Saturday, March 28, 2009
My kindergartner came home yesterday with her April calendar all made up with a paper umbrella and pipe cleaner handle. I noticed the upcoming birthdays of the class (very few, thank goodness...I thought I might have to become a barista or something to finance the gifts). Then checked for holidays.
April 12...a picture of a half-broken egg...no label. Wait...we can't type the word "Easter" for fear of offending someone who may not wish to sully their eyes with the word...like it releases mustard gas upon being sighted? Okay, they must not know about the missionary history of St. Patrick's Day because that one was printed. I guess a holiday known for it's poor food and lots of beer is actually what we want our kids to know about. But, anyways.....
Easter is coming in two weeks. Do you know what you're making? Lamb roast is traditional because it mimics the lamb eaten by Jewish people celebrating the Passover. And you know why the holidays are always connected, right? Because Jesus was crucified during Passover and then rose again the third day--which is the reason we celebrate Easter...new life and all. Spring chicks are a nice symbol of new life...easier to merchandise and commercialize than an eerily empty tomb I suppose.
But, as I've mentioned before, my family was decidedly anti-lamb when it came to Easter dinner. We were more in the "ham" or "roast beef" camp. I always voted for ham, the sweet porky roast being my birthday dinner choice for years and years as a child until I discovered teriyaki steak at Black Angus (there were limited restaurant choices near Littlerock, WA).
I even loved the church potluck ham, served very thin and topped with apple sauce. It seemed there were usually the scalloped potatoes and butter-flake rolls to accompany this meal. And I seem to remember that broccoli-raisin-red onion salad slathered in a mayo sauce (or Miracle Whip in the case of my mom's recipe---on a side note, I have not had any luck converting my husband to the stuff...something about it having "whipped miracles" as an ingredient).
Ham and roasted pig (lechon) is a Filipino favorite. Thankfully Heaven ordained at least one uniting force of common ground in my mixed-racial marriage...although I'm inclined to think marital differences occur in the most racially-uniform marriages!
My mother-in-law boiled their Christmas ham in pineapple juice and bay leaves before roasting it in the oven. They ate it at midnight every Christmas Eve because that was when my father-in-law got off his swing shift casino schedule.
I've dabbled in celebrity chef/food network type recipes, but usually end up changing them or never making them again on account of expensive and rare ingredients that seem to permeate those dishes. Four years ago, I made a ham breakthrough...even converting my ham-standard mother-in-law. And two Christmases ago, I served our favorite ham dinner with some friends (including a Southern-type who won't even eat turkey for Thanksgiving on account of his preference of ham...he was probably on a government watch list for this anti-American activity until recently).
I tell you, if you can't get on board with the lamb roast, nothing beats the sheer cost-effective goodness of ham. Don't get one of those spiral cut kind because they're already loaded with extra ingredients. But, I'm telling you, you can feed a boat-load of people with one ham AND have the bone plus some meaty goodness left for a great Ham and Bean Soup (maybe I'll do this recipe next post).
This recipe is the one...am I right Kristi?
The Ham You Should Make
1 ham (in a bag, unsliced, in "natural" juices with the bone)
1/4 c brown mustard
2 c dark brown sugar (I usually end up using less, though)
1 oz (1/8 c) bourbon (Jack Daniels is one brand...)
2 c crushed ginger snap cookies
Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
Remove ham from the bag; rinse and drain thoroughly. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Using a small paring knife or a utility knife with a new blade set to the smallest setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut. Only cut through the skin and fat layers. Rotate the ham after each cut so the scores are no more than 2 inches across. Then repeat, spiraling counter-clockwise. (Diamond pattern is what you're going for.)
Tent the ham with heavy duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook 3-4 hours until the internal temp in the deepest part is 130 degrees.
Remove the ham from the oven, remove the foil from the ham, and use tongs to pull away diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with it.
Raise the oven temp to 350 degrees.
Dab the ham dry with paper towels, brush with a liberal coat of mustard. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and pack it onto the ham until it is coated. Spritz or sprinkle with the bourbon, then loosely pack on as many crushed ginger snap cookies as possible.
Insert the thermometer in a new hole. Return to the oven, uncovered, for about 1 hours until the temp is 140 degrees.
