Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Celery Root

So ugly, so delicious. Try boiling & mashing it like a potato. Or mix half potato and half celery root in your next mash. Or simply cut it up and roast it alongside some other root vegetables for a great fall side dish.

Grilled Lamb Rib Chops

There's something about lamb...I just love it. And for years I would stick to the leg of lamb only. I'm way beyond that now. Don't get me wrong, the leg is gorgeous and delicious - and makes a really awesome looking roasting meat at the dinner table. But for roasting now I'm all about the shoulder. It's just a bit more delicious, and takes flavor really well. However for quick lamb, I love me some rib chops!!

Sometimes meat departments at stores will have pre-cut rib chops, but I'm more prone to buy a whole rack of lamb than individual chops. I like cutting the chops myself, knowing that everything being done to the chops is by my hand from the moment I get that rack. And some of my classic flavors that I add to lamb are typically rosemary & garlic. You can't go wrong piercing a shoulder all over & shoving whole garlic cloves into the meat before roasting. And if you buy boneless, wrap that baby around a big bunch of rosemary before roasting. I'm hungry.

I recall a pistachio tapenade that I once made for lamb rib chops that was outstanding, however I typically like the lamb (in chop form) to stand on it's own. So this time around I went simple - really simple. Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence. If you've not cooked with Herbs de Provence, definitely try it. It's a French mixture of herbs that includes savory things like marjoram, rosemary, basil, oregano, fennel, lavender and coriander. It's the perfect addition to a lamb rib chop.

Alongside the rib chops, I opted for some fresh grilled vegetables. I found some really nice end of the summer zucchini, and even some delicious little yellow tomatoes. I've really gotten into grilled tomatoes - always cherry sized or so. For all of the vegetables, I sliced them (peppers, zucchini, etc. - not the tomatoes, they stay whole), and piled them into a bowl. I poured over some olive oil, and salt & pepper and mixed them to coat everything. And then onto the skewers. Peppers & zucchini took about the same time to cook, and I had them on the main grill over moderate heat. The tomatoes need indirect or low heat so they don't burst and release all of their juices. I cook them on the top rack, slowly, and once the skin starts to blister slightly or pull apart, I pull them off. They get warmed through and are delicious.

Grilled Lamb Rib Chops
1 rack of lamb, or 4-6 rib chops per person
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbl. Herbs de Provence

Combine the lemon juice and the olive oil in a bowl, and pour half of it over your lamb rib chops. Make sure each is coated in the mixture (you can reserve some of this oil mixture to baste the chops while they are grilling). Sprinkle salt & pepper over the chops. Sprinkle the Herbs de Provence over both sides of the chops (reserving about 1/2 tsp. for later). Over medium-high heat, grill the chops, about 4-6 minutes each side, until done. Eat with your fingers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mid-day Snack

Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta with Leeks and Thyme

I adapted this recipe from one I found in "Cooking with Jamie" by Jamie Oliver. His recipe calls for just using leeks - I wanted a bit more than that, so I also threw in some chopped fennel and sliced garlic. The pancetta crisps up and keeps the chicken really moist and delicious, while the vegetables get soft and flavorful. It's a really simple dish to make, and takes so little time! Which leaves plenty of time to decide which cocktail goes best with leeks and thyme!

Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta with Leeks and Thyme by Jamie Oliver with my adjustments
1 - 2 chicken breasts per person (depending on their size), skinless & boneless
3 leeks, thoroughly washed (outer leaves removed) and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Olive oil
Knob of butter (I actually used some white truffle butter that added tons of flavor - about 3 Tbl)
Glug of white wine (about 1/4 cup)
2 - 4 sprigs of Thyme
6 - 8 slices pancetta

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place the chicken breasts in the center and cover with pancetta slices. In a bowl, combine the leeks, fennel, garlic, olive oil (3 Tbl.), salt & pepper to taste, and white wine. Mix thoroughly and then spread the mixture out around the chicken - make sure to pour all the liquid from the bowl over the mixture. Break up your butter into 3 or 4 pieces and arrange them around the vegetables.

