Tuesday, April 12, 2011

cooking class

At my sister's behest, I'm giving the baby photos a rest (she's convinced I resembled a gerber baby while she resembled a monkey alien baby--until I can talk her out of this, I'll stick with photos of food {or cropped baby photos}).  

And anyways, how could I not show you the deliciousness that my coworker whipped up for me tonight? Normally I'm just relieved that I've turned out edible food that looks passable in photos.  This dinner experience, on the other hand, was well beyond just "passable."  

My coworker Moizza was based in our Cairo office until it was evacuated (I trust that I don't need to explain why), and now she's back in DC until the evacuation orders are lifted. Selfishly, I'm happy she's back--there aren't many young people in my office, and we hadn't had the chance to get to know each other well because she deployed to Cairo shortly after I started.  But my cruel bosses decided her skills were in much higher demand overseas than in DC, so she's on her way to Dulles right now, and I won't see her for at least three weeks.  

Yesterday she generously offered to leave her spices in my care while she was away, and even suggested cooking dinner for me with said spices.  That'd be a resounding yes.  

Today after work, we came back to the LKTC, and first assessed the protein situation. My inability to walk away from a grocery store special means that my freezer is well stocked.  After recovering from her slight shock at my excessive supply, Moizza selected enough chicken for tonight and some leftover for the week.  Next she said all she needed was sour cream or heavy cream and lemon juice.  I'm sure she thought that any woman with several pounds of protein in her freezer would keep a variety of dairy in the fridge. My fridge, however, is currently full of bacon, beer, and a britta (the essentials in life, I would argue).  We popped down to the basement convenience store (convenient? yes.  priced accordingly? heck yes) and bought sour cream and dessert.  

Back up in the LKTC, my spice lesson began as she started our meal of chicken korma.  Moizza explained that every family has their own unique spice mix, tailored to individual tastes.  She taught me hers, and then started the heavy lifting.  First the onions were sautéed until translucent (a process she called "sweating"), then the spices were added (aka "toasted").  This part of the preparation essentially calls for constant stirring, which Moizza faithfully did until a blob of spice paste flew up on her shirt. The turmeric, she warned me, will stain pretty much anything it touches a bright highlighter yellow, so she tried to wash it off immediately.  Of course I had thought about offering her an apron at the onset, but forgot.  Luckily she was wearing black, and general crisis was averted (and an apron was then offered).  

Next the chicken went in and got seared a bit before the sour cream and water were added.  The whole pot gets covered for a bit to help the chicken cook, then it can simmer uncovered to help the water absorb more.  At this point, the LKTC started to smell like some kind of heaven.  Fortunately I had boiled edamame to snack on, which is possibly the only thing that kept me from diving head first into the pot of chicken korma.  But I digress.  Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, the finished product gets ladled over rice.  

Yep, it's that easy.  Or so Moizza made it look.  I fully intend to try it myself, and I imagine there's a decent chance of it falling more in to the "disasters" category than that of "success stories," but it was so amazing that it's worth a shot (and either way, it'll make for a good story). 

ps-any time I feel like writing, but can't think of anything good or interesting that has happened lately, I'm suddenly in a totally LKTC-worthy situation.  Like the day I came home to a bowl of rotten potatoes.  Hello inspiration.  Or today, when the best thing I had going for me was the discovery that women in their 20s have huge pupils and never need their eyes dilated (thanks Dr. Weiss).  Then Moizza graced the LKTC with chicken korma.  I like this pattern.  

1 comment:

  1. I am more than happy to be a guinea pig for this meal next time you want to give it a shot!