Chicken Curry with Cashews

My whole life I've struggled with self-doubt. 

I've wasted so much time asking myself "Am I worthy?" of work and love and questioning over and over and over again if I am enough or capable or deserving. 

So much doubt. 

I don't know why. 
I don't know where doubt comes from. 
Fear, I guess. 
And specifically the fear of failure and pain. 

I don't doubt myself when I cook. 
Because there is something to measuring, there is something to learning how to knead bread, and follow a recipe-- that makes my doubt melt away. 
Because all you have to do is whatever comes next, and that is enough. 
That's all you can do. 
And if the recipe is bad, or you mess something up, fundamentally, it doesn't really matter. 

So I like taking risks in the kitchen. 
Because why not? 
Because thinking that I'm not capable of cooking something is stupid and only leaves me hungry. 
So I made my first ever curry, because surprisingly, I had all the right ingredients.  
And I made it and I liked it. 

And making it made me feel capable. Like I was enough. 

Of course, doubt comes back to me, all the time. 
It's a problem that all the curries in the world probably can't solve. 
But maybe. 
Maybe with each new recipe,  I'll keeping doubting a little less, until all the doubt is finally gone. 
I hope so. 

I love you. 


Chicken Curry with Cashews
from Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl 

NB: Though the recipe calls for a cut-up whole chicken, you can use an equivalent amount of chicken parts or all thighs. 

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 10 serving pieces (breasts cut crosswise in half) 
1 (14 to 15 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
3/4 cup cashews (toasted or raw) 
2/3 cup whole-milk yogurt 
garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
accompaniment: basmati or jasmine rice

Heat butter in a 5 to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayeene and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, for 3 minutes. 
Add tomatoes with juice and cilantro and bring to a simmer; then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. 
Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground (do not grind to a paste). Add to curry, along with yogurt, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. 
Serve chicken over rice, sprinkled with cilantro.  

Deviled Eggs

A pointless story: my manager at the restaurant I work at was talking about wine, and he said to me, "Don't judge me for drinking rose." And I had to laugh to myself, because honestly, I know nothing about nothing, and I know especially nothing about wine, least of all rose, which I only know I like because it is pink, and I like basically everything that is pink. 

There is one thing that I know though. 

I know that I want to give you the truest thank you. 

How do you say the truest thank you?

This is a question that has been puzzling me for a while. 

Because you are so kind, and somehow you keep returning and reading about my pies and my dinners and my issues and my delights. 

I mean, 


I don't even have the words. 

If I knew who you were, I would give a present. This present would be wrapped in the comics section of the newspaper, and tied with some kind of satiny ribbon. Because I believe in attractive presents. Though I actually give them mostly infrequently. 

You inspire me. 

And I am not just saying that. 

At the restaurant I work at they make these ridiculously divine looking deviled eggs with truffle oil whipped into the yolk part, but I've never actually gotten to eat one.  Which just kills me. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about those eggs. 

I actually made some deviled eggs the other day because I had such a craving, but the pictures I took of them were so decidedly unfortunate that I painted a picture of them instead. 

Beloveds, if I could, I would give you all the truffled deviled eggs of the world. But I can't. Because I don't know who you are. 

So I say you make them yourself. And you can pretend that they're from me, a symbol of my truest thank you. 

I'm going to say it one more time. 

Thank you. 


Deviled Eggs
Gourmet 2002, via epicurious.com

Also, I have a THING for mustard, so I added more of it. A lot more. Also, I didn't really even follow the recipe. I just guesstimated the proportions. But I love you a lot. So I'm telling you, follow the recipe. If you want. You can also add truffle oil, if you have it and are feeling decadent. In fact, you can do whatever you want. 

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • Special equipment: a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tip (optional) <--- Totally did not do this 
  • Garnishes: paprika; chopped fresh chives; whatever strikes your fancy 

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking and let stand 5 minutes.
Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne and stir with fork until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Fill pastry bag with yolk mixture and pipe into egg whites.

Pasta Primavera (again)

I can't remember the last time I made Pasta Primavera. But I remember that I had cooked it for my family and chopped all the vegetables myself in my home. And I remember that I ate most of the balsalmic tomato topping, because that is my favorite part. 

But times they are a changin'. 