Let the ham rest on the counter lightly covered with the foil for 30 minutes before carving.
I've got to give credit to Uncle Alton Brown for this recipe. It's so good that I haven't altered it a bit and therefore can't take any credit myself...except for the fact that I make it and serve it to very happy friends and family! Thanks A.B.!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This month, Julie Jams is a featured blogger on LookandTaste.com. Very excited and thrilled to be a part of it. Click the link to read the full article.
Posted by Julie Jams at 7:54 AM
Friday, March 20, 2009
One of my favorite local publications, Seattle Metropolitan, featured local "Top Sweets" this month. The lucky journalists engaged in testing the desserts tried nearly every pie, cake, chocolate, brownie, and cupcake around the area giving all of us an easy chart to find the best ones. Surprisingly, there were even a few Eastside mentions (Hoffman's Fine Pastries in Kirkland, to name one). My side of the lake usually gets nary a mention (yeah yeah, except for the whole issue dedicated to the Eastside last month...but other than that, not much).
Maybe it was too new to mention in the Seattle Met list, but Kirklanders are going a little nuts for our new favorite cupcake shop Sweet Cakes. Certain men I know have even had to prove that it was a dessert joint they were going to and not another kind of joint, when mentioning Sweet Cakes to their co-workers.
I'd been wanting to try this place for a while when I got the opportunity to sample the cupcakes at a children's birthday party recently. Yum. (I'd say "love at first bite" but that's cheesy). Of course, I tried the Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting...maybe one of the most delicious inventions on the planet. I'm a sucker for cream cheese frosting, but the moist buttermilk cake was great, too!
Since then, I've also sampled the chocolate, mint-chocolate, and coconut varieties. The coconut ranks a close second on the delicious scale...the rest haven't been quite as close. But, Red Velvet is the one for me!
If you are in town, check them out! The staff is friendly and the sweets are tasty.
My own attempt at cupcakes for my son's 4th birthday turned out beautifully thanks to my friend Wendy's:
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c warm water
3/4 c buttermilk
3 TB oil
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 and line the muffin tin with paper liners.
Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl. Mix well.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling 2/3 full (makes about 18-24). Bake about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
For icing, combine 4 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 TB corn syrup, and 2/3 c heavy cream that has been heated. Stir together to melt the chocolate. Chill it a while to thicken. Then, dip the cupcakes and let drip over a wire rack.
If you chill them, they are kind of like a delicious version of Hostess cupcakes, (minus the whipped cream filling)!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Last night was the second Julie Jams cooking class. This class's theme was "Wild & Crazy Salads". We swapped the regular garden variety salad for some more interesting choices including Jicama Orange, Spinach Orzo Pilaf, Lemon-Garlic Quinoa, and Scandanavian Slaw.
Since this class was announced via the blog, we actually had a couple of people I'd never met. It was really fun to see some new souls included. There was a mother-daughter duo as well (the mother is a long-time friend of my mom's who happened to be her own "Julie Jams" type in their group of friends!). And a couple of my own friends made it.
We started the night with a few snacks and small talk and then dove right into the salads.
First up for prep was the Scandanavian Slaw. A departure from traditional mayonnaise-drenched variety, this slaw has a refreshing crunch thanks to the apples, fennel, celery, and sliced cabbages. The dressing consists of buttermilk, cider vinegar, oil, and sugar. This one needed a little bit of time to marinate, so it went into the fridge until the end.
Second up was the Jicama Orange salad. Though all the salads have their merits, this might have been the People's Choice last night. After a little discussion on the tuber called Jicama, I peeled the brown knobby vegetable and cut it into matchsticks. A mixture of oranges from Navel to Valencia to Blood varieties brightened up the salad, carefully sectioned and de-membraned (you need a very sharp knife for that!). The juice from a lime on top, followed by a sprinkling of chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Ooooo...this is a beauty of a salad especially if you use the Blood oranges. Their ruby colored juice stains the Jicama and the small flecks of chili powder add visual interest (and a little heat). This salad went straight to the tasters. There were no leftovers to put in the fridge at the end of the night!
Then came the salads with a cooked component.
