Rendang Chicken Curry – Indonesian Dry Curry

Rendang Chicken Curry – (Indonesian Dry Curry)

For those who don’t know, a dry curry is simmered down until the sauce is very thick and coats the meat. Intense flavors of a bevy of spices, fish sauce and coconut milk give this recipe great depth and complexity. You’ll see by the list of ingredients what I mean. The big plump black raisins swell when cooking. I like to sprinkle fresh toasted coconut on just before serving. As my friend Suzanne would say, a real tongue erection!
While the curry can be made with beef or whole chicken cut into pieces, for ease of serving large groups, I prefer chunks of chicken thighs -or if serving a pot luck – drumettes. Serves 24 for potluck with approximately 1 drumette each.

Tools:
Heavy Le Creuset-type (dutch oven etc) pot
Optional oven-proof flat dish
Optional Aluminum foil
Optional Food processor, either large or mini

Meat:
Chicken parts equivalent to a whole chicken.
My preference: boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks OR
best for pot luck: wing drumettes (approx 24)

Sauce Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
1 large onion
4 gloves garlic
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3-4 tsp powdered ginger – or thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
¾ tsp dry chili flakes or 1-3 deseeded red chilies (depends on how “hot” you like it)
1 tsp turmeric
1 heaping Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp powdered star anise
4 tsp dark soy sauce (you can add more later to adjust taste)
4 Tbsp fish sauce – or equivalent fish base from jar
1 tsp shrimp paste – or 1 Tbsp seafood base – or 1 Tbsp additional fish sauce

Optional
Handful of big seedless raisins (Autumn Royal or Flame Seedless)
¾ Tbsp tamarind paste
2 Tbsp finely chopped lemongrass

Garnish ingredients:
Dry, shredded coconut (packaged, sweetened coconut from grocery store is fine)

Savory, spicy, rich Rendang Dry Curry Chicken drumettes waiting to be sprinkled with toasted coconut. A real tongue erection!

Savory, spicy, rich Rendang Dry Curry Chicken drumettes waiting to be sprinkled with toasted coconut. A real tongue erection!

Preparation:
Note: For making the sauce, a food processor is best. I use a mini-one for the onions and garlic. If you have a big processor, you can put all the SAUCE ingredients EXCEPT raisins in that. If you don’t have a processor, dice the onions, garlic, fresh ginger and optional lemongrass as small as possible. Would recommend powdered ginger.

Use a sturdy pot on top of stove.
Put coconut milk in pan.
Peel onions and cut into chunks.
Peel garlic.
IF using fresh ginger, peel and cut into pieces.
Put onion, garlic, ginger and optional lemongrass in mini-processor and mush.
Stir sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. EXCEPT raisins.
Add mixture to coconut milk.
Taste test and adjust. If need more salt, add more fish sauce or seafood base. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Add the chicken, stirring well.
When curry comes to boil again, reduce to simmer for approximately one hour, stirring frequently so not to burn or stick. (see 2 techniques below)
If it seems to go “dry” (thicken) too fast, add more coconut milk or a little water.

Note: Best made as many hours before serving as possible. This allows the spices to meld.

If using chicken chunks, simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently.
You will want the sauce to reduce.
Add the raisins after 45 minutes.
Continue cooking until sauce is consistency of ketchup.
Turn onto serving dish and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Serve bowl of remaining coconut on the side.

If using drumettes, cover the first 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the raisins.
Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Remove drumettes to an oven-proof dish large enough to spread them out.
Cover with foil and put in 300 degree oven while reducing the sauce. (Further tenderizes the drumettes without drying them out.)
Boil the sauce hard, uncovered until consistency of ketchup.
Remove chicken from oven and spoon sauce over.
Serve in the oven proof dish.
Sprinkle toasted coconut on top.
Serve bowl of remaining coconut on the side.

Toasted Coconut

Toasted coconut cooling after being turned out of the skillet.

Toasted coconut cooling after being turned out of the skillet.

This is so easy, it’s embarrassing to accept the praise it always elicits.
Best made close to serving.

