Monday, January 18, 2010

my donation to haiti, and some food that is not indian, and a stress list.

well, after texting 10 dollars to yele on the prompting of the president of the agency that i work for and subsequently finding out that a) text donations may take up to 90 days to get to where they were intended to go and that, more disturbing, b) yele is under investigation for fraud, i made a donation to doctors without borders, and then donated a cooking lesson to a raffle that a cool mom that i know is putting together. a lesson on how to make...wait for it...indian food! i know how to make a lot of things, but i guess that indian food is something that needs to be demystified for people, so i hope it raises a little bit of cash. they are moving bodies in port au prince from the street to mass graves using bulldozers. for real.
so, today i also made a salad-type thing that is really good when you are feeling lazy and/or poor. it is basically a chicken salad, here are the ingredients:
2-3 c chopped, cooked chicken. today i poached b/s breasts, but you can use anything, especially left over roasted chicken. mmmmm.
1 c chopped celery
3-4 little red skin potatoes
5 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbs grey poupon mustard, or whatever kind you like
8 baby dill pickles, i love best maid, with the red chilis in the jar
garlic salt, celery salt, pepper, dried dill to taste.

there is no photo tutorial for this, since you chop every thing up and toss it with the wet ingredients. really. it is chicken salad, i just like to add the potato and egg and pickles for protein and flavor. this stuff is also really good blitzed in the food processor, like a spread. mmmm.
look good? it is.

anyway, in other scintillating news, i have decided i need to start on a stress list, that is a list of things that are currently stressing me out and contributing to, if not causing, my insomnia. here is a start:
1. my car. the SRS light, the maintenance light, the cigarette lighter doesn't work, and the locks are all messed up. get this hoopty to the honda dealer, for the love of fuck.
2. my warrant. yes, i forgot to pay a stop sign ticket i got ON MY BIRTHDAY, thanks, oinker. and now i have a warrant. need to get rid of that.
3. i need to make an appointment with the FM doctor my friend kat recommended.
4. i need to see my PCP for medication side effect issues.
5. i need to START the work on my teeth, even though it is going to be really expensive and take a long time.

ok. for today, i am going to get my nails done, my eyebrows waxed, and possibly even a pedicure. i haven't decided on that last bit yet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

comfort food, more sickness, can i get some sleep PLEASE?!?

first, following the last post, the curry chicken recipe.
4 tbs oil, i use peanut
4 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
2 inch cinnamon stick
3 star anise
8 curry leaves

1 large onion, chopped

2 inches ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed...or, like in the blue dish, puree from a jar.
4 tbs mild curry paste (see last post)
1 tsp ground green dish
3.5 lbs chicken, i use boneless, skinless thighs. if you don't eat meat, i would recommend a sturdy protein substitute, like chick peas
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/2 c coconut milk or cream. i like milk...make sure you don't buy the latino coconut crema, it is heavily sweetened.i love imperial dragon brand.
1/2 tsp jaggery, the red dish, above. you can use sugar.
2 c chopped cilantro

put the oil in a heavy bottomed pot and heat it. add the spices from dish #1 above...

fry till aromatic and popping a bit. mmmm smell that curry leaf.

add the chopped onion, the ginger and garlic, and brown. Then, add your curry paste, hopefully the home made kind...also add the turmeric right now. looks like so---->
add the chicken after a few minutes, and seal it. then cover the pot till the chicken is mostly cooked, about 10 minutes.

when your mix looks like this, uncover and let it simmer for a few minutes. then, add the canned tomatoes and coconut milk. stir it well, turn down the heat, and simmer it till it thickens.

you can add cashews or almonds, here, too, especially if you are making this without meat. but i add cashews or almonds here sometimes. also, if it is too wet, you can grind up the nuts and add them as a thickener. but cashew sauce chicken is a whole separate recipe!!

anyway, at this point, stir in your jaggery or sugar, some sea salt, and then fold in the cilantro.


so vincent has a throat infection, not strep, and one red ear. after violently, suddenly, and uh, thoroughly barfing friday night, i became convinced of this and took him to the doc in the box on sunday morning, he is now on keflex.

i just plain can't sleep through the night. i may have to go back to taking rozerem, cause this is ridiculous. i am also making an appointment with a friend's doctor who specializes in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc, and of course, doesn't take insurance. i don't care anymore, i am going. wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

curry, bitching, moaning.

so, the little one caught some kind of virus that has had him mostly down with fever since sunday. poor creature, he is a mellow little patient for the most part. he is having a tea party right now with hello kitty "and all of her friends", they are also having a sleep over. sounds like a party! he did don his chef coat since i was cooking and he was preparing the tea party fare.

