Friday, March 25, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Here is the first food post since my hiatus!

Don't be surprised to see many slow cooker meals posted up on here. The slow cooker is such a life saver because I work such long days, it is much easier to throw together food in a pot in the morning, turn it on LOW, and have dinner ready and waiting for me when I return home.
Some people think that slow cookers are only for cold winter nights -- don't let them fool you. I enjoy meals out of my slow cooker year round. You are not limited to soups (did you know you can even bake a cake in a slow cooker?), and having a meal ready for you when you get home from work is better than no meal at all!

This was the first time I made chicken curry in the slow cooker and it came out such a success. To make it even a bigger success, when I added a dallop of plain nonfat yogurt to my chicken curry right before eating it, it came out so creamy and so rich... and Damn Delicious! Sure, you can make a dish creamy by adding fatty creams to the dish, but why would you do that... plus, the tartness of the plain yogurt adds a nice bite to the dish.
I got a head start the night before on this dish, to get the busy-work out of the way, so I can sleep in a bit longer in the morning.
The night before, I de-fatted and de-boned the chicken (I used dark meat). I discard the fat and saved the bones in the freezer (to make chicken stock in the future).
I cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and placed into the slow cooker. On my vegetable-only cutting board, I chop up carrots and onions and add that to the slow cooker as well.
NOTE: I use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables to prevent cross contaminatio I can't stand n00bs who don't understand that raw meats has bacteria, so you want to play it safe, even if you wash your cutting boards thoroughly.

The next morning, I scrubbed up and chopped up some potatoes. I do not peel the potatoes since the skin is delicious and I do not cut it the night before since potatoes oxidizes (just like cut apples). Add the potatoes to the slow cooker, as well as some tomato paste (i use canned), 2 tbs of curry (nothing fancy, the kind from Albertsons), and some cumin, salt and pepper. I had some leftover chicken broth in the fridge, so I dumped all of that into the slow cooker, then added some water to supplement. I also like my curries and sauces to be thick so I added 4 heaping spoonfuls of flour to the pot. Perhaps I could have used corn starch or tapioca starch, but because all my kitchen supplies are packed away neatly (our kitchen is under renovation so I need to cook out of my make-shift kitchen), I dont have my entire kitchen arsenal on-hand.

Mix everything together in the slow cooker so everyone gets a coating of each ingredient, then turn on the slow cooker to "Low" setting and let it run for 8 hours.

When I came home, the entire house smelled so good!

Give the entire pot a quick stir, then ladle a big helping of chicken curry over a bed of rice (I eat brown rice).
Don't forget to mix in the plain nonfat yogurt if you like, to add additional creamy tartness.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New look. New format.

Its been 2 years since my last post, and almost 4 years since I started this blog.  It's time for a brand new look & feel, and resume posting on the (somewhat) regular basis.

For those who have forgotten what the previous blog looked like, here is a screenshot:

I dropped the ball on updating the blog regularly, because the entire task was very daunting: while trying to cook an entire meal on a work night in my hungry and exhausted state, I need to take photos of every step of the preparation &cooking process?  After uploading the photos from the camera to the computer to the blog, I found writing the actual blog post very difficult:  I never use measurements when I cook, but when writing each post in traditional recipe format, I must include the actual measurement for every ingredient?  
The entire task from start to finish was very difficult.  
In the end, I could not keep any of that up and stopped blogging.

Here is my soluition moving forward:
  1. No more step-by-step photos directions.  Text only.
  2. No more recipes in traditional 'recipe' format.  This means; no exact measurements, no bullet list of ingredients, no enumerated list of instructions.
    As I always remind people, cooking is not about exact steps and measurements.  Cooking is about using some information (whether its a cooking technique, or dinner meal idea) and adding your own twist and creativity to your dish.
    Thus, it is contradictory for me to post step-by-step directions how to cook, and how much of each ingredient.
    My blog entries will now be in log or "diary" form. 
  3. Lastly, I need to keep in mind that this blog is supposed to be for 'fun'.  =)
- Jen