½ – 1  package shredded coconut
1 heavy skillet or hand wok

Heat pan on high fire.
Put coconut in hot pan.
Stir constantly, turning and turning.
Remove or lift from fire occasionally so doesn’t get too hot.
Coconut will gradually begin to brown.
Keep turning!
When it’s all over golden, remove from heat and dump immediately onto a plate or flat pan to cool.
DO NOT leave in hot skillet as cooking continues.

Sandra adds “Although this reads like a complicated recipe, it really isn’t when you get down to it. Once you line up all ingredients, everything goes into a pot and cooks. I take the extra oven step with the drumettes, as I want them to be tender but not falling off the bone. You can easily skip the oven part.

The Secret:  It’s all in the spices. I use Penzey’s for freshness and punch. It’s also very important to let the spices “cure,” which means giving them plenty of time to meld together. Make in the morning for an evening party. Can easily be prepared the day before.

May 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

Red Sun Halo in Ivory Coast Africa

I took this photo many many years ago when living in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), West Africa. We were upcountry in the “bush” when a halo formed around the sun. Such a mystical experience. I’ve only seen it once in my life.

From under one of those giant, tropical Africa trees that reach for the sky, I captured the shot using a red filter on my Nikon and Kodak slide film. Much later, I took a photography course in New Jersey to learn to print paper positives from color slides. This photo is the result. I love it still.

solar ring in the Côte d'Ivoire taken through a red filter

Solar ring (halo) in the Côte d’Ivoire Africa taken through a red filter.

May 26, 2015 at 1:59 am 1 comment

Our stay at Mena House, the Giza Plateau and the Great Pyramid

Here you have two photos from an adventure I treasure. The first time I went to Egypt, my husband and I stayed at the historic Mena House, a converted Pasha’s hunting lodge at the feet of the Pyramids. Can you imagine the thrill when we arrived late at night and were ushered into our room? The bell boy threw open the shuttered doors to this heart-stopping vista of the lighted Great Pyramid. I don’t ever remember a thrill greater than that moment. Better than anything I’d ever dreamed.

The Great Pyramid at night from our room at the Mena House, Giza, Egypt.

The Great Pyramid at night from our room at the Mena House, Giza, Egypt.

The following dawn, the growls of camels and shouts of their drivers awoke us. “Yellah! Yellah!” the turbaned men urged with sharp cries.

With no strength or will to tear myself away from the terrace, we ordered a room service feast with hot crusty rolls, thick apricot jam, plump fresh figs, and syrupy black coffee. While Jesper gazes in wonder, the early morning mists melt in the warming sun. Magic. Just plain magic.

My husband Jesper enjoying breakfast on the terrace of our room at the Mena House.

My husband Jesper enjoying breakfast on the terrace of our room at the Mena House.

I hadn’t started my trilogy yet. The Red Mirror was still years in the future, waiting for me to stumble over it in a Las Vegas antique mall. Isis hadn’t spoken to me; she hadn’t shared her story. But the seed was most certainly planted that dawn, on that very terrace, at the old Mena House in the shadow of the eternal Pyramids.

May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Three Reasons Why We Need The Oxford Comma

Being a fan of the Oxford comma, and having been corrected by editors when using it, I am especially fond of this superb example of why we sometimes need it.

BTW, the Oxford comma may also be called the Harvard comma. The term refers to the comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and, or, or nor) in a series of three or more terms.

Three reasons why we need the Oxford comma.

Three reasons why we need the Oxford comma.

Thank you to Alexander MacDonald @alex_macdonald for sharing this on twitter and Indira Lakshmanan
@Indira_L for RTing.

April 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm 2 comments

At the moment I’m doing more cooking than writing in honor of Aries Birthday month

chocolate ganache with strawberries marinated in Grand Marnier. More special desserts for Aries Birthdays.

Aries birthday cake of chocolate ganache with strawberries marinated in Grand Marnier. I adore my Aries men!

April 12, 2015 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

Easter dinner with roasted rabbit and pasta with mushrooms

Roasted rabbit in white wine with sagne torte con funghi (pasta with mushrooms). Both my own recipes.

Roasted rabbit in white wine with sagne torte con funghi (pasta with mushrooms). Both my own recipes.

