Friday, October 23, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 10/22/15: Massaman Success, Haunted Spokane Again, Australian New Wave

1. This morning I got down to the business of cooking up the Massaman curry I prepped for yesterday. I got out the stock pot and sauteed a chopped onion and sweet peppers in coconut oil, and, out of the blue, decided to season the onions and peppers with Five Spice Powder, a combination of annatto, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and clove.  I can't remember why I had this on hand, but I got it out, smelled it, and imagined that it would add depth to the curry.

Once the onions and peppers softened, I took most of them out of the stock pot, transferred them to my electric fry pan, put some more coconut oil in the stock pot, and heated up four tablespoons of Massaman curry paste for a couple of minutes or so. To the heated paste I added one can of coconut milk and one can of coconut cream. I've been wanting a thinner curry sauce, so I filled the coconut milk can with broth left over from when I boiled the whole chicken yesterday and added it to the emerging sauce.  Next, I added a couple of tablespoons or so of oyster fish sauce and fired in some soy sauce.  Earlier, I had read a Massaman curry recipe that called for a cinnamon stick -- I thought that sounded delicious, so, not having a cinnamon stick, I sprinkled ground cinnamon into the sauce until it felt like I'd added enough -- not a ton, but some, you know.

Before making the sauce, I had taken the russet potatoes I chopped up last night and the green beans I cleaned and prepared and I boiled them until tender.  Along with the cremini mushrooms I'd chopped, I added the tender green beans and potatoes to the onions and sweet peppers, and sauteed them in coconut oil.

Once they were sauteed, I got the chicken out.  I had taken it off the bone yesterday.

I combined the vegetables and maybe half of the chicken into the sauce, brought it to a boil and let it simmer for a while and then turned it off and let it sit for the afternoon.

During the afternoon, I went to the store and bought a can of lightly salted party peanuts and put a few handfuls in the curry.

When it came time to make rice, instead of boiling the rice in water, I used the rest of the chicken broth and threw some pieces of chicken into the broth.

We took the curry to the Diaz's home and Molly, Hiram, and the Deke loved it.

David and Olivia ate chicken nuggets, fruit, and some bread.

They aren't curry fans.

2. The other day I was looking at past things I've written on this blog, and saw a post titled "Haunted Spokane". I wrote it back in 2006 after watching a PBS Frontline feature entitled "A Hidden Life".  It was about the former mayor of Spokane, Jim West.  My words, "Haunted Spokane" also made me think of reading Timothy Egan's book about Depression Era police corruption in Spokane entitled, Breaking Blue. About a week ago, I decided to further explore Spokane and what haunts me about it and order Jack Olsen's book, Son, through interlibrary loan. I started reading it this evening.  Haunted Spokane, indeed.

I actually wrote two pieces entitled "Haunted Spokane", here and here. (Bridgit, if you are reading this, the second "Haunted Spokane" piece sprang from an email you wrote me.)

3. Watching Breaker Morant last week got me wanting to watch movies of what was called the Australian New Wave starting about thirty-five to forty years ago.  Today at the library I checked out the first movie of the Australian New Wave I ever saw, My Brilliant Career, and one I had on tape for years and never watched, Gallipoli.  I wanted to check out the haunting Picnic at Hanging Rock, but the library doesn't have it -- I'll need to search for it.

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