SO i got back in the kitchen because i literally ate fast food for each meal yesterday, barf-o-rama. and not at all conducive to my 40 pounds off by 40 goal. (which is really 50 pounds, secretly. really.) so, i made curry chicken, cause i haven't made it in awhile and i find the process extremely soothing. and, it sounded yummy.

it seems like i only cook south asian food, but really, i cook a lot of different things, granted they are mostly asian, but i cook my native italian fairly often as well. i guess i figure that most people know how to make the other stuff i make, but who knows. maybe there is a housewife in hyderabad wishing i would demystify my pomodoro sauce or something. i will be more inclusive in my food blogging from now on.

anyway, i am still in a major funk about all these stupid medications and their side effects, but i don't really feel like talking about that. i am just disgusted with it all right now.

also, work sucked big dirty hairy dog balls last night, and i am really in a bit of a funk about my job again. don't want to bitch too much about that right now either, actually.

so, on to the tremendous chicken curry recipe and tutorial. i wish i could credit the original recipe, but i have used several and modified them all, so i guess it is fairly safe to call this "tiny's curry recipe". here it is...

now, i make the curry paste. i would not really use jarred curry paste any more than i would use a jar of pasta sauce. i am not being a snob, i just usually really don't like them. so, first, the curry paste. it is easy. well, if you have 87394 spices on hand, it is...if you ever want a pot of mine, i barter. hit me up.

this is for a mild curry paste that my husband can tolerate. he has IBS.

1/4 c coriander(dhania)seeds
2 T cumin(jeera)seeds
1 T fennel (saunf)seeds
1 T fenugreek (methi) seeds
3 curry leaves
1/2 T chili powder
1/2 T turmeric (haldi) powder

(the hindi names for the spices are in case you go to the indian market. plus, my hindi is coming along famously and i am showing off. suffice it to say that you are lucky I am not blogging in devanangari.)

बीकौज़ ऐ कैन.

grind all of these spices in a whatever you use to grind things, a coffee grinder is probably fine, i use a magic bullet. warning: whatever you use will pretty much be dedicated to spices after you use it once or twice for this mixure, or any other south asian spice mixture. potent stuff.

once you have a nice powder, mix it with 1/4 cup of wine or cider vinegar. i have used both with no discernible (to me) taste difference in the final product.

then, heat 1/4 cup of clear oil, i use peanut, in a heavy bottom sauce pot. add the paste and fry it till it becomes very aromatic (as in, your house smells like the local indian eatery) and darkens a bit. also, the oil should rise to the top. while you are frying this up, you add about 5 T of warm water to further emulsify the paste. it is just to make it bind up, it isn't hard.

this is enough paste to make more than one curry dish. refrigerate it. i have kept it up to a month and it is fine. better, naturally, as it mingles and gets richer as it sits. you may need to add more oil to it if you find it to be a bit gritty or dry when you use it the next time. heat the oil, and repeat the above process.

moving on.

i keep a sink full of soapy hot water when i make curries, because the spices permeate everything and even though i take pains to use stainless steel stuff when i cook, some of the stuff (bullet blade and cup, for one) are plastic and i like to throw them in the sink as i go. plus, this embodies one of my rules about cooking, which is clean as you go. i think that not following this rule is why some people think they don't like to cook, cause they make a mess and then have to clean it all up at once. fuck that. prepare everything ahead of time, prep-wise, and clean as you go. those things make cooking so much more fun and easy. i swear by these rules and rue the times i ignore them.

anyway, on to the actual curry. next post.

Friday, January 8, 2010

new year. head full.

so, it is all done, the holiday season and the year, that would be the last year that i can claim my "thirties", what the fuck? when did it become alright for me to turn 40? whatever, i am gonna rock it. i am turning, the languish of the last few months is clearing, fuck it. here is today's anthem.

i will be back later, i am making dinner. there is much more to discuss, trust me. don't call it a comeback.