Sweet Potato Curry

I’ve been so busy lately that to get a rare night at home — on a weekend, no less — is pure bliss. I had intended to spend my Friday night cooking and baking — two things I haven’t been able to do at all recently — but the baking portion of the evening ended up as a big old pile of fail, and should never be discussed again. Luckily, my best friend invited herself over to “watch me cook,” which I found highly amusing but welcome, and the night turned into a cooking party for two.

It’s always nice to have another person in the kitchen, especially when they’re good at chopping vegetables. I’m so accustomed to cooking alone — which, like I imagine gardening or sewing are for other people, is extremely calming and meditative for me — that I’d forgotten how much fun it can be to create a meal with another person.

I made my mother’s lovely sweet potato curry, which is more of a winter dish but with liberal amounts of lime juice and cilantro can be easily perked up into a summer dish as well. Her recipe is below (p.s. Thanks for writing all your recipes down for me, mom and Meemo! Best. Gift. Ever.). It’s quick and easy to throw together and will feed at least four people, especially with a potful of Basmati rice to go along with it.

Sweet Potato Curry

  • 2 1/2 t. canola oil
  • 1 1/4 lbs. chicken or pork, cubed
  • 1 1/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 1/4 T. fresh ginger
  • 2 T. curry powder (I prefer Maharajah curry from Penzey’s)
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 1/2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 c. frozen green peas
  • 1/2 c. frozen edamame
  • zest from one lime
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Saute chicken or pork in canola oil until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In a deep pan or pot, saute shallot in oil. Add ginger, curry powder and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add chicken, sweet potatoes, coconut milk and two pinches of salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas, edamame and lime zest. Serve over Basmati rice and top with chopped cilantro. I also like to add the juice of the lime I zested for even more pep.

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This recipe makes fantastic leftovers if you’re only cooking for one (as I usually am). But with Hala around on Friday night, I only had enough leftovers for one meal. Here’s to good friends and good appetites.

Cheers!

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Onto Greener Pastures

And by “greener,” I mean that some crazy people have decided to PAY ME to do something I love.

Big announcement time.  Deep breaths.

That’s right…yours truly is now an official contributor for our very own hometown Houston Press.  W00t!  That means I’ll be blogging over there at Eating Our Words a near-daily basis, so you can head over there also on a [hopefully] near-daily basis and check out my ramblings, along with the much more professional ramblings of Robb Walsh and Jay Francis.

I’m not abandoning she eats., however, so don’t despair.  I’ll never abandon my first love.  You’ll still be able to read my Weekends in Food, Tuesday Trivia, Wednesday Food Poetry, etc.  But I’m saving the juicy (and non-personal) stuff for the Press.

I can’t wait to see your bright, shiny faces over at Eating Our Words.  So without further ado, here’s my first post:

Putting Dr Pepper on the Map

Enjoy!

My Flag Boy Said to Your Flag Boy, I’m Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire

…talk about hey now — HEY NOW — hey now — HEY NOW — Ike-o, Ike-o, i-nay.

Busy day around the office, trying to catch up.  But in the meantime, here are a few (non-food-related) links for you:

Tribute to the Long House at Singing Sands West: a very moving firsthand account of just what it means to lose a house you’ve worked for your entire life.

Memorial Cleans Up After Ike: my own brief account and photos, posted at Houstonist.

An-Ike-Dotes: a few post-Ike stories from friends of mine.

Power to the People: news about the power outages in Houston.

Hope to be back later with the Part II of The Weekend In Food.  🙂

The Weekend In Food: Hurricane Ike Edition

Friday

6:00pm:  Using the last of the perishable items in the refrigerator/freezer to make dinner: rice pilaf with peas, salad with roasted beets, bell peppers and homemade balsamic vinegar dressing.  The dinner is somewhat haphazard, but the rest of the other really good perishable items were used for last night’s dinner, this morning’s breakfast and this afternoon’s lunch.  We’re down to the dregs.

7:30pm:  Write last two dispatches for Houstonist before we inevitably lose power.

9:00pm:  Sit in front of television and watch the gorgeousness that is Erik Barajas and the awesomeness that is Hurricane Ike Bear.  Wonder when the hurricane will actually make its way to us.

11:00pm:  After getting extremely tired of hearing the phrases “hunker down” and “certain death,” decide to go to bed.  Will hopefully sleep through Ike just like I slept through Hurricane Alicia.

