I Could Eat This Every Day for the Rest of My Life, and Die a Happy Woman

She is in fact, Scotch-Irish-Italian.

Peanutty-Pineappley-Coconutty Thai Red Curry.  Need I say more?

This includes a lesson on how to break down a whole fresh pineapple!  Don’t let it intimidate you, these things can smell fear…

I’ve done this preparation with stir fry beef but it works equally well with chicken, shellfish, or tofu.  You could probably even leave out the protein entirely and just have the veggies, it’s so good.

I am in no way Asian, nor have I any formal training in the preparation of Asian cuisine.  If you happen to be Thai, please do not come after me if I have insulted your culture by posting an inauthentic recipe.  This curry was formulated in my purely American brain after having enjoyed many delicious Thai meals from American takeout restaurants.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
Meat/Poultry/Fish of your choice
2 heaping teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste or 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, finely chopped in a food processor/mortar & pestle
1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 can coconut milk (about 7 ounces)
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Sriracha to tastePineapple Time!  First, hack off the bottom and the top so that you have a cylinder that’s flat and steady on the bottom.  Run your knife down the sides to remove the prickly skin.Now cut it up-and-down ways into quarters.  Lay a quarter on its side and make a diagonal cut to remove the core.Lay the piece flat on the diagonally-cut side and slice it into long, french-fry shapes, then cut it crosswise into little bites.For this recipe you will only need about 1/4 of the pineapple, so the rest can go into your fridge for a healthy snack!  Never again should you spend $9.99 a pound on pre-cut pineapple that is in huge hunks that you have to cut up for your kids anyway.

Ok, so now you can slice up your pepper…and your onion…and start sweating them in a big saute pan in hot vegetable oil over a medium flame.Keep stirring it around so it softens up without really browning.  Now you can add in your peanut butter and curry paste.  This is what Thai red curry paste looks like, in case you’ve never met:Curry, meet reader; reader, meet curry…  I have a good feeling you two are gonna be besties!

Once you’ve got everything coated in curry and peanut butter, you can mix in the lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime zest.  Get it all warmed through and then in goes the chicken stock…Just before you are ready to eat, and when your protein seems to be cooked through, add the pineapple, squeeze in the lime juice, and pour the coconut milk in.Mix it all up and serve over rice with a big handful of fresh cilantro and Sriracha to taste.Exotic spice, earthy peanut, tangy lime, verdant cilantro… and bursts of sunshiney-sweet pineapple…  honest to God, you will totally die.

With a smile on your face.

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So Much Better

She has been working on this method for… Two. Years.

Have you ever had a hot cocoa from one of those powder packets?  Of course you have, we all have…who doesn’t want a nice hot cup of cocoa warming their hands on a wintry day?  Who has two thumbs and doesn’t love that weird powder with the little maggoty dried up marshmallows drowned into a watery sugary syrup?  This chick…

There is an alternative that doesn’t require a pot on your stove or any weird ingredients that you have to make a special trip to the store for.  Who wants to do that when it’s 30 degrees and windy and you’re trying to enjoy a rare moment of peace while the kids are at preschool?  Not this chick…

I’ve been working on this method for roughly two years and I think I have it perfected.  The result is a rich, creamy, very chocolatey hot refresher with a pillow of marshmallow on top that slowly dissolves into a soft puddle that slips between your lips like a sweet cloud.

This recipe takes less than five minutes to make and leaves you with only one spoon and one mug to clean.

1 ½ teaspoons good-quality cocoa (I like Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk (of your choice, my sister uses coconut)
1 heaping spoonful marshmallow fluff

Put the sugar and cocoa in the bottom of your mug…
Give a stir to combine.  Add in the vanilla, and mix it all up into a paste…
This helps it all to dissolve into the cold milk.  So, add in your milk and stir it vigorously.  Microwave it on full power for a minute and a half, or however long you like to do your hot beverages…
Give it another good stir and then scoop out a big wad of fluff onto your spoon.  Dunk the spoon with the fluff on it all the way to the bottom of your cup.  Give it a shake-around.  The marshmallow will float off the spoon and bob up to the chocolatey surface…
Calgon, take me away!

I’ve tried this with other add-ins too.  It’s also great with:

A drop of peppermint extract
A dusting of cinnamon
About 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract
A twist of orange peel
A shot of espresso
An ounce of rum (sshh! That’s our little secret…)

This makes me happy.

Snuggle.

