"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, August 16, 2008

Chicken Satay with Peanut Curry Sauce

When my mom asked me to bring an appetizer or dessert to their neighborhood potluck last Friday night, my strategy for choosing a recipe was to skim the hors d'oeuvres chapter and look for one that had a relatively short "active time".

By the way, Gourmet people, have I told you how much I LOVE that feature of the cookbook? Whoever insisted on that format is a genius and should get a raise.

It makes life so much easier to have a ballpark figure for how long it's going to take to cook whatever delectable recipe you've embarked on. I'll never forget the day I was making injera out of Sundays at Moosewood for a dinner party that night, and got to the part of the recipe that says, "let the batter rest for 24 hours." Kind of throws a monkey wrench in, doesn't it?

If you don't have The Gourmet Cookbook (and why don't you? What's wrong with you?) each recipe is formatted something like this:

Chicken Satay with
Peanut Curry Sauce

Makes about 10 hors d'oeuvres
active time: 25 minutes / start to finish: 1 1/2 hours

SO much easier than skimming the recipe, looking for the time indicators and then guessing how long the prep work will take. So thank you, thank you, thank you genius Gourmet people. You make my life easier.

If you don't know what satay is, you've most likely encountered this or something like it at a wedding or other catered party--thin strips of chicken on a bamboo skewer, with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. Satay is essentially an Indonesian dish and of course we westerners have taken a broad category of food and encapsulated it into what we think is the definitive version. And naturally, it's the most tame. Don't believe me? Consider this, from Wikipedia:

Sate Burung Ayam-ayaman (Bird Satay)

The satay made from gizzard, liver, and intestines of “Burung Ayam-ayaman” (a migrating sea bird). After being seasoned with mild spices and stuck on a skewer, this bird’s internal organs aren’t grilled, but are deep fried in cooking oil instead.

Or this:

Sate Torpedo (Testicles Satay)
Satay made from goat testicles (Sweetmeat) marinated in soy sauce and grilled. It is eaten with peanut sauce, pickles, and hot white rice.

I can guarantee you won't see that at your next wedding.

Here's a photo of my nice, tame Chicken Satay:

The people loved it. I did too.

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