Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RECIPE - Chicken Curry with Coconut

This makes enough for 4 to 5 adults

  1. Prepare 2 cups of white rice (jasmine rice is great for this dish; basmati will work well), according to package directions.
  1. Toast 1 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut over medium heat in a small saute pan.  Stir constantly to keep from burning - it should take about 5 minutes for the coconut to turn a golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

  • 1 pkg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced and coated in cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, warm the sesame oil and olive oil.
  2. Fry cornstarch-coated chicken in the mixture of sesame oil and olive oil.
  3. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. red curry paste (more or less, depending on you preference for spicy foods)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, scored/sliced.  These can be found at a local asian store, and should be removed from the dish before serving, as they are not to be eaten.
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 cup shredded or matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion and stir until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the curry paste, and stir to coat the onions.
  4. Add the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves to the pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
  6. Have a glass of wine 'cause you have the time!
  7. While the sauce is thickening, mix the ingredients for the peanut sauce (recipe below).
  8. After the curry sauce has thickened, remove the kaffir lime leaves and turn heat back up to medium.
  9. Add the cooked chicken, zucchini, peas and carrots to the sauce and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. In a large tea cup/small bowl, pack a the cooked white rice.  Turn the cup upside-down on a plate and gently pat the bottom of the cup/bowl, until the rice falls out.
  11. Arrange 1/4 of the curry sauce, chicken and vegetable mixture around the rice.
  12. Place about 1 tbsp. of the peanut sauce directly on top of the rice.
  13. Garnish with toasted coconut, and serve.
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (chunk or creamy will work)
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. chili sauce (cayenne pepper will work well, too, but adjust to 1/8 tsp.)
  • 4 tbsp. hot water
  • 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice wine
  1. Stir all ingredients, combining well.
  2. Place in a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir until heated through.
  3. More water can be used to thin out the sauce, if needed.

RECIPE - Fajita Burritos

This recipe feeds a crowd - about 10 adults.
  • 1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts, cut into 1.5" pieces
  • World Harbors fajita marinade (also found in the Organic section of the grocery store as Adobo Sauce)
  • 1 can of Butter Kernel Corn 'N Peppers (gold colored label), drained
  • 1  can of Rotel Diced tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro, drained with the exception of 1/4 of the liquid
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 orange pepper, 1 red pepper, and 1 yellow pepper sliced into strips measuring 1/4" wide x 2" long
  • 1 medium-sized red onion cut in half horizontally, then sliced into wedges about 1/2" wide
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and picked, then chopped
  • 2 cups (dry) white rice (basmati works well), cooked
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Sour Cream (for garnish)
  • Shredded mexican cheese/taco cheese
  • Large burrito-style flour tortillas
  1. Marinade the chicken in 1 cup of the World Harbors fajita marinade for at least an hour
  2. Cook the rice
  3. While rice is cooking, fry the chicken in a large skillet/saute pan over medium heat.
  4. After the chicken is cooked, add the peppers and onion slices to the pan, stirring to evenly coat with marinade.  Saute for 10 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
  5. Add the Corn 'N Peppers, black beans and Rotel tomatoes (with reserved juice) to the pan.  Cover and turn heat down to low.  Let stand until rice is finished.
  6. When rice is finished, empty into a large bowl and toss with cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Mix the contents of the saute pan in with the rice, and toss.
  8. Warm the tortillas and serve with filling, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

RECIPE - Fresh Salsa

* 4 cans of Hunts Petite Diced tomatoes, about half the liquid strained  (I'm picky, and I remove all the "yellow" pieces, as well as the "core" pieces.)
* 1 large white onion, finely diced
* 4 jalapeno peppers, finely diced - seeds and white membranes removed
* 1 bunch of cilantro (large stems removed), chopped
* 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together, serve with tortilla chips

*Keeps in the refrigerator for about 5 days in an airtight container.


Well, here goes!

I've been contemplating this blog for a long time, wondering just what I would say.  Really, I suppose it doesn't matter.  Everyone has a story to tell, and although mine may not be so compelling to some, it might provide some insight and (if nothing else) laughs.

I am a step-mom to three kids; ages 15, 12 and 10 (boy, girl, boy).  I've joked lately that I am actually step-mom to FOUR kids, with my husband's former wife being the fourth child - the one who is the most work, by the way.  My husband, Jesse, and I met at work, and I was aware of his divorcee situation prior to starting our relationship.  One of the first things that attracted me to him was his relationship with his children.  Not only was he an "involved" parent, but he was a darned good one at that!  The more time I spent with him and his children, the more amazed I was at his dedication and commitment to his family.

Needless to say, there were many other wonderful qualities that lead to me falling in love with him, some of which I'm sure I'll cover in future posts.  But the thing that blew me away more than anything was his patience in dealing with his former spouse.  I understand that a vast majority of divorced couples have their share of uphill battles/complaints/headaches/heartaches to deal with.  However, I found a rare man when I met my husband, and I'll stand by that statement forever.

Since before Jesse and I married, I've felt as though there aren't enough resources for people like myself - childless step-moms.  REAL moms (a.k.a. bio-moms) have a cultural and physical process to ready them for motherhood.  REAL moms have baby showers, they receive TONS of (sometimes unsolicited) advice, and they have nine months to prepare for the arrival of this new person into their lives.  Additionally, REAL moms get those first few years of growth, where the parent and the child grow together and learn how the parent/child relationship works.  I'm not saying it's easy for bio-moms, but I am saying it's a well-known path, and there are thousands of books relating to the subject, most of which were written by women who've "been there, done that".

Even with adoptive parents, there is some level of social acceptance and ownership bestowed upon the new mom and/or dad.  Society, in general, accepts an adopted child as a legitimate offspring of the adoptive parent(s).

However, with step-parenting - ESPECIALLY with step-mothers - there's a different spin.  Having been a stepmom for less than two years, I can say I am beginning to understand what it's all about.  Those who don't assume you're a "home-wrecker" will typically view you as a stand-in for the bio mom.  Mothers at school functions usually treat me as though I'm the nanny to my step-kids.  There have been a handful of wonderful, accepting parents I've encountered through my step-kids schools, and they have truly been a blessing in my life.  These are the people I look for at concerts and classroom meetings, searching for a smile or a friendly face - it makes all the difference in the world!

I realize I set step-moms apart from step-dads, and I want to clarify on that.  Step-dads are often viewed with some sort of "awwww... look at that wonderful, selfless man who is willing to step in and rescue that poor woman from a life of single-motherhood.  He must be a wonderful person!" sentiment.  And you know what?  He probably is a wonderful person!  What I'm saying is that men are revered and praised for their roles as step-parents, and women are typically questioned.  Does this tie into the "wicked stepmother" stereotype?  Probably.  Is there some truth to the stereotype?  Probably.

This blog is about how my situation fits into the whole step-parent world.  I am fully aware that I can be the evil step-mom from time to time.  I can't help it.  There is absolutely no way to avoid those situations where I need to be a bit selfish, or where I can't stand the thought of attempting to "parent" another woman's children for one second longer.  However, there are also times (the majority of the time, mind you), when I feel an amazing, overwhelming love for my step-kids that I can't imagine being any stronger if they were my biological children.

I hope to be able to use this as my space to vent, praise, whine, solicit advice, offer advice and above all, document my journey.