So I guess you all know that I am a Recipe Modifier. I rarely follow to the letter a recipe I find. But I own many cookbooks and I decided to make a goal of trying new things, as I tend to make the same things over and over. I made an asian chicken noodle recipe from the NYT, a beef taigne with winter squash, and some chicken cooked in yogurt. All more or less following a recipe. The chicken stuff was ok but not fantastic, the beef was darned good and the chicken in yogurt is tasty but not so lovely. Tonight, I am back to the "wing it" form of cooking. So I thought I would walk you through what that looks like at my house.
Musaman beef curry from Bowl Food
1 T. tamarind pulp (um, used to have it but threw that out since I never used it. It is an ingredient in the curry paste so I omit)
2 T. vegetable oil (check)
1.5 lbs. lean stewing beef (check on the beef, not so check on the lean)
2 c. coconut milk (wow. Lot of coconut milk. Forget that, I don't want this stuff swimming.... I compromise on the coconut milk/cream and make it 1 can total)
4 cardamom pods (make that 12)
2 cups coconut cream (see coconut milk above)
2-3 T. prepared Musaman curry paste (make that about 4T. or a nice semi round half can)
2 T. fish sauce (not my favorite, omit)
8 pickled onions (sub 1.5 small onions sliced and a T. of vinegar)
8 baby potatoes (sub 4 adult potatoes)
2 T. brown sugar (reserving judgment)
.5 cup unsalted peanuts, ground (sub 1 large spoonful disgusting natural peanut butter left by SB)
The directions start by soaking tamarind in water (scratch that, omitted tamarind).
Heat oil in wok (sub dutch oven).
Add beef in batches and cook over high heat until browned (do it all at once for a little longer).
Reduce heat and add coconut milk and cardamom pods and simmer for 1 hour. (put in can of coconut milk/cream and pods. Simmer for a while. Add onions and curry paste thinking that it can't do any harm to simmer in curry paste- I mean, yum. Add some carrots because you had a really great musaman curry with carrots before).
Remove beef and strain and save liquid (puh shaw - leave it where it is and save some dishes)
Heat coconut cream and stir in curry paste (um, done a while ago, so have another glass of wine)
Blah blah blah, oil "cracks" add fish sauce (nope) potatoes and beef brown sugar peanuts and tamarind water, straining liquid. (omit all but adding potatoes)
Simmer for 25-30 minutes. (Oh sure, I can do that).
Taste, add lots of salt and big spoonful of chili garlic sauce.
Concessions: Maybe the tamarind would be good. It needed a little tang.
Gloat: 2 cups of coconut milk AND cream would have made a greasy mess. This was the right amount.
Further consideration: It wouldn't hurt to have some more vegetables in that... It is pretty heavy, but quite tasty.
On Sunday it was lovely and warm and I planted King Richard leeks, Italian "Gigante" parsley, Evergreen Hardy White bunching onions, Primor French baby leeks, and Yellow Sweet Spanish onions. I went with the seeding in the flat method. Last year I planted leeks in individual cell packs, but since I have only one plant light and bigger plans, I figured I had better use my space more wisely. So this whole flat is VERY early stuff. I still have space to add another flat or some other starter methods for the just plain early stuff.