Fold the foil over the vegetables slightly so that they don't burn in the oven. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken, and lay the thyme sprigs on top. Into the oven for about 25 - 35 minutes.

Denver Omelet a la keith

For the past couple of weekends I would go to make breakfast and keith would say "are we having a Denver Omelet?" My response was always "when have I ever made a Denver Omelet?" So finally I said "if you want one, you have to make it." Always chipper in the mornings, am I. :)

Truth be told I'm not a big fan of making omelets - mostly because I just don't have the right pans for it. I need some good, simple, non-stick pans that will aid me in omelet making. So instead I tend to always make elaborate scrambles and delicious frittatas. Nothing wrong with that. Yet keith was on a mission, so we bought ham, green bell peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese. He marched downstairs into the kitchen, iPhone in hand, ready to conquer a Denver Omelet. And then he asked "where are the baking dishes?"

Perplexed, I pulled out the two round cake pans and quickly exited the kitchen. He got all of his ingredients ready (mise en place - there are some things I simply insist on in my kitchen), and cooked the vegetables before combing everything together and pouring it into the pan. Essentially he was making a quiche without the crust - and it was delicious!! Light & fluffy with lots of flavor. A wonderful start to the day.

And now that he's proven he can tackle such a lovely & savory breakfast, he might just be making breakfast more often. :) And while he got a bit embarrassed when I snapped a pic of him holding his iPhone (to read the directions of the recipe he located online), I love that photo - it's so cute. And so keith. :)


It's becoming that time of year when my mind begins wandering to hearty, comfort foods. Last night I made chili (no photos, alas), and at the end of last week I made a huge lasagna. Lasagna is one of those things that changes every single time I make it. Not only based on what I have available to put IN the lasagna, but also on my mood and tastes of the moment. So while I only have this photo of the finished product, I'll give you a walk-through of the layers from the bottom up.

1. Bottom of the pan - 1/4 C olive oil and half of a small can of tomato sauce to keep everything from sticking.
2. Noodles - for some reason I bought the smaller noodles (length) so had to be creative with arrangement. It still worked out just fine.
3. Meat - I cooked a pound of beef and added some garlic (sliced) and a can of whole, peeled tomatoes (with the juice) that I broke up using my hands. Added some salt, pepper, and some fresh thyme and 1 C tomato sauce and let the mixture cook and reduce by 1/3.
4. Noodles
5. Vegetables - sauteed red & yellow bell pepper, one big yellow onion, sliced garlic, and 2 chopped carrots. Cooked with salt & pepper and some celery seed.
6. Noodles
7. Mixture of sauteed mushrooms with fresh chopped thyme, 12 oz. ricotta cheese, 1 big handful of grated parmesan, 2 eggs, salt & pepper. Mixed together in a bowl and poured over the noodles.
8. Noodles
9. The other half of the small can of tomato sauce spread evenly, then a layer of provolone cheese slices, then a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese and topped with a generous dusting of grated parmesan.

Asparagus with Citrus, Parsley and Garlic

Another recipe from the great Mario Batali (Molto Italiano) - I served this alongside the stuffed meatloaf and LOVED it. I'm a big fan of asparagus anyway, but the citrus and garlic and all the other components really made this simple dish something extraordinary.

Asparagus with Citrus, Parsley and Garlic (Asparagi alla Gremolata) by Mario Batali
1 1/2 lbs. jumbo asparagus
Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
Zest of 1 large orange
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbl. finely chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbl. fresh mint cut into chiffonade
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbl. coarse sea salt

Snap off the fibrous bottom part of each stalk of asparagus (it will break off naturally where it becomes tough, provided that you grasp the very bottom of the woody stalk with your fingertips). Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 3 Tbl. salt. Set up an ice bath next to the stovetop. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and immediately submerge in the ice bath to cool for 5 minutes, moving the stalks frequently to be sure not hot spots remain; add more ice if it all melts.

Remove the asparagus and drain on a kitchen towel, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, orange zest, the garlic, parsley, mint and oil and toss gently to mix well. Arrange the spears on a platter and pour the mixture remaining in the bowl over them. Sprinkle with sea salt, and serve with a flourish.

