Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Wizard of Oz curry

Inspired by both The Wizard of Oz and Chicken Cashew Curry from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer.

1 onion, chopped
2 red chilies, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large (3"+) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup broth, veg or chicken
1 can coconut milk
5 cups broccoli florets
3 chicken breast halves, on the bone
black pepper
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 t turmeric
1 t ground cardamom
2 T plain yogurt
1 handful unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

1. Generously rub the chicken with black pepper and salt.
2. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat until done or nearly done.
3. Remove from the bone, shredding and chopping as you see fit in to bite-size pieces. Set aside.

4. Saute the onions in olive oil for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the chilies, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
6. Add cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Cook, again stirring, for 1 minute.
7. Add broth, coconut milk, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Add chicken, cook for 5 - 10 minutes.
9. Add broccoli and simmer until done. Be careful during this next to last step not to overcook the broccoli.
10. Stir in peanuts and yogurt.

Serve over brown rice.

garlic & chilies





red chilies


This almost became the Suspiria curry

or the Double Life of Veronique curry

but as I was taking it to the table, the weather outside became very sinister, what with crazy winds over the lake, dark storm clouds to the south, bright sun to the north. The general color of the curry in the bowl (sort of a red-infused yellow) also reminded me of a very strange weather day of a few years ago when the air itself seemed to be a weird electric yellow.

This was also not nearly as spicy as I thought it might be, so it doesn't really send you into a Veronique fugue state, not does it make you feel woozy (in a good way) like Suspiria (plus, shouldn't a Suspiria dish be Italian? Or maybe German? But Jessica Harper is American. Oh, never mind). In the end, it is very flavorful and colorful and relatively healthy, so it would be good for more adventurous kids. Just like The Wizard of Oz.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New World quesadillas

1/2 large onion, chopped
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium head broccoli, chopped very small
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
whole wheat flour tortillas

1. Saute onions in olive oil until slightly soft
2. Add mushrooms; cook until softened and juices released
3. Add broccoli; saute until bright green but not too soft (you still want a slight bit of firmness)
4. Add beans, cook until mixture is fairly dry

5. Place approximately 2T cheese on one half of one side of a tortilla. Add some of the vegetable mixture, top with the same amount of cheese, and fold into a half-moon.
6. Fry over medium heat in a dry nonstick skillet, turning once, until cheese has melted, bonding the quesadilla together, and the tortilla has browned slightly. Keep warm in 200 degree oven while finishing other quesadillas.

Serve with Roasted tomatillo salsa and oven-roasted potatoes.

Inspired by Terrence Malick's mind- and soul-expanding The New World. One bite of these and Wagner will fill your head.

And my photographic interpretation

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Lady Vanishes / spicy stuffed sweet potatoes

A few years ago, the lovely S. and I were living in an apartment with no table suitable for dining. We therefore usually sat on the floor with our dinner and watched a film. One summer night we had spicy-stuffed-double-baked sweet potatoes (or something like that; I'll post the actual recipe from Jack Bishop's indispensable A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen later) and watched Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. Starring the lovely Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, and the formidable Dame May Whitty, this is one of Hitch's funniest movies anyway, but watching it under the influence of supremely hot food (the potatoes have red Thai curry paste in them) was like being drunk, sleep-deprived, and who knows what else for 97 straight minutes.