We're being very, very quiet here for the passing of 2007. It's just Mom and my brother and me. We had quite the domestic day. In the morning we did all the shopping for groceries in the next village over and joked with the butcher. In the afternoon, I put on a stew for tomorrow, then dyed some recycled sweater wool in food coloring dye, then prepared the upside down apple pie for the evening meal. I have enjoyed quiet New Year's Eves several years running -- big parties in the streets are not my type, I have a deep phobia of the sudden popping noises of firecrackers -- but this one might take the cake with its exceptional calm. We were done eating our wonderful roast duck meal at about 9.30, and an hour later the pie had been gleefully consumed, too. Mom dozed in front of the TV while me and my brother puttered each at our laptop for a while.. It's now just gone over into 2008 and Mom's in bed already! I might follow soon; I got up after a mere 5 hours of sleep last night. I only wanted to post this recipe I improvised for my stew, because I think tomorrow it'll be the yummiest start of the year, along with the New Year Concert of Vienna.
In a cast iron pan: - first, on medium-high heat, sautee a red onion and a shallot finely chopped in a glug of oil - add in thick a 1/3 cup worth of dice cuts of bacon (smoked or not) to make them start sweating the fat - throw in your meat - I had two pork cutlets w/ bone today, but chicken would work, either noble breast bits or wings or legs. You only want to brown the meat some, seize the outside and get the yummy Maillard reaction going. (meat w/ bones is good in things like this because it'll stew a long time at low temps and the meat will come off the bone in the end anyway). - reducing the heat, pour two cans of coconut milk in the pan, then the equivalent volume of water - add 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic and the equivalent volume of ginger root; if you have it, throw in the same amount of fresh lemon grass, - add two tablespoons of soy sauce, - add a 1/2 teaspoon each of : ground black pepper, cumin powder, red pepper flakes - now is time to add carbs and veggies before you leave the stew to simmer for hours. I chose a can of mushrooms, drained (the equivalent amount of fresh would work too - if you notice, a lot of this is eyeballed anyways), and a smaller can of chickpeas. - Leave to simmer on low for at least two hours, checking and stirring once in a while. Reserve. Reheat and bring to a simmer the next day, ENJOY. (you can eat it the same day you made it! It's just better reheated.) This is the first thing I'll eat in 2008... Except for the deep mint flavored 70% cocoa piece of chocolate I just had. Darning, I have a cramp. Look like this year starts w/ RSI. Augh. Hope your festivities are going well!