Spring is a tease. Every now and then you get a nice, sunny, warm, bring out the water table and sand box kinda day (can you tell I am a mom??) and then you get a whole bunch of cold-wet-cold-wet-overcast-humid-wet-cold. Pfft.
Don’t worry, I did resist the urge to drown my sorrows in sugar and butter. Not just because I was out of butter. So here is another dish, with considerable less fat and sugar, which I find pretty comforting. It is a version of chicken curry called kalia (kul-ya) that I had not had until I got married. It is very different from traditional chicken curries in that there is no yogurt or tomatoes and of the ‘garam masala’ quartet (cloves, whole black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon) this one only features one. This makes for a light very clean tasting curry which we all enjoy and trust me pleasing a household of adults and a toddler with the same dish is no easy task!
As a quick note I only use boneless chicken breast meat in most of my chicken dishes because my FIL has a heart condition and should eat minimally fatty foods. This curry still turns out pretty well, but would be far more delicious if you used half a skinless chicken cut into pieces.
Cherry Tomatoes. Pasta. Balsamic Vinegar. Ten minutes. One Meal. Sold yet?
Okay so when I say ten minutes I am not factoring in the time it takes my pasta water to boil, but really ten minutes of active cooking time for one meal is pretty amazing as far as I am concerned. This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution book, also known as, the start of my love affair with J.O. I am not a fan of the ‘cheffy’ dishes as he calls them, I do not grow pea shoots in my back yard, I am not entirely sure I want to make a dish that requires many lengthy steps (lasagna is a notable exception), and at the end of it I want my food to be homey and flavorful so for the longest time J.O. and I did not see eye to eye. This book/show changed things. I have tried many recipes from the book and they have been mostly home runs.
I once made the mistake of using suspiciously watery grocery store brand balsamic vinegar in this dish and it did not work at all. Currently we have some really good balsamic vinegar that we bought at a specialty store in the Distillery District in Toronto. It has a very deep flavor and as such I only used about a tablespoon and a half and found it to be perfect as is. I also make this with whatever pasta I have on hand. Check out how fun the shape I used today is – it is like the edge of a lasagna noodle!
Butter makes everything delicious. We know this, you and I. We may not like it, but it is the truth. Had I thought of putting it in soup? Nope, that idea is all Tyler Florence’s.
Tyler and I haven’t gotten along so well before. There was a mediocre stew and then there was a time that he totally misled me. Built me up and then disappointed me. Heartbreaking truly. So here is what happened – I was watching that show Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network and he talked about a White Chocolate Pretzel Spread from a place out in California. Then he mentioned that you can mail order it. Let’s not discuss what I, all the way in Canada, ended up paying for it because Daddy Jafri (wonderful man, my buddy, and no wastrel) would not be proud. Let’s discuss instead how disappointing it was. Sigh. I could not taste much of much.
It’s okay Tyler, I forgive you. It is your soup you see, or rather my version of your soup. And the butter.
Anyway, to get back on track if you want this soup to be over-the-top-good then I would suggest straining it through a sieve because that will give it a beautiful silky smooth texture. Also if you do plan to freeze it then add the cream whenever you warm it again, makes things easier. My current stock of red chili flakes is quite spicy so Zara (after consuming 1 ½ bowl) informed me that it was too spicy. Feel free to add chili flakes later in the game or not at all depending on what you prefer.
You know that whole a rose by any other name stuff? Yeah well that’s how my husband, my mother in law and now even my two year old feel about Chicken Curry. It matters little which variation on the theme it is, the traditional spicy rich korma curry, the plain Jane chicken curry, the tomato-y chicken curry, or kalya a turmeric heavy curry, as far as they are considered it is the food of champions. This is why after spending my childhood successfully avoiding eating it for the most part I finally had to figure it out and I must say I have found a few versions I really like. Here is just one of them.
I like this one particularly much because I am a fan of all things tomato, plus even with the reduced red chillies (I only put in half a teaspoon when cooking for Zara) it still manages to be very flavourful. Also, for a dish with depth it does not take long or require for me to be standing at the stove anxiously the entire time. This recipe is an amalgamation of ones I have found on the internet and tips from one of my aunts. Did I ever tell you that my family is populated by amazing cooks? You would think it would mean I have some kind of natural talent… Anyhow, luckily for us, what I lack there I make up for with good note taking.
Creative cooking is generally not my thing. I am a baker you know – we don’t make up amounts as we go along. Working with a tried and true flavor base – now that’s my jam so to speak. I recently soaked and boiled an absurd amount of northern beans and only have so much room in my freezer. By only so much room I mean I think I can jam one Ziploc bag worth of beans into my freezer if I try really hard. And never open the freezer door again. You get the picture.
Anyway so here is what I came up with, it is light and spicy at the same time and makes for a really good quick lunch.