It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything for My Kitchen, My World that I’m surprised Susan hasn’t kicked me out of the club. Every week that I’ve missed, I’ve still researched recipes to figure out what I would make… but then never made them. I missed some good countries, too – the USA, Jamaica, England, Indonesia, Lithuania.
For this week, Aunt Lolo of The Chow Review was up and she chose India. Now, I’ve had Indian cuisine enough to know what I like and don’t like. I wouldn’t say I’ve had much success with Indian food other than naan bread. A lot of the stuff that I’ve tried just doesn’t have that sweet element that I always go for and the spices are a bit too overwhelming. I picked up Mark Bittman’s book The Best Recipes in the World and settled on an Indian recipe called Blazing Hot Shrimp Curry in Coconut Milk. I’m not a big fan of yellow or red curry (I love green though), but I figured I’d be alright since the coconut milk was a main ingredient. It was a pretty easy recipe really, finished in less than 20 minutes. The rice took longer to cook than the actual meal. I didn’t change much from the recipe except I didn’t use 25-30 dried chiles, because I still can’t find them around here anywhere. I just used crushed red pepper and kept adding it until I thought I should probably stop.
It tasted good. It had a kick but really only at the beginning and the end, it was a *tad* bland in the middle. Which was ok, I mean I didn’t want to be freaking out and gasping for water from too much spiciness. But I have to get my hands on dried chiles, this is two recipes now where I’ve substituted them for something else and the dishes have come out a lot less fiery than I expected.
The recipe for Mark Bittman’s Blazing Hot Curry Shrimp in Coconut Milk is already online here, along with some questions answered by the man himself.
Make sure to stop by the My Kitchen, My World site to see what everyone came up with for India. With how busy I am during the week with overtime at work and how busy I am on the weekend with everything else, the MKMW posting kind of has to take a back seat for a while. I hope to participate a little more often than I have lately, but I guess it all just depends on how things work out. Until next time…
For week 8, the My Kitchen, My World group is cooking food from China in honor of the 2008 Olympic Games. I’ve been super busy lately, I wasn’t even sure if I had enough energy to get this post done. But here I am, and only two days late.
Beijing, China is a place I have visited and it was one of my most favorite places that I’ve gone. My boyfriend, his best friends and I took a trip there this past March for five days which wasn’t anywhere near long enough. But we did get to see a lot in the short time we were there. My boyfriend travelled extensively overseas for his last job so he’s gotten to see a lot of cool places. Sometimes it gets hard to plan vacations because he kind of has been there, done that with everything. But China is one place all four of us had never gone so we eventually all settled on it. A quick fourteen hour plane ride and we were there…
I’m the kind of person that will only stay in a hotel room to shower and sleep. The rest of the time, I have to be out going non-stop. There was so much to see and do in Beijing that I was exhausted every single night. Some of the things we did: Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, the Great Wall, Jingshan Park, Beihai Park, Beijing Zoo, Houhai Lake, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, a jade factory, walked through many hutongs, and even visited a Chinese hospital for a traditional check up.
We also got the chance to see the Bird’s Nest, the Cube and the construction of the Olympic village which was amazing. It was evident that the city was going through a massive overhaul to prepare for the 2008 Olympics. It was quite impressive to see people working day and night in order to prepare. You could tell there was huge pride in being the host and it showed absolutely everywhere.
My favorite parts of Beijing centered (suprisingly?) around the food. The Wangfujing Night Market was definitely a highlight, here you could find street vendors selling anything from sugared fruit on a stick to octopus to scorpions to grub worms to pretty much anything squiggly and wiggly. We tried everything between the four of us. Ever heard of a century egg? Looks and sounds gross, but it tastes good. Of course, the Peking Duck was amazing (we had the 115,002,273th served at the restaurant we went to). The shark fin soup in a papaya was to die for. The bakeries were phenomenal! Totally decked out fancy desserts all for… get this… about 70 cents. I could go on and on with all the wonderful food we ate, I really could. But I need to get to bed soon.
Me eating grasshoppers… they were very papery like.
My boyfriend and I took 2,650 pictures while we were there. One of my best friends joked that I only saw Beijing through a camera lens. We took the best pictures and had a really nice hardcover book made through one of Apple’s picture programs. We have so many good memories from Beijing, everything was such a new and fun experience. All of the history is truly mind boggling, especially when I think of America and what a young country we are in comparison. We plan on going back the first chance we get, this time to stay for a longer time and to venture outside the main city more.
So, on to the food I made for this week’s MKMW. I wanted to stay more on the traditional Chinese side instead of the Chinese-American I know and love so well. I found The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller at my local library and looked through that for days trying to figure out what to make. In the end I tried to find a recipe where I already had everything on hand that I needed and that eventually led me to Stir Fried Shrimp with Almonds.
This was a very simple recipe. It called for shrimp, toasted almonds, ginger root, cornstarch, salt and celery (which I didn’t use) stir fried in a sauce of garlic, soy sauce, sherry, water and pepper (which I added after the picture was taken). It was so fast to make, the rice took so much longer to cook. I thought this was pretty good. Though I do like most of my food with a sweeter element that this dish just didn’t have. I would definitely go for something with a little more sweetness over this next time, maybe a stir fry with pineapple instead.
Make sure you stop by My Kitchen, My World to see everyone else’s creations this week. There was some really amazing dishes that were made by all the talented members.