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A taste of something different
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A taste of something different

This week, as a total escape from the regular, I would like to share with you one of my favorite recipes. As you may recall from a previous article, I find cooking to be truly delightful. It is relaxing, it is inventive, and let's admit, that the end result can be incredibly rewarding, especially if you follow the simple steps of this expose.

Now, one of the benefits of cooking is that you can go anywhere, experience anything, without even having to leave your kitchen. A good recipe can bring the spices and aromas of the Far East, or the subtle delicacies of Europe right to your kitchen table. Since I look at cooking as a means of escape, this week we are going to make a Thai red curry, with chicken satay skewers. This is an incredibly easy dish, but carries the signature spicy kick of Thai food. This is the first meal I made for my wife, way back when I used to call her "girlfriend". So give this dish a try - you never know what good may come of it.

Let's start with the chicken satay skewers. You will need four skinless, boneless chicken breasts, two crushed garlic cloves, 1 inch of finely ground fresh ginger, two teaspoons fish oil, two tablespoons soy sauce, and one tablespoon honey. Using a sharp chef's knife, simply slice the chicken on the diagonal into quarter-inch-thick strips. For easy, safe cutting, freeze the chicken for 30 minutes - this makes the flesh firm enough to slice.

Next, get ready for this - to make the marinade, simply add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken strips, and then toss together until the meat is thoroughly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile, soak 16 wooden skewers in water, to prevent them from burning.

While the chicken is marinating, let's make the Thai red curry. You see, one of the reasons I love this meal is that I can quickly whip everything together after work. My guests will think I slaved for hours, when in reality the entire preparation takes less than an hour. Sadly, a few of the ingredients for the Thai red curry cannot be obtained here in Monroe, but Woodman's locations in Janesville and Madison do carry the obscure.

For the Thai red curry, you will need about two pounds of chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks. Conversely, if you like to live life on the wild side like I do, substitute the chicken for uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined. Additionally, you need about four servings of rice, some roughly chopped cilantro, and two 13-oz cans of coconut milk, all found locally here in Monroe. From Woodman's, you'll need one "Maesri" brand four-ounce can of red curry paste, and an eight-ounce bottle of "Lee Kum Kee" peanut flavored sauce.

To make the Thai red curry, combine the four-ounce can of red curry paste with one can of coconut milk in a large pot, and slowly bring to a boil. Add the chicken or shrimp, plus the second can of coconut milk, and stir until the meat is cooked. Seriously, that's it - the can of red curry paste is the secret to the deliciousness of this recipe!

Cook the rice, and to make the rice extra special, add the roughly chopped cilantro leaves just as the rice is finished cooking. Cilantro makes everything better. Keep the rice and red curry warm.

Finally, to make this meal complete we need to cook the chicken skewers. Preheat the broiler, placing oven rack 6 inches from broiler. Weave the chicken strips back and forth onto the presoaked wooden skewers, until entire strip is firmly on the skewer. Lay the skewers on the broiler pan and cook for four minutes, then flip the skewers and cook for four minutes more. Now, I was advised that in order to flip the skewers you must wrap the ends of the wood with tin foil. However, being the man that I am, I simply reach into the oven and flip the meat with my bare fingers. Go ahead - it's easier than monkeying around with tin foil.

Time to eat. I would pair this meal with a sweet white wine, like a Riesling. Cedar Creek makes a delicious Golden Harvest and Waterfall Riesling, both of which are priced quite reasonably at about $10 a bottle. Start with the chicken skewers - to serve, drizzle with peanut sauce, place on an attractive plate, and eat as an appetizer. Serve the chicken or shrimp red curry over rice in individual-portioned bowls. Delicious!

For dessert, a green tea ice cream goes perfectly with this meal, but can be difficult to come by. You can make green tea ice cream quite easily, but it requires several Brown Swiss dairy cows. If you are like me, and decide to build up a herd of Brown Swiss dairy cows in order to make green tea ice cream, only purchase cows with bells - they give more milk, and the cream content is far superior to any other breed.

Well, I hope you enjoy this meal. It does have a nice spicy kick to it, sure to leave your guests just as satisfied as mine. Like I said, it is easy, cheap and who knows what good might come of it!