Saturday, January 31, 2009

As He Leads Us

I know I've been MIA lately, and I'll be back to blog about that soon. I promise...

But I want to share with you something that I'm REALLY excited about. Two of my very best friends (on-line, or otherwise), Megan Tietz, and Laura Oyer, are embarking on a wonderful project. Here, in their own words, is a description of it...

Hi friends (and friends of friends)!

We're Megan Tietz & Laura Oyer, and we wanted to let you know about a project we're working on, and invite you to be part of the process. We are currently co-writing a book on the subject of parenting from a Christian perspective, focused specifically on the first year of babyhood. Our working title is "As He Leads Us: Parenting on the Path of Servanthood in Baby's First Year".

Our purpose in writing this book is to offer new parents and parents-to-be an approach to caring for their baby that is radically different than what has emerged as the mainstream trend in the Christian community. And yet it is one which we believe is firmly rooted in and supported by Scripture. One that looks toward the example of God the Father, seeks after Christ's unequivocal call to servanthood, and leans upon the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in determining and meeting the individual needs of each unique child. We have each found, as we have been led by God to this particular parenting path, that parenting through a mindset of servanthood has allowed us to be more focused and fulfilled mothers, has forged more intimate connections to our husbands, and has fostered a closer and more surrendered relationship with the Lord.

Our message is this...There is more than one way to parent a young baby from a Biblical perspective. It's a truth that we wish we had been told as new moms. And it's what we are passionate about sharing with others.

Right now we're in the process of finalizing our formal book proposal and querying agents. In the meantime, we're working at building a platform for the themes of our book through Megan's blog, SortaCrunchy.We would love for you to check out the blog for a more in-depth look at our parenting philosophy, and to join in the discussions that we plan to open up on specific parenting topics every Monday. Above all, we would ask for your prayers as we seek agent representation and/or a publisher, and as we seek God's plan over all others for the future of this project.

Thank you!

I am encouraging each and every one of my readers to please click on over to SortaCrunchy and read all about it. I have a personal interest in this endeavor, as I have been blessed to watch both Megan and Laura as they have grown from wide-eyed new moms into wise and knowledgeable women, and blessed to have been a part of that journey.  They have a very important and worthwhile message, one that is very close to my heart.  they are able to put into words so eloquently what many of us have felt, stumbling through that first year of parenthood

Every Monday, Megan and Laura will be discussing part of their work, and are encouraging everyone to come read, and share their own thoughts and experiences with them.  So join me, would you? Mondays at SortaCrunchy, for the As He Leads Us discussion. You won't be sorry! I promise!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

My mom introduced this recipe to me. Although it's technically Indian food, it is part of the local cuisine in the parts of Tanzania where she does her mission work. This has become one of my family's favorite meals. Everyone likes it - even the small ones. I have to remember to keep a few pieces of the chicken out of the sauce for Robbie, but even he likes it. And Robbie is my Mikey... He's extremely picky... *sigh* But this is one meal that everyone looks forward to.

I serve this with naan, when I can get it. At some point, I'll make it from scratch, but I haven't gotten there yet. And I make a double batch, which serves all 8 of us, with enough for a bit of leftovers the next day. And truthfully, it gets better with age... I have modified the original recipe (of course... *grin*), and I'm very satisfied with it. I hope you will be, too.

Chicken Tikka Masala
serves 4-6

This dish is best prepared with whole milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 t ground coriander, ¼ t ground cardamom, ¼ t ground cinnamon, and ½ t ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an air-tight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
½ t cayenne
2 t table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, and cut into 1”-2” cubes
2 c whole-milk yogurt
2 T vegetable oil
2 med garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 t)
1T fresh grated ginger

Masala Sauce
3 T vegetable oil
1 med onion, diced fine (about 1 ¼ c)
2 med garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 t)
2 t fresh grated ginger
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1T tomato paste
1T garam masala
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2t sugar
½ t salt
2/3 c heavy cream
¼ c chopped cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a zip-top bag. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Place bag on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, and oil. Set aside.
2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala: cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream, and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. While the sauce simmers, adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6” from the heating element) and preheat broiler. Using tongs, dop chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with a thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on a wire rack set in a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt. Broil chicken until thickens parts read 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and exterior is charred in spots, 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken half-way through cooking time.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, remove from rack and stir into warm sauce. Do not simmer chicken in sauce. Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve over basmati rice.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated recipe, Sept/Oct 2007