Sunday, March 4, 2012

A trio of tastes

We're continuing our study of interesting taste combinations, as well as Dave's return from a week away in Ohio for work.  Tonight I made celery & parmesan salad, sweet apple chicken curry, and honey ice cream.

Celery & parmesan salad

This is one from Ina's latest book, How Easy is That?  I wasn't super impressed with the book in general, but this was an interesting recipe.  

  1. Slice celery, including leaves.
  2. Mix dressing, including olive oil, lemon juice, chopped anchovies, chopped shallots, celery seed, celery salt, pepper, and salt.
  3. Mix together and let stand for one hour.  (Predictably, I did not read the recipe in advance and didn't have much more than 20 minutes.)
  4. Serve with toasted walnuts, chopped parsley, and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

The salad was really tangy and very flavorful - much more so than you would expect celery to be.

Sweet apple chicken curry

This recipe came from the Chicago Homegrown Cookbook.  Not sure I'd make it again, but it was an interesting adventure.

The recipe calls for a whole chicken, which you then cut up.  This was a little morbid and not at all enjoyable, so I think I'll be buying my chicken pre-cut up in future.  Anyway, once I butchered this poor chicken from Whole Foods, I seared the pieces and then cooked some garlic, onion, and celery in the fat.  Then this is the weird part:  you add two chopped green apples.  Then a bell pepper (color not specified) and the spices, including cumin, curry powder, and cinnamon.  Then you add the chicken back in with some chicken stock.  Cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

At this point, the chicken is still attached to the bone, so you have to set them aside and finish cooking the sauce.  Tearing apart the curry-soaked chicken was a little weird, and our fingers were all oily, so maybe I'd just do boneless chicken breasts.

The flavors were complex, but this isn't as spicy a curry as I usually like.  The other thing is that it didn't really turn out like the photo, which was more of a red curry.  Not that I'm complaining; like I said, it was still good.  It was also a very creamy, smooth flavor, which contrasted well with the zippy celery salad.

Honey ice cream

This is another one from that most glorious of books, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book.

This is a custard-based ice cream, so you do the typical "whip egg yolks with sugar, stir in hot milk, stir in cream" thing.  Except instead of sugar, this recipe calls for lots of honey.  I happen to have some blueberry honey left over from the farmers' markets in the summer.

The ice cream book tells you specifically that you have to use really strong-tasting flavors to cut through the flavor of the cream.  This honey certainly qualifies, but the ice cream kind of tasted more like a very good vanilla ice cream to me.  The honey came as more of a mouth-coating, sweet aftertaste.

It was a very satisfying dinner, and the curry made enough for both of us to have lunch tomorrow!

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