Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hit and Miss

It's no secret that 'we' love to cook. "We" love that Paul loves to cook and frankly, I love to watch. Oh and do the dishes. But another part of our life is exploring Grand Rapids and making sure that we invest in small, local community shops, bakeries and restaurants. Wednesdays are our out-and-about evenings. We try and eat out at one local place on Wednesdays, and if not Wednesdays well, one night a week.

A huge hit with us has been the Winchester. They have amazing beers on tap, cool tables, stools and seating and fab food. In fact, the fish tacos are SO GOOD that I haven't been able to order anything else. It's the one thing I really miss about SoCal. Good fish tacos. And I am so thrilled to have found them here!

The big miss
On the recommendation of friends, we headed to the Electric Cheetah. The restaurant was half full on a Saturday at lunch, yet our drinks were never refreshed and our food, a salad for Paul and a half sandwich and soup took almost 25 minutes. I seldom do this but I sent the food back. The sandwich, a chicken salad sandwich had about three pieces of chicken and soup, which was supposed to be a carrot ginger, tasted like water. Literally. Paul's salad was pedestrian at best. Our waitress offered me other food and she brought out a half bowl (pretty skimpy) of tomato saffron soup. Another broth-based soup that was very watered down. We cook with saffron and I couldn't taste any. I ended up at Subway. So after much anticipation, that place is crossed off our list.

We have lots of other places to explore in this wonderful town! So stay tuned for updates. Happy eating.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Deb's Birthday Dinner: Chicken Curry

Our good friend Deb celebrated her "39th" birthday with us last night. We had Deb over for dinner a few weeks ago and I asked her what she wanted me to make her for her birthday. I suggested that to her that I make Chicken Curry with Apple Curried Cous Cous. Much to my surprise, I had never made this dish for her. Here is the recipe for Chicken Curry:

Chicken Curry
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds chicken breast filets, cut into strips
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup chicken stock (or broth)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
1. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat to medium-low, simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Slowly add the heavy cream and simmer (do not let the mixture come to a boil) for 3-4 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken and the sauce to a serving plate and serve immediately.
Cook’s Notes: Be careful not to let the sauce boil after you add the heavy cream. If you are looking for the “Curry Powder,” it is the mix of cumin, coriander and ginger. Finally, the more red pepper flakes you add, the spicier you meal will be. Enjoy this meal with rice or cous cous.

And now for the cous cous:

Curried Apple Cous Cous
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- 3 green onions, washed and chopped
- 1 box Near East Cous Cous
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup pine nuts
- small handful of mint
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the butter, cumin, coriander and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the chopped apples and cook for 3-4 minutes, enough time for the apples to soften up and absorb some of the spices. Scoop the apples from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
In the same pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir in the green onions and cook them until they are soft. Add the water and bring to a boil, then stir in the cous cous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to fluff up the cous cous. Stir in the apples, pine nuts and chopped mint.
Serves 6

The meal was an unqualified success. Adult beverages were enjoyed prior to, during and after the meal. and for dessert we each enjoyed a slice of watermelon.

Life is good here at the Cafe.