My kitchen missed me almost as much as I missed her :)
|Awwww.. I got to spend time with her tonight. No planting.. No grilling.. just glorious one on one time with my dear friend, Kitchen. I have not cooked anything new since, what? The night Hubbs came home? That was a week ago today! I've cooked for him every night since then, but everything I've made were things I tried while he was gone - therefore, blogged about!|
Anyhoo, I made a promise to myself that I was going to try to slowly get into this "heat" thing that seems to be all the rage with the rest of the free world. After asking a few people which dish I should make to ease into this adventure, I was told a curry would be a good way to make something where I could really control the spice. I found two recipes that looked outstanding (how could they not.. created by two outstanding people!) and perfect for my first curry dish. Now which one to make first? Well I ended up going with Marianne's recipe for Creamy Roasted Vegetable Curry because I did not grocery shop this week and didn't have the coconut milk to make Kevin's Chicken with Coconut Curry Sauce. But now that I've had my first curry.. oh yes.. I will be purchasing that coconut milk for my second variation of such a tasty lil spice dish!
The Creamy Roasted Vegetable Curry was absolutely delicious. It was tangy and robust, and there was just a hint of sweetness from the roasted carrots and orange bell pepper. The rice was a perfect compliment and Hubbs agreed. My only disappointment was that there was no heat whatsoever. This is not the recipe or recipe author's fault, it was mine. I used a heaping teaspoon of curry powder and tasted the sauce. I thought I detected a slight burn, so I added another heaping teaspoon full and tasted again. My lips and mouth did not immediately turn into a firery inferno as I had expected, but now I was in a quandry. Do I add even more curry? Am I pushing this too far? Will yet another heaping teaspoonful push the heat level over the edge where I won't be able to eat dinner tonight? When I pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies and heat it all through, will the flavors develop then and wake up the heat? It was a scary proposition - I was starving! So I opted to just leave it alone at 2 heaping teaspoonfuls. I should have went for more. There was no heat, but the flavor of this dish was just spectacular. I will make this again and I will start with a tablespoon of curry and then go from there.
When I imagined cooking this dish for Hubbs, I thought I'd be able to get to the farmer's market on the West side where there is a nice spice store to buy my curry powder. Unfortunately, I never made it out there so I picked up some McCormick curry powder. It is yellow in color. Did I buy a sweet curry powder? Wouldn't it have said "sweet" on the label? Or really, does it take a large amount of the stuff to bring on the heat? Or maybe McCormick just has crappy spices. I need opinions and advice, please! :D Please keep in mind, regular everyday black pepper causes my lips to go numb and my nose to run.. so it's not like I'm immune to spices lol
Recipe written by Marianne as found on The Unemployed Cook
1 boneless chicken breast, cubed* (I used 3 small breasts)
2 medium carrots, chopped*
1 red or orange pepper, chopped*
1 medium leek (white and light green part), sliced*
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
4 oz. sliced bamboo shoots
4 oz. sliced water chestnuts
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, cubed*
.5 cup reduced fat sour cream (I doubled the sauce so I used 1 c.)
1 Tbsp oyster-flavored sauce (I used 2 TBS.)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (Again, 2 TBS.)
curry powder (or paste), to taste (I used 2 heaping tsps. of the powder only)
freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked rice, any variety
*I chopped all of these into about the same smallish bite-size. I wanted to be sure that you could get several flavors into each bite, and it worked really well. If you chop into a larger dice, you will need to adjust cook times.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potato chunks in a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and place them in a baking dish. Roast them for 10 minutes, since they take a little longer to cook than the other vegetables. Toss the pepper, carrot, and leek in a bit more olive oil and salt, and add them to the pan with the par-roasted potatoes. Roast for 30 minutes more, until tender and just beginning to brown around the edges. The leeks might get a little more brown than everything else, but they are crispy and wonderful. I kind of want to eat roasted leeks every day now. I agree with Marianne, the crispedy leaks were delish! :)
Back on track, set aside your roasted vegetables. Season your chicken with a little salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat up a splash or two of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken chunks on all sides, then reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, shoots, and water chestnuts, saute for about 1 minute, until warmed through and fragrant. Be careful to not burn the garlic.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and curry paste/powder (Marianne used a combination of the two). Adjust curry seasonings to desire spice level, and add a splash of water to thin. Pour over the chicken mixture, toss well to combine. Add mushrooms and roasted vegetables to the pan, toss several times to coat in the sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes more, until everything is warmed through and the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over rice.