On Sunday, I went home and my mother made this for me and my family. I did not make it. 
And I always used to make it. And we sat and ate it with some grilled chicken and white wine, except for my dad who had a Corona:

I keep having these little revelations that everything is so fucking transient, so you better enjoy everything as much as you can. And I'm changing too, all the time.  Which is a little bit crazy. 
Sometimes I think I know very much. 

But that is infrequent.

I am learning things all the time. 


-It is good to make words your own.
-Only buy the utterly fabulous.
-Cigarettes are nasty.
-The most flattering gift you can give is your complete and full attention.
-Do not make assumptions. (HARD)
-"What are you saving for? For another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now." -George Balanchine
-Compliment honestly and frequently.
-It is okay to begin the day with chocolate.
-Love is so much bigger than I ever thought it was. It's bigger than clouds. It's more huge than sky. It goes beyond. Hearts are like galaxies within galaxies within constellations within universes. 
-Do not wash your hair every day. Even though it is sad looking on day 2.
-Never let them know.
-Academic snobbery exists and it is noxious.
-Make a list.
-Ask for what you want and risk extreme embarrassment, because sometimes, despite the extreme risk and embarrassment, you actually get what you want. And it's pretty great.
-Pasta Primavera was delicious, is delicious and always will be delicious. 

And that's about it. I really don't know much more than that


Pasta Primavera
from The Gourmet Cookbook

This recipe is a little complicated, but completely worth the effort. Also, this is the second time this recipe has appeared on the blog, which means that it's really, really, really good. The previous post about Pasta Primavera is here.

1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
rounded 1/2 teasoon red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pints tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsalmic vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 pound spaghettini
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Prepare the vegetables:
Soak morels in warm water in a small bowl for 30 minutes.
Lift mushrooms out of water and squeeze excess liquid back into bowl. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined witha dampened paper towel into a small bowl: reserve. Rinse throughly to remove grit, then squeeze dry. Cut off and discard any tough stems. Halve morels.

Add asparagus and beans to a 6 to 8 quart pot of boiling salted water, and cook, uncovered for 3 minutes. Add peas and cook until beans and asparagus and just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, (or simply rise with cold water in a colander), drain.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10 to 12 inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and rounded 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add drained vegetables and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook the tomatos:
Cut half of tomatoes into quarters and halve remainder lenghtwise, keeping quarters and halves separate> Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over moderately low heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and remainging rounded 1/4 red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, just until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add quartered tomatoes, with salt and ppepper to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are softened, about 3 minutes. Add halved tomatoes, vinegar and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and halved tomatoes are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Cook the spaghettini:
Return pot of water to a boil and cook spgahettinini until al dente; drain in a colander.
Immediately add butter, cream, zest and morels to (empty) pasta pot, bring to a simmer and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in cheese, then add pasta, tossing to coat and adding as much of reserved morel soaking liquid as necessary (1/2 to 2/3 cup) to keep pasta well coated. Add green vegetables, parsley, basil, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste, toss gently to combine.

Serve pasta topped with tomatoes and if desired more Parmigiano-Reggino shavings.

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

I want to tell you something.
You don't celebrate you enough.
I want to applaud you for your acts of ordinary bravery. For reaching out to someone. For reading a book. For sleeping. For doodling. For completing the crossword. For going for a walk. For trying to make a new friend. For belting along to the radio while you're driving alone. For clearing your clutter. For writing a letter. For giving yourself a break. For making a goal. 
I want to give you a big hug and warm meal, for being YOU.
Way to go!

To be more specific, I want to make you this meal:

I want to make you the most comfortable, cozy meal in the world,

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce. 

That's just how much I love you. Really truly. 

It will make your soul sing cozy songs. 

Not kidding. 

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ground beef, pork, veal or a combination of the three (I used beef)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, diced or whole or whatever
1 pound dried pasta (I like fettuccine)

Heat oil and butter in a 6 to 8 quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add meat and cook, stirring until meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cook, stirring until most of milk has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. 
Coarsely puree tomatoes, with their juice, in a blender or food processor. Stir tomatoes into pot. Cook sauce at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/4 hours (sauce will thicken). Season with salt and pepper. 
When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a 6 to 8 ounce quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every four quarts water, not to be specific or anything) until al dente; drain. 
Immediately toss pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Serve with cheese.