Stuffed Meatloaf

I was flipping through Mario Batali's book "Molto Italiano" and found myself quite intrigued by his recipe for a stuffed meatloaf. Stuffed meatloaf is not uncommon in our house - keith makes a really nice one that is stuffed with...well, stuffing! Because of the bread stuffing inside it does tend to be quite dense, but still delicious. This recipe caught my eye because of WHAT is inside the meatloaf, namely carrots, spinach, prosciutto and cheese. Well, doesn't that sound amazing?

It's also quite a fun thing to prepare. There's a lot of work but nothing too difficult. The same pot of boiling water is used to wilt the spinach and cook the carrots. I also served the dish with a fantastic asparagus recipe from the same book, and ended up using the same water to cook that as well. Easy enough.

My favorite part of the recipe (aside from the stuffing components) was that the meatloaf gets rolled & dusted in a mixture of breadcrumbs and flour. Once cooked, this helps form a crunchy exterior that is just fantastic! And no worries if you can't find caciocavallo cheese - I couldn't. I simply got a nice semi-soft cow's cheese (the name escapes me) and it worked just fine. The recipe also suggests you cook the meatloaf on a broiler pan. Alas, I have no broiler pan (don't get me started on broilers...I miss my gas range and the broiler...sigh). Instead I just used a deep baking dish and I laid the meatloaf right on top of the rosemary, which gave a whole other dimension of flavor!!

Stuffed Meatloaf (Polpettona Ripieno) by Mario Batali
1 lb. ground lean pork
1 lb. ground lean beef
2 C plus 3 Tbl. bread crumbs
1 C grated pecorino romano cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. baby spinach leaves, stems removed, washed & spun dry
2 carrots, cut lengthwise into 6 slices each
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour
6 slices prosciutto di parma
6 slices caciocavallo or other semi-soft cheese
2 sprigs rosemary
1 C water
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, 2 C of the bread crumbs, the pecorino, eggs, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 1 Tbl. salt. Dip the spinach leaves in the water just to wilt them; immediately remove. Add the carrots to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside as well.

Combine the flour with the remaining 3 Tbl. bread crumbs and heavily dust a wooden board or other work surface with the mixture. Pat the meat mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle about 16 inches by 6 inches on the dusted board. Lay the spinach leaves over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border on the short sides. Lay the carrot slices over the spinach, lengthwise down the rectangle, then layer the prosciutto and caciocavallo over the carrots. Starting from the long side, roll the meat up into a jelly roll, making it as compact as possible; it should be about 16 inches long. Dust the outside with flour.

Place the loaf on a rack in a broiler pan. Put the rosemary under the rack and pour the water into the pan. Pour the olive oil down the length of the loaf. Bake for 1 hour, or until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the meat loaf into 1-inch-thick slices and arrange on warmed plates. Drizzle with the sauce, and serve.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fruity Margarita Martini

Again with the un-creative name!! So this drink was created based on the fruits I had available after a trip to New Seasons. Plus I still had half a bottle of Gran Gala and I desperately wanted to use it - I LOVE the smell & flavor of that orange liqueur. And anytime I get to muddle I get all excited. Interactive food & liquor making is the best.

Fruity Margarita Martini
1/4 white peach, chopped
1 strawberry, sliced
 Small bunch of fresh blueberries (8 - 10)
1/2 key lime, cut into pieces (or 1/4 regular lime)
1 oz. Gran Gala
1 oz. white Tequila

In your shaker combine the peach, strawberry, blueberries and lime. Muddle the crap out of them until all that's left is a gorgeous fruit slurry. Add some ice, the Gran Gala and the Tequila. Shake vigorously and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a few whole blueberries and a thin slice of peach.


Last night was hamburger night. And boy-howdy was it a good hamburger! Yet for some unknown reason I didn't write down the ingredients as I threw them in. So here's my best assumption of what went into the hamburgers. :)

When I make hamburgers, I don't tread lightly. I want heft and weight with my burger - so each is 1/2 pound! But to start - 1 lb. of lean ground beef in a bowl. There are certain things I almost always mix in with the beef for a hamburger - first of all, I generally buy 90/10 beef so it's really lean. So I always add a little olive oil. Into this hamburger I also added 1 egg, 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 - 2 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbl. horseradish, 2 tsp. fresh rosemary (finely chopped), 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, salt & pepper. And I formed 2 patties, and cooked them in a large pan over medium-high heat until they were medium rare.