I recently quit the coffee and started drinking herbal tea instead. I never thought I’d do that.  I actually used to really hate tea because it’s so watery.  I’m even guilty of being a little judgy of tea people, there’s just something a little…different about them.  What I’ve learned, is that yes, they are different.  They take life a little slower, which used to annoy me because I felt like life is meant to be lived, full throttle! Well, I’ve pretty much changed my stance on that, because I started to feel like I might have a heart attack soon.

My happy little handwarmer.

Anywho, I just wanted to share this little piece of awesomeness that recently entered my life.  It’s called a Handwarmer Mug.  I got it at a little shop and it costs way more than I’d ever normally spend on a mug (around $20), but since I drink about 3-4 cups of tea a day, and it just makes me so cozy and happy each time, it’s totally worth the price.  Not only is it cute, and it has a little nook to put your hand in to warm it, but it’s just such a perfect shape for snuggling with.  That’s right, I snuggle with it.  Don’t judge.

The company who makes it is Clay In Motion, and they have a great website with a lot of nicely priced pottery.  Check it out! www.clayinmotion.com

The Pursuit of Perfection

I’m bringing messy back.

My whole life, I always thought of myself as a bit of a screw up.  I was raised in a very strict household, where things always had to be spotless and neat.  I never quite understood the importance of all that, and figured when I grew up I’d be more laid back, which I am.  I’m no germ-phobe.  I actually kind of enjoy seeing toys strewn around the house, it makes it feel homey.  I pretty much like the way I am.  So, no problem, right?  Wrong.

While I’m comfortable with this philosophy on cleanliness, there’s always been this bitch hanging out on my shoulder, telling me I’m lazy, unorganized and sloppy.  She remembers my mom’s perfect house, and reminds me that my sister’s house is perfect, just like mom’s.  Why is your house so dumpy?  Why do you enjoy buying from thrift stores?  Don’t you know successful people buy from Pottery Barn?  Why are you such a fuck up?  When are you going to learn, when are you going to get your shit together, why aren’t you like EVERYBODY ELSE?

This year, I’ve been smacked in the face with a wake up call.  It’s precisely that kind of thinking that caused me to become sick with an autoimmune disorder.  If you do a little Googling, you’ll find that most of these disorders are thought to be caused, or made worse from stress. Coming down with an illness caused me to do some introspection and meditation, and when you meditate, you start to see the connections of things.  I began to see that this internal abuse was going on almost constantly.  It was making me feel stressed and worthless, not good enough to deserve the finer things in life.  My reaction to that, was to run myself ragged, desperately trying to be someone who this person on my shoulder would approve of. I became exhausted physically and emotionally, and eventually, I got sick.

I realize now, all that worrying and trying to be a better housewife (for lack of a better term) was futile, that’s just not who I am, and that’s ok.  My house is older.  It can be really hard to make an older house look spotless, they have “character”.  I like character, that’s why I bought the house, therefore, I accept my dingy-looking floors. I know they’re clean enough. So, bitch on my shoulder, get the hell off, and don’t come back.  You’re not welcome in my house anymore, and I feel a whole lot lighter and happier when you’re gone.

Good Ol’ Fashioned

She likes it old fashioned!

I don’t know about y’all, but now that I’ve made it through the holidays, all I wanna do is nestle myself in front of the fireplace/tv with some real comforting eats…  I guess that’s not that different than the way I felt before the holidays, but… please, just don’t split hairs with me right now, I’m very tired, ok?

I made chicken  pot pie for you, yay!

Good Ol’ Fashioned Chicken Pot Pies

Serves 4 grownups or probably a lot of little kids like mine who barely eat.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ cup baby carrots
2 small or 1 larger potato
2 ribs celery
1 onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 bay leaves
¾ cup frozen corn
¾ cup frozen peas
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 prepared recipe pie dough
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk)

Put a big pot on the stove and start heating the olive oil on a medium-high heat.  While that’s going, dice up your chicken into bite-size pieces and remove any fat or grisly-gross bits.  Put it into the hot pot and season with salt and pepper.  Don’t stir it around much because you want it to really get a good brown crust on it.  Brown= delicious.

This is what I’m talking about…

Take the chicken out.  Put it in a bowl and set it aside.

Now you’ll see there is some yummy chicken-y goodness in the bottom of your pot and some brown stuff too.  We are going to cook the veg in that!

Chop up your celery and onion…

And your potato…

Put all that in the pot with the carrots, too.  Give it all a good season with salt and pepper.

