One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting and befriending other food bloggers. Melissa of The Faux Martha and I started our blogs around the same time. We commented on each other’s blogs for a while and then I reached out to Melissa way back when she was living in Chicago.
That’s how you know you’re headed in the right direction—when “networking” feels so natural and easy. Melissa invited me over to her home and out to dinner. We’ve been buds for a while now.
Last summer, when I was in Minneapolis for Lindsay’s photography workshop, Melissa invited us over for dinner. I got to see her amazing modern farmhouse in person, finally. We ate homemade pizza in her backyard under those big, round Christmas lights I love so much. Someday, I’ll have a proper backyard and I’ll “borrow” some of Melissa’s design elements.
Melissa is a designer. She worked as a graphic designer when I met her, then she became a blog designer, then she designed her home, and now she has made a cookbook. Melissa is a very thoughtful designer and everything she produces is beautiful, practical and functional at the same time. Those are the hallmarks of great design, right?
In her backyard, we talked about Melissa’s upcoming cookbook, The Minimalist Kitchen (affiliate link). Her book is here, finally! It’s everything that I knew it would be—beautiful, practical and functional, with Melissa’s honest and manageable approach to home cooking.
Melissa’s cookbook offers 100 wholesome recipes, made with essential tools and efficient techniques. She thought of everything, including how to measure margarita ingredients while dirtying the least amount of dishes.
This book is realistic minimalism—you won’t find 5-ingredient entrées (how good could those be?), but made-from-scratch recipes that use common ingredients. They’re delicious and affordable.
Melissa’s book offers quite a few vegetarian options, and I chose to make her Thai-spiced rice bowls. This recipe is perfect for transitional spring or fall weather, since it features warm curried peanut broth and hearty rice topped with lots of fresh garnishes. It’s almost like soup-meets-spring-rolls, and I’m really into it!
MY RECIPE NOTES
Melissa’s recipe calls for chicken broth, but I used vegetable broth since I’m a vegetarian. She also suggests that you could top the bowls with shredded chicken, but I think this crispy baked tofu would be a fantastic vegetarian/vegan option.
If you’d like your vegetarian peanut broth to have a little more body, you can whisk in more peanut butter or use regular (full-fat) coconut milk instead of light. That said, I liked my broth a lot as-is.
Thai-Spiced Rice BowlsCourse: SoupsCuisine: Thai
This curried Thai peanut bowl recipe is warming, hearty and fresh! These delicious bowls are easy to make, too. Recipe yields 6 servings.
1 ½ cups uncooked rice (I used long-grain brown rice)
1 ½ tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt)
- Peanut Broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Thumb-tip of peeled fresh ginger, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
¼ cup soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium tamari)
¼ cup natural peanut butter
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
1 can (14 ounces) light coconut milk
Generous squeeze of honey
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots (I used my julienne peeler)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (optional; I used a regular cucumber and seeded it before slicing)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
- Make the rice: Cook the rice according to the package instructions, then stir in the butter and salt. (Here’s how I cook brown rice.)
- Make the broth: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once warm, add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to develop the flavor.
- Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes. To serve, divide the rice evenly among 6 serving bowls. Top each serving evenly with the broth. Garnish as desired.
- MAKE IT VEGAN: Omit the butter for the rice, or replace it with coconut oil, added to taste. Use maple syrup instead of honey to sweeten the broth.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use gluten-free tamari instead of regular soy sauce.
- CHANGE IT UP: Melissa says you can add edamame or peas to this recipe.