If there's one thing we can all unite on during the holiday season, it's our love of food. This is a language we all understand, where we all receive equal servings of joy and a spoonful of cheer. It's why Half Baked Harvest founder, Tieghan Gerard says it's her favorite time of year to be in the kitchen. "I love holiday cooking and the way it brings friends and family together," she beams. "It's a time to sit down and really enjoy the meal I cooked for everyone. I love seeing their faces as they take their first bite and the enjoyment that comes with a deliciously cooked dinner. Food brings people together year-round, but especially during the holidays."
To celebrate the new season, we invited Gerard into the MyDomaine kitchen to show us how to cook one of her favorite healthy holiday dishes from her new cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes From My Barn in the Mountains. She chose an all-time classic, the Thai coconut veggie curry with crunchy chickpeas (with fresh pomegranate and mango garnish mind you), and the result is beyond mouthwatering. "Thai curry is so popular because it's a dish loaded with flavor, color, and veggies," Gerard explains. "It's as pleasing to the eye as it is to the stomach. I say this all the time, but people eat with their eyes first, so if a dish looks good, people are more likely to eat it. I also feel like a Thai curry is one of those cozy comfort foods that are healthy, and I think that gets people excited as well." We couldn't agree more.
Watch the video below, and cook it for yourself this holiday—and then tag us in your social post with #MyDomaineEats so we can have a visual feast too.
MY DOMAINE: What are your top three winter ingredients and why?
TIEGHAN GERARD: This is so hard. There are so many great ones, but I'm going to go with mushrooms, winter squash, and citrus. I am currently adding mushrooms to everything. They add so much flavor and are the ultimate veggie replacement for meat. Winter squash is something I will always love and is delicious simply roasted with olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. A drizzle of honey is nice too. And winter citrus? It's perfect in salads, tossed into Asian-inspired dishes, and best when used to make winter cocktails. I have to add that beets, Brussels sprouts, and carrots are also favorites of mine. And I love topping so many dishes with pomegranate arils. I love the pop of color they give.
MD: What is the number one thing cooking has taught you about life?
TG: Cooking has taught me that food can truly bring people together. I know it seems so simple, but the food is the center of most social gatherings—well, at least in my house anyway. The kitchen is where everyone gathers. We will spend hours there making drinks, prepping food, and just chatting away over appetizers. Cooking a good meal is an easy way not only to bring loved ones together but to also make them happy through the deliciousness on their plates. Also, something I apply to both cooking and life: Less is more. Sometimes simple is just best, and a lot of times that's true in both cooking and life.
Don't miss the full exclusive recipe from Gerard's new book below.
Thai Coconut Veggie Curry with Crunchy Chickpeas
"You can make this curry with any vegetables you have on hand, or even add chicken, beef, or seafood if you like, but the three super-important ingredients here are canned coconut milk (I highly recommend full-fat), Thai red curry paste, and fresh ginger. Honestly, if you have just those three ingredients, you can make a killer curry, and it's going to be totally healthy. It helps, of course, if you serve your curry over a bed of rice and top it with fresh ripe mango, with naan for dipping. Perfection in a bowl, I say. Oh, and about those crunchy chickpeas? They are just addicting. I could snack on these salty, crispy nuggets of goodness all day long. They're like a super-healthy potato chip, but with lots of protein and healthy fat. You can bake them ahead of time and then add them to the curry before serving."
Ingredients for the Crunchy Chickpeas
15 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup raw peanuts and/or cashews
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. honey Cayenne
Ingredients for the Curry:
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 or 3 carrots, chopped
1 cup broccoli ﬂorets
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp. ﬁnely chopped fresh lemongrass (use only the pale inner core)
2 or 3 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
14 oz. full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp. ﬁsh sauce
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. sambal oelek
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Ingredients for Serving:
1 mango, diced
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spread the chickpeas out on a dish towel and pat them as dry as possible. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the nuts, olive oil, honey, cayenne, and salt to taste. Arrange in a single layer and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned and crunchy.
Meanwhile, make the curry. Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, carrots (to taste), and broccoli and cook for two to three minutes, or until lightly charred on the edges. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste (to taste) and cook for one to two minutes, until fragrant.
Slowly pour in the coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Add the ﬁsh sauce, soy sauce, and sambal oelek. Stir to combine, increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the curry has thickened slightly.
Remove from the heat, and then stir in the cilantro or basil, lime zest, and lime juice. If the curry is thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
Ladle the curry over bowls of rice. Top with mango, pomegranate seeds, and crunchy chickpeas.
For more delicious recipes from Half Baked Harvest, shop her new book below.
What is your favorite curry recipe? Is there a family favorite you love to cook each winter? Let us know below.