I was watching TV the other night had a few epiphanies:
1) The name for Thursday isn't right. Sure, "Take It Up The _____, Thursday" makes me giggle, but it's not accurate, so it has to change.
2) Desperate Housewives isn't good TV but when Felicity I'm-Slumming-On-A-TV-Show-When-I-Can-Act-Circles-Around-The-Entire-Cast-So-My-Husband-Bill-Macy-And-I-Can-Afford-To-Go-To-Europe-Every-Month-And-Live-In-A-Nice-House-Until-We-Die-Despite-The-Fact-I'm-Wasting-My-Talent-On-A-Nighttime-Soap Huffman hugged Teri I-Can't-Act-To-Save-My-Life-But-I'm-Harmless-And-Probably-Suck-Off-The-Producers-To-Stay-On-TV Hatcher's daughter, agreeing to cover for an affair she had, my eyes grazed across the four movie posters framed and on my living room wall.
And that brought me to point #3:
#3) I love the texture and the style of how women relate and create. Oh, that rhymes.
Many of my favorite movies are about women. I love seeing young women holding the hand of their grandmothers. I love the way women are strong yet deeply in touch with their emotions. I love how conflicted women in the workforce feel - how do you gain respect from men who don't understand you can rule with a velvet lined fist?
I attribute my clear respect and love for women to being gay and relating to the outsider. Please, let's be honest. Women are still considered less than men. Less capable in work, less capable in business, less capable in being decisive and strong.
Mind you, I may be gay but I'm still a guy, a DUDE...there are only so many things I can relate to from a women's perspective. I have a penis; most women do not. I live in a male body; most women do not. I am a guy; most are not.
Thursday is now gal's day - in what form, I'm not sure. But Thursday is dedicated to all the women in my life and the women I will surely meet.
I had an abusive mother. Clearly, my connection with women is very deep and old and emotional and fated. It was destined to have many, many women in my life.
It makes sense today's posting would be dedicated to the one person who saved me from the ravishes of my poor mother's devastating childhood, my sister Joy Lyn Bryan Markely.
To anyone reading this, you'll notice the one person who always writes supportive and inquisitive comments is my sister, Joy. She has always been there for me and she always will be. Above is a photo of her and my wonderful sister Pam.
Joy is beautiful, flawed, human, emotional, an artist who has something legitimate to say, giving to a fault, dynamic, compassionate, strikingly intelligent, driven and above all, a very, very good person I love with every fiber of my being.
She is the kind of person other people model themselves after.
She loves carrot cake, she loves meat loaf. She lives for apple pie and she can make a mean macaroni and cheese. She knows how to make a super soup and get her around a blender and she'll make a protein shake to make you cry. She is, like me, a person at home at home and a person fiercely dedicated to her husband and her marriage. She is the glue that holds together our family and her own extended family.
She is a blessing from God.
My sister Pam also saved me. Don't get me wrong. Pam in Boise Idaho who is made of rock and roll and passion and sweet kisses. Talk about a volcano of emotion. Pam is nothing at all as she appears. She doesn't know how strong she is. She's beautiful and so giving I imagine it fills out Mother in Heaven with such happiness.
Soon, my beautiful sisters and I will begin posting some winter recipes on this blog (they doesn't know this yet, but they'll join in, trust me, they're very gifted artist).
But until then, I am starting off Thursday with them in my heart and thoughts. I write this sending blessings to our poor tortured mother. I hope you are now in peace, Mom, and see the great work you did with us.
We're doing pretty damn good, aren't we?
Last time I was in London, the most surprising thing I came across was the sheer volume of good Indian restaurants. Despite a shocking amount of soggy Fish and Chips (which made this Irish boy very unhappy), there was no shortage of great Indian food.
I tend to distrust many Indian recipes from the States. One of my favorite go-to guys for great Indian meals is the impossibly adorable Jamie Oliver. How can you not love this guy?
Not only is he down-to-earth, a devoted father and obsessed with food, he can throw down an amazing Indian recipe like no other popular cook I know.
He takes all of the pretense out of food and just cooks. Cooking for him is active and PRIMAL. When he's in the kitchen, he's in the kitchen. My kinda cook!
He came out with wonderful new cookbook - JAMIE'S FOOD REVOLUTION. For goodness sake, buy the book. The photos are bloody brilliant and the recipe writing, as usual, is void of jargon and confusing terminology. He just writes.
He's an artist, darling, an artist!
I took one of his curry recipes from the new book for a spin - his VINDALOO DINNER.
For the most part, it was spellbinding. But there are some changes which must be made for us silly non-curry cooking people.
I followed his recipe but I did mix it up a bit. I can't claim this as my own but I can say this is the American test kitchen version of Mr. Oliver's work.
This is the kind of meal I'd serve to my sisters. It's super spicy, rich, deep and full of amazing flavor which fill the house.
