Chez Madeleine

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

curry in a hurry


Tonight, I was so excited to be having my friends (and neighbors) Kate & Jason over for dinner. They live only about 100 yds away from me, so its uber convenient to meet up with them during the week. This has been a bit of a crazy week, but I wanted to be sure to see them before I leave town for the weekend (its my sister's bridal shower!). I set the table with my favorite bowls-a gift from an ex-boyfriend. They are one of my favorite gifts that I have ever received. He bought them from a little shop in Colorado and they are each distinctive and gorgeous.



I knew that I was getting my CSA delivery today of fresh veggies, and that I would only have about a day to cook the veggies before I left, so I was anxious to use them. To that end, I invited the twosome over for a home-cooked meal. Shocking! My pots and pans woke up sleepily from their cabinets and wondered "its been a while. wonder what we're doing now?" I explained to them that they'd be helping me cook an exotic feast with ingredients from thousands of miles away!

See, ever since Emily & Sami returned from their trip to Thailand in May, I've been dying to cook thai food. They were wonderful enough to surprise me for my birthday with curry starters straight from the shady streets of Bangkok. So, when I thought about what to cook for tonight, I immediately thought to the group of little plastic packets sitting in my drawer hoping to be blessed with coconut milk, and joined by vegetables and chicken.


My day today was crazy, and although I wanted to leave work at 5, I was stuck in interviews with my student chairs for admissions until almost 6. I ran out the door at 6 and formulated my plan of action while sitting in traffic on Briarcliff. First, a mandatory stop to Publix for green peppers, coconut milk, brown rice, and chicken. I found pre-sliced "stir-fry" chicken, and grabbed a few green peppers and a few thai chilis. I was planning to use the red pepper I had at home, and the big bunches of basil that I got today in my CSA delivery.


My plan was to immediately put two pots of boiling water on the stove--one for rice, and one for edamame as an appetizer. I was using the wok for the curry, and I would cook the chicken in a saute pan. My burners put out their "NO Vacancy" sign and I went to work to the tune of Allison Krause & Union Station- great bluegrass album if you don't own it already.

First, I sauteed the chicken. Next, I toasted the starters (I used a panang curry and a red curry) with some olive oil. I added the coconut milk to the starters and added a giant handful of sliced peppers. Once the chicken had cooked, I added it to the simmering pot, and then the reducing, and concentrating of flavors began.



While we scraped edamame with our teeth-savoring the salt, and sipped our red wine (break-up wine courtesy of Angela-I got a lot of break-up wine last week and I've been struggling to drink it all!), the flavors concentrated more and more and more. The mixture lost its pale color, and deepened over the course of about 30 minutes. The chicken took on the distinct flavor of the curries, and the peppers softened and their hues became much more muted.

Kate brought a lovely salad that I forgot to photograph (oh no!). It was inspired by her favorite salad at Apres Diem-the Fattoush salad. With bits of pita, cucumber, feta and red pepper, it was colorful and very textural. I dressed it with my lisbon lemon olive oil and white balsamic-such a winning combination!

We chatted about school and life, and eventually served up our curry feast. The reviews were good--we all enjoyed the intense flavor of the curry, and the brown rice offered a nice nutty crunch.


At the end of the night, I packed up my leftover basil to send home with Kate (it won't last through the weekend and I have a window garden), and hugged my friends, and sent them on their walk home. My pots finally had a rest and went back, nestled into their cabinets, hoping to come out soon for another meal with friends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I grow up I want to like curry. Becky

10:29 PM  

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