But you gotta start somewhere. So, let me begin by thanking you all so much for your amazing response to my book-cover announcement. Your preorders caused the book to “trend” on Barnes and Nobles for a bit there. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate it so much.
A friend of mine recently told me about the book 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl, which sounds great. Just the title alone seems to capture so much of today’s zeitgeist with our daily onslaught of information, emails, and things to do (and feel?).
Anyway, since Teddy was born, I too have been steadily compiling a list of essays I don’t have time to write. Here’s a small sampling from the growing Word document:
1. Why Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Makes Me Uncomfortable
2. I Know All Parents Think Their Baby is Special But I Think Mine Actually Might Be
3. On Living in My Hero Zone
(A while ago, I bought the audio version of the book, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, in which the author discusses how most of us aren’t living in our zone of genius and begins to explain how to achieve that kind of living. I found it all very interesting—if not a little hilarious—and when I went to talk about all of my thoughts with Matt, he began accidentally referring to the genius zone as the hero zone. Point being, I have a lot to say about this book!)
4. Maybe Nobody Knows, Maybe Nobody Cares, But It Really Feels Like Paul Ryan Took a Bribe in Front of the Whole World*
*OK, fine. Maybe I have a bit of time right now to get into this one: In case you missed it, on CNBC, Paul Ryan publicly criticized Amazon’s treatment of Hachette authors (If you’re out of the loop: You can’t pre-order the majority of Hachette books on Amazon, and once the books come out, they aren’t given the normal Amazon discount nor are they available to ship in a timely manner. In effect, you are discouraged from buying Hachette books from the site that is believed to control over 50% of the book market--physical and electronic books.) The following day, Amazon made a major exception for Ryan, essentially flipping a switch so that suddenly his Hachette-published book was easily discoverable, discounted by 25 percent, and available to ship immediately.
We haven’t heard anything from Mr. Ryan since. Sooooooo, so much for fighting the good fight! But here’s my thinking: if he wasn’t getting special treatment from the online megastore because of his status as a congressman (which would be a violation of House ethics rules), then surely, all a Hachette author needs to do is publicly declare their displeasure with Amazon’s treatment of their book and then, the next day, the book will become available for pre-order and all that jazz—amiright?
OK, well, in that case, I would like to make this blog post my official declaration of displeasure with Amazon’s treatment of my book and, while I'm at it, the books of all other Hachette authors. (It’s probably safe to say that Amazon missed my previous blog post about all this.)
Ahhh, great. Now we can put this lousy topic behind us and finally talk butter chicken.
This is one of those recipes that you want to bookmark for your next dinner party. Sure, the ingredient list is long and it’s going to take some time to make, but it is also one of those dishes that can simmer away, unattended on the stovetop, just becoming better and better, and it is also one of those recipes that is undeniably delicious. Even if you know someone who says they don’t like Indian food, I bet they would like this meal. If you have a rice cooker, serve it with some basmati rice. If not, maybe get that naan bread they sell in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s? Oh, this is fun—now I’m imagining a dinner party! (I can’t remember the last time we hosted a dinner party!) But even if you’re not the entertaining type, you probably want to make this recipe. We ate the leftovers the following night and were even more impressed.
1 ½ cups full-fat plain yogurt
about 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone (As you probably already noted from the photos, I used whole chicken legs with the skin on, but next time I'll probably use skinless thighs like the recipe calls for. It would just be easier to eat and portion out.)
¼ pound unsalted butter
4 teaspoons neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt to taste
⅔ cup chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
1 ½ cups cream
1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds
½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed.
Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).
In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.
Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.
Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.