Since my curiosity for cooking was really kicked into high gear while staying with my Aunt Vic and Uncle Rob, I decided I owed it to everyone to take over the cooking during my week with them at the cottage in Ontario. This was not an easy feat as the kitchen had been completely closed up for the winter; and it being not our own cottage, every cooking utensil and receptacle required a scavenger hunt to recover!
You’ll also notice by the photo that the only counter space is the small table beside the fridge…. the small table where all the groceries are kept! Also, the sink is in the laundry room/bathroom around the other side of the cottage. Basically what I’m saying is that I’m a goddess of the kitchen for whipping together such gourmet treats!
So I did a rerun of the Chicken Curry and Stuffed Tomatoes recipes from our time in Glasgow. This time I adjusted the stuffed tomatoes to accommodate the cottage: I used only garlic in flavouring the mushrooms, used proper yellow beefsteak tomatoes, and didn’t even touch the sweet shallot vinaigrette so made a puree with some of the guts of the tomatoes and some OJ instead, drizzling it and some balsamic which was fantastic! Sometimes I let the instructions go to the wayside when it’s the second time making the dish. On this particular occasion I neglected both the temperature of the oven and time the tomatoes should spend inside. The result was a pathetic, limp disgrace. Still tasted ok but please folks, adhere to the recommended 325° F for 15 minutes!
Since Vic never buys mangoes, she didn’t know how to select them and ended up buying the mushiest, most ripe mangoes I’ve ever touched in my life! This I took as inspiration and decided to puree the mangoes with the yogurt and a bit of cayenne. I also upped the ante with the heat in the chicken and let each person use as much or as little of the yogurt as necessary.
Since I’m already in the kitchen creating a mess and waiting around for things to boil, simmer, harden, melt, and meld; I often cook a second dish conducive to storage. A throw-together chili was that second dish. A GIANT batch of throw-together chili that is, which Richard claims was the best chili he’s ever had. Since I always make the same chili yet never, ever use the same proportions or exact ingredients, I really can’t say what it was that made this particular batch so great. I can, however, tell you, roughly, what the ingredients were:
- onions, garlic, and various fresh tomatoes (whatever I have around), fried in oil then left to simmer
- a can or two of tomato puree (depending on batch size)
- a few cans of diced tomatoes (not crushed, not whole)
- some beans, white, black, whatever (the kind that you make sure to drain and rinse)
- a can or two of beans in sauce, preferably in tomato sauce, not maple or honey flavour
- a can of chick peas
- some green pepper only because I got a bit chop-happy
- chili powder, cumin, curry, and…. damn, what was that spice?! I think the curry might have been what gave it it’s awesome status since I don’t usually use curry