Monday, January 11, 2016

10 January 2016










Happy new year, y'all! I hope your holidays were filled with celebration, laughter and delicious food. I am finally getting back to my blog after a holiday hiatus. I did cook some great meals, but I simply had no time to write about them. Instead, I chose to spend as much time as possible with family and friends. Perhaps the best dish I cooked during this time was a classic Beef Wellington on Boxing Day. Our dear friends, Steve and Amado, joined us from Blue Ridge, and they commented the meal was "one of the best culinary experiences of their lives." Now, that was a compliment since they are both wonderful cooks, and Amado is in culinary school. The Wellington started with a beautiful grass fed beef tenderloin from Mountain Valley Farm in Ellijay, and I wrapped it in a rich, earthy mushroom Duxelles and baked in a puff pastry. I incorporated some of the pan drippings into a fragrant green peppercorn sauce, and the Beef Wellington practically melted in our mouths! If you've never made one, you should try it for a special occasion. I started with an excellent recipe by Tyler Florence and improvised from there, but his version is easy to follow.

One unexpected and unwelcome visitor was a huge limb through the roof of our guest bedroom early Christmas morning. Given the amount of rain that weekend, we had quite a mess. Of course, trying to deal with insurance adjusters and contractors over the holidays proved to be very frustrating. Given the fact we had heaters and humidifiers running at full force, we decided to spend a quiet night at home on New Years Eve. Our friend, John Clark, was hosting his mother, Connie Le Cleir-Meyer, from Wisconsin, so I decided she needed to be inducted into the Southern tradition of black eyed peas and collard greens for luck and prosperity. I made a hearty Hoppin' John for dinner and served it with a "mess" of collards and pot liquor. Even Connie liked it all, and we rang in the new year by watching the ball drop in Times Square.

With all of the rich holiday food behind us, it's time to lighten up at One Britt. I have been exploring new ways to add flavor without too much fat, so I decided to cook some Indian food for this week's Sunday Supper. I love all of the spices and aromas, but it can be challenging to find all of the ingredients around Canton. However, I found a basic curry sauce recipe that I adapted for a spicy chicken curry with potatoes and ginger. It was delectable and certainly hit the spot on another cold, rainy night. Since I am avoiding wheat products and carbs as much as possible, I had an idea of serving the curry over a cauliflower rice. I did some research, and sure enough, I found several versions of cauliflower rice. I basically chopped some cauliflower florets in the food processor until they resembled rice grains. I sauteed them in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat for 15-20 minutes. This allowed the cauliflower to dry out and slightly toast, giving it the appearance and texture of rice. It was excellent, and I will be using this trick again. I did use a small amount of bread flower to make some Indian naan bread from scratch, and that also turned out well. All in all, it was a very healthy and tasty way to start the new year.

Speaking of new beginnings, my newest grand nephew, Ezra Paul Bailey, arrived two months early on January 5. While he as had some expected health issues, he seems to be doing quite well. Congratulations to my beautiful niece, Kacey, and her husband, Chris. His twin brothers, Pierce and Reagan, are also excited, and at least Ezra was not as impatient as they were when they arrived around the five month mark. Regardless, it is wonderful to once again have a growing family!

So here's to new beginnings, new additions and a new year filled with potential. Wishing all of you a healthy, hearty, and joyful 2016.





The Menu:

- Indian Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Ginger

- Cauliflower Rice

- Homemade Naan Bread

- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Indian Spices

- Fresh Pomelo Segments


The Recipe – Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Ginger

Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
3 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 pieces – 1 inch cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
15 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cups cubed gold potatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

Blot chicken with paper towels and cut into one inch pieces

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add bay leaves, cumin seeds, fennel
seeds, and cinnamon sticks. Stir until cumin seeds are medium to dark brown.

Add onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add
chicken and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until no longer pink.

Stir in curry powder, black pepper, cumin powder, garam masala, cayenne peppr and salt. Add cubed potatoes
and tomato sauce, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat about 15 to 20 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add up to 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup at a time,as needed to create a thick sauce.

Cook until potatoes and chicken are tender (15-20 minutes).Add cilantro and cook 1 minute.

Serve immediately over rice and with naan bread (optional).





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