Currying Favor

First things first, BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!  To celebrate the fourth birthday of Skateboards, Magic, and Shamrocks, now thru July 10th, 2016 I will be giving away 10 signed copies via GoodReads.  Click here to enter (scroll down and click the Enter Giveaway button).

Now, about that blog title...I am so my father's daughter.  I've been working on creating a new recipe, which I think I've finally nailed down: Ultimate Curry.  A few years back, I cobbled together a curry recipe from a cooking demonstration I saw (which rudely did not include copies of the demonstrated recipes.  If you're going to show how to make delicious food, people, you'd better include instructions for later) and some things I found on the Internet.  It just looked like something yummy.  I loved it!  I've since found that my curry is one of those warm, comforting, restorative dishes that just makes me feel good inside and like all can be right in the world.  Food, like reading, has its own brand of magic.  Recently, though, I came across another curry recipe that I really liked: Shrimp Curry with Cauliflower.  Now, because I am neurotic, I don't want more than one curry recipe in my repertoire, so I endeavored to combine my favorite parts of both recipes.  Here is the result...

Ultimate Curry
2 Tbsp of canola oil
1 lg onion, chopped
Salt to taste
1 lb shrimp (cleaned, deveined, and tail off) or chicken thighs (cubed)
3 med sized tomatoes, chopped (or 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
2 tsp ground garlic or 5, finely minced cloves
1 Tbsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of ground coriander
2 tsp of ground chili (more if you want it spicier) or one serrano pepper, split lengthwise (seeds and ribs removed if you want it less spicy)
1 Tbsp of ground turmeric
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, finely ground
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 cup cauliflower florets
1 400 ml can of coconut milk
Cooked rice
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat a large straight sided sautΓ© pan or medium pot over medium heat. Add oil. When it begins to shimmer, toss in onions and salt to taste. SautΓ© onions until they are soft, golden, and smell delicious, about 12 minutes. If using chicken, add now and add a little more salt. Cook chicken thighs until nearly done, 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and all the spices. Stir well to combine and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook until tomatoes begin to thicken, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vinegar, cauliflower, and coconut milk. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes or until everything has thickened and the cauliflower is fork tender. Stir often to prevent burning on the bottom of your pan. If using shrimp, add during the last 5 minutes of cooking and cook through. Serve over hot rice and top with cilantro to garnish.

*Vegetarian alternative: use two cans of chickpeas instead of chicken/shrimp

 There's a farm really near my house where I buy a lot of fresh, local, organic veg.  These are the beauties I got the other week that ended up in my Ultimate Curry.

There's a farm really near my house where I buy a lot of fresh, local, organic veg.  These are the beauties I got the other week that ended up in my Ultimate Curry.



I wanted this recipe to utilize ingredients that a lot of people might already have around.  I also wanted to make it versatile in case someone didn't have, say, serrano peppers (I've used a jalepeno in a pinch instead) around or didn't have time to pop out to the store or something.  Thus, why I included chili powder as an option...because I pretty much never buy peppers and always have chili powder in my cabinet.  Likewise, the second curry recipe I found uses tamarind paste, which I was not able to find anywhere, so I just left that out.  Feel free to use this recipe, play around with it, tweak it to your liking.  Enjoy!

 That is a  lot  of spices.  And they make this dish so deep and rich and...oh my goodness.  It just feels so good to eat it.

That is a lot of spices.  And they make this dish so deep and rich and...oh my goodness.  It just feels so good to eat it.

 Tadaa!  There is the finished product. So many textures and flavors.  Side note, if you for some reason decide not to include the tomatoes, your curry will be the brightest, sunniest-yellow meal you will have ever eaten in your entire life.

Tadaa!  There is the finished product. So many textures and flavors.  Side note, if you for some reason decide not to include the tomatoes, your curry will be the brightest, sunniest-yellow meal you will have ever eaten in your entire life.

Book Nook: I promised last week that I would talk about Seraphina, so here we are.  Overall, I really liked the book.  The concept was really interesting and addressed in a way I didn't expect - half dragons would be depicted as having pseudo-dragon characteristics all over, right?  Wrong.  I really like the angle that took.  I also liked that it was set in a medieval/Renaissance-type time period.  I don't think I would have taken so much notice of that except that it was handled extraordinarily well.  The saints were constantly on the lips of the people, superstition runs amok, specific and proper attire is used.  Seriously, this was really well thought out.

There was just one small thing I didn't like: the romance storyline.  It's a minor complaint, but a complaint nonetheless.  I just didn't feel the connection, and I think that's because one half of the pair was already spoken for.  I kind of have issues with that.  I understand it's an arranged marriage type of situation, but you really shouldn't tread in rice paddies that you know don't belong to you.  As I said, though, overall I really enjoyed it.  I shall be buying the next in the series, Shadow Scale, when it's available in paperback.  Remember that aforementioned neurosis where I said I didn't want more than one curry recipe?  Yeah, I've got the same kind of thing about my book covers: they must all match!  They must all be the same format!

That's all from me this week.  Cheers!