bobscurrykitchen

DANIEL JOHNSTON!

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You can eat like Uncle Bob does!

And I think you should. Since my multiple health issues arose -- starting with a stroke back in 2006, quickly followed by brushes with cancer and a new awareness of my lifelong infection with Hepatitis [always with a very low viral load, luckily], I have had a new consciousness of health, and to that end have been striving to make my diet a healthier one. I've sharply reduced the amount of red meat I consume, eat a lot more fruit, and try to minimize the consumption of chemically-treated processed foods.

But I still like meals to be QUICK & EASY as well as delicious, especially since I'm entirely dependent on my right hand since my stroke -- juggling various pots for entrees and side-dishes isn't gonna work out, so it's always a one-dish meal. [As a serial monogamist, I have shared ny roof with one very special woman or another for all my life, but none of them have been able to do anything in the kitchen.]

There are multiple American-style casserole's I enjoy making and cooking -- like Alton Brown's mac and cheese [can't stand the guy but this recipe is perfection], and I own a slow cooker which I do use for soups and stews.

But most nights, dinner  is

curry and rice!

You're going to need rice.

And if you eat rice as much as I do, you'll want several types: American long-grain Carolina; the Jasmine variety, most often imported from Thailand or Vietnam; and Basmati, which is mostly grown in India; and probably some brown varieties as well. "Basmati" derives from the Sanskrit word for fragrant, and its enticing aroma is a big part of its charm. The cheapest high-grade Basmati I've found is Laziz, imported by Akc Commodities, Inc. of Piscataway, NJ from Pakistan, where it is grown "on the foothills of Himalayas." Under Amazon's "Subscribe and Save" program, a 10-pound bag costs less than $15, and it lasts us about 5-6 weeks in our household if eaten every day.But shop your local Asian stores, you'll probably find less costly rice there.

"Butter Chicken" Simplified

Just below this is a dinner kit that offers a fool-proof way to make delicious "Butter Chicken" [a.k.a. Murg Makhani]. But at about $6 for each kit, it seems a bit expensive. By looking at a few online recipes, I simplified what I found to this recipe:

Uncle Bob's "Close Enough" Butter Chicken

1 to 2 pounds boneless chicken (breasts or thighs - I prefer the latter)
chopped ginger root [at least a tbspn - i like lots more]
a medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
.5 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn garam masala
10 oz tomato puree
1 cup yogurt [I substitute ricotta cheese, liquified with some added milk]

Sautee chicken and onions with the spices, when chicken is no longer pink add puree. Simmer until rice is done. Add yoghurt or ricotta.

This red stuff is THE BOMB!!!

Chop up some vegetables, maybe some meat or seafood, saute in olive oil with chopped garlic & onions, add a dab or two of this stuff. Throw in a cup of coconut milk, and simmer until the rice is done and YOU ARE GOLDEN! YUMMM!

My idea of delish

At 3 boxes for $17, I'd say this is a little overpriced for what you get...packets of basmati rice and tomato puree worth a few pennies...what you are really paying for are the two spice packets of unknown composition. I've examined online recipes to come up with the version above, but I'd recommend you try the kit first, and then use my recipe as a step toward getting nearly the same wonderful taste.

If you're doing a Thai dish, you need coconut milk.

I used to use the canned stuff, but I prefer the powder, as I can make it richer or thinner without changing the amount of liquid...and I find the taste of this particular product to be far yummier than the canned stuff. They kill ya with the shipping on this stuff, but you can go to the Wilderness Family website and buy a 5 pound bag, which will cost about $10/pound after shipping. But if you buy the 1-pound bag, shipping is actually cheaper at Amazon than at their website.

This is me at my laziest.

Authentic ready-to-eat meals, made in India and sealed in foil. Heat and serve with rice. Convenience Food! But the ingredients list on each is entirely free of anything chemical or processed ... example:
Pav Bhaji [Mashed Vegetable Curry] contains "Potaties, Tomatoes, Butter, Capsicum, Green Peas, Onions, Garlic, Salt. Spices and Ginger."
Some of these dishes are not to my liking...but they don't go to waste, I find I'm able to make them extremely palatable with simple additions -- sauteed meat, seafood, onions, masala, cinnamon, curry mix, yoghurt, coconut milk, chicken stock, etcetera. With a small amount of creativity you've got a meal that seems to have taken some effort!

Artificial, but why worry THAT much?

While opening the package, it bugged me that the label is prominently labelled "ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED," in a manner that is not immediately noticeable on Amazon's website. I am the type of person who remains always aware of such labeling, even as I savor the coffee (which I do). I remain uncomfortably aware that its flavor profile was partially concocted by a food scientist in a lab, using unknown chemicals that I may not be able to pronounce. The "artificial flavor" scarlet letter is something most modern-day coffee companies would jump through hoops to avoid -- and reasonably so, because labelling creates a genuine psychological component of any product. Not so fussy are the 8 O'Clock people (spun-off from the great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, now owned by Tata Coffee, a tea & coffee plantation giant headquartered in India, though their 8 O'C executives still HQ in Montvale, NJ). While my enjoyment of this brew would be greater without the "artificial" label, I'm sufficiently happy with the flavor and the price that I have maintained a subscription order to these tasty beans for well over a year now.
If you're wondering why this page exists, this here is a clue....I have a plan to start doing a little bit of netcasting soon, and this is the microphone I intend to use...and this page is part of my plan to monetize the effort. Once you can hear how wonderful I sound on this mic, you'll want one.

Way less wasteful than paper towels!

Because these are considerably tougher than paper towels, I can rinse them & re-use them multiple times; where I used to toss several paper towels every day, I average about one wypall every other day. Our first Wypall box -- the heavier X80 Wipers -- had half as many towels, and lasted a full year, whereas we were buying a roll of paper towels every week or two before that. This box has twice the number of towels, though they are a little more lightweight. So far, they're just as durable -- I expect it will serve us for a couple of years. Considering that Wypalls come in a cardboard box, and paper towels wrapped in plastic, that alone is a huge improvement. According to Kimberly-Clark, the towels contain up to 40% post-consumer waste -- and think about transporting 2 years' supply of paper towels by truck versus this compact box shipped by Amazon! The only negative, these towels gain their toughness by the inclusion of propylene in their makeup. The propylene degrades when exposed to UV or heat, yielding aldehydes and carboxylic acids -- both low-impact organic compounds so far as I can tell, but I'm no expert.

Try a dab in your Hazelnut coffee!

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I was looking for Jamaican Ginger Beer...and I found lots of spicy ginger beers at Amazon, but the best price in the lot was D & G, Soda Ginger Beer at $35 for 24 sodas -- not the worst pricing in the world, but it's still not going to be in my budget as an everyday beverage. This stuff is plenty affordable in the 30-count bag, and the flavor is exactly the spicy & sweet combination I remember from my youth in the South. It just arrived today, so I've not had the chance to try it with club soda in place of water, but I expect adding some fizziness will make this drink perfect!