Reveling in the culinary possibilities presented by my new spices, I have thrown caution to the wind and planned an exotic and ethnically diverse week. We will be all over the globe, including stops in Italy, India, Morocco and Hungary and I will be opening most of my little bags and packets, taking deep breaths as the ingredients hit the pan, and shaking the dust (or, more accurately, snow) of a Michigan winter out of my brain.
The usual rules apply: I buy what’s on sale, what’s fresh and local (not much at the moment), and try to make no more than two red meat meals and to include at least one vegetarian entree. Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Chicken Curry, Rice, Boys
This curry recipe came from here and while I haven’t actually made the recipe yet (I couldn’t since I had no galangal until Tuesday) this is a highly reliable source and I’m pretty darned sure this will be wonderful. We’ll have this over Basmati or Jasmati rice, with mango chutney, cashews, bananas and raisins as “boys.” If I am feeling truly magnanimous (and hungry) we may also have poppadums.
Pork Paprikas, Buttered Caraway Noodles and Sauteed Apples
Pork tenderloins are on sale this week, and I have spanking new paprika (sweet and hot!) dying to be whipped into something Hungarian and fabulous.
We are not going out (and frankly, my dear Scarlett…) but we do plan to eat festive dinner. The issue is what is festive. We can buy steaks and grill them, serve them with mounds of herb butter, creamed spinach and wedges of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese dressing, or we can have giant burgers with bacon, avocado and jalapenos. And cheese. We could really have anything we want. We just don’t know what. What do you eat on New Year’s Eve?
Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts, Harissa, Cous Cous and Carrots with Prunes
This is a vaguely Moroccan spread; the Harissa paste is part of my new stash, and is a spicy, complex accompaniment to plain-ish meat; the cous cous is Moroccan and the carrots and prunes I’ll attempt to bring into line with the rest of the meal with a little orange juice and honey.
Corn & Cheese Casserole and Citrus Salad
This is our vegetarian meal, and a small breather in the midst of Mondo Spice Week. The recipe is from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant which I stole from my mother on Christmas. Ho ho ho.
Rosemary Pork Chops, Scallion Risotto and Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Indian Butter Chicken, Rice and Fruit
This is basically another curry, so that I can use some of my Garam Masala. Before you accuse me of all manner of crimes against menu planning, read what Wikipedia has to say about:
A number of studies have claimed that the reaction of pain receptors to the hotter ingredients in curries, even Korma, leads to the body’s release of endorphins and combined with the complex sensory reaction to the variety of spices and flavours, a natural high is achieved that causes subsequent cravings, often followed by a desire to move on to hotter curries. Some refer to this as addiction, but other researchers contest the use of the word “addiction” in this instance. Additionally, curry addiction is an example of a colloquial use of the word “addiction” as the medical definition of the word requires continued use despite harmful effects. And since medicine has not shown any harmful effects of curry consumption, the use of the word “addiction” is highly contestable.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.