Even though the Snowpocalypse is roaring outside and rattling the windows and grinding the city of Chicago to a halt, I am still glad to have January in the rearview mirror. January was a buckle-your-seatbelts and hang-on roller coaster ride…Losing one beloved pet and gaining a new hound in the home have thrown our lives and schedules for a loop.
If you’re thinking of getting a new dog, think carefully before doing so in January. This is not easy weather for house-training. We had a couple weeks of sleepless nights and worried days as Miracle displayed increasing stress each day she spent in her crate. After a week, she finally got the message through and we ditched the crate and found the relaxed, happy hound we’ve been looking for! All is well in our home, now.
My crazy #runnerds friends: Dave, Alek (the pirate), Sean, Crysta, Cate (ninja), Jeff, Sue and Jenn.
January did close on a high note. I joined a bunch of my crazy runner friends for my first half marathon of the year – on the Chicago Lakefront. We lucked out weather-wise with a crisp 25 degree morning, with light winds. I had a fantastic time running with Cate and pacing Crysta through her first half marathon. We’ll have a re-match in a few months in Indy, where we’ll blow that time out of the water!
Coming home after a few hours in the cold, all I wanted was something warm, comforting – and spicy. I had some lamb stew meat already defrosted in the fridge and as I perused the spice rack, I channeled my guru of Indian cooking, Sabera, and whipped up a semi-traditional masala curry. I’ve been honing my curry chops for the last year or so, but this one really hit all the right notes, and might be just as good as the curry served at the wonderful little Indian cafe down the street. The list of ingredients is long, but if you measure the spices out before you start cooking, you won’t have any trouble.
Finally, to begin a new chapter in February, I took the leap and registered for the Chicago Marathon in October! Stay tuned for more training talk as I prepare for my first 26.2.
What’s your favorite food to keep you warm when the weather turns CRAZY? Share in the comments below…
Lamb Curry with Potatoes and Coconut Milk
Serves 5 as a main dish served with brown rice
2 T grapeseed oil
1 lb lamb stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, sliced
1 T fresh ginger, grated with a microplane
1 jalepeno, seeded & sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 bay leaves
3 curry leaves (optional)
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp ground fennel
1 ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 ½ cups diced yukon gold or red skinned potatoes
salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1 T rice wine vinegar
cilantro leaves for garnish
cooked brown rice for serving
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil, and when the oil is hot and shimmering, gently drop about half of the lamb pieces into the pot in one layer and brown for 1min on each side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the seared lamb and set aside in a bowl. Add the rest of the lamb to the pot and brown in the same way, then scoop the seared meat into the bowl with the first batch and set aside.
- Turn the burner down just a touch, and scoop all of the sliced onions into the pot. Stir to coat in the oil, using the moisture from the onions to scrape any brown bits of lamb off the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt over the onions and stir. Slowly cook the onions, allowing them to get all melty and caramelized – this will take awhile – 10-15 minutes, don’t rush it. You don’t need to stir the onions constantly, just every couple of minutes, give them a turn.
- When the onions are caramelized, add the ginger, garlic and jalepeno to the pot and stir for a minute or two. Next add the cardamom, bay, curry leaves, fennel and mustard seeds and stir for another 2 minutes. Then add the rest of the spices – cumin, chile powder, ground coriander and turmeric – stir around for another minute until the aroma of the spices wafts out of the pot.
- Add the can of tomatoes, and stir the slurry together. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, to allow the flavors to blend. Then add the lamb back to the pot along with the potatoes, ½ tsp kosher salt and can of coconut milk. Stir it all together, then turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour, with the pot partially covered. Stir the curry occasionally as it cooks. When the curry is done, add the garam masala and rice wine vinegar right at the end, stir, then serve the curry over brown rice, with cilantro for garnish.