As I may have mentioned at some point and time…I have a huge crush on Anthony Bourdain. I also have a girl crush on Nigella Lawson and I’m totally crushing on that French dude Ludo who is the third judge on The Taste. Chefs to me are like rockstars. Totally in awe. Brad Pitt? Meh. Eric Ripert. Tongue tied. Without words. I’m a little obsessed.
I actually once chased down a woman in Chelsea Market because I thought she looked like one of the chefs from a season of Top Chef. It was. I didn’t tackle her. I just got close enough to see if it was really her. And then there was my ‘Carla Hooty Hoo’ experience in Central Park. Carla Hall remains one of my most favorite contestants on Top Chef. And I’m so glad that she’s parlayed her cooking skills and hooty hooness to The Chew.
She was speaking at some kind of healthy food fest in Central Park. On a stage. I saw it was her. Planted myself in front of the stage and didn’t move until she was done speaking. And when she was done. Look out. I don’t know what came over me?? I hiked up my dress, climbed up on the stage and essentially assaulted her while telling her she should have won Top Chef. I’m sure I scared the crap out of her. She was probably wondering ‘where the hell is security? get this crazy woman away from me.’ She was really quite lovely and my assault was in the form of a big hug. Frightening just the same. (when I find the pic of me with the terrified Carla Hall I will be sure to post it.)
Where am I going with all this? Good question. I could go two ways with this, given my obsession with all things culinary and celeb chefs and write about the fact that I’m volunteering at FEAST Portland next week. The other topic…a discussion about what a horrible gardener I am and figuring out what to do with all the spindly sad mint that I grew badly this summer. I think this one is a no brainer.
Let’s go with FEAST Portland. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I was jumping up and down and clapping my hands at the volunteer kickoff. Read more about FEASTPortland.
The fact that I’m going to be surrounded by culinary, food, wine and beer brilliance makes me giddy and giggly. Just knowing that I’m going to be in the same room as Michael Voltaggio (hottie chef from Cali) and Stephanie Izard (first female winner of top chef and owner of places I want to eat in Chicago. My friend Annie has eaten at her restaurant. I’m so very jealous.) makes me want to start jumping up and down and clapping my hands right here in my kitchen.
I’m volunteering at three events and I will be sure to share my experiences. Maybe Stephanie Izard and I will become BFFs.? Or Michael Voltaggio will hand me a sample of food. I of course will never throw out that plate.
Today’s recipe. An ode to Anthony Bourdain from the glorious website Almost Bourdain. Do not let the lengthy list of ingredients frighten you. This dish is so worth it. And it gives me a way to use up my sad little sprigs of mint. Enjoy!
140 g (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
3 cm piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp garam masala
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to grease
1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander, plus extra leaves, to serve
800 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm-wide strips (had to consult the google to convert grams of chicken to pounds)
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) (you can buy this in a jar at any grocery. yes. any.)
2 onions , thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
260 g (1 cup) passata (sieved pureed tomatoes)
300 ml pouring cream (also consulted the google to convert to cups)
1 bunch mint, leaves picked, finely chopped (I have a lot of spindly mint. I probably shouldn’t use all of it in the recipe. Hey…I could use the rest of it to make a big old vat of Mojitos. An ode to summer. It’s been ridiculously hot here. In September. That’s annoying. I think a vat of Mojitos is necessary.) (Oooo and what about Mint Julips?)
Basmati rice and pappadams, to serve
1.Combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, 1 tbsp garam masala, lemon juice, oil and half the coriander in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
2.Preheat a lightly greased barbecue or chargrill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook, in 2 batches, turning for 6 minutes or until almost cooked through.
3.Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions, turmeric, tomato paste, chillies and remaining garam masala, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Add passata and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Reduce heat to low, add cream, mint and remaining coriander, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Scatter with extra coriander and serve with rice and pappadams.