Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Supportive Partner

It's easy to get caught up with life and let the things that really matter slip by unnoticed. These past few days, I've been working on not one, but two separate blogs - and although it makes me giddy with joy to be this productive, doing something I love, it does come at a price. Now, Ozzy my cat, he has no problems expressing his displeasure if Mommy spends too much time on the computer. His solution is to simply be as loud and obnoxious as he possibly can, often resorting to smacking my leg as I'm sitting on the computer chair, jumping on me, mock-biting (harmless nibbles, really), and generally making a total nuisance of himself. Eventually I give in - like most moms - and give him what he wants, i.e. my undivided attention. The good thing is, he doesn't need me for more than a few minutes. I just pick him up in my arms and walk around the house for 10 mins, giving him that free ride he loves, do a bit of nuzzling and cuddling, and he's a happy camper!

DH, on the other hand, has similar issues, but for some reason, makes me feel more guilty by making his puppy-dog face, and walking by the computer moping, grumbling, giving his "nobody loves me" speech from time to time. So what's a girl to do?! I can't let the blog be more important than DH's fragile ego, because that's a slippery slope folks. And in all fairness, he does indulge me in my many artsy-fartsy pursuits. For instance, I wanted to go listen to the Yale Philharmonic last week, and he readily agreed to accompany me, even though opera and orchestra music is really not his cup of tea. Kudos to him, he tried, but ended up playing games on his phone for most of the performance. Still, he was there, and that's important! He also isn't crazy about watching plays, but once again, we recently attended a Shakespeare-inspired contemporary play at Yale Cabaret, and this time he didn't even glance at his phone. So I notice these things, and I remember. And I appreciate them. Being me, I have a sure-fire way of showing him that I'm thankful. Cooking what he loves, and surprising him with it. And this is it.
Tender chicken, braised with nuts, coconut milk and fragrant spices. Rich, decadent, but easy!

Almonds and cashews work their magic!

Badami Chicken OR Chicken With Almonds
Serves 4

Click here for a printable recipe

Half a chicken, skinless, cut into pieces
1/2 - 1 cup yogurt
3-4 onions, chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
4 cloves
1-inch piece of cinnamon
8 almonds
8 cashews
4 cardamons
1/2 cup thick coconut milk (or more if you like)
3-4 tbsp canola oil
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1-2 small green chillies, chopped
Cilantro and slivered almonds to garnish

1. Grind to a paste the ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, cashews and almonds.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan, then saute the chopped onions till golden.

3. Add in the ground spice paste and fry for 30 secs or so.

4. Now add the yogurt and the chicken, and season with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Cook for 10 mins, stirring well.

5. Add coconut milk and green chillies. Cover and simmer till chicken is done - should be really tender. I like a lot of gravy; feel free to add water if it looks too dry. The ground nuts should thicken up the sauce, which is what you want - a thick, luscious gravy.

6. Taste for seasoning before you turn off the heat! Garnish with cilantro and slivered almonds. Serve with basmati rice or rotis.

Verdict: I love this nutty curry almost as much as DH. He adores it, because he dunks his bread in there, soaking up all that flavorful gravy, and can't get enough of this stuff! I always have some bone-in chicken in my freezer, plus the rest of these ingredients are pretty standard for those of us who cook Indian/Pakistani food on a regular basis, so the whole thing is pretty easy to throw together. If chopping onions seems like too much of a chore that day, I just slice them, which is faster and works just fine in the sauce. I've made this dish for some non-desi
friends as well, and they were left licking their fingers too, so I know this one's a "keep for life" recipe.

And that, dear readers, is what keeps DH sated enough to let me get back to my blogging! It's not devious at all, na uh! Speaking of blogging, I must thank you all for giving Debby and me such a great response to our new site - Foodie Fans of The Pioneer Woman. I've already decided which Thanksgiving side dish I'm going to be preparing as part of the first challenge. In the meantime though, I'd like to feature one of P-Dub's fabulous Thanksgiving desserts that I created for my Canadian Thanksgiving, which I celebrated with my parents when they came down from Toronto last month. Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust. I prefer it to pie any damn day, and posted about it last year as well.
Believe it. This tastes as good as it looks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Grand Unveiling of "Foodie Fans of The Pioneer Woman"

Come one, come all ye Pioneer Woman foodie fans! And welcome to the first of hopefully many fun cooking challenges, based on Ree Drummond's recipes. Debby from A Feast For The Eyes and I are excited to announce that we've created a new site called Foodie Fans of The Pioneer Woman. It's meant to be your new home to share all your P-Dub kitchen experiences, good or bad, complete with photos and tips. We're also open to the occasional gushing about how wonderful Ree is - but please folks, let's maintain a smidgen of dignity! Use this new site to show off your Pioneer-style cooking skills, and connect with other kindred spirits of the P-Dub persuasion. This is going to be a wild ride, so strap on your favorite apron and let's get a-cookin'.

Since we are in the midst of Thanksgiving madness here in the US, you shouldn't be surprised that your first official PW challenge is to cook one (or more if you're feeling adventurous, you minx you) of the many scrumptious sounding Thanksgiving Side-Dishes or Thanksgiving Desserts on Ree's website.

What's in it for you, you ask? A valid question in today's economy, so we won't be offended. Well, firstly, it's the sheer bliss that you will experience from cooking Pioneer-style, and you will become a superstar after everyone has a bite of what you made from Ree's recipe repertoire. Secondly, you get to be a part of a group of truly exceptional cooks - we here at PW Foodie Fans never underestimate ourselves. Or is that our inflated ego talking?! You'll just have to play along and find out. Thirdly, it's a great way for some shameless self-promotion. Go on, you want it, don't be shy. Finally, this first challenge has the added benefit of being one where you can possibly win (and winning always feels so good) Ree's cookbook - The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl. An awesome stocking-stuffer or addition to your own cookbook collection.

Here are your oh-so-simple rules:

1. Make a Thanksgiving Side-Dish or Dessert from Ree's website. Then post about it on your blog.

2. Include a link to the site Foodie Fans of The Pioneer Woman in your post, and mention that you're submitting the recipe to that site. You may also include our badge in your post, if you wish.

3. Send an email to pwfoodie(at)gmail(dot)com. In it you must give us:
  • Your name
  • Your blog's name & URL
  • Your post's permalink
  • A 300 px photo representing your recipe (please use your own, not Ree's)
4. To WIN THE COOKBOOK - leave a comment on the PW Foodie Fans site, in response to the following question: What recipe/dish have you always wanted to make, but have never gotten around to it?

5. Deadline for all of the above is Sunday, Nov 29th by noon (PST) (yes, we're keeping it bi-weekly, i.e. every other week, for now).

Then your busy-bee hostesses here will assimilate all your fabulous entries and post the round-up on Monday, Nov 30th. That's when we will also randomly pick a cookbook winner from people who contribute a comment for the PW Foodie Fans site. Remember, you don't need to submit a recipe to win - but you do have to write a comment (which includes a link to your blog) in response to the question on the PW Foodie Fans blog AND mention our new site on your own blog. Please and thank you.

There you have it. Well, what are you waiting for? Go forth and conquer!