Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beebewitz Blog, Holiday Edition

Christmas is a dangerous time of year.

What. Your humming It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and thinking, 'Who is this kill-joy Scrooge blogger dude anyway?' Yes, it's a wonderful time of year . . . unless your house burns down . . then it's a very sad time of year. Ask me, I know. December is the worst time of year to fight your neighbour's house fire. On top of losing everything they own, they lose all the Christmas presents that their maxed credit cards bought. Yes, insurance pays, and they get a new house and new presents (long after Christmas has become a sad memory), but ask anyone that has experienced it - a fire in your home really punches the lights out of Christmas.

I'm blathering on about this because December is the most dangerous time of year for fires. We add all kinds of new fuel and heat sources to our home, drink lots of alcohol, do lots of extra cooking (while we're drinking) and forget to water our tree and check our smoke alarm batteries . . . and expect everything to be happy happy, deck the halls and hark the herald angels sing. CBC In Depth puts it nicely:

Ah, yes. December — when many Canadians go out, buy a dead pine tree, stick it in a container filled with water (which may be refilled at least for a couple of days), and string several cords containing brightly-lit heat sources around it.

Watch this next video to see what could happen if you don't water your tree:

I'm preaching now. Sorry. I'll quit, after you promise that you'll read the CBC In Depth page, the NFPA cooking page, NFPA Holiday Safety page, and NFPA Candle Safety page. And pass these tips on to all your friends. Alternately, you could cancel Christmas, but that wouldn't go over well with your kids. But believe me, you really don't want to have a fire this time of year . . . or any time of year. I'm blathering.


Speaking of cooking, here's another recipe. If you think you've seen it before on this blog, you're partly right and partly wrong. I did give you a recipe for chicken curry awhile back, but I used a slightly different process to get to a similar end. You can see the previous recipe here. This new version only takes about 30 minutes start to finish.

(Disclaimer: if you're a real cook that uses real recipes, proceed with caution. I make no warranties, expressed or implied, as to the suitability of this recipe to your particular personality. In other words, don't bother suing, just go get your own chicken curry recipe if you don't like mine).

Tim's Christmas Curry with Soba (buckwheat noodles)
  1. Have roast chicken the night before, and eat about half of it.
  2. Ensure that you have some of your wife's chicken gravy left over too (note: if you aren't married or your wife doesn't make gravy, you can substitute with your own, or with chicken broth or [horrors] packaged gravy)
  3. Put the gravy in a cast iron frying pan with a little water and turn on low heat
  4. Add some soy sauce, some garlic, some curry powder, some fresh or frozen crushed ginger and a little basil. (I know, basil is probably not an authentic Asian spice, but did anyone say anything about this recipe being authentically Asian? [see disclaimer])
  5. Don't bother asking how much of any of the above ingredients I used, because I don't know - just add to taste (more curry, less garlic is a good start)
  6. Chop the leftover chicken while the gravy is heating.
  7. If it doesn't look like enough chicken, freak out and paw through the freezer until you find some frozen shrimp to beef it up (or shrimp it up? . . . nah, doesn't sound right)
  8. Chop up some Chinese cabbage and a red bell pepper (green and red, hence 'Christmas Curry') I like the pieces nice and big because it's less work and they don't get mushy as fast
  9. (you can add onion, mushrooms, broccoli, or any other vegetables you want . . . just make sure you have enough room in the pan)
  10. Put the chicken in the simmering gravy first, then the vegetables on top to steam. Cover with a lid.
  11. The gravy should be about half the depth of the vegetables and meat. If it isn't, add more water, and more seasonings appropriately. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.
  12. Put some water in another pot to boil about 8 steps ago. Ignore the instructions on the soba package that say to use six cups of water
  13. When it boils, add the soba and think 'Oh @!#$%, I should have done the full six cups of water!'
  14. Hunt panic-stricken through the cupboard for a bigger pot, while simultaneously putting the kettle on to boil and turning the heat down on the too-small soba pot, and stirring while it boils over (yes, cooking is an art)
  15. Dump the soba and water carefully into the bigger pot and add some more boiling water. Vow to never ignore the instructions again
  16. Carefully follow the rest of the cooking instructions on the back of the soba package
  17. By now, the curry should be done. The vegetables should be bright coloured and Christmas-crunchy . . . it doesn't take long if the gravy is boiling
  18. Thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and water
  19. Call the family for dinner, taste the curry, and panic that it doesn't have enough flavour. Sprinkle some garlic powder and salt over the top, stir in, and cover while you set the table
  20. Serve over the perfectly done soba

Note: This also goes good with rice. If you're hell-bent on having noodles and don't have soba, any Chinese-style noodles are fine. Hey, I don't even care if you use linguine or spaghetti. If you haven't got soba, a noodle is pretty much a noodle.

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