To my sisters Joy and Pam and all of the women out there in my life (and those I have yet to meet and befriend) - this meal is a toast to you!
Spicy, Yummy and Authentic Curry Chicken Vindaloo with
Cinnamon and Cardamon Pod Basamati Rice
Cinnamon and Cardamon Pod Basamati Rice
Total time: 1 hour 15 min.
Serving size: 4 adults
The few changes I made:
- I added more protein and greatly reducing the amount of water he said you need to thicken the broth. There was way too much broth at the end.
- I cooked the tomatoes much earlier then he recommended for a less chunky sauce.
- He uses cilantro. Cilantro is Satan's herb so I don't use it. I omitted it.
- He advocates using fresh red peppers and I find those difficult to find. So I use jalapeno which are more readily available and they work fine. Don't substitute Italian fresh red peppers as those are sweet. You want fire here.
- I used Olive Oil and not peanut oil. Olive Oil a much healthier choice. Tasted just fine. I also omitted the butter he added. You don't need the extra fat and calories.
- I doubled the balsamic vinegar and used Fig Balsamic which was great.
- Finally, Jamie does offer one great short-cut. Pre-made curry paste. While they are very, very good they are sodium bombs. I only added half of what he suggested and it was super duper. Make sure you get PASTE and not SAUCE. Very important. I tried both versions - the one with the pre-made curry paste and the one where I made the curry paste myself. Frankly, they were both dynamite. If you have the time, make the curry paste by hand. It's very simple. If you can't then use the pre-made brand he uses (it's one I've been using for years). Their name is Patak. And they are heaven.
Now - on the MOOD/FOOD relationship:
Did you know?! Chili Peppers increase endorphin production – this is the stuff that makes you feel SO good after you exercise. Think of chile's as natural little hits of happy opiates!
Did you know?! Eating hot peppers can reduce the discomfort of the flu (in part, by promoting sweating). It also opens clogged breathing passages, and functions as an effective expectorant.
Did you know?! Eating peppers decreases our feeling of pain and muscle hurt!
Did you know?! If you were a real freak, you could snort chili peppers through the nose to relieve headaches brought on by tension or sinus problems (capsaicin turns off the nerve release fibre that triggers sinus and tension headaches). I don't recommend it, love.
The great thing about spicy food is it makes you feel GOOD. You feel it in your body and then in your gut and then in your head...it's fantastic.
This is definatley a FEEL GOOD MOOD FOOD!!
Let's cook Vindaloo!!
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 jalapeno chili's, diced with seeds
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken breast diced into 1 inch cubes, you can use lamb or boneless pork shoulder roast diced
- 1/3 cup hot curry paste from Patak's or homemade curry paste (see recipe below)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup Fig Balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Yogurt for serving
- Fresh lemon atop if desired
HOMEMADE HOT VINDALOO CURRY PASTE
2 cloves garlic; 2 inch piece of ginger; 4 dried red chiles; 1 tablespoon turmeric; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 2 tablespoons tomato paste; 2 fresh chiles.
Spices for toasting: 1 teaspoon black peppercorns; 4 whole cloves; 2 teaspoons coriander seeds; 2 teaspoons fennel seeds; 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Peel garlic and ginger; heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes; toast spices in skillet for 2 minutes until smell delicious and are lightly brown; remove from pan. Grind the toasted spices and mix with the fresh ingredients.
LET'S COOK VINDALOO!
Before cooking, prep the following:
Slice onion, peppers, garlic and ginger and put in a large bowl. Cut tomatoes into quarters, throw into large Dutch oven.
Look at these bad boys:
Heat up olive oil for 2 minutes on medium high heat.
Throw in the above mixture and cook for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Taste a bit of onion to make sure it's soft.
As it cooks, dice up the chicken. Measure your your curry paste.
After 10 minutes, throw in the curry paste and chicken. Mix very well so all is coated. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey and the water.
Here is the big difference - Delightful Jamie adds 1 2/3 cup of water at this point and the end result is a VERY soupy meal. I like a thicker Vindaloo stew. So only add 1 cup of water but you need to watch as you cook it.
Cover and put on a low simmer for 45 minutes, checking to make sure it's not too dry. As it nears the 45 minute mark, taste to check for balance (make sure the chicken is cooked).
FOR THE RICE:
As the dish cooks covered, make your rice. This is my favorite recipe for Indian rice. A sure-fire hit.
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 5 cardamon pods
- 1 5 inch stick cinnamon, halved
- 5 cloves
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup pure Indian Basamiti rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cup water
Add the salt and the water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
Turn off heat, put on the back burner, KEEP THE LID ON, remove the lid in 20 minutes, fluff with a fork and take out the cardamon pods and cinnamon and cloves before serving.
Serve the Vindaloo with yogurt and a squirt of lemon.
Before eating, rejoice in life by watching THIS BRILLIANT CLIP - JAI HO!!!!