My facinating life….

another blog from someone you don't know

More Curry!!

I have discovered the wonders of curry. Being an American for a long time I always thought of curry as just a spice added to dishes. I didn’t realize it was widely considered a gravy for nearly anything you can imagine.  It’s a whole new world of cooking for me.  Going to a few sites on the internet I was quickly overwhelmed by the choices. Green, Yellow, Red, Thai or Indian… soo many choices.

Also being in America (and in a somewhat small town) I don’t have a great choice of curries. Standard yellow, green and red are available. My current favorite curry is actually a Japanese curry. Go figure! Im hesitant to try them. The other day I bought a bottle of prepared Tikka Masala curry. I have read about the dish but I have never had it. 

I decided to make a chickpea and lima bean curry instead of chicken. I opened the bottle and was immediately surprised by the acrid tart aroma. ( I now know almost all Indian curry is supposed to be on the sour side).  I prepared some onion in my pan and added chickpeas, lima beans and tomato. Skeptically I poured the bottle in. As it warmed the smell of the sour notes intensified. I thought for sure this was going to be terrible.

I was surprised. The flavor of the curry was tomatoey and rich. Oh and pretty hot. The heat builds slowly and stays with you long after your last bite. Twenty minutes go by and I can still feel the heat. I put the leftovers in the fridge. My other half ate every bit of it before I even woke up. Here is my recipe:

Kikkoman Tikka Masala (or your own)

1 Yellow Onion

1 can of chickpeas

15oz of baby lima beans

2-3 small tomatoes chopped

1/2 cup water

Add the onion with a small bit of oil to your pan and cook until just starting to soften. Add the chickpeas, lima beans and tomatoes. Add the masala and water. Simmer until the onions are a softness you prefer.

Comfort food from my childhood revisited

I don’t have the greatest memory sadly. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast 2 days ago.  As I get older I worry how much of my memory I’ll lose. :-/

One of the things I remember fondly from my childhood was chickpeas. Not a food most kids love. I remember going to a buffet and my mother having some on her salad. I inquired what they were. She called them garbanzo beans. I thought the name was quite fancy so I tried one.

I was hooked- and by hoooked I mean I would be happy with just a plate of chickpeas for dinner. My parents must have thought I was nuts. I adore the simplicity of the chickpea. A clean nutty flavor that cannot be mistaked for anything else.  I remember as a child seeing hummus in the store and not knowing it was made of chickpeas. Now, I can’t get enough of it 🙂

It has only been recently I have discovered the diversity of the chikpea in Indian and Moroccan cuisine.  One of my favorite dishes is Curry Chickpeas and Couscous with Vegetables.  Please read the whole tthing as I tend to ramble…  Here is my recipe:

1 can of chickpeas drained and lightly rinsed

1 small yellow onion (walla walla if you can get it)

2 small roma tomatoes

chopped garlic

fresh ginger paste

S&B golden curry (I prefer medium)

1 can of coconut milk

chopped fresh mint leaves

salt and pepper

1 cup of prepared couscous

I prefer to use a teflon wok to cook in. It allows me to cook without any oils and easily control the heat.

Chop the onion in coarse pieces- about 3/4 to 1 inch each. Toss these in your preheated wok. Add garlic- your preference on how much you like. I use a heaping teaspoon. Add the ginger about 1/2 teaspoon.

Cook the mix until the onions just start to clarify.  While the onions are cooking I prepare the curry. The S&B curry is a block. Kinda like a boullion cube. Break one off the block and use a sharp knife to slice into pieces. Put the pieces in a microwave safe bowl and add just enough of the coconut milk to cover. Microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt. Use a whisk to stir the mixture into a uniform substance.  Slowly add coconut milk until you have 1 cup of curry.

Ok, back to the wok. As your onions have clarified a bit add the can of chickpeas.  I lightly rinse mine by draining the fluid they are canned in and adding water to the can and dumping again. Stir in the chickpeas and allow to heat up a bit. Add your pepper to taste. Add the curry, tomatoes and chopped mint- stir gently.

Place a lid on the wok and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are just tender. Don’t overcook them as they will turn to mush.  Just before serving place the hot couscous on a plate and top with the chickpeas.

For leftovers I take whatever is left of the two and combine in one container. The couscous will soak up the flavors and by the next morning its even better.

Uhhh what?

<sigh> I ran across an email from a person today:

I placed it in my VCR several times, it would say “Loading” and then “no disc”. I know there is nothing wrong with my VCR because I played another movie.

 It makes me stop and think, did you REALLY I mean R E A L L Y try to stick a dvd in your vcr? I understand how some poeple can accidentally call a dvd player a vcr. But when you take the time to capatalize the letters VCR not once but twice…. I start to question your ability to tell things apart. Semantics is my downfall.

You know those people…

At work who are ALWAYS talking but the things they say are NEVER interesting. In fact, they are pointless? Those people who make you want to turn your MP3 player up so far you can only see their lips move? Those people who make you want to drink at work? Those people that everytime they turn your way you cringe and try to look really busy? Those people who tell you every detail of a book they are reading (so you will never have to read it)? Yeah that’s who I sit next to at work. PLEASE let the weekend come faster.

The iTunes Nightmare

This is what I wanted to do last night. I mean really. the new iTunes/iPhone software came out and I needed to download it. I started up iTunes and downloaded 9.2. As it was chugging along I was reading about the changes. It pops up and says there was a problem with the install. Delete and reinstall. What?!?! Uhh do I have to?

Off to Apple Tech Support…. so we Uninstall and this one part of ITunes will NOT go away- and by not go away I mean it would reverse the uninstall. It’s an interesting sight to see the uninstall proceeding along watching the bar go ——–>  and then stop…. and <———–. Yeah.

Tier one support 0 iTunes 1

Tier 2 Baaaaater Up!

Let’s try this- download some obscure Windows Install Cleanup Utility. Remove and lingering hints of iTunes. And Voila the little program is now gone. Ok! Now we are getting somewhere… I redowload iTunes and start the install. It stops and says “you dont have access to some really obscure registry key and I’m stopping”  AAARRRGGHHH

Tier 2 support 0 iTunes 2

So the rep says he will have to send it off to an engineer to look at it further. /sadface. I decide to do some more research myself and find an article on the problem I am having. I follow the directions to give this strage registry key admin access and poof it’s fixed.

So after 3 hours and a couple of asprin I finally have the new iTunes and iPhone software. I never want to see it again!

Smoking is Fun!

A smoker that is….. for cooking. Heh heh.. get it? Bad joke I know. Anyways, I have discovered the fun of smoked foods! I was watching that show on TLC, BBQ Pitmasters and I thought- I bet I could make a brisket too. So we bought an inexpensive smoker and a small brisket and off I went! 

First one. LOL. Totally tough. I didn’t cook it NEAR long enough. Tasted like the most wonderfully flavored shoe leather ever! Cut it razor thin and toss on a salad hehe.

Second one- I got the cooking time right but not enough spices I thought. Needed more flavor on the outside. It did have a great flavor of the beer I used to marinate it. You can find it here: http://www.alesmith.com/weeheavy.html

It was an excellent beer and you could taste it in the meat after the smoking. I just wish I would have had more flavor on the outside……

Back to the lab for more brisket experiments!

The new job

Now mind you, this job is 1000000000000000000000000000000 times better than my previous job. It’s clean, everyone is nice. The only downfall right now is how boring it is. Only because I have just started and I have only been shown very little. Hopefully that will change soon.