Wednesday, October 31, 2012

West African Chicken Peanut Soup

It is raining and grey with nothing ahead but the same in the forecast and I have a killer cold that won't go away and I want soup. I want soup that will warm me from head to toe with a little kick to try and clear the sinuses that seem to be clogged with cement. 

I ran across this wonderful recipe from a fellow Oregonian's blog, Wives with Knives.  The author speaks of having a rendition of this soup at a local McMenamins restaurant, which is exactly where I first tried it.  And let me tell you, the first bite I had knocked my socks off, it was so good.  For you non-Oregonians, McMenamins are a chain of establishments including restaurants, pubs, funky hotels, and entertainment venues around the state. The ones I've been to are all amazing.  Check out their website if you are interested in reading more about this interesting corporation.

This soup went together in no time and the results were fantastic and very much like the restaurant version I have had many times.  This will definitely be a go-to recipe in my soup repertoire.  It was everything I needed and I do believe I can breathe a little more clearly now!
West African Chicken Peanut Soup

1 cup diced cooked chicken
2/3 cup diced onion
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chopped stewed tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter

In a large pot, saute the chicken, onion and garlic in the sesame oil until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, and saute 1 minute more.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes and peanut butter, stirring until well combined. Heat until very hot, but not boiling. Serve immediately

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Genetic Disorder

My very first tea cup

It starts out with a simple tea cup.  A seemingly benign purchase.  A pretty china cup and saucer picked out amongst all the many delightful cups and saucers on display in the china department in the big, beautiful department store in Vancouver, B.C..  The young girl and her sisters, led by their mother, select their pretty little vessels for purchase and therein begins the disorder.  It's called Dishitis. It is a genetic disorder passed on in my family through the maternal side.  We all have it and it's terminal and we will never be cured.
One shelf of my china cabinet

I was visiting my mother not long ago and we had a discussion about this infliction.  I suppose there are far worse burdens to bear.  But there is no more room in our china cabinets. Our dish cupboards runneth over. Another piece of glassware or vase will be the straw that broke the camels' back. 
Some of my glassware

But there is always that "Just one more" moment when a dessert plate beckons with a pattern you've never seen before or that adorable egg cup shaped like a cute little chick peeps out your name.  It's like a drug.  You can't resist. There is always room for one more item.  The Husband jokingly says when I die he will be selling my dishes for 25 cents a plate.  It would seem he doesn't appreciate the seriousness of Dishitis and the inability of the women in my family to resist adding to our collections.
My mother's good china (inherited from her mother)

I have included just a small sampling of the collections of my mother and I.  Mind you, she has a very large family, what with her own five children, our spouses, six grandchildren and their various spouses, and three great granddaughters.  One needs a pile of plates to serve that brood.  I, on the other hand, have only myself and The Husband to feed.  Why do I need 10 place settings of everyday dishes and 8 place settings of china, and countless glasses, many teacups, etc, etc?  Because I love them.  Every last piece.

My mother's Blue Onion china (she has 3 other complete sets of dishes)

Both of my sisters have been stricken with this genetic disorder.  They too have cupboards and cabinets full of lovely dishes that they have obtained as wedding gifts, inheritances, and their own purchases.  I know if I asked them if they could part with any of it, they would be hard pressed to say yes.  Time will tell if this dish curse passes on to their daughters and granddaughters.  If it does, I know to whom I can leave my treasures!!

So now the world knows about our family disorder. I will no longer live in shame and I will hold my head up high the next time I walk out of the antique or collectors store with my newly purchased tea cup.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Change Of Pace

I have been giving a lot of thought to this blog which is now four years old.  I have decided that I need to make some changes, both to energize my creative juices and to energize my desire to lose some weight.  One of the problems with having a food blog is that there is always something to cook and then in turn, there is always something that needs to be eaten. 

As much as I enjoy trying new recipes, my leaning has not been toward the most healthy, low cal foods.  What fun is it to blog about celery sticks??? Well, my waist line has paid the price and it's time to pay attention.  I will still be blogging recipes from time to time, but I am going to use this blog to post photos and writings of whatever strikes my fancy.  I'm not going to feel tied to the kitchen every weekend cooking, but instead I am hoping to get myself outside and moving again. 

Those of you who follow me on a regular basis are much appreciated and I hope I will still keep you as an audience as I venture on to new arenas, as I have subtitled my blog, A Slice of Life.  Above is a picture I took last Saturday on a sidewalk on my block as I started off on a walk in between rain showers, with the sun peeking through the clouds.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

On Vacation

Beautiful yellow plums in our back yard

I'm taking a little vacation from my blog for a week or two or three.  I am working on a couple of time-consuming projects that require my undivided attention on the weekends.  Because of this, I have no time to plan, cook, fashionably plate, photograph, write, and post my blog.  As much as I love doing this blog, it does require a lot of time and effort.

So....I'm taking a break.  Check in occasionally. I may need a change of pace from my projects and I often do get the itch to get in the kitchen if I'm away from it too long.  I just can't promise anything!  I leave you with a few pictures from the past glorious summer.
A lovely sampling of microbrews in Cannon Beach, Oregon

And speaking of Cannon Beach, its famous monolith

Calla Lillies in our yard