Thirdly, we made the Lemon Garlic Quinoa salad. It was fun to introduce this grain to most of the guests. At 10.5 grams of protein per cup (plus calcium and other nutrients), this South American grain packs a nutritional punch. It has an earthy almost nutty aroma. After being rinsed of its bitter outer layer, I cooked the quinoa in boiling water like pasta for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I assembled the rest of the salad and the dressing...diced carrots, minced parsley, sunflower seeds topped with a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce, mashed garlic, and lots of lemon juice. Once the quinoa cooked and was drained, I added it to the salad and mixed. We ate this at the end to allow time for it to cool down. This salad is great served cold, as well. And it travels like a champ...nothing gets smooshed or soggy.
Finally, we got to the Spinach Orzo Pilaf. Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta. It cooked for about 7 minutes (al dente), then I added it to the baby spinach while it was still hot. A little fried garlic went on top, then it was mixed up and covered for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt a bit. Finally, some freshly grated parmesan cheese finished out the flavors. This one is best served immediately and doesn't really keep that well on account of the wilted spinach. Try it with chicken or fish (mmm...with salmon).
Thanks everyone for coming! I had a fun time with you all. And I look forward to the next class...I'm thinking Mediterranean Dinner night.
If you have any comments or questions, I'd love to hear back from you.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Three years ago, I opened the wardrobe door and entered the magical world of bread pudding thanks to one of my favorite restaurants Bennett's Pure Food Bistro. Since then, I've tried the dessert at multiple food venues, desperately trying to duplicate the magic at home. Most of the time restaurant versions disappoint because they are not made to order and are therefore reheated unsuccessfully (yes, that means cold in the middle, yuck!).
My best girl Kasey gave me her secret family recipe in exchange for my firstborn, but for some reason I can never get it to set right (I'm sure it's user error!). Anyhow, we decided she had enough girls already, so I got my daughter back.
I've given all of the celebrity chefs' recipes a whirl (well, maybe not all of them) and recipes range from cinnamon and raisins to chocolate to nuts. Most unsuccessful are when I just wing it...hmmm, maybe it is something to do with baking and custard chemistry...
But I stuck with it. And over the years I've gotten closer and closer to perfection. And then, this morning, I had a breakthrough producing the big prize. In all my recipe searches, one special ingredient caught my eye...croissants. Yeah, you know it's going to be good.
This morning on the way home from my preschool drop off, the baby and I stepped into The French Bakery, a fairly new shop in Kirkland. Fresh off the racks were some beautiful, impossibly flaky croissants. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
One of the recipes I stumbled upon along the way used Bourbon to flavor the pudding. Seeing as how I never stock Bourbon, I got to thinking.....vanilla extract is delicious AND uses Bourbon for the solution. Perfect.
And instead of chocolate which is my normal dessert default...caramel. Smooth, sweet, and a little bit salty to drizzle over the top.
A word of warning...the following recipe is not allowable in any sort of diet where you're trying to actually reduce your waistline. But....iz soooo good.
Julie Jams Bread Pudding
First, make the caramel sauce so it has time to thicken up. And on a side note, if you've never noticed a difference between butters, you HAVE to try Kerrygold Irish butter. I swear it stands heads and shoulders above my regular butter. And, yes, I tried it plain as in a little bite on a spoon or, you know, two.
2 TB butter (Kerrygold!!)
1 1/2 TB brown sugar
1 1/2 TB white sugar
2 tsp water
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
2 TB heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together the butter, sugars, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cream and vanilla, boiling 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Let it sit and thicken for about an hour (or less)
For the pudding, tear up and place in a 1 QT casserole dish:
2 croissants (not too tiny of pieces)
In a saucepan, combine:
1/2 c sugar
2 TB water
Whisk together and then heat over MH until it is bubbly and ideally amber in color (although, my past experience with sugar crystallizing makes me a little chicken to take it all the way). After about 5 minutes of all that, remove from the heat and stir in:
1/2 c heavy cream
1 TB vanilla (or Bourbon if you like)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
Pour all of this over your croissants, then let it sit for about 10 minutes. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Leave it alone on the counter for a little while, maybe 15 minutes so it can really set up. Then carve out 4 pieces (or eat it out of the dish...), drizzle with the caramel and, look out, or someone will see you licking out the dish!
(To reheat leftovers..haha...heat the oven to 300 and warm for 8-10 minutes or until you can't stand it any longer).
