Saturday, October 31, 2015

End-of-the-month dead end

Happy Halloween everyone.  I stayed up past my bedtime last Tuesday to write a 3-month review of books from August-October. I spent a fair amount of time cross referencing my GoodReads account.  It had the makings of a fantastic post.  I got on today to finish it and send it out to all of you but it disappeared into the vast unknown. I must not have saved it properly or the internet just royally messed with me.  I've looked all through my history. Nothing, nada.  I can find every single other page I was on around that time but no sign of that post.  *&&%$#@!  Time wasted. I will have to go back and recreate the entire thing.

I will do it but my point in working on it last Tuesday was that I wanted it done before the end of the month.  November I dive into November Novel writing.  Never tried it and for some reason feel compelled to do it now. I admit to being scared even terrified but that's okay.  I have grit.

In other family news this is the first Halloween we are not out there trick or treating with a child.  Our 13-year-old is trick or treating with a friend but really only to take her 2-yr-old sister around the neighborhood.  The other two are long out of the tradition and I noticed on older daughter's tumblr page that she's off drinking holiday brew with friends.  It is spooky how they grow up and live their own lives independent of you.  We had fun reminiscing about costumes and other Halloween celebrations together.  If I had a redo I would have taken one picture for every Halloween and kept a book so I could remember all the costumes and the places we were. Highlights: Tristan as a fish he created and painted himself, a cowboy, Mr Monopoly, Yoda, and Groovy Girl as a small lion our first year in Chicago, Ladybug Girl, The Mad Hatter, a bumblebee, Cruella DeVille, and Kaylee as a pink flamingo and an Indian princess. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Weekly Recipes {8}

I have a foodie crush on Jamie Oliver and I found this book at a sale and had to have it. Friday I took this book to dance class and browsed while Groovy Girl did her thing.  I found many recipes I wanted to try but this curry recipe was the one. Our family loves curry and it was a special night as the 20-year-old was joining us for dinner so I made a special stop at our international store for roti bread and spices.

My Favorite Curry Sauce
(p. 32) serves 4

5 T vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (couldn't find these on short notice)
3 fresh green chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced.  (I used only one)
1 handful of curry leaves
2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 onions, peeled and chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp tumeric
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 14-oz can of coconut milk

He has three seperate variations; fish, chicken, and veggie.  I had a good piece of chicken so I used that, cutting the chicken in to bite-sized pieces and adding 1 T coriander seeds, crushed to the skillet.

Heat the oil in a pan, and when hot add the mustard seeds.  Wait for them to pop, then add the fenegreek seeds, fresh green chillies, curry leaves and ginger.  Stir and fry for a few minutes.  Using a food processor, chop the onions and add to the same pan.  Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onion is light brown and soft, then add the chilli powder and turmeric.  Using the same food processor, pulse the tomatoes and add these to the pan.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then add 1 or 2 wineglasses of water and the coconut milk to the pan.  Simmer for about 5 minutes until it has the consistency of heavy cream, then season carefully with salt.

Take this sauce as the base and add in whatever meat, veggies or tofu you would like. Be sure to stir fry your meat in a skillet and then add it into the sauce.

I served it with jasmine rice and Indian bread.  It was good, and well worth it but I was missing key ingredients; the fenegreek seeds and curry leaves. I wasn't happy that our small ethnic grocery store didn't have either of these and the sales person offered me a bag of bay leaves instead. (what?!) I don't have any trips planned to Minneapolis or Chicago so I did what I had to do but don't like to do; I ordered them from Amazon. I love my small town but it is hard when I'm looking for unusual ingredients.

I want to make the dish again when these unusual spices arrive and see the difference. Also I will add all three chillies in! I worried it would be too spicy but it wasn't spicy enough.  The flavor was good and the bread was a huge hit so it was a win. My husband and son had multiple large helpings and there was still leftovers for lunch the next day.

Because I was making a special dinner I thought I would do a dessert as well and I was drawn to Jaime's fancy pudding recipe.

Cheeky Chocolate Mousse

(p. 278) serves 4
8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, bashed up
5 T butter, cut into pieces
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs, pref. organic
1 T. Amaretto
2 T. good quality honey
In a bowl over some gently simmering water, slowly melt the chocolate and the butter together then remove from the heat.  In a separate bowl, semi-whip the cream (until it forms soft peaks, not too stiff).  In a 3rd bowl, whisk the eggs and honey until light and fluffy then fold in the Amaretto, melted chocolate mixture and cream-gently-so you don't lose too much air.  Pour into some small wineglasses, martini glasses, or dessert dishes and leave to chill for about an hour before serving.  I served it topped with a little extra cinnamon-infused whipped cream. Both kids really disliked the dessert because it was a strong chocolate favor but not sweet enough for them.  Ha!  That left more for me.  I've had a tiny dish of it every night this week to finish off my dinner.  I love the strong flavor.

If I had the opportunity to sit and have a meal with a chef I would pick Jaime.  His casual style appeals to me, we could have a cold beer and chat about spices, and he makes even a difficult dish sound doable.