Monday, June 13, 2011

Curry along sweetie the heat will get you...

Yup turns out am a fan of curry after all these years. If you like spicy Mexican of Szechuan you'll love the deep rich spicy flavor of curry. Got hooked on the stuff when I tried a recipe a few months back, since then its been experimenting with curry.

This recipe has a jumble of flavors some Thai, some classic Indian but tasty none the less. It is spicy, but I suppose you could dial it back if you want by reducing the amount of chili peppers in it.

Thai chilis are so hard to find at my local grocery but I learned on the food channel you can swap out a couple of red jalapenos for them with great success. Which is what I do, can't justify spending a ton in gas tracking down just one chili and no need since red jalapeno are so easy to find at my local groc.

I have learned the hard way that it is best to crush your cardamom seed pods and just extract the seeds for your cooking. The pod itself is way too harsh a spice and if you bite into it you've ruined your mouth for the next few bites. Seriously take the couple of seconds required to bust open the pods and extract the seeds. A little of them go a long way but at least you don't have a big nasty mouthful of pod when you toss them after a seed extraction.

Thai Chicken Curry
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken - 1" dice
  • 1 bell pepper coarse diced
  • 2 red minced
  • 1 onion coarse diced
  • 1 bunch spring onion, diced, green tops reserved.
  • 1 T garlic
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 4 cardamom seed pod crushed and seeds removed
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c water
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • Chopped cilantro
  • green onion tops
  • salt to taste.

Heat oil over medium high flame until shimmering. Add the diced vegetables and stir fry until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from pan. Add chicken, curry powder, cumin and cardamom seeds and stir fry until well browned.

Return veggies to pan. Add coconut milk, water, soy sauce, fish sauce and peanut butter, stir until smooth. Test for salt and add some if needed. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Serve over rice with a sprinkle of green onion tops and cilantro.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cherry Preserves

Its that time of year. Fresh fruit galore is in season and I have once again bought more than we can eat...but who can resist all of the goodies rolling in? I bought cherries the other day and haven't touched them as there were other things too good to pass up for snacking. Fortunately they didn't "go bad" so I decided to turn them into preserves this morning.

Thank gawd I paid attention to my Mom and grandmothers making preserves over the years. I tend to go with the high sugar and no pectin way whenever I can. Not that pectin is bad for you, its just that its just not a pantry item I stock and don't feel like running out to the store for just that one its pectic free for me when I impulsively decide to make some preserves. Yes, you do cook a bit longer to get a gel but its still just as flavorful with the right consistency in the end.

Of course it means I got to use a new toy today. I picked up, on sale no less, a cherry pitter at Sur La Table the other day and this was the perfect excuse to break it out. Love cooking with cherries, just hated the old knife pitting method. This little "gun" makes it so easy just load, squeeze the trigger and out comes the pit! Worth the few bucks it cost.

Cherry Preserves
  • 2 lbs pitted fresh cherries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • juice of 1 lemon

In large, heavy (Thick bottom and side) pot add sugar and water. Bring to boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add cherries. With potato masher carefully mash down the fruit to release juice and break up fruit. Be careful not to over mash the fruit as you still want big chunks. Bring back to boil then reduce heat to low boil. Simmer at low boil 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice. Put into hot sterile canning jar(s). Makes about 2 cups preserves.

What a low boil looks like...more than a simmer but not much.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

day old baguette=croutons!

Its been a very hectic few weeks around here. So much so that I have little time for anything much less all my blogging. This morning however I have a few minutes freed up so here goes...

What does one do with a day old baguette that is starting to get just a little too hard? Make croutons off course. Using the microwave takes something that is easy into the fast and stupid easy. Plus you get that half eaten bread off your counter and use it for something other than feeding the black trash can instead of becoming a biology experiment.

Easy Croutons
  • day old baguette (or any bread)
  • dried parsley
  • garlic powder
  • cooking oil spray (I use olive oil kind for this)

Cut bread into 1/2" cubes. Spritz cubes and toss several times until all are lightly coated. Sprinkle on parsley and garlic to taste. Toss to evenly distribute. Microwave 5-7 minutes tossing at 2 minute intervals to evenly brown them up.