Herbs and Spices

Ruth Is Right

Sharwoods Curry with yogurt

A friend’s cool, dark basement was a welcome place to spend a sultry summer evening. After watching some of a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s celebration, our host popped in the dvd I had brought along. The Lunchbox came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of it. If you have an interest in foreign places and/or enjoy food for more than just nourishment, you might like the movie.

The story was set in India so now, naturally, we are craving curries, paneer, and chapati.  Since the last two recipes from Ruth Reichl’s book, Tender at the Bone, have recently provided success in our kitchen, I thought I would see what she has to say about Indian food. At the end of one of Gourmet‘s foodie travel videos, Reichl gives instruction for a simple tandoori-style entree that you can make at home.

Rather than insisting you purchase a zillion spices to create an imitation of the complex flavors of an Indian restaurant, she claims that the bottled sauces at your grocery store will be sufficient. Besides a bottle of Vindaloo sauce, you need yogurt, cilantro, and mint to season your chicken.  You should let the skinless chicken marinade for at least 40 minutes.

The cooking method almost convinced me to set the recipe aside. Summer temperatures in July do not encourage one to use the oven, much less an oven set to 500*F.  However, after a torrential downpour last night, the outside temperatures have dropped to near 70* F. Because I was still afraid of setting off the smoke alarm,  I didn’t leave the chicken in long enough for it to get the prescribed char.

I’ve got to work on the Basmati rice. But, alongside the curried vegetables, and the slices of raw tomato and avocado, the false-tandoori chicken was satisfying.


Categories: Chicken, Entertainment, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Rice, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crystallized Ginger

crystalized ginger slices


1/2 (Measure) Water: 1/2 (Measure) Sugar: 1/3 (Measure) sliced fresh Ginger Root

Peel your ginger root. Try to slice the root so that you end up with pieces of relatively equal thicknesses. Bring water to boil. Add sugar and the ginger. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the ingredients simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the mixture occassionally, and keep an eye on the pot so that it doesn’t boil over and that the sugar doesn’t burn.

When the sugar has crystallized around the slices of ginger, spread the mixture onto a non-stick surface. Once it has cooled, you can break the ginger up into pieces.

So far I’ve used the crystallized ginger in a dish of shredded Brussels sprouts with craisins, in tea, and in my hand (like candy). Yum!

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Coconut Tiki Masala

Just in case you need some inspiration while thinking up next week’s menu and making your shopping list…


frozen chicken breast tenderloins

cajun seasoning

curry paste or powder or bottled sauce

bunch green onions, sliced

frozen peas & carrots

coconut cream

garnish: chopped cilantro, honey roasted peanuts, raisins



Categories: Chicken, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Rice, sauces & condiments, Shopping, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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