Saturday

2:30am:  Wake up as Richard retreats from the bed to the guest room.  Not because of the hurricane, mind you, but because I was snoring so loudly.

4:15am:  Wake up again as hurricane is now quite loud.  Power is gone, as expected.  Get hand-cranked radio from downstairs and listen to news on KUHF.

4:30am:  Hear news that the landmark restaurant Brennan’s has been destroyed in a fire; the manager and his daughter are very badly burned.  So, so sad.

8:00am:  Wake up again to tropical storm winds and lots of rain.  Hurricane has passed.  Poke face against window to assess damage.  Rummel Creek behind our house looks like the Brazos River and the streets are flooded.

9:00am:  Wake Richard up to go outside and start clearing drains so street doesn’t flood any further.

10:00am:  With help from neighbors, storm drains are all cleared out and floodwaters have begun to go down very quickly.  Downside: am now soaked and covered in disgusting, oily water.  Also: splinters.

10:05am:  Oh, hey…was that our carport?  Damn.

10:15am:  Back inside for a quick water break and breakfast of random fruits.

10:30am:  Calling assorted parents and grandparents and friends to check on everyone.  Everyone is cool.

11:00am:  Back outside, cleaning branches and tree limbs and tree that fell in our backyard.  Neighbors are all out, puttering around, doing the same.  Despite the rain, people are generally chipper and happy that more damage wasn’t done.

2:00pm:  Backyard completely cleaned up, all lawn furniture and potted plants that were taken inside are back outside, and debris is outside our back gate awaiting pick up.  Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.

2:30pm:  Eating applesauce and tortillas and peanut butter for lunch like dopey kids.  Listening to hand-cranked radio and feeling pretty lucky that we got so little damage.

3:00pm:  Head over to my mom’s house to check on her.  Her street looks a lot worse than ours, but their neighbors are all out in full force cleaning it up.  This is what I love about Houston: no one here sits around and waits to be helped; we help ourselves and each other.  We are industrious, good-natured, friendly, and helpful.  Every city should be as awesome as Houston.

3:30pm:  Driving around with mom, assessing the damage in other areas.  Memorial/west Houston is a mess, with trees and brick walls and power lines down everywhere, but doing well compared to the east side and south side.

5:00pm:  Back at home, gathering candles for coming darkness.  Sitting outside, listening to tiny radio, drinking cabernet and eating crusty French bread with lots of butter.  Not bad, overall.

7:00pm:  Best friend comes over to keep me and Richard company.  Drink more wine and tell silly stories until it gets pitch black outside.  Houston never gets dark, ever.  This is weird but cool.

9:00pm:  Best friend takes off and Richard and I retreat inside, away from the bugs.  Fall asleep on couch listening to news reports on radio…

Sunday will come tomorrow.

Take a Hike, Ike!

Sorry the blog’s been kinda quiet the past few days.  It’s our busiest time of year at work, which just so happens to coincide with this ridiculous storm.  In between working and meetings and conference calls, we’ve been trying to get everything secure and orderly around the house.  Le sigh.

I’m obviously staying here in Houston, not evacuating.  There’s no point to us evacuating as we’re so far inland, but I fear greatly for the 40% of Galveston residents who have decided to “ride out” the storm.  I’m afraid there will be no riding out this one, y’all.  😦

Around these parts (west Houston), things are pretty quiet.  No stores open except for Spec’s Liquor and the McDonald’s/Exxon up the street.  A few people have boarded up their houses, but most are plywood-free.  I-10 West is gridlocked, however, with people (costal and East End residents, I’m assuming) leaving for San Antonio and Austin.

We’ve brought all of our houseplants and lawn furniture inside, have a metric ton of water, wine and beer, plenty of non-perishable food, batteries, candles, flashlights and even a nifty hand-cranked radio, courtesy of my mom.  So…yeah.  We’re pretty set.

The eye of the hurricane should pass over around 5am to 7am tomorrow morning as only a Category 1 and it’s moving pretty quickly, so I’m fairly positive we won’t actually need any of the items I’ve just listed above.  I’m also hopeful that power won’t be affected for long, perhaps a day or two at most.

Those of you closer to the coast than we are: stay safe.  Those of you in other areas: pray for those in Galveston and other coastal areas that they may receive safe passage through the night.

See y’all on the other side!