Have you ever noticed how food-related names like Concord-Grape, Sage, Bisque and Truffle make paint samples and home-renovation aisles seem like veritable farmer’s markets of color choice? We associate colors with the foods we enjoy, and are often drawn to those colors to cheer our living spaces.
I recently enjoyed a stroll through Corner Brook’s colorful Townsite District and remarked that meals, like houses, are also improved by brilliant and varied colors. A varied palette makes a meal more enticing and usually makes it healthier (unless your meal is Froot-Loops and Gummy Bears), just as a bright paint-job can improve one’s habitat and one’s outlook on otherwise drab days.
I also recently came across this recipe for a delicious paella that, I can’t help but notice, is similar in color and variation to many Townsite homes. I couldn’t help but associate the recipe’s ingredient list with Townsite’s brilliant palette.
Take this house on North Street, I call it Chorizo Fuchsia:
The paella’s shrimp also have the same teal and deep blue tones that you’ll find on houses dotting Central Street:
Most Corner Brookers thought yesterday’s weather forecast was a cruel April Fool’s joke: 10 cm of snow after a gorgeous spring day? Say it aint so.
Sadly, it is so. But here at Chez Moi the forecast calls for french-press coffee…
…and a morning’s worth of my favorite magazines courtesy of my favorite Corner Brook establishment, the Corner Brook Public Library:
The library’s selection of books, movies, and magazines is surprising, and includes a large “Newfoundland” section and a staggering variety of cookbooks:
The library also provides the best customer service in town. If the library doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, a librarian will order it from another library (which usually only takes a week to get in). And, if the book isn’t available elsewhere, a librarian will go to great lengths to order a brand new copy just for you.
If, like me, you’re keen to read the latest magazines as soon as possible, a librarian will even call you when your magazine comes in, and reserve it for you at the front desk.
Which means, on a snowy Saturday like today, you can learn how to prep for a 10K, plan a Greek-style Easter Dinner, discover Chile’s top wine picks, and learn about Jerusalem’s contemporary architecture. It’s all part of a complete, Saturday morning breakfast.
In Corner Brook sunshine is cause for celebration. Every so often, after days of rain, snow and grey, the city is transformed.
Sunshine streams through café windows:
It lights up houses and hills:
And it melts snow:
To celebrate this unusual but equally welcome sunshine I made a dish with its own sunny disposition:
After all, a sunny day pairs perfectly with a transition salad filled with generous helpings of citrus, baby spinach, feta, and these:
Beets! I trimmed about 8 of them and tossed them in olive oil. Then I wrapped each one in tinfoil and roasted them in the oven for about an hour:
Then I unwrapped, peeled, and chopped them:
And grated the zest from two grapefruits and two tangerines:
I added the zest to a bowl and whisked together 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1/3 cup olive oil.
Then I segmented and tossed the fruit in a bowl and added a generous bunch of baby spinach. I chopped the beets, crumbled some feta, and drizzled the dressing over the lot. The result?
Sunshine on my plate!
It’s a shame that fast food in Corner Brook typically means a stop at McDonald’s or KFC. Thanks to globalization, you’ll likely find these joints in India, but you’ll also find Dhaba’s — roadside stands that sell economical (and equally tasty) curry dishes.
It’s also a shame that Corner Brook has no Indian restaurants — especially on cold, wintery days when you long to be lured out of the grey, mucky streets, and into a saffron-and-cinnamon colored dining room, and tuck into a comforting curry or succulent Shahi Paneer.
One can, however, create Indian colors and cuisine in the comfort of one’s own home. And, (almost) as fast as you can say Colonel-Sanders’, you can have a lovely Dhaba chicken curry — one of many types of curries you’ll find in India’s Punjabi region.
What’s more, this recipe uses many of the spices as the Stormy Weather Chai, which can make India seem like it’s just down the way, and that your kitchen is the new Taj Mahal.
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
A Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamom
2 teaspoons turmeric (add more if you like an intense curry flavor, add only 1/4 teaspoon if you’re feeling cautious)
Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet. Add the spices and cook until they fill your kitchen with a lovely fragrance (about 1 minute or so).
Next, add two large or three medium, diced onions, 2 cloves of garlic (also diced), and some chopped, fresh ginger (select a root that is about 1/2 an inch to 1 inch long).
Cook the onion/spice mixture for about 6 minutes over medium heat. You want the onions to be brown, but not caramelized at this point. Add about one cup of tomato sauce and stir to incorporate. Once the tomato sauce is heated through, taste and correct the seasoning to your liking.
Stir in four boneless, skinless, chopped chicken breasts until they’re nicely coated, then add a cup of water, cover and bring to a boil. Return the mix to a simmer and let it stew for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Top the curry with a dash of Garam Masala, and serve over Basmati rice or serve with naan or pita. (You can find both Garam Masala and Basmati rice –not to mention all the other spices in this recipe — at More for Less in Corner Brook.)
And, just like that, you’ve created your own affordable, aromatic, Indian fast food.
One key to eating and living well in Corner Brook is to keep a well stocked spice rack. You never know when you’ll wake up to this:
Saturday’s endless ice and rain, howling winds and blowing snow was enough for a self-declared snow-day — the perfect excuse to channel warmer climates indoors. The morning began by opening a bag of recently selected spices from Corner Brook’s delightful bulk store/café, More for Less:
Together, ginger, cinnamon, black and white pepper, cloves, and cardamom pods will lift your spirits instantly, transporting you from the doldrums of winter to the spice markets of India.
And when you add these lovely charms…
…and 6 cups of water…
…you’re well on your way to a magical Chai Latte.
Boil the spices for 10 minutes (if you haven’t died and gone to heaven from the tea’s sensational aroma), then add 6 bags of high-quality black (Darjeeling) tea…
…and let the tea steep for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and add a 1/2 cup of honey or cane sugar. Stir, taste, and correct the spices according to your own preference, then simmer the brew for 5 minutes.
While the tea is hot, strain and fill half a mug with the tea. Top the mug with warm milk or soy, and presto:
Your own delicious cup of Chai (and none of the risks of stepping outside to the coffee shop — or to India).
What’s even better?
The tea (along with its spices, but not the milk) stores well in the fridge for about a week. So, if the week’s forecast is (as is common in Corner Brook) uncertain, you have no excuse not to live well indoors. At least until the sun comes out again.