not vegetarian

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. 

XOXOXO




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.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Valentines Day

February, man. 

It's a rough month. 

School is hard. The weather is fickle. Life is tricky. And there's Valentines Day. 


 
Lately, I've been asking the cosmos to just throw me a bone. 
This past week I fell over twice because my backpack was so heavy, which simultaneously made me want to laugh and cry. 
I chose to laugh, but really wished that someone would just give me a hug instead. 

Also, Valentines Day is this week. 


There are about 2 things in the world that I hate. 
I hate papayas.
And I hate Valentines Day, even though it means lots of marked down chocolate on february 15th. 
Which is definitely a win for the stress-eating singles of the world. 


Whatever. 

Tonight, I made these cookies. 
This is the third time I've published this recipe here, and ironically, the last time I posted it was exactly around this time last year. These cookies somehow answer all my comfort food cravings and February sweetness needs. 


I hope you have a lovely week, and I hope your backpacks are a little lighter, and I really hope you make these cookies, because February man, it's a rough month. 

XOXO
m




Perfection In Your Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer w/paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed mix in chocolate and nuts.
Spoon on tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes. Until light brown on edges and golden in center.
Allow cookies to rest for one minute. Then using spatula transfer to cooling rack.

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. 

Pork Ragu al Maialino



Monday nights are the night when I cook for my family, because I am the only one who is home on Monday night. So I made this, with some eventual assistance from my brother Michael. We are a good team. I like Monday night. I like them because no one bothers me an I can waste time doing nothing in particular while I putter around the kitchen and pretend to be VERY BUSY. But it was nice to have some brotherly help. I love sitting down to a meal. It's such a beautiful habit. Because often dinner is the only time my family gets to gather together and share a meal. It just feels so special. I also like that because I cook, I don't have to wash dishes. That ranks high on my list of good things in life. I don't want a maid, I want a personal dishwasher.

This recipe is from The New York Times. The idea was to recreate this pasta dish, which is famous at some restaurant somewhere. The only thing that makes it particularily restauranty is the fact that it has half a stick of butter in it. (Butter is really what makes restaurant food so lovely. Chefs don't care if you have a heart attack.) The recipe is all about indulgence. And good pasta. I used regular lasagne noodles, but wouldn't recommend it. Use the best pasta noodles you can get your hands on, I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you that you should really make this dish with homemade pasta noodles, because the texture of homemade pasta is so superior. But if you have a brand of noodles that are extraordinarily good, use them by all means.

I liked this dish. It could be heavy and rich because of the pork and butter, but the heaviness and richness is cut by the lemon and arugula. It's a very interesting dish and one I'd like to play with again. Definately give it a try.

Pork Ragu al Maialino

from The New York Times

1 pork shoulder, bone in, roughly 4 pounds

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white onion, peeled and cut into large pieces

1 rib celery, cut into large pieces

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces

1 quart chicken stock (or enough to almost cover the pork)

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 9-ounce boxes dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated grana Padano cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Small handful arugula leaves, cleaned.

1. Using a sharp knife, remove the thick skin from the pork, leaving a sheen of fat on top of the meat. Season aggressively with salt and place in the refrigerator until ready to use, as long as overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.

3. Allow both meat and broth to cool on the stove top for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large bowl.

4. Strain the liquid into a separate bowl and then pour enough of it over the meat to barely cover. (Use the rest for soup.) Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

5. Put a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.

6. Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add the pork and braising liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.

7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package, 10 to 12 minutes. When it is finished, drain and add to the sauce along with a splash of pasta water. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice, half of the cheese, a tablespoon of olive oil and the parsley. Stir to incorporate.

8. Serve immediately, topped with arugula and the remaining cheese. Serves 4. Adapted from Nick Anderer at Maialino in New York
.