What is your passion? My first is Jesus, then Steve, then Steve next, and after that, Steve, my family, cooking, and the success of my novel. Do your passions ever conflict with one another? Maybe that is not the question I really mean to ask. Do your passions sometimes bump one another out of the picture? Marketing my book has been bumping a lot of other pursuits into the background. I’ve decided that I’m not going to allow that to happen. At least, I’ll try not to let it happen. Better said: It’s not going to happen.
Yesterday my passionate pursuit was cooking. My life circumstances did not always permit cooking to develop into a passion. In the past five years until now, cooking has been claiming its rightful place. I enjoy it. The way to enjoy cooking is not to allow it to become a burden. For instance, if a recipe calls for something I don’t have, I find a substitute or another recipe. What I don’t do is drop everything and run to the store to purchase every single item on the recipe before I prepare it. Here is another tip: Choose simple recipes, or make them simple with substitutions or eliminations.
Here was yesterday’s fairly simple meal. It could have been simpler, and I’ll explain that statement later. I prepared a recipe from allrecipes.com entitled cardamom chicken with salt and pepper crust, and a stir fry using all the veggies above, except the pear, which I cut up for a dessert, and the broccoli that I steamed by itself. All of these items were in our refrigerator. When I make a stir fry, I make it out of whatever we have on hand. We always have vegetables and fruits on hand, which means we shop frequently, because they don’t stay fresh very long. Notice the potato. It looks like a yellowish white potato, but it’s an Asian sweet potato. My Japanese friend gave it to us to try. It’s very sweet, sweeter than our sweet potatoes, and the texture is more like a white potato, but not exactly. I laid the potato on the oven rack next to the chicken thighs. Cardamom, which was part of the marinade for the chicken thighs, is a spice well known to Norwegians and Asians. I like it very much. I use ground cardamom rather than pods.
I made the stir fry by cutting up the vegetables and tossing them into a wok with olive oil (or you can use a large skillet). I sprinkled curry powder on them and flipped them around until they were crunchy tender (cooking them however you like them will work best). I included a handful of walnuts. I did not chop them. At the end I added a teaspoonful of Jalapeno pepper jelly and a sprinkle of rice vinegar and stirred. I intended to crush the garlic cloves in my special Pampered Chef garlic press, but I forgot. Duh. I scooped them up with the rest of the veggies and threw them, whole, into the stir fry. I removed them later. My little mess-up didn’t hurt my stir fry, but it made me feel like a fool. Get over it. Right? I’m already over it.
It helps to have good tools for cooking. I have better cooking tools now than I ever had before. Cool. I am a pampered cook. Take a look at this super-duper garlic press!
How could my meal have been simpler? I could have put chicken thighs in a baking dish with salt and pepper instead of preparing a marinade and waiting four hours for the flavors to soak into the chicken. I am not saying it was a bad recipe. The chicken thighs were very good. I am saying that the extra work and four hours waiting did not produce the fabulous difference in flavor I expected. There was a mild cardamom flavor, but I expected more dazzling savor to compensate me for my extra prep time and labor. It only required an extra ten minutes to put together but four hours to marinate. Just saying…