The French Côte de Provence Domain de Beaupré was a rosé wine I’d been saving for a special occasion. It was delicious at the beginning of the meal but seemed to turn a little sour at the end. If I made this again, I’d go Italian all the way.

When I saw this delectable Italian artisan pasta (sagne torte) at our local deli, d’Paolo & Sons, I couldn’t resist. Too elegant and tasty to be smothered in sauce, I came up with the following recipe that accented the rabbit every bit as much as I’d hoped it would.

Sandra’s pasta con funghi
4 cups whole dark mushrooms, then chopped fine
6 scallions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
olive oil to cover bottom of frying pan
pat of butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
salt & pepper
au jus from the roasted rabbit

note: As always, I eyeball ingredients: oil, butter, white wine, crème fraîche. You must sense how much you need and add more if necessary. The sauce is not meant to be “runny,” so go easy on the wine. You achieve the right texture with the crème fraîche, which also binds the flavors. Salt and pepper is according to taste.

sauté onions and garlic in olive oil and butter for 3 minutes
add mushrooms, salt and pepper
sauté until soft, turning gently
add white wine
simmer 5 minutes
add crème fraîche and turn.
turn off heat and let sit until ready to eat.

boil pasta in salty water according to instructions (about 9 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes). DO NOT OVERCOOK!
while pasta is boiling, warm the sauce gently
drain pasta but do not rinse
turn onto a platter
add mushroom sauce and turn quickly and gently
spoon generous amount of the au jus (sauce) from the rabbit over the pasta
serve immediately

Marella Artisan Pasta, Sagna Torte, Puglia Italy

Marella Artisan Pasta, Sagna Torte, Puglia Italy

April 12, 2015 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

Wishing you a wonderful Easter and Passover!

Easter at my house is a time for yummy food, delicious wines and good company.

Easter at my house is a time for yummy food, delicious wines and good company.

April 3, 2015 at 9:46 pm 2 comments

Ruby Wedding Anniversary – 40 years of bliss that started in Mexico City

40 short years ago in the colonial suburb of Mexico City, Coyoacan, an adventurous Dane and a crazy American promised to live their lives together. So far, so good!

40 short years ago in the colonial suburb of Mexico City, Coyoacan, an adventurous Dane and a crazy American promised to live their lives together. So far, so good!

There’s a bit of an interesting story surrounding this picture. And I’m not talking about the wild adventures through Central America that led up to this moment. We had planned a wonderful wedding and dinner at the San Angel Inn, a beautiful 16th century colonial restaurant now in southern Mexico City. Just one month before the wedding, I came down with hepatitis, amoebic dysentery and salmonella. With the doctor’s assurance that I’d be fine for the wedding date, we didn’t change our plans.

Three days before the wedding, we accepted the reality that I was not going to stand out of bed for more than an hour. Jesper quickly arranged for the Mexican judge to come to us instead of the San Angel Inn. BTW, all marriages in Mexico are civil. The religious ceremony comes after and has no legal status. My girlfriend rescued the dress which I had intended to sew myself, finishing the last touches at the last minute, and our friends crowded into our apartment in Coyoacan overlooking Mexico City.

I literally stood up, got dressed, inked my thumbprint into a massive ledger, gave the appropriate responses in Spanish to the questions posed by the judge – and then went back to bed. As you can imagine, there were quite a few jokes about the bride waiting in the next room.

What easily could have been taken as a terrible omen didn’t turn out that way. 40 years later, we’re still holding hands. And still smiling.

March 20, 2015 at 4:48 pm 2 comments

GONG XI FAT CAI – HAPPY NEW YEAR (of the Sheep)

Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

February 19, 2015 at 8:02 am 1 comment

Love bursting from my heart(h)

Wishing you a day filled with love.

Wishing you a day filled with love.

February 14, 2015 at 12:19 am 1 comment

Valentine Magic from me to you

Valentine Magic

February 10, 2015 at 3:48 am 1 comment

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” 10 Easy Steps to Creative Solutions

If you’ve hit a wall and your void, infertile mind refuses to sprout new ideas, then I’ve got a few tips that will break the barrier. Click below to link to my creativity article, If it is to be, it is up to mejust published in the winter 2015 edition of Choices Magazine.

