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indian garlic naan

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Recipe: indian garlic naan

It’s October, but we’re still wrangling with Indian Summer over here. Well, we were. The forecast has some storms brewing on the horizon which could be a blessing… or a curse… or both for this week’s shoot. If you are in Colorado, now is a GOOD TIME to get out and capture those fall colors (and say hi if you see me!).

one of our best local stands

With only a few days between road trips, my time at home is more like a pit stop than being home. I’ve shot some of our local colors (which are also very good this year), but I need a little time away from the leaves or else I won’t have good leaf brain this week. There are always interesting distractions…

my favorite graffiti in boulder canyon

a surprise bloom of my queen of the night (night-blooming cereus)

All of the action in the kitchen of late has been “cooking to clean out the refrigerator”. I wanted to leave Jeremy with plenty of food while I was gone. Unfortunately, I have a terrible habit of overestimating how much food he’ll need and I pretty much prepared enough food for him to survive a zombie apocalypse. [Side note: I really am convinced that a mountain bike is an excellent way to escape the zombies – if you’re in good shape.] I guess that means I won’t need to cook when I get home.

But I must tell you that in addition to the arrival of fall colors, the anticipation of big dump snow days, and my absolute love of Halloween, the cool down in temperatures means I can get roasting, baking, stewing, and pressure cooking again. A few weeks ago I made my own garlic naan and in addition to filling my house with smoke, it also filled my head with visions of fresh naan this winter.

flour, milk, egg, garlic, ghee, greek yogurt, salt, baking powder, sugar, yeast

combine the flour, salt, and baking powder

sugar, yeast, and warm water – getting puffy

I’ve had unyeasted naan and yeasted naan. I like both. I imagine the unyeasted version must be pretty simple (another recipe to try later), but who doesn’t love a challenge, right?! I chose to go with the garlic naan over plain naan because I’m a total sucker for garlic and I always have some on hand.

add garlic, yeast mixture, milk, yogurt, egg, oil, and water into the dry mix

after kneading the dough, let it rise

punch it down

**Jump for more butter**

the distances are not so great

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Recipe: chicken tikka masala

It used to be that I would measure a mile by the number of times (four) around the track. Then it became segments of a route through a lush residential neighborhood during field hockey practice runs. When Jeremy and I met and began hiking and backpacking together, I loved to stand on a high point and look back at where we had started. A short six miles could wind up a valley, around a mountain, over a ridge, and climb to a pass. It’s one thing to read it on the topo map and understand this in a cerebral sense. It’s another thing entirely to behold the majesty of the landscape before you.

golden grasses and rocks mantle the peaks and ridges

We had not hiked Mount Audubon since my birthday almost four years ago. Back then, Kaweah was still strong enough to summit with us and I was unaware I had cancer. A lot can happen over the course of four years and yet the trail was as we remembered it, more or less. When we ski in the backcountry, we’re always looking up and around us. When we hike, we’re usually scanning the trail ahead. I remember that cairn, that split boulder, that bifurcation of the trail, that stream crossing, that trail junction. I know where to expect to see families of marmots, pika, and ptarmigans. I like to think of the mountain structures changing on their geologic time scales – that is, they seldom change in our lifetime – and the mountain environment changing with diurnal or seasonal cycles due to avalanche, rock slide, fire, rain, vegetation, freeze and thaw, wind.

this pika is harvesting plants for the long winter ahead

adolescent ptarmigan in hiding

another pika checking us out at 13,000 feet

jeremy on summit

New trails are exciting, but familiar trails are comforting for me. I suppose it’s like that for cooking or anything for that matter. As far as food goes, my usual progression is to like a dish that has been served to me and then crave it such that I want to learn to make it myself. Except with Indian food. I had this mental barrier. Despite most of the ingredients being things I’ve used or at least heard of, I just didn’t know where to begin. My good friend, Manisha, has been so patient with me. I ask her the same stupid questions over and over and she patiently replies over and over and yet I still didn’t have the guts to make my own Indian food… until last week. It’s such a westernized Indian dish, but it is a favorite to be sure. I had to make chicken tikka masala.

chicken, yogurt, lime, garlic, oil, and spices

mince the garlic, juice the lime, dice the chicken

Everyone says it’s easy to make. They’re right. It is. It’s just a pain to make it for the first time and shoot it too. I tripled the batch to make up for the time investment (hey, you can freeze it). First marinate the chicken in a mix of plain yogurt, lime juice, oil, garlic, and spices. The range was 1 hour to 24 hours. I like the idea of marinades, so I went for 24 hours. Booyah!

put it all in a bowl

mix well then refrigerate

When the chicken is ready, you can either bake it or grill it. I chose to grill it. Just skewer the cubes without packing them too tightly together (because you want the chicken to cook evenly) and grill or bake until they are cooked. Turn them over half-way through the cooking time. On our grill it took a total of seven minutes: four on one side and three after flipping the skewers. Lovely.


grill (or bake)

**Jump for more butter**