Monday, March 9, 2009
Last night we foodbuzz food bloggers journeyed from afar to gather at Brasa on 3rd Ave in Seattle. Our hostess blogger Nurit reserved us a large swath of tables in the bar (which turned out to be an unnecessary move considering that we were only joined by two other parties in the entire restaurant!).
Before I get to the main event, I should first apologize to said hostess for failing to email photos for her post. I fully intended on getting them there this morning, but that was before my baby woke up about 89 times coughing in the night. I spent most of the morning in the doctor's office and the pharmacy. Somehow, I just didn't get to sending those pics.
Brasa is a Spanish cuisine restaurant owned by Tamara Murphy and Bryan Hill (Tamara also owns the Elliot Bay Cafe in the bookstore). It is a darkly lit, warmly colored dining room and bar (which, I'm told, is packed out on weeknights). Located about 6 blocks north of Union Street on 3rd, it is advisable not to park your car in the 2nd and Union parking garage unless you like long cold walks down questionable 2nd street alone in the dark.
Although a few men were included in the invite, the group that showed up turned out to be all of the feminine persuasion. I arrived about 15 minutes late (I know, crazy for me to get there late!) expecting that the group would slowly dwindle in. However, I was surprised that I was nearly the last one there. This landed me a seat at the end of the tables.
On my left, there was a reunion between Seattle Tall Poppy and the GastroGnome...lively ladies with a lot to say and catch up on. On my right, were Kooky Culinary and Puget Sound Cookery...perhaps the complete opposite in personality to the women on my left. These two were friendly, but definitely on the quiet side.
Of course, I came totally unprepared as per normal Julie style. No business cards to hand out. No pre-thought list of questions for my fellow bloggers. The only thing I'd managed to prepared for was the menu which I'd looked up in order to narrow down my choices. But I was keeping an open mind for whatever "something special" that the chef might throw our way (did I miss it or was there "nothing special"?).
Our savvy server kept our goblets filled with either a red or a white, undoubtedly helping the conversations flow from their halting beginnings. It did feel a bit like the first day in the junior high cafeteria all over again. Questions ranged from "Why do you blog?" (uh...for blinding fame, of course) to "What restaurant do you take out-of-town guests to?" (those are few and far between, but Zeek's Pizza, Pho Express, and Cafe Julie..as in my home cooking...are the usual).
The conversations made me realize a couple of things. First, this group was very well traveled. Most Asian destinations were covered in just the 4 women closest to my end of the table. Secondly, I don't get out much! My knowledge of Seattle restaurants is mostly limited to reviews I've read in various magazines.
But let's get to the food, shall we? I ordered the Fig Pizzetta for starters--a small pizza with figs, chevre cheese, serrano ham, sprinkled with thyme. It was pretty good, but I could have done with a bit less thyme (it was a bit "medicinal" as Seattle Tall Poppy pointed out).
This was an everyone-shares event. So I also got to try the Octopus (okay, a little chewy, but hey, it's octopus),
the pitas and hummus (not bad, but I'm not switching from the Meze's hummus), bone marrow with fig jam (yum, nice and salty),
and the curried mussels (the sauce was amazing!!). Go for the mussels for sure.
For the main course, I thought I should order something very Brasa-esque. Portuguese Pig or Paella. Kooky Culinary and I went for the pig (half-portions are ample). Several chunks of slow roasted pig sat upon half of a roasted yukon gold potato. These were swimming in a red paprika sauce garnished with a few clams. Honestly, I was expecting amazing. How can you go wrong with pig? Well, you can dry it out. My pig-mate and I discovered that it took a dousing in the paprika sauce to moisten it up. And I know that paprika sauce is supposed to be warm and savory, but this is pig we're talking about and a little sweet would have been nice. Next time, I'm getting the Lamb Burger on the Happy Hour menu ($7!!!). It had a great flavor and was decidedly not dry!
After our dinner dishes were collected, several of the women made a dash to the W.C. I took the opportunity to steal one of the chairs on the other end of the table. This is where I met the hostess, Nurit from 1 Family, Dianasaur, The Pink Hobart, Cakespy, Diggin Food, and one other who's name is escaping me (sorry lady from the coast!!).
