Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ah, comfort food

My comfort food often involves some spice. Sometimes it's black pepper, or just a lot of herbs, sometimes it's mysterious red-colored chili peppers. I don't always have easy access to such comfort food, but tonight I need it, and I have it.

My car broke down on the highway as I was on my way to pilates tonight. I'm kind of upset about it. I hesitate to risk jinxing myself by speculating on what might be wrong with my car, and how huge or minimal the fix would be, but mostly I'm sad/mad that I was stuck on the highway for over an hour and had to miss pilates.

However, eventually I got home, where I had last night's leftovers waiting for me. So let's get on to the food.

Butternut Squash and Chicken Red Curry

This is made in the crock pot. I assembled everything in the morning, before work (and prepping butternut squash takes a bit longer than I thought, so I was late), and Clint turned it on in the afternoon. All I had to do when I got home was cook the rice.

In a crockpot, combine
1lb butternut squash (or other winter squash, I used 1 butternut and 1 acorn), peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped

In a large saucepan, brown 1lb of chicken (cut into bite-sized pieces, or I happened to have some stir fry chicken on hand, all pre-cut, very easy). When you throw it in the saucepan, also throw in 1t cinnamon, 1t cumin, and 1.5t ginger, as well as salt and pepper to taste (a couple grinds of pepper, a couple pinches of salt). Brown the meat, and don't worry about it cooking all the way through. Add the chicken to the crock pot.

And finally, in a blender, combined 3 cloves of garlic, 2t red curry paste (in the ethnic aisle at the grocery store), 1T fish sauce, 2T lime juice, 1cup coconut broth (I used low-fat, Cara's Cravings suggest also adding coconut extract with the low fat coconut milk, since the low fat version has less flavor. This would probably be good, but I didn't have any coconut extract, and it was ok with out it) and 1cup chicken broth. Blend, pour over chicken and veggies in the crock pot.

Now turn the crock pot on to low for 6 hours. Then enjoy with rice.

I love this recipe.


My other favorite kind of comfort food generally involves sugar.

I've been doing some experimentation with dairy products (some great, some I'll just buy at the store from now on) that I want to tell you all about, but I just don't have the energy (or the complete set of photos) to share that right now. Instead, I'll tell you the tale of...

How I Made Dulce de Leche

You know what this is, right? It's this gooey, caramelly thing, not to sweet, with a little tiny bit of tang to it. Delicious. Well, I made it. I don't exactly remember why, I think it might have been after seeing something about dulce de leche cupcakes on Cupcakes Take the Cake. I investigated the blog they were talking about, and she described all the different ways you can make your own dulce de leche. And I discovered, it's ridiculously easy. Here I shall describe, the oven method.

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

that's it.

Pour sweetened condensed milk into a pan. I used an 8in cake pan. Place the cake pan into a larger pan, and fill the larger pan about halfway up the milk-containing pan.
Cover milk pan tightly with foil. Place in the oven set at 425oF. Bake for 1-1.25 hrs.
Dulce de leche is done with it's thickened (remember, it'll thicken as it cools) and is caramel-colored.
It's ridiculously easy. And ridiculously tasty (note to self: dulce de leche tastes wonderful with a morning cup of coffee. A sugar rush can kind of jump-start the caffeine). And note- the little gloppy bit in the right-hand part of the photo is where I poked it with a spatula, to see if it'd thickened.

I might go have some now.

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