10 easy steps to creative solutions that open your subconscious and allow you to connect with your inner genius.
10 easy steps that only you can take.  If it is to be, it is up to you.
http://issuu.com/judimoreo/docs/choicesmagazine-winter2015/56

Relax your mind. Let your muses sing freely in your ear!

The Nine Muses

The Nine Muses (Mousai) – Greek Goddesses of music, song, and dance and source of inspiration to poets. Also Goddesses of Knowledge, they remembered all things that had come to pass. Calliope (Epic Song), Clio (History), Euterpe (Lyric Song), Melpomene (Tragedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Erato (Erotic Poetry), Polyhymnia (Sacred Song), Urania (Astronomy) and Thalia (Comedy & Bucolic Poetry)

 

 

January 23, 2015 at 8:54 pm 1 comment

Best Wishes for a wonderful 2015

S.L. Gore sends you wishes for the best year ever. Happy 2015!

Antinous, Jesper and S.L. Gore sends you wishes for the best year ever. Happy 2015!

December 30, 2014 at 10:58 pm 1 comment

My Christmas mantel for 2014

My Christmas mantle this year reflects my yearning for purity and peace in the world.

My Christmas mantle this year reflects my yearning for purity and peace in the world.

Wishing all of you the most beauteous of holiday seasons. May the gods bestow peace and grace on you and yours. May your December radiate with white light and love.

December 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm 1 comment

TV or Movie Pitch for the Red Mirror Series

I’ve been struggling to put together a TV mini-series or movie pitch for the Red Mirror Series. To be perfectly honest, writing the 1000 page trilogy was a whole lot easier than condensing the complex and intricate saga into a few words.

What genre of film would it be? A mystical Indiana Jones quest for magical artifacts? A coming of age heroine’s journey on the path to empowerment? A love story with the quest for Mr. Right? A time-travel thriller with good guys vs bad guys? A tale of the clash of great civilizations? A sexy romp through ancient history with rich roles for actors and actresses?


Log-line: Reality shatters when a Vegas party girl buys an antique red mirror and a circle of edgy lovers and villains tangle in multiple lifetimes.

Genre: epic romantic time-travel adventure

Synopsis:
Once a restless Vegas woman gets a taste of her sumptuous past in ancient Egypt, she wants more. Mystical objects, deadly foes and four powerful lovers appear in shifting roles on both sides of the Red Mirror. Isis goes back to save herself and others, but who can she trust in glamorous and gritty worlds, now and long ago?

Pharoanic Egypt – Red Mirror: A sensual odyssey down the Nile goes all wrong when a desert hunt ends with capture by a Persian General and Isis is forced to make terrible choices to survive. Ancient lovers, allies and villains start to show up on the Las Vegas Strip.

Greek Egypt – Emerald Tablet: A Royal commission to build a pleasure Temple with Antinous of the Library of Alexandria is complicated when Athena is taken at sea by the pirate Black Falcon. The circle of lovers, friends and foes intrigue in the past while their modern counterparts clash in New York, Copenhagen and Tahoe.

Roman Egypt – Black Scroll: A Roman sex slave in ancient Libya rises to Nile love goddess with help from a Berber sorceress. Hektor betrays Elektra, and the General proves an unlikely protector. Vegas Isis leads a rescue mission to militia-torn Libya that climaxes with the reincarnating circle facing off in a London showdown.

October 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm 2 comments

Pork Loin Roast Tajine with Preserved Lemons & Rosemary

Brined Lemon, onion, pork loin roast tajine with rosemary and garlic

Brined Lemon, onion, pork loin roast tajine with rosemary and garlic

Using a pork loin roast in a tajine would be utter sacrilege in North Africa. Here in California, I can be creative. This tajine was not spiced as usual;  I wanted to preserve the delicacy of the onions, pork and lemons.

I started, as always, with the sauteeing of onions (2 huge white) and garlic (many cloves very fresh) in virgin olive oil (the heavier the better for a tajine.) When the onions/garlic were soft, I removed them from the pan and browned the roast on all sides at high temperature.

The onion mixture went back in around the meat, which I left as an experiment in one whole piece instead of cutting into chunks. Sprigs of fresh rosemary pierce the roast. The lemons, which I preserved myself with salt, clove, bay leaf and cardamon, were scattered around. Rock salt and fresh ground black pepper came last.

