Ok, hold onto your pants, this is going to be a long post. Saturday was my birthday and it turned out to be a great day! In the morning I went to downtown for a Farmer’s Market with my neighbor/friend. We checked out tons of booths, chatted over coffee, tasted a few excellent samples (toffee, chocolate, berries, cookies etc) and did a huge amount of people watching. There were plenty of people to watch too, it was interesting to see a large amount of people in what’s a city with such a small town feel.
For lunch we stopped at a local chain for Mexican, it’s pretty decent considering our distance from the border. The best part about it though, was the location. The restaurant was tucked in an alley on the side of the building, a very old building. It was originally three buildings (at least we guessed it was) that had several corridors and hallways built to make it all one big place.
This process left open brick on random walls, winding hallways, creepy little service doors everywhere and more nooks and crannies than you thought possible for just one building. It was great though, we spent a solid half hour exploring it, seeing where some parts were updated and others weren’t. One of the best parts was all the old antiques displayed in the building; clearly whoever owns it knows the history of the place. I loved it.
Later on my boy took me to dinner at a local tavern in downtown. It was such a great atmosphere with delectable food. Their menu had a lot of classic comfort food but with innovative twists. We both had one of their hand-made angus beef burgers that were delicious. I was thoroughly impressed and would gladly drag him back there.
After that it was off to the movies! X-Men First Class was very well done I thought. The main story revolved around Erik and Charles (Magneto and Professor X) plus the side stories of all the first mutants. If you look closely in one scene, you can even see Storm. My boy thought there was too much going on, too many stories etc. While that could be true, if you want to be immersed in the story though I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s easily the best X-Men movie in a long time. The movie is excellently carried by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. If you have any small inkling to see it, go. You’ll enjoy it!
So after such a full day, I realized the night afterwards that I’d have to cook dinner. Looking at my lonely tomatoes and green onions that needed using, I decided to find a recipe that would use them up before I have to throw them out.
I found a recipe for chicken using garam masala spices (a blend of several spices like cardamom, pepper, cumin, cinnamon etc) that are primarily used in Indian cooking. It was a bit of a gamble considering the picky, plain-preferring boyfriend who would be eating it too. But I rolled the dice and came up winning. It’s a pretty easy recipe, uses one pan and has great flavor!
It can be difficult to find a garam masala blend in your local grocery store. I ended up finding mine (and dancing excitedly) at Cost Plus World Market. You can buy it online from them or check your local stores that carry off the beaten path stuff. Should you live in a bigger city, there’s likely an ethnic market or maybe even a restaurant that would sell it.
Garam Masala Chicken
(adapted from food.com)
2-3 chicken breasts, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cup fresh tomatoes diced (one large and one medium or three small)
1 bunch of green onion, chopped
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
In a large skillet, heat the oil then add in your chicken breasts. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned on one side. Turn the chicken over and add in the green onion. Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Once the green onions are softened, add in the tomatoes, followed by water and garlic salt. Sprinkle 1 ½ teaspoons of garam masala onto the chicken and vegetables. It’s easiest to use a ½ teaspoon measure and take out 3 measures to sprinkle over. Reduce the heat and cover the skillet, let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add in the last ½ teaspoon of garam masala, stirring all of the vegetables and chicken. Turn the chicken over again if necessary. Let simmer for another 5 minutes, stir occasionally while simmering. Serve over rice, couscous or quinoa.
The smell from the garam masala spice blend is really quite unique and fantastic. I’ll be trying to find more ways to use it!