For additional texture, I toasted some buttermilk bread slices and added a bit of mayonnaise to each. Raw red onion slices lined the bottom piece of bread (for me, not for keith), and then one piece of sliced provolone cheese went under the hamburger and one on top. And to top the whole thing off, a few slices of fresh roma tomato. And alongside the burger I served a chopped Greek salad. Delicious!

Vegetable Skewers

I've been all about the skewers lately. One night last week I marinated some chicken breasts (cut up into 1 1/2" pieces) in lemon, pepper & garlic salt. Those were skewered and became the main dish for dinner. But I wanted something that I could cook alongside the chicken on the grill as a side dish. So I pulled out some vegetables, skewered them, coated them all in olive oil, salt & pepper, and got to grilling.

The mushrooms were quite big and took nearly as long as the peppers and chicken. The tomatoes were delicious, and I slow grilled them on the top rack. And once everything was done, I simply slid them off of the skewers and served the mixed vegetables alongside the chicken. Excellent addition to any meal.

Midday Snack

Does your stomach ever dictate what you eat? Mine does - good example was this lunchtime snack we had on Saturday. I walked into the kitchen and saw the just-ripe avacado on the window sill. Next to it was a gorgeous heirloom tomato. And then when I went for something to drink in the refrigerator the plums and strawberries called out to me! So our snack included all of the above! The fruit was easy - a little wash and ready to go. The avocado got a drizzle of fresh lime juice & salt and pepper. While the tomato got sliced and sprinkled with salt & pepper. Quite a tasty and broadly varied snack. :)

Hazelnut Latte Martini

Another wimpy name, but nothing creative came to me!

I wanted a coffee cocktail. I poured through the many bar books I have in the kitchen and wasn't pleased with any recipes containing actual coffee. So I adapted and made my own. This is really nice, and surprisingly not too sweet. However I do think the addition of a tiny splash of chocolate (probably a chocolate liqueur) would have been ideal. Honestly coffee and chocolate are the most amazing pair - they bring out complexities in each other that are astounding.

Hazelnut Latte Martini
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1/2 oz. Frangelico
1 oz. brewed coffee (mine is from a coffee press, so a little strong)
Splash half-n-half (or cream, milk, etc.)

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a couple of espresso beans - chocolate covered if you're feeling fancy!

Caipirinha updated

A while ago I posted a cocktail recipe for the Caipirinha using Cachaca (Brazilian sugar cane rum). I made a variation over the weekend that I absolutely loved! It included the addition of orange and ginger to the mix (hmm...I'm sensing a flavor profile throughline this weekend!). Here's the updated version:

Caipirinha with Orange & Ginger
5 limes, cut into 8 pieces
2 oranges cut into small pieces
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 1/2 C turbinado raw sugar
2 1/2 C Cachaca rum (or any white rum)

Combine the limes, oranges, ginger and sugar in a pitcher. Muddle the crap out of it all until the juices have been completely released from the limes, oranges & ginger and the sugar is dissolved. Add the rum and stir to dissolve any sugar that's still left. Pour into a serving pitcher, and serve over ice.

Marinated Beef Kabobs

Marinades are fun - it's all about visualizing what flavors will compliment each other and work with the meat to produce the best end product. That being said, they can be hard to perfect. This marinade was something I literally threw together after reading a few recipes online - I wasn't pleased with any of the recipes I read, so I just created my own. Yet I did gleam a few things, for instance I think Alton Brown suggested using red wine vinegar as part of one of his beef marinade recipes. So I decided that would be something I added in mine. I also knew I wanted an herbaceous scent, which lead me to the addition of thyme and celery seed. For some heat I grabbed the cayenne pepper and spicy brown mustard (see, it's all over the place!). Despite the wide range of ingredients, the marinade turned out quite nice. The beef was seasoned excellently, and didn't need anything additional when we sat down to eat.

