• Port Orange, Florida


Bring On The Heat! Thai Green Curry

I’m a huge fan of Asian food and southeast Asia is the food region I love most. For this dish I will focus on Thailand, a country I hope to visit someday soon. Thai food is full of flavor and spice and Green Curry won’t disappoint the taste buds. Once you eat this you’ll notice a variety of sensations, aroma, heat, velvety texture and some crunch so long as you don’t overcook the vegetables. Now that you’re all warmed up lets get to work.

Serve over rice. This recipe will makes enough for 4 or 5 people.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Tbls Vegetable or Peanut Oil
  • 3 to 4 Tbls Green Curry Paste – The more the spicier – I use Maesri brand
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (Cream if you like velvety)
  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – Sliced into bite sized pieces
  • A variety of vegetables (here is what I just used but feel free to substitute)
  • 1/2 Onion – Rough Chopped
  • 1 Tomato – Seeded and Rough Chopped
  • 1 Small Yellow Squash – Sliced lengthwise and then 1/4″ thick slices
  • 2 Carrots – 1/4″ thick slices
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • Sambal & Cilantro for garnish

Cooking Directions:

Cook rice while you’re preparing the curry.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat and add the curry paste, stirring constantly. Cook for a minute or two then add 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir until well mixed. After another minute add the remaining coconut milk and stir until it comes to a bubble. Next, add the chicken and continue to stir for another 5 minutes. Now stir in the chicken broth and bring back until bubbling. Now add the vegetables (hold back soft vegetables like squash until later in the cooking process or you will overcook them) and continue to stir until the vegetables and chicken are cooked through.

Maesri is the brand curry paste I use and can be purchased at most Asian markets. Use another brand if you can’t find this one.

Place a generous portion of rice in a bowl and spoon the delicious curry over the top. Garnish with cilantro leaves and add a little sambal if you like it even spicier. Lastly, this is the way I made my green curry, next time who knows, maybe I’ll make it with beef or shrimp or different vegetables. It’s you’re meal, make it how you’d like it. Experimentation is the key to discover what you really like. Enjoy!

Guacamole… Ole!

Hungry for guacamole, I decided to whip up a batch. I’m not a fan of store purchased guacamole because it’s usually over processed and tasteless. More importantly, it’s super easy to make and all things taste better when you make it yourself. Give it a try. Here’s my recipe.

Fresh ingredients will help make this snack super tasty.

Here’s what you need:

3 – Haas or 1 large Florida avocado – peeled, halved & pit removed
1/2 to 1 – medium sized, ripe tomato – seeded and diced fine
1/2 – small onion – diced fine
1/2 to 1 – seeded jalapeno – diced fine
1 clove – garlic – minced
1 tbs – cilantro – chopped
1/2 tsp – cumin powder
1 tsp – kosher salt (table salt okay too)
1 tsp – coarse black pepper
1 – generous squeeze lime juice

Smash the avocados with a fork or potato masher until you achieve the texture you like. Mix in the other ingredients. Let sit for a few minutes. Enjoy with chips and the beverage of your choice. A tasty treat!

Note: I’m not a baker so I don’t measure things out. These are approximations but should be close to how I like it. Feel free to experiment, I do it regularly, you can too.

Enjoy the finished product!

Chicken Enchiladas Hotdish

This is a Harms family favorite. I always loved it when mom would make this dish for us growing up. Of course she has her way and I have mine. I take a few shortcuts over the original but I’m sure if you try this you’ll agree that it’s easy and flavorful! I’ve had quite a few friends ask for the recipe over the years. Let me know what you think and don’t forget to make this dish your own…. I did and love it.

What you need:

  • 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – Cooked and Shredded
  • 1 Small or 1/2 Large Onion – Chopped
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (Campbell’s)
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup (Campbell’s)
  • 1 Can Rotel (Stewed Tomatoes with Green Chiles)
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 TBLS Chile Powder
  • 1/4 TSP or more Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 TSP Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 TSP Black Pepper
  • 1 Clove Garlic – Crushed and Minced
  • 1 Bag (11.5 oz) Dorito’s
  • 2 to 3 Cups Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Marble Jack or ???)

Put it together:

Preheat oven to 350 while you’re preparing the dish. Cook the chicken by either baking it, or do what I do and wok fry it in a little olive oil with the garlic. Shred the chicken if you baked it in the oven. My mom’s recipe called for boiling a whole chicken and shredding it, that’s why I modified this dish. Once you’re finished with the chicken set it aside.

In a very large mixing bowl combine the canned ingredients and mix them together. Next add the chicken broth and spices and mix some more. Next add the chicken and chopped onions and mix some more. Now you’re ready to add the Dorito’s and do a final mix, being careful to not break the chips as best you can, this is why you want to have a very large mixing bowl. Now you’re ready to add the mixture to a large baking dish or do what my small family does and pour into 2 smaller baking dishes to have one now and the other at a later date. The final step is to top the mixture with the cheese of your choice and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Makes enough for 8 to 10 people (4 to 5 if you split the dish).

Tip: To make it even easier you could just purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred it.

