Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Food Frenzy

Yesterday was for introspection, bringing ideas together and musing out loud about my conditions and states of mind. Today though is about FOOD, LOVE and LUST. For early February I sure am feeling's that warmer air mass and I suppose having Sherpa Boy drop by to share some laughs and musings does not hurt either. I gotta do some more research on smell and taste and lust....yeah, that would be fun to wrap the noggin' around this weekend. Hmmm....we shall see. For now however, good company was nice to have as business does have to be respected even by lusty pirate chicks.

My life is not all rum, sodomy and the lash!!!
BTW,I post this picture of Shane MacGowan, if anything, to show some of you that life cannot possibly be all that bad given that Shane is still alive, has new teeth and is still being creative!!

But back to food and lust.....certain itches cannot be scratched right now so when the going gets tough the tough get into the kitchen (la cocina) and have mondo, rocking good times!!

I like curries. Curries are lusty, hearty and make the whole house smell great unless that is one goes overboard with fats like ghee or oil - then your joint smells more like a Calcutta whorehouse between shifts - one is not encouraged to linger but rather to satisfy whatever urge and get on with the next bit of business. Not very appetizing and certainly not inviting or seductive. Yes, smell is everything and I pity those poor souls who are not in tune with that sense for if one really learns to use smell they will come to know almost instinctively when to NOT add salt or other enhancers.

I live to eat and NOT the other way around. Having lived and worked in many crazy, cool places I have come to appreciate simple, hearty, flavorful and sustaining fare. I rank curries right up there as they can, like French or Italian cuisine, be fancy-schmancy or down and dirty - what makes good food stand out is the deceptiveness of what "simple" entails. There is nothing simple about rustic and flavorful. Time needs to be set aside for good food and I believe if more folks did just that, slowed down a wee bit and became more involved with what they were putting into their bodies there would not be this FAT epidemic.

Food should never be a replacement for anything. Food, good food, is another one of those concepts that if thoroughly appreciated, like a good lover, will give one great pleasure on so many levels but please folks - learn to not use food as a substitute for what is missing in your life - pleasure, appreciation, self-esteem - many more things I suppose but those are pretty damned important. Pleasure is something NOT to be denied. It is not selfish to seek it out if one is happy to give back as much if not slightly more to another of that wonderful feeling. Ah, to be sated - it can encompass many things.

Back to the curry though before I derail that train of thought again? I do so enjoy meandering and free-flowing.....

GOAT MEAT.....did you know that goat meat has less fat and more protein than any other domesticated critter? Yep. Most North Americans wrongly assume that chicken is the most consumed meat on this planet....nope, it is the goat. I know goat is not to everyone's taste but as the old saying goes "Don't knock it until you have tried it". It is tasty stuff if handled correctly.

Now I know most folks when they think of curry think of those standard blends that are found in any supermarket. Boring, boring, boring! I like to keep on hand a variety of dried ingredients good for making scratch curry as well as some of the more adventurous blends one finds in an ethnic market. Experiment. Have fun. Use your nose!

Staples that I keep for my mise en place that can always be found on my kitchen island ready to use are shallots, ginger, red onions and garlic. In the fridge I always have fresh cilantro, limes and lemons. Butter and a decent variety of oils (not canola oil - ewwwwww) round out the list. One more thing I keep in my larder to use is coconut milk, unsweetened of course. Nuts, rices (basmati, Thai and wild rice) preferrably brown and organic should always be on hand. Anything else one can add as they get more adept at this cuisine like say specialty flours for making Indian style crepes which I will make later.

I buy cubed stewing goat meat which can now be found in the big box supermarkets. I like it for its convenience as I do not have to fart around creating my own perfectly cut chunks. Chicken or lamb works well too but goat has this richness to it and the fat on it is not as cloying as the fat found on mutton.

Treating the Meat......

Too many folks do not understand the fine art of braising and cooking spices. Slow cookers, although great inventions, are not used to their full potential in the sense that unless the meats, veg and spices are pre-treated one's food is not going to taste as good. I take a large skillet, get it up to medium high heat, toss in some sunflower oil, chopped garlic, shallots and ginger and get those working. Then I quickly add the curry melange - either a homemade one or one that I find in the markets, stir everything quickly as I do not want to burn my ingredients and then toss in the goat cubes, stirring, stirring and stirring. I turn down the heat a wee bit and the aroma is heavenly. I leave this cooking (braising) for about a half-hour.

In the meantime I have my oven preheated to 300 and I have greased up one of my favourite dutch ovens because there is no sense using the slow cooker today. After I toss in the meat and spice mixture I add some water to the skillet to deglaze it and add to the pot, cover it up and leave it be. In about a half-hour I will be adding other coconut milk and veg - today being carrots.

I decide to have some fun with my brown basmati rice. I heat up a smaller skillet, toss in some oil and butter and some cashews. As that is going I am treating my rice in hot oil, tumeric, cinnamon sticks and some chopped tomatoes. To the cashews I add some other witch's brew of curries, stir that around quickly and add that to the rice. In goes the coconut milk, sugar and water, heat lowered and covered. As this is brown rice I do have to check it periodically to add more water. Salt to taste is added from time to time.

God dayam but does this castle smell great! The crew of twenty-somethings have walked in and are salivating madly but this will not be served for awhile yet.

Three Hours Later.....

Okay, this rocks. Yes, I will have to make the chickpea flour pancakes later but I had to try this out and yes it is perfect. On a spiciness scale of one to ten this one is about a seven. Any spicier and the desired effect of palate rejuvenation is destroyed. I used to like food dares based on spiciness but as I matured I realized that there are better dares out there like Jagermeister.....hahahaha.

Am I satisfied? For now. We shall see how the weekend progresses and who just happens to drop by for some pleasurable pursuits. Yes, sourdough projects are next on the list.

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