Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chicken Curry sans Coconut Milk

For the better part of two years, I was enrolled in a Master's program for Educational Leadership.  This experience started two summers ago with an online course on leadership within the organization.  I was in California visiting my parents for the majority of the time, but our class "met" twice a week--I was generally in my parents' garden with a cold beverage in hand.  For one assignment, we had to visit an organization and write a paper about our impressions and experience.  What did I pick?  The vet and Quincy's experience getting neutered.  We then had to give an online presentation about our project, so I spent 20 minutes or so talking to individuals across Alaska about how comfortable the vet made me feel before Quincy's precious jewels were removed.  (In reflection, it is impossible (and hilarious) to believe that I actually did this.)

Little did I know at the time of this captivating presentation that one of the other class participants (who certainly thought I was a complete wacko) would become a very dear friend, my seat-mate for two years of classes together, and a teacher that I greatly respect.  How does any of this have to do with chicken curry, you ask?  He asked me to make a chicken curry recipe without coconut milk and post it.  So I did.

This dish is tasty, flavorful, healthy, and quick!  All of my favorites!  Instead of the heavy, calorie and fat laden curry we traditionally enjoy (because it's delicious), this is lighter, includes many vegetables, and is served on a bed of roasted asparagus instead of on rice.  I used only dry spices found at a regular grocery store, so it isn't even fancy--although its flavor lends one to believe otherwise.  It has the perfect amount of curry and the perfect amount of kick.  This will certainly become a regular in the rotation at our house.

Thanks Ed Leadership Partner in Crime for the inspiration.  I can't wait to hear what you think!  Maybe we should discuss the results at Humpy's sometime soon.  :)

To everyone else, I know you will love it too.

Chicken Curry without Coconut Milk:

(The ingredients are listed, but the amounts of each are really up to you.  I mentioned approximations of what I used.)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into inch-ish cubes
  • 1/2 of a large sweet onion
  • 2 yellow peppers, loosely chopped
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cans of no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
  • about a tablespoon of chili powder
  • a dash of cayenne
  • probably 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • one bunch of asparagus
  • green onions, diced (optional)
  • plain greek yogurt (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with nonstick tinfoil.  Line the asparagus on the pan.  Cover with a little olive oil (I used basil-infused) and use your hands to rub it all in.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until your desired done-ness.
  2. While the asparagus is roasting, cook everything else.
  3. In a medium skillet, add a dollop of olive oil (again, I used basil-infused) and heat pan to medium-high.  Add the chicken and cook until done.  (You can cook the chicken however you like.)
  4. While the chicken is cooking, add another dollop of olive oil to a a large skillet heated to medium-high.
  5. Add the onion, peppers, and carrots.  Cook until soft.  You may need to add a little water to prevent sticking and to help with softening.
  6. When the veggies are almost soft, add the tomatoes.
  7. Add the spices.  Stir and let cook for a few minutes.  
  8. Taste.  Adjust spices if needed.
  9. Add the cooked chicken and mix well.
  10. Again taste and adjust spices if needed.
  11. Serve on top of the roasted asparagus.  Top with green onions and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  12. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smoked Halibut Dip

You'd never know by looking outside that spring is here and summer is right around the corner.  It is currently dumping snow and we have accumulated at least 6 inches since we woke up this morning.  We bought me a brand new super fancy road bike earlier this week, so of course Father Winter had to rear his fluffy head one more time.  The snow is beautiful--but it would have been so much more appreciated had it arrived in December when it was supposed to and not in mid-April.

Summer means going to Homer to go fishing.  As mentioned in many, many previous posts, Homer is my favorite place in Alaska.  We have had so much fun there and have so many wonderful memories.  Every year we get so excited to go to all of our favorite places:  Two Sisters' Bakery for coffee and sandwiches, the bar deck at Land's End, the Salty Dawg for some classy people watching, Captain Patties for curried mussels, Bear Creek Winery, Ring of Fire Meadery, and Homer Brewing Company (notice a trend), and Coal Point for oysters and smoked halibut dip.

Coal Point's smoked halibut dip is straight from the ocean gods.  Seriously.  Perfectly smoked fresh fish, jalapenos, and cream cheese--that's it.  It's perfect  Since Coal Point is almost 250 miles away, we can't exactly get there frequently.  Therefore, I was determined to recreate the smoked halibut dip at home.  Success!!!  I added a little sour cream and some chili powder.

This dip captures Alaska in one bite.  It's amazing.

Smoked Halibut Dip:
  • about 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of smoked halibut
  • 6 to 8 ounces of reduced fat cream cheese
  • about 1/4 cup of light sour cream
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • about a teaspoon of chili powder
  1. Flake the smoked halibut in a bowl.
  2. Add the cream cheese and sour cream.  Mix well.
  3. Add the jalapenos and chili powder.  Mix again.
  4. Taste and adjust amounts according to your palette.  
  5. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or sourdough bread.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Panko Parmesan Crusted Salmon

Downward dog, half moon, warrior 1 or 2 or 3 (or 4 is on the floor), clavicle, ischial tuberosity, piriformis, "23 yogis", garudasana, ustrasana, vrksasana, mulabanda, vyana vayu, Ganesh, the Trimurti, and more.  That's been my life for the last month as we are deep in the heart of Yoga Teacher Training.  And when not perfecting my extended side plank or standing bow, I have been swimming in IEPs, ESERs, alternative school lottery, our All-School Seminar, standardized testing, and most importantly, loving my students.  No, I have not completely forgotten about the blog, but it has certainly been neglected.

Well, I'm back.  And back with a GREAT meal--parmesan panko crusted king salmon with a hint of lemon and green onion.  Holy smokes.  The Beau went to Homer to fish and brought back a few fresh filets of king salmon.  Clearly we had to give it star treatment.  This was--without a shadow of a doubt--the best salmon dinner I have ever had.  Ever.  The crust was light and crispy, while perfectly highlighting the rich, dense, flaky, and fresh flavor of the salmon.  What's even better, you ask?  The fact that it took approximately 32 seconds to put together and put in the oven.  That's when you know you have great fish; it's perfect in simplicity.

If you want to treat yourself and your loved ones to an incredible meal (without having to do any work), then this is certainly the dish for you.  I imagine that the crust would be great on halibut or other fish as well as chicken.  It's perfect.

Great to see you guys!  I am happy to be back!

Parmesan Panko Crusted Salmon:
Inspired by this recipe.
  • 1 salmon fillet, a little over a pound  (Fresh.  Alaskan.  King, silver, or red salmon only.  Skin on.)
  • a little bit of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups of Panko
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 green onions, thinly chopped (the white parts up to the light green parts only)
  • the zest of one smallish lemon
  • a heaping 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.  Place salmon on sheet, skin side down.  It is important to keep the skin on the salmon because the skin will adhere to the tinfoil--this seals in all of the flavor and ensures that the meat doesn't get stuck too.
  2. Add the Panko, cheese, salt, green onion, the lemon zest, and the thyme to a small bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil on the salmon.  Use your fingers to spread it evenly.
  4. Press the crust mixture on the salmon evenly.  I used as much of the crust as possible--I couldn't see the salmon through the crust.
  5. Bake until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.  (Time will very based on the thickness of your fish.)
  6. Serve with complementary veggies.
  7. ENJOY!