Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

Yesterday was the last official day of fall but looks can be deceiving can't they. The weather actually wasn't that bad except for the north wind. The Boy received some snow pants from his Grandma so we bundled up and played in the snow. If the weather forecast holds true, next Saturday might be a good day for sledding at Pioneers Park.
If we have a long cold winter requiring a lot of couch time, I have the perfect thing for you. The Amazon fairy brought me Stephen King's new book. It's a Christmas gift for Miss Mindy but I'll read it when she's done. I read the first few pages and I'm hooked already (poor woodchuck). We love SK at the West A house and the bookcases are full of his work.
Saturday I asked which dish I should use my fresh batch of paneer on and a biryani was chosen. I like this dish a lot however I wish I'd fried the paneer cubes a little more than I did. They were tasty little morsels though. I browsed through some of my cookbooks and found a cauliflower dish with tomato and onion that sounded good. The Boy wouldn't eat it but I gave him credit for trying it at least. I simmered the florets in a puree of onion and ginger, two finely chopped tomatoes, one minced green chili, six minced garlic cloves. All the aromatics in the rice and the veggies made the house smell fantastic.
Yesterday was decent enough I shoveled the snow away from the grill and made burgers. It smelled like summer!

Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Okay, enough already...

I confess, I'm tired of this bitter cold weather already. Can we go back to low to mid-thirties? Please?

We ventured up to Mahoney State Park for lunch Saturday afternoon at the lodge. The views of the snow covered Platte Valley were fantastic. The food, ehhh, not so much. The Boy enjoyed a very tasty looking Angus burger which I wish I'd ordered, hindsight being what it is and all. Miss Mindy and I had the lunch buffet and she commented how the selections seemed to be driven towards the "senior set". But if you like comfort food (ie: bland) then you'd have been right at home. There was a large Boy Scout event going on and that may have influenced the menu as well. I was disappointed the huge fireplace wasn't lit but overall we had a nice lunch.

Sunday I made a batch of paneer cheese with a new hormone free milk. Palak paneer is on the menu for later this week. The milk tasted like milk but I'm glad for the opportunity to support a "local" business. Sunday dinner consisted of a roasted chicken with garlic-herb compound butter spread up under the skin, fricasseed brussel sprouts and roasted new potatoes with fresh rosemary. Now that was some tasty comfort food! I finished the evening off with a nice bit of Goslings Old Rum. Like a fine cognac, brandy or scotch, this stuff is truly a wonderful way to end the weekend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sun Dog

Got to work this snowy cold morning and saw off to the southeast a sun dog. You've all probably seen one but this was my first. The one to the right of the sun was a huge prismatic column shooting to the sky. A "Torch to the Heavens" as my wife described it.

I grabbed the crappy camera I have at work and tried to take a shot of it. Not the best image but you get the idea. I hope many Lincolnites got to see it, whether they were making the trek to work or sitting all warm and snug in their homes. Safe travels to you all and stay warm!

The sun is behind the house. The sun dog to the left wasn't very intense so I aimed for the right

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh The Weather Outside is........who cares!

You remember those dishes that the first time you have them you're like "Wow, this is really really good!"? Well we had that recently at the West A house. With the weather turning cold I've shifted gears to those hearty, spicy, filling meals our family enjoys. Not that I'm against shoveling that white stuff falling down right now and fire up the Weber. I've been craving steak and who knows, maybe during Tuesdays blizzard I'll have me some beef!

Anyway, now that winter has apparently set in early, here are two dishes to warm you up. I don't have the cool service bowls/dishes for any Asian food yet so bear with the Fiesta.

Our first winter dish was Massaman beef curry. Its hard to find a good definition of "Massaman" but I'd call it good. It's a Muslin inspired dish from what I've read. We've had Thai before so we expected the sweet fiery coconut and red chili burn. The tenderness of the meat, almost velvety, was fantastic. I've usually had chicken in my Thai so I was very happy with this dish. The leftovers the next day were even better. I used black cardamom this time and I'm wondering if green would change the dish very much? There are numerous recipes on the web and most are pretty similiar. I went with one that included bay leaf, cinnamon stick, tamarind. I omitted cashews this time which you'll see in this dish also.

The second dish is a Burmese chicken stew. I was really intrigued by this the first time I read it back in April. I stored the idea away till it seemed appropriate. Today seemed perfect.

This is the dish that made me say "Wow!". Going in with a whole head of garlic and two cups of julienned ginger made me worry this dish might be a bit too much for some in my family. I was wrong. The finished dish is so delicious it's hard to describe. Rich, highly seasoned, aromatic (understatement) and irresistable. I limited myself to one thigh but had a small second serving of jasmine rice with some of the gravy. I'm looking forward to lunch tomorrow and my co-workers hovering around wondering what tasty good smelling victuals I'm eating now.
I really encourage you to try this. It's not hard. And in less that an hour you'll be glad you did. I swears! Miss Mindy asked me to put this recipe towards the front of the list to be served again soon. I'm happy to oblige.

You all have a great week but be careful. Weather forecast looks awesome if you like snow.