Saturday, September 1, 2012

postheadericon Guest Post: Karen from Read:Cook:Live

Hello Friends and Happy Saturday!  I am sitting on the couch watching my beloved OHIO Bobcats play Penn State...lots of emotions in this game, but my Bobcats are keeping it competitive.  As I mentioned yesterday, I was a Foodie Pen Pal to Karen at Read:Cook:Live.  She is terrific and is guest posting today!

Karen is a wonderful storyteller, which is what good blogging is all about.  Please visit her blog and read below for her travel adventure in India.  India has been on my travel bucket list for some time, but Karen's story make me want to go sooner rather than later. 


 This is my first stint as a guest blogger, so thanks to Sara for hosting me!

Last night I cooked the first of the mixes which Sara sent to me in my foodie pen pals package:

I more or less followed the directions on the package which were to whisk the spices into 8 oz of water, then saute the chicken in a tablespoon of butter, add the sauce and cook it all over medium low until the sauce has thickened.  

To finish, you add a 3.5 tbsp of cream and bring it to a boil. 

The only things I did differently were to add some sauteed onions and some roasted zucchini and yellow squash into the mix. 

As my pen pal advised me, it was delicious served over steamed brown rice. 

A few comments about butter chicken.  Three years ago I spent three weeks in India.

The flight was 15 hours long and I am cursed with an absurd inability to fall asleep on planes.  I read 3 books on my flight and didn't sleep for even one minute. When I arrived, I went almost immediately to bed and woke up the next day, unsurprisingly, with a high fever. 

You know you have a fever when it's monsoon season in Mumbai and you're shivering on your friend's couch!  My friends wisely decided not to take me out for any Indian food and we just had Knorr's Corn Soup Mix at home. By my second day in the country, I was feeling refreshed and ready for anything. 

I've eaten so much Indian food that I felt I could handle whatever they wanted to introduce me to. They disagreed; they didn't want to overwhelm me with spices on my first real day. They insisted on taking me out for butter chicken. "It's not too spicy, but it's very traditional" is what they told me. They took me to Bandra and we ate at a restaurant overlooking the harbor, then we walked along the ruins of the Castella de Aguada. 

This is not a dish that I remembered seeing on a menu anywhere in the States, but it was delicious. In fact, it was one of the few dishes that I ordered twice while I was there. That's why I was so excited to get a package of butter chicken mix from Sara.

A lot of people ask me whether I got sick from eating the food while I was in India and I'm always a little surprised by the question. I inevitably answer that I got sick from the plane. While I was in India, I ate everything that was offered to me (except fresh fruit and tap water, of course) including the fried bread snacks that are sold out of pieces of newspaper on the trains and made in people's homes. I actually lost a little weight and came home feeling great. My friends, both of whom had spent time in America, assured me this was because Indian food is prepared with no preservatives or artificial anything in it. Everything I ate was so fresh, and while it was all spicy, none of the spice was just heat that overpowered the flavor of the dish, the way so many American spiced foods taste.

In looking through those old photos, I'm amazed to discover that I didn't take any pictures of the food that I ate. I did keep a journal and grilled my friend to make sure I got accurate names for what we were eating, but I wasn't very conscientious about it. As I look back, I wish I had taken more pictures. I remember the most amazing dish that I had while I was at Britto's in Baga. The restaurant was right on the sand of the beach and my friends ordered us a big plate of Crab Masala. It was whole crabs roughly chopped up in the shell and just swimming in this spicy red sauce. It was one of the few dishes that wasn't served with bread and while I'd gotten used to eating with bread and not a fork, I had no idea how to approach this seafood dish. My friends told me that you just pick up the pieces and suck the meat out of the shell. I was a little worried about getting messy, but that passed quickly as I embraced it. By the end of the meal, the three of us were more or less covered up to our elbows in Masala sauce and nobody else in the restaurant paid us any mind. I remember sitting there with my toes in the sand and feeling just so good about life...

Sometimes that's what food does for us. I'm happy to say that I passed on my love of Butter Chicken to both of my dinner guests last night. They will be on the lookout for a recipe and I will be on the lookout for another package of the mix.  Special thanks again to Sara at The Milwaukee Kitchen for introducing me to this super easy meal mix!

See, I told you Karen is terrific!  Thanks for sharing, Karen.  And again, visit Karen's blog at Read:Cook:Live when you get a chance!


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