Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inspiration comes in all different forms

Kleenex in hand - I am going to attempt to write this post without letting tears fill up my eyes so that I can't read what I am writing. I am not sure if you have read the comments from my 'From thyme to time' post - if you haven't you should. I was excited to see who would stop by and share - and to be honest thought that I would get a few answers like 'chocolate bars inspire me to cut the grass' or 'money inspires me to get up and go to work every day'; I can't believe how wrong that I was. I know that I have a bunch of incredible women in my life that pull inspiration from somewhere to get through the challenges in their lives, but, I wasn't expecting their stories to be so emotional - and for my new 'friends' I am so grateful for what they have shared. 

I can't even begin to tell you how blessed I am for what you have shared with me. I have learned so much. I have learned that I am not alone. Although I don't want people to experience what I consider are my struggles - it is a relief to know that others are experiencing very similar challenges - and in the end - we're going to be ok. We're going to make it. I wish that I had a watch for everyone. 

When I started this blog over a year ago, my intent was to post recipes and share my love for food with family and close friends. What has developed is so much more. Being able to share my thoughts, stories, woes, struggles, love story, concerns and recipes, is incredible. I am inspired by the people that read my blog and post a comment - I am inspired to do better than the time before. 

I am emotional after reading the comments for a bunch of different reasons: the loss of fathers (I can relate and after 13 years still struggle as if it was yesterday);  the struggle with weight (for me - when has it not been); the struggle of a busy life, being an inspiration for someone, the love a child (I think of my nephews and nieces and can't imagine life without them in it). I think that we all need to remind ourselves what we are doing to 'get by' or 'live life to the fullest' and I think that it is oh so important as women, to share. I just want you all to know that I am so inspired by these comments and will revert back to these regularly to pick me up when I am down. 

With all the excitement of giving a watch away (thanks again Mena) and reading everyone's posts, I used some inspiration to make - what I think - an amazing dinner. 

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Kaffir Lime Leaves. Ok, I need to back up. Tonight's dinner was inspired by Steph bringing my Kaffir Lime Leaves. Steph, aka My Assistant, has been a Guest Chef before, and is a great cook. She brought me a package of these green leaved jewels yesterday - hopefully anyone watching knew that they were lime leaves and did not think that she was handing me a package of MaryJane. 

This is my first time cooking with these, and will definitely not be the last. I am hoping that Steph will become my Kaffir Lime Leaves 'supplier'. She picked them up at Fairway. I think that they can be found in most grocery stores that specialize in Asian Cooking - and also can be found at some shops in China Town. Their fragrance is delightful. They are so refreshing and subtle. The flavour they deliver is delicious. 

I don't really have a name for this dish - but think that I have come up with one. I hope that you guys consider this recipe - it is delicious, smells incredible and is healthy.

Kaffir Lime Leaves inspired Curry Stew

1 onion - chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - chopped into small bite size pieces
2 medium sized yams - chopped into small pieces - approximately 4 cups
2 small red potatoes - chopped into small pieces
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1 small can of tomato paste
7 kaffir lime leaves
1 can of coconut milk
2 peppers - I used one yellow and one green - chopped into bite size pieces
8 oz of sliced mushrooms - approximately 2 cups
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp of curry powder
Plain yogurt 
4 julienned kaffir lime leaves for garnish

I know that it seems like this cast of character is a lot - but as you start cooking - it isn't. It's easy = all you need is one large skillet with a lid, a cup of tea or whatever you like to drink when you are cooking, and time soak in the aroma of what is unfolding as you prepare a delicious masterpiece.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil and add a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 8 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the yams and potatoes and stir to ensure that everything is nicely mixed together. Then add all of the dry seasoning - pepper flakes, curry and crushed black pepper. Mix thoroughly and add the can of tomato paste - coating everything in the red goodness. Stir in coconut milk, mix thoroughly, and then add the kaffir lime leaves, cover, and let simmer over low-medium heat for about 1/2 hour - stirring often. After 30 minutes, add the peppers and mushrooms. Cover and let simmer for about another 15 minutes. 

Before serving, gently remove the lime leaves from the dish. Serve in a nice bowl, with a dollop of plain yogurt and the julienned lime leaves. I had a slice of whole wheat naan bread to go along side.

The aroma of the lime leaves is not overpowering. It is definitely fragrant and when you open wide to take your first bite, you almost think that it is going to be full of a citrusy lime flavour, but it isn't. There is a deliciously subtlety that gives you the hint of lime, but doesn't drown it.  I hope that you give this a try.

One last thing before I sign off for the night. My gf - Tracy - is a very talented artist and photographer - and is also engaged. :) It's our joke. We are both 'fiances' at the same time. Her wedding is coming soon - it's an exciting time. Ok - I digress. Tracy posted that she was inspired about my giveaway and wanted to do one of her own. Her giveaway is super cool - and would be a gift that any photographer or photographer 'wannabe' would want. Visit her HERE - and enter to win.

Alrighty - the weekend is almost here - it will bring with it relaxation and time for ourselves. Oh - how exciting!



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