"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Malaysian Chicken Curry

With its long list of exotic ingredients, this looks like a promising dish. Star anise. Cinnamon stick. Coconut milk. Jalapeno pepper. Ginger. Garlic.

Which is why I was so disappointed at the dinner table. Malaysian Chicken Curry was surprisingly bland to me, and I'm trying to figure out why.

One possibility is that I used light coconut milk instead of regular. We all know (or at least if you're in this business you know) that fat=flavor, so maybe I shot myself in the foot there.

Another is that I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts even though the recipe suggests using skin-on (for the flavor). OK.

But the rest of it should have shone through! Instead it was a somewhat thin sauce that to me was overwhelmed by the bland chicken (can you tell I'm not a fan of white meat?)

If I were doing a take-two of this dish, I would alter it like so: I would probably use thigh meat (skinless) and cut the chicken into smaller pieces. If forced to use breast meat I would do the same thing. I would also add something to the sauce to give it some body--I can see a potato/tomato/pea combination that would enhance the sauce ingredients nicely.

The other reason why this dish was frustrating is because I cooked it at home especially for my heat-loving son and husband. Recipes like this don't fly at work--I don't care HOW bland I think something is--I can guarantee you my 80-something employers would find it intolerable.

So--parents of teenagers groan along with me--when O'Malley walked into the kitchen and grimaced, saying, "What's that smell?" I bristled, and when he tasted it and said, "No.", I sent him to his room to eat grapes for dinner instead. I don't spend an hour in front of a stove for that kind of attitude.

And Don and I had a nice (quiet) dinner by candlelight on the deck. Hey, the curry might not have been the best, but the rum--and the companionship--was tops.

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