nicole rademacher

Monday, August 25, 2008


Last week (well, not the past week, but the week before), I got busy in the kitchen. Friends had a cook-out (NOTE: in the south the term 'barbecue' is reserved for when there is a pig present or very minimum some bbq sauce. In the north this would probably be called a 'pig roast' or something, but wouldn't necessarily be pulled pork. In the south you can only use the terms 'cook-out' or 'grill out' to talk about an event that consists of grilling and doesn't include pulled pork and bbq sauce.) and we were asked to bring a side. I elected to make my (now famous) Japanese Guacamole. Unfortunately I am not as culinarily inclined as my younger brother, so I did not make this up. I get most of my AMAZING recipes from one book in particular: Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino and Arlen Gargagliano. My older brother gave me the book as a present years ago. The best present he has ever given me! Ok, so here is how it breaks down:
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled pitted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red onion (or 1/4 of a large one), diced
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi powder blended with water, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar - if you buy the book buy a lot of this stuff!
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of minced fresh cilantro - my favorite ingredient ever!
In a large bowl (it says ceramic or glass, use what you got, unless you want to make it look real perty), combine the avocados, onions, and the lime juice. Then add everything else EXCEPT the cilantro and toss. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.
I'll have to post a picture next time I make it. I think I was too excited about eating it to take the time to snap one off.

Then there are the dishes you make while procrastinating. I have been procrastinating way more than usual. I think my attitude towards this job breeds and feeds the procrastination. So, while procrastinating grading a project, I decided to make chicken curry from scratch. This is the recipe I got from the internet, BUT I had to substitute a few of these ingredients (read below for details).

Indian Curry Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 inch cube of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cut-up, skinned chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods (green if you can find them)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice


* Mix the tomato sauce, yogurt and water and set aside.
* Blend the garlic, ginger and water until smooth. Brown the chicken pieces in the oil Remove the chicken from skillet and lower heat.
* Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and hot pepper flakes. Stir for 30 seconds.
* Add the garlic and ginger paste and the turmeric.
* Stir for 1 minute. Add tomato mixture, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir.
* Add chicken, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, turning chicken a few times. Serve with plain rice.

Now cardamom pods are hard to find in Charlotte, NC and expensive at that. So I looked up some of the traits of cardamom and substituted it with honey - 2 or 3 teaspoons. The pepper flakes, well, I have a ton of rocoto paste, so I substituted the one teaspoon of the flakes for a teaspoon of the paste. The cinnamon stick, I improvised with ground cinnamon. And the tomato sauce (because my dad has celiac disease), I had to make from scratch. I just diced about a fourth of a beef steak tomato.

Once I made it (without the chicken, though. I wanted to add it later), I realized that there was no way that was going to mix with enough food for four people. I took out a tomato from the fridge (smaller the original of the one I used before because the fourth was a left-over from a prior cooking event), diced it up, and measured the sauce. I had about 9 tablespoons and thererfore I had to TRIPLE the recipe. Needless to say, we all had a lot of curry for the rest of the week.

The recipe is pretty spicy, so if you have a sensitive stomach or aren't keen on spicy food, eat it with a dollop of yogurt.
I mixed in a whole chicken, zucchini, small eggplant, and potatoes.
And, yes, I guess I will have to shoot off a picture next time I 'whip' this up.

*Be warned this is very time consuming, hence it went very well with my plan to procrastinate. If you are in a rush, DO NOT ATTEMPT.

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