked well with the vegetables I used and my pumpkin seed garnish. As with most dishes, you can feel free to swap out the vegetables with whatever your favorites are… just keep in mind cooking time. Softer vegetables you can just add in at the end of the day, about a half hour before you plan on serving. Harder vegetables with a longer cook time can be added in the beginning at the same time as the chicken. Got it? Great.

Homemade Green Coconut Curry Chicken (in the crockpot!)

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Curried Cashew Chicken Dip

Curried Cashew Chicken Dip 2

I was going to a party the other weekend (okay, okay, it was a World Cup watching party, maybe the fact that I made an Indian-inspired recipe for a gathering themed around Argentina & Germany can tell you how much attention I paid to the World Cup. Sorry world!) and like any good guest at any sort of sports-watching thing, I brought food. Chips & dip! Obviously!

Anyway… Stonefire, who I’ve written about in the past, sent me some samples of their newest products, naan crisps. I almost didn’t get a chance to test them out and make a recipe, because my friends jumped on these like Liz Lemon on some night cheese! (I’ve been binge-rewatching 30 Rock on Netflix this summer.) Rob declared these “the best food blog sample [I’ve] ever received” so that’s really saying something. These naan crisps are super good – light, crispy, airy, and savory.

I wanted to do something that tied in with these chips before they all got devoured, so I threw together a protein-packed dip with an Indian twist – that, despite being neither Argentine or German themed, was a hit at the watch party. Added bonus: this recipe gets its creaminess from yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream, so it’s actually pretty good for you!

Curried Cashew Chicken Dip

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Spicy Thai Breakfast (Yes, Breakfast!) Noodles

Spicy Thai Curry Breakfast Noodles

It has been extremely stormy in Austin lately. It’s kind of romantic, and since we are an eternal drought it’s good for the land, but it also puts a huge damper on your social life. Nobody feels like driving downtown and looking for parking to meet friends at a patio bar in a thunderstorm. No thank you.

Last weekend, on one of these thunder-and-lightning-no-way-in-hell-am-I-leaving-the-house mornings, Rob and I found ourselves in quite the conundrum. We had a good pot of coffee brewing and we were SO ready to eat something, yet we had zero breakfast food. We’d used up all the produce from our weekly CSA box and the only morning-ish stuff we had in the house was one last egg in our carton, a gross old yogurt I found in the back of the fridge, and some stale cereal. Bad situation. What can I say? Not leaving the house means getting really behind on your grocery shopping.

Sooo I had to improvise with the one egg, some leftover Thai takeout in the fridge, and (duh) Sriracha. The result was surprisingly delightful. If you’re a savory breakfast type person, I encourage you to try this at home!

Spicy Thai Breakfast Noodles

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Sweet and Spicy Triple Red Quinoa Salad

Let’s talk about cabbage. I love cole slaw—like, really love, it’s one of my favorite sides/snacks. Sometimes I will eat a big bowl of slaw for dinner. Is that weird? Probably. Other than cole slaw, though, I don’t really do much with cabbage. So I had to get a little creative with the huge head of crisp, red cabbage that came in our Johnson’s Backyard Garden CSA box last week.

Red Quinoa Cabbage Kale Salad

What’s my go-to when it comes to using up vegetables? Mixing them into some quinoa, of course. What’s my other go-to? Adding a runny egg to anything/everything. Using these two standby moves, I transformed a head of cabbage into a super flavorful, easy, and healthy dinner for the household. (Let me tell you, it’s fantastic living with a boyfriend and roommates who enjoy healthy cooking as much as I do.)

This warm salad is red on red on red on red! We’ve got red quinoa, red cabbage, and red onion mingling with kale, sour apple, rich tropical coconut oil, and sweet raisins. The addition of curry and red chile flakes kicks up the spice and keeps this combination from becoming too sugary. Make sure you don’t overcook your quinoa or produce—mushy quinoa is a bummer and you want to be able to savor the crispness of the cabbage, apples, and kale.

Sweet and Spicy Triple Red Quinoa Salad

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Spicing up 2014 with Chicken Curry

Indian Curry Recipe

Made a New Year’s resolution to diversify your culinary efforts? Try cooking a curry! I’m not gonna claim that my Indian cooking is the most authentic in the world—I’m not grinding my own whole spices here—but it’s tasty and pretty easy to make. If you don’t have the spices I listed, check out the bulk spice bins at your local Whole Foods or other healthy market. Buying just a few teaspoons in bulk is waaaay cheaper than spending like $12 on a whole container if you don’t think you’re going to be using it frequently.

I’ll also take a moment to give a shoutout to my peeps at Stonefire. In my opinion the Indian food experience isn’t complete without some delicious naan to sop up all the sauce, and the Stonefire brand makes some of the best store-bought versions I’ve tried. They reached out and asked me to whip up some recipes to pair with their products, so here’s a fairly simple curry to get you started. If you want to make this one vegetarian, never fear, just don’t include the chicken.

Spicy Indian Chicken Curry

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