To ensure there was plenty of sauce for my gravy-loving husband, I added one cup of white wine (also a big no-no in North Africa) with a dissolved heaping teaspoon of condensed chicken stock.

Put on the tajine lid and cook on low heat for a couple of hours. note: You can feel the top of the tajine lid to make sure it’s hot and all is cooking as it should.

The meat came out especially moist and tender. I think the center might still have been a bit frozen which turned out to be a plus.

Served with wholewheat coucous and a crisp Chardonnay.

September 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm 1 comment

Lovers of Isis – Red Mirror Series Vignettes

I’ve had a joyful time putting vignettes from my Red Mirror Trilogy under one cover. This is the final of my goals that I set for myself when I started the Isis Odyssey four years ago.

First I wrote Isis, then Athena. Then I redacted Isis into Isis Erotica and Isis Beachread. Some people might not understand why I would recast the same story for different audiences. Let’s just call it a personal challenge to see if I could manipulate the characters, scenes and language, all the while keeping the essence. Maybe it is also a strong belief that the saga of Isis is one so compelling that it can be told in a variety of ways and still capture the adventure and mystery of a woman on the path to empowerment. A good, old-fashioned heroine’s journey.

The third novel in the series was to be titled Elektra but after several marketing sessions, we decided to re-title the three books as The Red Mirror, The Emerald Tablet and The Black Scroll with an eye to communicating the adventure slant of the trilogy.

This last step of creating Lovers of Isis Red Mirror Vignettes has been pure pleasure. I started out to grab all the sex scenes from the three books but found myself including other scenes of intense romantic and emotional impact that developed the characters of her lovers. I’ll freely admit that I adore all of these men for different reasons. When their reincarnations through three books and four lifetimes are telescoped in 300 pages, I believe it’s pretty clear why Isis loves them, too.

Here’s the cover – print and e.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00032]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00032]

 

August 29, 2014 at 12:07 am 2 comments

Peonies – Joy of June

Peonies - Joy of June

Peonies – Joy of June

It’s June again, and with great joy I find once more the fresh-cut peonies at Trader Joe’s. The lush buds in white, pink or fuschia are here for a blink of the eye and then PUFF! gone again until next season.

June 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm 2 comments

The Black Scroll and Libya

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00021]At long last I’m getting the courage to tell the world I finished my trilogy and that The Black Scroll is out there to read.

Maybe it’s the meltdown in Libya that urged me on. The revolution in 2011 certainly inspired the book. Part One is set in Roman and modern Libya with explicit scenes from ancient Leptis Magna followed by Isis’ revisit in modern times where she comes face to face with the militias.

Completing my saga of Isis and her reincarnations in ancient Egypt, The Black Scroll is set in Roman North Africa during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. If you’re familiar with the other two books, you’ll know that the first novel, The Red Mirror, takes place in the days of the last Egyptian Pharaoh on the dawn of the Persian invasion. Book Two, The Emerald Tablet, explores Greek Egypt, especially Alexandria, under the rule of Ptolemy.

As always, the story of modern Isis continues through all three books. I confess to being easily bored; I hunger for travel and adventure. The Red Mirror Series is my chance to share my rich life experience of languages, food, art, religion and history. I’m excited to take you back to the past, but I’m equally thrilled to take you to Las Vegas, New York, Copenhagen, Malta and London – all places I know well and love.

My books don’t fit into one genre. They reflect my eclectic mind and life. Adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, mysticism, sex, time travel, history, thriller…these are all hastags I could use. You won’t be able to put the Red Mirror Series into a category. But I believe you’ll have a wild ride.

 

May 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm 2 comments

First Day of Spring and My Wedding Anniversary

Wedding Picture smiling

March 20, 1975. Mexico City, Coyoacan. First Day of Spring. First Day of Marriage. I became Sandra Gore de Nielsen.

wedding serious

Here we are in a more contemplative moment. I wasn’t entirely sure of everything the judge was saying (very rapid Spanish), but I believe it was something about marriage being the only legitimate institution for the propagation of children. 

March 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm 3 comments

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