Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Best Victory (plus three supplemental victories)

After last week's featured kitchen failures, I have a success story to boast of.  But this success did not come easy!  It was snatched right out of the jaws of defeat, over and over again.  Read my tale, I'll try to make it short . . .

In November I ate at my sister's house, I ate her Chicken Tikka Masala that she makes.  I nearly ate the entirely platter.  I wish I had.  I wish I hadn't left any for anyone else.  It was beguilingly delicious.  This weekend I finally looked up the recipe on her recipe blog and made it myself.  I was very happy with the results, but I almost messed it all up a few times.

First, I put my chicken in the mixing bowl and then tossed all the marinade ingredients on top of it.  Noticed later that the recipe said to combine ingredients and add the chicken.  This mistake did not seem to cause any major problems.  And yes, if you look closely you'll see my ginger isn't exactly minced.

The recipe calls for the skewering and grilling of chicken.  I have no skewers, I have no grill, so I put all the chicken into a big frying pan along with probably too much of the marinade.  Eh, everything seemed fine but this might be why the flavor I most remember from my dinner is cinnamon.  I basically almost made cinnamon toast chicken that night.

Meanwhile, the sauce part of the recipe calls for one jalepeño all chopped up.  So I respected that.  But next time I'm definitely chopping up to jalepeños.  I need it spicier.

Now here comes my near total failure: When it was time to add heavy cream to the sauce I discovered that 1) I had 1/2 as much heavy cream as I needed and 2) my heavy cream was not heavy cream at all but some sort of heavy non-dairy heavy cream.  Oh no!  For a second I thought I'd have to throw the whole thing out (preferable at that point to running to the store for the right creamers) but I found some real heavy cream in the fridge to add to the pan.  A refrigerator miracle!

I assume the sauce's incredibly oiliness right here is from the non-dairy cream breaking down into its "real" components.  I skimmed a lot of this oil off, a LOT, and was eventually able to reduce the sauce down to the right sort of creamy.

And here's the final product, doesn't it look like it wasn't any trouble at all?  I wound up eating about three times this much that night.

An additional error previously unmentioned: I'm sure I put in too much lemon juice and I definitely put in too many lemon seeds.  Do not bite down on a cooked lemon seed!  They are so bitter!

Again, here's a link to the recipe.  If your cupboard has already got a lot of spices in it you'll barely need to buy anything at the store at all.

Supplemental Additional Victories Worth Mentioning:

This pizza tasted a lot better than it looks, particularly the sausage and pepperoni half. 

Peanut Butter Snickers par avion, the perfect breakfast.

And this isn't food, but grandest victory this week was being on an unstoppable, indomitable Pictionary team.  Did we sometimes guess the picture before anyone had even begun drawing?  Perhaps.  Did we correctly identify punctuation marks when drawing symbols was against the rules? Perhaps.  Did I surprise even myself with my artistic rendering of "echo"?  Also perhaps.

(And with all these "perhaps"s I'm just being falsely modest, if you couldn't tell)

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