Greek Mushroom Salad

One of my all time favorite salads is Greek Mushroom Salad. I remember eating this as a child for the first time at my uncle Tom’s house in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I believe this is a recipe from my aunt Becky though I’m not sure if it is originally her’s. Here is my variation of the classic. I hope you enjoy and as usual, make it your own, you have to eat it!

The Salad:

  • 8 oz  Mushrooms – Sliced Thick
  • 4 oz  Kalamata Olives
  • 4 oz  Pepperoncini Salad Peppers
  • 4 oz  Tomatoes – Small Like Grape or Cherry
  • 4 oz  Swiss Cheese – Sliced Thick – Then Into 3/4″ Squares
  • 4       Green Onions – Sliced

Combine all of the ingredients into a salad bowl and mix with my Greek Dressing just before serving. Please note that this salad will not keep well so only make what you plan to eat. This should be enough to feed a family of 8 to 10 when served as a side dish.

Phillip’s Greek Dressing

This is the dressing I serve with Mushroom Salad but it’s great on other salads too or as a marinade. I hope you enjoy!

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 TBLS Cavender’s Greek Seasoning – Heaping (Any Greek Seasoning Should Do)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and pour on the salad just prior to serving. Yum!

Kale Soup – A Family Favorite

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, why would anyone make a soup out of that curly leaf vegetable that sits as a garnish on a thousand buffets around America? I’ll tell you, it’s because it’s tasty and good for you, may stop cancer dead in its tracks and reverse the effects of aging and… Well, it’s tasty and good for you, lets leave it at that.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this wonderful dish:

  • 1 Bunch Kale – Chopped Medium
  • 2 Carrots – Diced Medium
  • 3 Medium Potatoes – Diced Medium
  • 1/2 Small Onion – Diced Small to Medium
  • 1/4 Cup Pearled Barley
  • 2/3 Pound Smoked Sausage – Chopped Medium
  • 10 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 tsp Crushed Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Paprika

Instructions for cooking:

Place all ingredients except the kale into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the barley is almost ready, about 40 minutes. Add kale and simmer for an additional 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

As always, use this as a guide and feel free to experiment with the ingredients. Use ham instead of sausage, quick barley instead of pearled barley (reduce time if you do). Whatever you want you can do. You have to eat it.

Be careful with this soup. It’s highly addicting and has been known to make your tongue slap your brains out.

A Harms Family Favorite – Kale Soup

Phillip’s famous fresh salsa!

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you I’m crazy and was born with a cast iron stomach. I love spicy food, the hotter the better. It doesn’t matter if it’s Thai, Indian, Korean, Mexican or whatever. One of my favorites though is homemade fresh salsa. It’s so much  better than anything you can get at the local market and extremely easy to make. Best of all, you can make it with just about anything except the kitchen sink.

Today I’m going to make a traditional fresh salsa  or actually, pico de gallo. Like I said you can pretty much make your fresh salsa out of just about anything but I suggest starting with the basics, tomato, onion, peppers and then adding the extras to your liking. Now get to the garden, farmers market or grocery so we can get started. Here’s what I’m doing:

4 or 5 ripe tomatoes                                              1 small onion

4 or 5 jalapeños (or to your heat preference)          1/2 cup bell or sweet pepper

1/4 cup cilantro (or to your preference)                   1 rib celery

1.5 teaspoons salt                                                  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon minced garlic                                        1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1.5 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor in small batches. Chop fine or coarse until you achieve the texture you prefer. Pour into bowl large enough to handle the batch and stir. Make sure to test and add more seasonings until you get a salsa you can be proud of.

Note:  If you add too much cilantro you may get a soapy aftertaste and remember, you can always add or subtract ingredients to your liking. My fresh salsa is often dictated by what I can find fresh, even carrots will make it into the mix at times.

Experiment and enjoy!

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. Beef Short Ribs

The weather is nice today in Florida and I’ve got food on the mind. In the refrigerator is a mess of beef short ribs just dying to be smoked. So what’s a man to do? Oblige them of course! Beef short ribs are one of my favorites. While not as popular as pork back ribs, I find these just as delicious if you cook them right.

The first thing we’re going to need to do is prep them by rubbing them with a dry rub for two to four hours prior to placing them in the smoker. You can also put the rubbed ribs in the refrigerator overnight to give even more flavor but I think four hours is about right for my taste. Here’s what your going to need for the rub:

2 tablespoons of kosher salt                        2 teaspoons of coarse black pepper

2 teaspoons of paprika                               1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning          1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon minced garlic                            1 teaspoon brown sugar

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Lightly brush the ribs with oil and apply rub. In two to four hours they will be ready for the smoker.

Prep your smoker and choose your favorite smoking wood (hickory, mesquite, oak, etc). I like mesquite for my beef short ribs. Smoke the ribs at 225 to 250 degrees for 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the ribs. I’ll be smoking mine for 3 hours. If you want to you could finish them off on a hot grill to enhance them further. Enjoy with a nice Texas barbecue sauce or eat them just as they are. I’ll also compliment the ribs with a nice baked sweet potato and salad.