These women were all enjoyable to talk to, warm and friendly. We got some gardening tips from Diggin Food, some "sweet" stories from Cakespy, cooking class questions from the super sweet Dianasaur, and kid swaps with Nurit.
Spanish donuts turned out to be churros with a chocolate dipping sauce and maybe the most interesting dessert on the menu. The standards like trio of gelato, creme brulee, chocolate cheesecake all made an appearance.
I'd say that the highlight was meeting Tamara towards the end. She shared her recent "Life of a Pig" experience which was fun to hear. Thanks to Nurit for arranging this event!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
One of the perks of being a critically acclaimed food writer (haha) is that companies send products to my house for a review. A couple of weeks back, I was overjoyed to see a package on my doorstep. Usually, I receive some sort of consumable, but this time the box contained two kitchen utensils...Herb Scissors and an Ice Cream Scoop from the website Useful Things.
I've had a busy couple of weeks and was unable to plan anything requiring herb scissors (the only fresh herb I'm using right now is parsley). As far as the ice cream goes...we don't have a lot of that laying around at the moment, either.
I did use the scoop the other night to plate some rice for a stir fry dish. It worked really well for that purpose. But I thought that the company might want me to review the product for its intended use.
Endurance is a line produced by R.S.V.P. International, Inc., a Seattle based company. For a moment, I thought about handing out a bunch of points for the sheer localness of the company. But, as it turns out, these items are manufactured in China like everything else. Oh well, nothing new.
The ice cream opportunity knocked last night. For a few months, my oldest daughter has had a couple of wiggly teeth. Her first ones! I thought, for sure, they'd be out by Christmas. But she isn't the maniacal tooth wiggler that I was as a child. She was perfectly content to let it work itself out. Fine by me...I didn't have dreams of the "door slam" technique or the giant pair of pliers so loved by certain parents I know.
But, then, the new tooth started growing in right behind it. Through a recent tooth discussion with a mom from my daughter's class, I garnered that when this occurs, its time. My grandma tried to do the honors the other day (I think wiggly teeth and hair in the face are her a couple of her biggest pet peeves), but my little girl would have none of that. She'd been recently frightened by the loose tooth escapades of Ramona Quimby.
You know, there's just no convincing a 6 year old drama mama that having your tooth pulled isn't as bad as you think. So I merely asked to look at it and touch it to check it out. With a quick twist, I surprised her at how ready it was to make its escape. We were well on our way now!
A few minutes later, I had convinced her to pull it out (nothing like a tooth facing backwards to get you ready). After the deed was done we had to call all sorts of important people to share the news of this coming-of-age event. My sister, being the fun and loving aunt she is, asked if my daughter had tried to chew anything yet. She then suggested that my daughter should probably try out some ice cream, just to be safe. How about yogurt, I suggested. Too creamy, was my daughter's reply.
So, we sent daddy to the store for a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry's. Finally a chance to test out my new "#12, ice cream size, ...cog regulated, spring released blade for dependable and lasting durability."
I let the ice cream sit out for a few minutes to soften it up a bit, but it was still pretty hard when, having been asked if it was ice cream time for the hundredth time, I decided to go for it. The beautiful shiny handle was actually really hard to grip. I kept accidentally squeezing the cog regulated spring. I'll bet this devise makes beautifully shaped scoops when using very soft ice cream. I tried just grabbing the scoop part, but it was still to difficult. I'm sorry to say that I finally just switched to my trusty non-cog regulated Zyliss scoop. I'll keep the Endurance scoop for shaping lovely rice mounds.
Thanks for the Endurance products, R.S.V.P.! I'm looking forward to checking out those herb scissors!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Maybe you've noticed there haven't been too many recipes lately? Part of it is probably just laziness (I know, shocking...) but part of it is just that I haven't really made anything new lately.
I make weekly menus just so that I know what to make each night. Usually I put a couple of new recipes in a two week period. One such recipe kept getting moved around. I'd planned it for a night when the kids were going to be out thinking that they might not be too excited about it...but then we just went out to eat that night.
Tonight, I was determined to make it...."Mulligatawny". What, you may ask, is mulligatawny? (or maybe you're up on your Indian cuisine and are therefore already bored with this post...)