I served the beef kabobs with some Basmati rice (which I lightly seasoned with some butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

Beef Kabobs
3 lb. sirloin, cut into 1" pieces
Metal skewers
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbl. paprika
1 Tbl. cumin
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbl. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbl. spicy brown mustard
10 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. red wine vinegar
1 C canola oil

Place the meat into a large plastic bag (you could just as easily arrange the meat in a dish and pour the marinade overtop, but I'm partial to the bag - so clean!). In a bowl combine the garlic, paprika, cumin, thyme, onion powder, cayenne, celery seed, Worcestershire, vinegar and oil (I only do the mustard by itself because it separates in the oil and for some reason that doesn't sit well with me). Pour into the bag with the meat and add the mustard. Make sure all of the meat is coated by turning and massaging the bag as necessary. Place in the fridge for up to 4 hours.

When ready to cook - skewer the meat onto the metal skewers and grill over moderately high heat for roughly 4 minutes each side (or until done). Serve immediately.

Ginger-Orange Martini

I've been lacking the creativity to come up with fun names for newly invented cocktails this week. I'll work on that. However this one isn't quite there yet, so I'm not going to name it...although it was inspired by Madame DuMoore at The Rainbow Room, so maybe I'll just call is something like Spicy Drag - or The Ginger Queen.

I've tried a few versions of this and it still needs tweaking, but I still wanted to share it. I'm a huge fan of fresh ginger, especially in cocktails & martinis. And upon my discovery of Yazi Ginger Vodka, I was giddy as a school girl. I LOVE Canton Ginger Liqueur but often feel that it's too sweet. This is not sweet - in fact it's quite spicy and delicious! The addition of Campari is quite interesting - Madame DuMoore basically treated it like bitters, just adding a splash (my first version had WAY too much Campari). And truth be told Campari doesn't do it much for me. I mean, it's everywhere in Italy, as keith and I discovered. And when we finally sauntered up to a bar and ordered what everyone else was having (Campari and soda) I could barely choke it down. It's so bitter - YET as an enhancement to drinks (just like bitters) it seems to work.

Spicy Drag...or Ginger Queen
1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp. orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange (for fresh orange flavor)
2 1/2 oz. Yazi Ginger Vodka
Splash Campari (mostly for color and flavor)
1 1/2 oz. orange juice (yes, in addition to the fresh squeezed)

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass, and garnish with a thin orange wheel. Suggestions: perhaps a splash of simple syrup will bring this monster to it's knees? And maybe even a splash of soda water will mellow it out? I'm not sure yet, but here's my beginning!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post by Max

In honor of my best buddy's 10th birthday today, I've let him take over the blog. Here are some things that Max has enjoyed putting in his mouth over the last 10 years. Happy Birthday, Max - both your daddies love you very much! So in no particular order, Things I Put In My Mouth: Max Edition!

water from a cup on a road trip


stuffed toy

cow's ear

wax lips

dog food right from the bag

dog food right from the bag - again!


soccer ball

peanut butter inside a toy

tennis ball



another tennis ball

pig's ear

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rainbow Room Lounge

After gorging on Voodoo Doughnuts, we wandered through an Arts Fair, and walked around downtown eventually making our way to happy hour at The Rainbow Room Lounge (part of CC Slaughters). They have an impressive martini menu - but don't fall for it. The drinks are good, for sure, but the one and only Madame DuMoore, drag queen bartender du jour can whip up an original creation that is sure to please. I ended our visit with a tasty concoction of fresh ginger, muddled orange, ginger vodka, and campari. Slurp!

Voodoo Doughnuts

We finally made our way to Voodoo Doughnut yesterday - it's a Portland staple, and a must-try when in the city. I'd seen them profiled on many different food programs, so was excited to finally get in line and sample the wares myself - despite the fact that I'm not a HUGE sugary-sweet eater. keith, on the other hand nearly pouted when I told him he could only get 2 doughnuts. :)

The vibe of the place is great, and the options are insane. keith - worried that he wouldn't be able to make a decision - looked up the menu on his iPhone before the line let us into the store. He wanted to be prepared. Yet when he saw the doughnut covered in Captain Crunch cereal, he nearly crumbled under the pressure of the decision!! We each got 2 doughnuts - a suitable lunch, right? With pink box in hand, we went out into the sunshine to enjoy.

