Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gaining the summit

Last night I sent a thank you note to a friend for sharing his curry cooking tips. I know - a silly thing to thank someone for ... but here's the reason. I'd scoped out numerous curry recipes for the past several years - and for some reason they all sounded so DIFFICULT - I never tried cooking them. Somewhere (maybe because the list of ingredients is usually long) I thought making curry was a time-consuming task – only suitable for weekend cooking.

When I was in Philadelphia, I was appointed Sous Chef on the curry project. Readying the mise en place, the Chef laughed at my neatly diced the onion. “What’s that? I asked for a “rough chop”. This is country food. It needs to maintain its identity when cooked, just make big wedges of the onion,” he told me.

After the chopping, there was some sautéing. Then the cook took the pot off the heat and said we didn’t need to do anymore until about twenty minutes before sitting down to eat. I couldn’t believe how easy and quickly the dish came together.

Returning to Raleigh, I tried to find a recipe for shrimp curry – and ended up with a hundred different choices. Overwhelmed, I sent a desperate eMail plea to Philadelphia, and got a “How to Make Curry for Dummies " eMail in return. I've been working on my technique ever since. This week I’m on the 9:30 – 6:30 shift. Near the end of the evening I ended up with a call where the problem still wasn’t resolved at 7:30 pm. Hungry and tired, I gave them my cell phone number, so I finish the project from home. It was almost 8:00 pm, when I arrived at the house. There were absolutely NO leftovers in my fridge to heat up and I hadn’t stopped and get unsatisfying “fast food” on the way. I knew I needed to be near a computer for the next steps and didn’t want the customer waiting on me. I also needed something to take to work for lunch today. On the drive home, I mentally inventoried my kitchen. I knew I had frozen shrimp - but that sounded like more hassle than I was up too (they needed to be peeled and de-tailed). I also didn’t know if I was dexterous and coordinated enough to hold the cell phone and peel shrimp. Going down the freezer list I remembered I had some left over shredded chicken from chicken enchiladas. There was also a sweet potato from the CSA box. And a spicy pepper of some sort ... AND CILANTRO. I hunted around on Cooking Light (one of my favorite recipe indexes) - and found a recipe for Chicken Curry with Sweet Potato. It followed the basic ideas from the Curry for Dummies eMail. So in between support calls (that weren’t over 'till 10:30 last night) ... I made curry. My friend is right - it's such an easy thing to do. The layering of the flavors is easy and the chopping is all rough, big chunks. Anyway - the curry was OUTSTANDING ... I cannot wait to have it for lunch today!

So – the first summit gained was the curry summit. I think this will also become one of my “go-to” dishes and it should be easy to keep the basics on hand. I was missing Lemon Grass last night. I wonder if I could grow it in a pot of water, indoors, like bamboo?

I achieved another crest this weekend as I finally got my bedroom dusted, dust mopped and picked up!! (and there was much rejoicing throughout the land) I still wouldn’t call it “clean”, but it’s manageable. This weekend I’ll tackle a pile of paperwork on my desk. There are more than a few drawers and closets that I need to go through and practice the “if you haven’t used it in 2 years, throw it away” discipline on. My living room and kitchen are also back in order – although still not “spotless”. But when I walk in at night, I do not feel like I’ll be attacked by wild dust ball herds or that I’m facing “Mount Chaos” where an avalanche of “needs to be done” projects is waiting to descend and smother me.

I am looking forward to the weekend ahead (even though it’s only Tuesday) because I truly have NOTHING on my calendar. No half-day of work, no CSA box to pick up, no writer’s lecture, no early morning rehearsal for the contemporary graphics that accompany our worship service and no company showing up for any meals (I’m sure this will change).

I’m hoping for a leisurely and productive weekend. We’ll see. Here’s hoping that everyone else is inching towards their Everest without losing their breath – or sight of their goal.


Anonymous said...

Growing "anything" in the house in a bottle of water - CAREFUL - you're getting pretty risque' ! *o*

Sounds good - if it's easy, send me the recipe, too. 'Kay ? tp

Anonymous said...

Mit, I'm hiring you to come clean my apartment!! Hehehe.

I am inching towards my Everest this weekend...the one and only 13.1!!! The Everest around Raleigh, with my Team In Training peeps and all of the other City Of Oaks participants!! Let's hope I don't lose my breath, or lose sight of the finish line!!


G Liz said...

I want to eat some of that stuff!!!! I LOVE curry!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!! And I miss you!

The Purple Panda said...

I subscribe to Cooking Light magazine -- I make so few recipes, however, because cooking is just no fun when it's only me.

My Everest? Manuscript!!!!

(Word verification: azeated. Opposite of nauseated? The state of bewilderment after attending an artist's exhibition?)