Thai Curry Cornish hens with couscous

The finished cornish hens on couscous with the curry sauce

The finished cornish hens on couscous with the curry sauce

While at work today, I penned an ingredient list for what I think is the perfect fusion of Thai and Indian cuisines.  This marinade makes enough for two cornish hens.  The cayenne pepper lends a little kick and the peanut butter and coconut milk provide the perfect foundation for the curry powder.  A bold and delicious dish. Serve the hens on top of couscous that has been flavored with a little of the marinade, butter, salt and pepper. 

1 can light or full fat coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

3 teaspoons curry powder

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

Splash of rice wine vinegar

Dash of cayenne pepper

5-6 sprigs of cilantro

Whirl all ingredients in the blender and place in a small saucepan.  Heat over low flame until just up to the simmer and turn off the heat.  Let cool. 

Take 2 cornish hens and remove the backbones with kitchen shears and lay flat. Make a few slit in the drumsticks of each hen.  Pour about half the marinade on them and place in the fridge for about an hour. Just pour it out. Do not cross contaminate the marinade.  Keep marinade warm on the side. This will be your sauce to pour on the hens and for dipping too!

Preheat the grill to high and grill the cornish hens for about 8-10 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear when pierced.  While hens are on the grill make the couscous.

Couscous:

1 cup of couscous

1 cup of water

3 tablespoons of the marinade

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup frozen peas

Bring the water, the butter, the marinade, the seasoning and the peas to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as it comes to a boil, stir in the couscous.  Take off the heat and leave for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and season with salt and pepper.  A nice variation would be to add 1/2 cup of currants to the liquid and then 1/2 cup of pistacios or almond slices to the finished couscous (for some crunch).

Place the couscous on a platter and place the hens on top.  Drizzle remaining marinade over top of hens and serve. Serves 4

The simplest Chicken Curry

NOTE: If you want to turn this sauce into a Simple Chicken Curry, double the marinade recipe and add some warm chicken broth (maybe a half cup) to loosen it. Grill or broil some chicken pieces (cut pieces from one chicken) and add them into the curry sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Or, in the alternative, take boneless chicken breast (enough to be coated nicely with all that delicious sauce) and cut into pieces, sautee in olive oil until tender and done, and place in the warm sauce to warm through. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve with plain basmati rice and warm naan.

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Blondies

So last night, I finished reading Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston.  She’s the one behind my vegan cleanse.  Her recommendation for feeling better instantly?  Do something nice for someone.  So here is my contribution. Brownies. Originally from Gourmet Magazine, I had to make two changes.  First, the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (trust me). And second, almonds instead of pecans.  Oh and one more thing.  To make it taste like a chocolate chip cookie, 4 ounces of bitter chocolate, chopped.  I packaged them up this morning and drove 5 bags to our local post office here in Erwinna, PA.  Our postmaster Nancy beamed with excitement as I took out the bags.  Savoring one of the brownies (which I could not eat due to the vegan cleanse), she said that I could bring over anything else I thought was off limits! I left there with a huge smile on my face.  Enjoy!

                                                 Coconut Chocolate Blondies

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups toasted and chopped almonds (toasted in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, cooled and then chopped coarsely in a food processor)

2 cups sweeetened flaked coconut, divided.

4 ounces bitter chocolate, chopped somewhere between coarse and fine

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place rack in the middle and butter and flour a 13×9 pan. If you like you can cut a piece of parchment as well to fit the bottom.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Add brown sugar and vanilla and whisk well. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until creamy and smooth. Add cayenne pepper so that it releases its essence.

Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda and stir (wooden spoon please) into butter mixture.  Add 1 and 1/2 cups coconut, all of the almonds and half the chocolate.  Stir.  Turn into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate and coconut over the top.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cover with foil if your oven runs hot so as to prevent the coconut from browning too much. Let cool on wire rack for 30-45 minutes and then remove by inverting the pan onto a flat surface such as a jelly roll pan (removing parchment if you chose to use it).  Then reinvert the entire brownie onto another sheet pan so that the top is upright. 

Allow to cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator if necessary to firm up the butter fat. Cut into squares. I like cutting them into 1.5 inch squares and the placing them into cellophane bags for delivery and presentation.