Let it get a little softer and then sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of flour.  This will thicken the sauce we are about to create.

Stir it all around so every veggie gets a coating of flour and olive oil and chicken juice.  It starts to look kinda chuffle-y…

Now you will see there is getting to be a good amount of browned bits stuck to the bottom of your pot.

Pearl of wisdom for all my food-nerd-wannabes: this is called “fond,” and it you want it to be a part of just about everything you cook because it is delish.

Add in the wine to “deglaze.”

It will sizzle and steam… now, right away you want to start scraping the bottom of the pot vigorously to bring up all that fond into your sauce.

Once you’ve got a clean pot-bottom, add in the chicken stock and just stir the veg all around.  This will get the chuffle (you know what I mean, right?) off the veg and you’ll start to have a nice, velvety-textured sauce.

Add in the milk, to make it a little creamy, and the bay.

Let everything simmer for a little while, until the potatoes are soft.  At that point you can either: stir in your peas and corn, or, be a total space-cadet like me and leave them out entirely.  The choice is yours.

Stir the cooked chicken back in, along with any juicy goodness that may have collected in the bottom of the bowl.  Taste it and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.  Now spoon it into oven-safe bowls.

Divide it equally into four portions…

Now if you’ve been a good girl then you already have a disc of homemade pie dough waiting in your fridge.  Divide it into four equal pieces, roll them out in flour…

(see all those streaks of butter running through it?  That’s what makes the final crust so flaky.  I’ve used 100 percent whole wheat flour, that’s why mine looks so brown and speckle-y…)

…and drape one over each of your little pot-pies.  Cut an “x” in the top so the steam can escape and so that it looks totally adorable.

Paint the tops with a mixture of egg and milk (egg wash) to help them get shiny and golden-brown.

Line them up on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 25-40 minutes…

…or until the filling is bubbly-hot and the crust is brown and toasty.

mmmmm….

Oh, yum…..

I don’t even miss the peas and corn!

Happy Holidays, I’ll Leave You Alone Now.

I just realized I am now, a Connecticut folk.

I just got back from Stop and Shop. I’m making this tonight: allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chickpea-Curry/Detail.aspx. I get there, and the Salvation Army dude is out front, loudly singing Christmas carols.  This is new!  I totally get what he’s trying to do, and god bless him, but I think he was just making everyone uncomfortable. Connecticut folks don’t really appreciate a good spectacle.

Nonetheless, as he’s singing and I’m thinking about how awkward it was, I look over and see a tiny old lady slowly trying to open her trunk.  She was a mess, it looked like she hadn’t left the house on her own in a long time.  I got all sappy, and I walked over all proud of myself, and started helping her. I think I scared the shit out of her.  I think I embarrassed her, too. Apparently I’d forgotten that Connecticut folks pretty much want you to stay the hell out of their faces, and don’t look them in the eyes either.

It’s OK Connecticut folks. I kid, because I love.

I want to just thank y’all for reading, we’re a new blog, but we’re having a great response and are really appreciate those who take the time to read and comment!  Happy Holidays!

This sounds weird, but it’s good.

Not crazy.

Polish dill pickle soup, that is.  It’s amazing, if you like pickles. It does sound really weird, and everyone looks at me skeptically when I tell them about it, but you should try it before you judge it, you just might love it.  My kids always laugh when I tell them I’m making it, so at the very least, you’ll get that out of it.

I actually do a variation of this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/polish-dill-pickle-soup-138138.  Basically, the difference between theirs and mine I use broth rather than stock, and I forgo some of the broth for water and beer. Also I like mine really pickle-y, so I use a LOT of pickle juice, but you can do whatever you want.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
4 large kosher dills, shredded
1/2 cups, or 1 cup, or 2 cups pickle juice from the jar, depending on your taste.  I use 2 because I like it to taste good and pickle-y.
4 cups broth of your choice (veg, chicken, beef)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup water
1 cup beer
1 egg
2 tbsp. butter, softened
Salt and pepper
Dill (fresh or dried)
Sour cream

Why not?

In a large pot, combine your shredded pickles, potatoes, pickle juice, broth, water, and beer.  Bring it all to a boil, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Gradually whisk your flour and milk together and add it to the pot. Bring it back to a boil, then remove it from the heat.
Blend your butter and egg, and gradually stir it into the broth.

Put it all back on the stove to warm it all up again.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with dill and a dollop of sour cream.  This is really good served with some good crusty bread and butter.