My first pick was the Voodoo Doll - loved it! Let alone the quirkiness of the design, it's quite a tasty doughnut. And when you get down to the raspberry jam, you can't help but smile as you're devouring the little person.

I then moved on to the Bacon Maple Bar - this was the reason I wanted to come to Voodoo Doughnuts. Come on, bacon on a pastry? Sign me up!! It tasted like breakfast! And while I couldn't eat the whole thing, I still enjoyed it!

keith started with the Old Dirty Bastard - oreo cookies, peanut butter and chocolate frosting. I don't think it was sweet enough for him. :) Just watching him eat it made me cringe!

And then he moved on to the Portland Cream - a basic but delicious cream filled donut.

Seriously check them out if you're in town. And if you come visit us, we'll take you. It's worth the wait in line.

Facing My Shame

I nearly didn't mention this on the blog. But then decided it needed to be shared. 

I had a craving. Odd one since we never eat "fast food" from chains like this. Never!

But I had a craving. And a coupon. Drat. 
Craving + Hunger + Coupon = Burger King

Lord help me, I enjoyed it.

Be strong. Don't make a habit out of it. 


When I was 17 I worked at a Burger King with Lori (the other half of The Wonder Twins). So every now and then that craving just hits and I can't ignore it. Although it usually only hits when we're making long road trips and it's also a very convenient thing to stop and eat.

Indian BBQ Chicken

Holly sent me this amazing recipe for an Indian BBQ sauce. I rushed out to buy the necessary ingredients - I've not cooked much Indian, so had to stock up. And instead of chicken breasts, I grabbed some boneless, skinless chicken thighs that worked perfectly on the grill (less cooking time, of course). As I was making the sauce, I kept thinking "this is way too tangy" - but sure enough, it comes together perfectly. The sauce is outstanding on the chicken. I even scooped a little overtop the finished chicken and have plenty left over. Holly suggests making an Indian "pizza" using the sauce & nan bread. I like that idea too!! I served the chicken with some lightly sauteed green beans sprinkled with chopped almonds.

Holly's Indian BBQ Chicken

vegetable oil
1 medium onion finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup tamarind puree (I used a chutney b/c that's all I could find)
1/3 cup unsulphreed molasses
pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon garam masala
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 six ounce skinless, boneless chciken breast halves

1.  In a skillet, heat 3 TB of oil.  Add onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 4 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.  Add ketchup, vinegar, tamarind, molasses, sugar, mustard and cayenne and simmer over low heat, stirring, until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, 5 minutes.  Stir in the garam masala and season with salt and pepper.

2.  Light grill.  rub chciken with oil and rub with salt.  Grill over moderately high heat until alomst cooked, about 7 minutes.  Brush with sauce and grill for another 4 minutes on each side.  Serve.

Green Curry with Chicken

While shopping at New Seasons, I happened across a selection of curry pastes from a local company here in Oregon. I've never tried to make a curry on my own, so this seemed like a good way to make the first attempt. The paste simply needs to be added to some coconut milk - I can do that! And I have tried in vain for years to find a suitable green curry that can compare to the one at The Elephant in NYC (sadly no longer around). This ended up being one of the closest recipes yet! Isn't it funny how we can have such sense-memory, especially with food?

So in order to make this as close to the recipe I hold as the standard for green curries, I added the same ingredients - peeled potatoes, chunky carrots and chicken. Unfortunately I only had chicken breasts, and the recipe I fell in love with was always served with dark meat cuts of chicken. Still, I plodded onwards.

Final touches to make this just right - long grain white rice piled perfectly in the center of the plate (slightly sticky rice and a lightly oiled bowl made this easy); chopped peanuts; and some lime wedges. All that was missing was a sliced banana, but I didn't have one handy.

The curry was quite delicious, albeit WAY too spicy for keith. Stubbornly he ate a bunch of it and paid for it the next details required. All in all I'm glad I bought the paste in a jar - it worked out quite well! And next time I'll just make enough for one serving. :)