Michele Anna Jordan wrote a lovely cookbook entitled Salt and Pepper: 135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes Her passion in life is really salt, with pepper coming in second. "You know me," she writes, "I'm the shy girl from elementary school who gave you her ice cream...I have little interest in sweets...ahh, but that salty flourish. I crave it."
Thank goodness for her attention to seasoning, because I have made an awful lot of soups lately that have been underseasoned.
Okay, back to mulligatawny...In the original Indian (Tamil) the word molaga-tanni means "pepper water". It was Engli-fied and adapted to the above mentioned word through the years of colonization.
This version called for chicken-apple sausages, tart apples, a myriad of rarely used spices (on my shelf, anyways), and a fruity white wine. The sausages and apples were easy to find, but I had to call in the Trader Joe's wine expert for the "fruity" libation. Did that mean sweet like a reisling or a gurtawertabertameisterizer (okay, okay, I know that's wrong, but that name drives me nuts)? He asked for the recipe's ingredients and upon hearing "chicken and apples" knew immediately that I was searching for a chardonnay. Thanks TJ helper guy! I promptly bought the super cheap $3.99 bottle of Santa Barbara Landing and stashed it in my cupboard for a couple of weeks.
The first order of business was to make some pita bread...you know me and my penchant for making elaborate and hair-pulling meals. Let me digress for a moment to talk about my breadmaking adventure (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking ...care of BYOB). While tasty, it definitely takes more than 5 minutes and always seems to be underdone, even doughy in the middle. I'm getting kind of annoyed, but I'm sticking with it just adding more cooking time. Pitas, however, don't run the risk of underdoneness simply because the dough is 1/8 of an inch thick.
I preheated my oven (with the stone) to 500 degrees. When it was hot, I took the dough out of the fridge, floured it, rolled it to 1/8 inch and slid it into the oven. 6-7 minutes later, it was a gigantic pillow of bread! It does deflate upon cooling, but it was fantastic! If you have this book, you should definitely try this recipe.
Okay, onto the soup...it is served over jasmine rice. So make the rice first.
Rinse 2 cups jasmine rice under the tap in a strainer. Add it to a pan. Add 3 cups cold water. Heat on high until it boils, then cover and lower the heat to very low. Cook 20 minutes without lifting the lid. Remove from the heat and let it stand 10 minutes without lifting that lid. Fluff with a fork.
2 pounds chicken-apple sausages
1 c fruity white wine
2 firm sweet-tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
4 TB clarified butter (or just plain butter works!)
2 tsp curry powder, plus a pinch
1/2 tsp ground cumin, plus a pinch
Black pepper in a mill
One 2 inch cinnamon stick
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger (keep some in your freezer!)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or less)
4 cups chicken stock (homemade, of course!)
One 14 ounce can coconut milk
1. In a skillet, heat the sausages and the wine over medium heat. Cover with a lid and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, and let the liquid evaporate. Brown the sausages on all sides (the sugars in the wine reduce to a blackish syrup that can burn...look out!). Remove the sausages, let them cool, then slice them into 1/4 inch coins.
2. In a large soup pot, melt 2 TB butter. Add the apples, and season with the pinch of cumin and curry, and several turns of black pepper. Add the cinnamon stick. Saute the apples until they are tender and golden brown. Remove the apples, leave the cinnamon stick.
3. Heat the remaining 2 TB of butter in the same pot. Add the onions and carrots, sauteing over ML heat for about 15 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic, cooking for another couple of minutes. Stir in the curry, cumin, slat, turmeric, cayenne, then add the chicken stock plus 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmering for another 15 minutes. Add in the sausages, simmering for another 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Taste it to see if it needs more salt (which it shouldn't since it is "perfectly seasoned").
5. Divide the rice among the bowls (4-6 large servings). Ladle the soup over the rice. Garnish with the apples. The pitas are the perfect way to mop up the sauce.
Oh, the divine smell of this mildly spicy soup. It's rich and creamy on the tongue, full of flavor from the spices. And did I mention, perfectly seasoned??? This made a believer out of me! I'm always shutting down my husband's suggestions for Indian buffets, but if it tastes like this, I may just go next time he suggests it.
Oh, and my 6 year old daughter loved it! She wanted me to tell y'all to try this (especially after I told her I'd make her famous on my blog..."really mama, famous???!!!").