Coconut Chicken Curry

February in Portland always fools us with its sunny, springlike days. Then, just as you think it’s safe to go outside, the cold winds knock you down. I was able to sneak away to the beach last weekend, and returned to a husband and daughter who appear to have caught the flu. Let me tell you, not having the flu while everyone else in your house does, is almost as bad as all that. They seem to be on the mend, and as a way to stay clear of their germs, I spent some time creating comfort food. I’m not sure they loved it, but I sure found it comforting.

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If you’re still in the wintery season where you are, you need this in your life.

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Keep in mind that I am still without a stove or kitchen, so I made this in my life-saving skillet.

This could easily be turned into a vegetarian or vegan dish. I’m thinking of trying it with cauliflower, green onions, maybe some chickpeas. Once you get the curry sauce to your taste, you can build it however you like.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 sweet onion, diced
1 delicata or butternut squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
2 Teaspoons tumeric
2 Teaspoons coriander
2 Teaspoons curry powder
1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Rice or pasta to serve alongside

Directions
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet (or Dutch oven) over high heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat and add remaining 1 T olive oil to pan. Add diced onion, diced squash and ginger powder. Cook for a few minutes until the onion and squash is soft. Add pressed garlic and cook for another couple minutes.
Add tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until puree is lightly browned.
Add broth, coconut milk, tumeric, coriander, curry and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Stir in cilantro.
Serve with rice or pasta, and a glass of red wine.

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Kitchen chaos and a yummy treat

Our kitchen remodel is underway. There’s no turning back now. To catch you up: old cabinets have been demoed, the ceiling repaired and resurfaced, woodwork paint burned off…

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Fresh new paint has been applied to all woodwork, the ceiling, and walls.

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I look forward to sitting in this little nook with coffee and a hot scone.

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Behind the scenes, in a shop across town, cabinets are being made, and scheduled to arrive here, ready to install, beginning Monday morning.

We’ve set up camp in the dining room, and although it’s not really that fun washing the dishes in the bathtub, eating at home is not as challenging as you might think. The slow cooker, rice cooker and microwave have served well. But the $30 electric skillet I picked up at Target has been a godsend! Last night I made spaghetti and meat sauce, in that handy appliance. If you’ve never made pasta in a skillet, I can assure you, it’s very efficient. The water boiled quickly, and having the noodles laying flat made for quick, even cooking.

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Beyond the obvious inconveniences and disruption to our everyday lives, the most challenging part of this project, is the number of details…

Paint: what colors? what sheens? I’ve learned more about sheens in the past few weeks than I ever thought possible.

Cabinet hardware: what style? what finish? Who knew the finishes on oil-bronzed hardware could be so different?

Granite: which slab? where should it be placed? should it have a 4″ backsplash? should it go behind the stove? around the sides of the stove? what should the edges look like?

In my opinion, it’s these small details that are most important in the final focus and look of the room. As much as I love poking around stores like Rejuvenation, my over-stimulation issues surface, and make seemingly easy decisions painful for everyone around me. Yesterday, after we spent five hours shopping for cabinet hardware, my often not-so-patient husband told me he actually admires my detail neurosis! Yay! After nearly 19 years of marriage, he gets me!

Unfortunately, this remodel has kept me from baking… that is until I discovered individual chocolate chips cookies microwaved in a jar!

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Moist, gooey, delicious!

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With or without ice cream…

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Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
In a microwave safe jar, mug or ramekin place 1 Tablespoon of butter. Melt it in the microwave for 15 seconds at 70% power. Add sugars, vanilla and salt. Stir well. Add the egg yolk and stir well. Add the flour and mix well. It will be the consistency of cookie dough. Add the chocolate chips and stir just to distribute. Microwave for 30-40 at 70% power. Continue to microwave 10 seconds at a time at 70% power until the dough begins to puff up a bit. It will look like it’s not done, but it will be cakey in the center. The cook time depends on your microwave. Do not overcook, check at 50 seconds. It may not need any more than that.