Monday, October 21, 2013


I discovered Cardamom this past August.
I spent a week at the apartment of one of my dearhearts that month and brought a sweet potato, red onion, and brown rice for an easy, fuss free roast root dinner.
I chopped the sweet potato in quarters and the red onion into eighths, drizzled them with olive oil in a glass baking dish, and began hunting down seasonings.
My friend keeps an assortment of spices that I'm not used to using, such as cardamom pods. It may seem strange to you that I haven't used cardamom before, but there it is. Cardamom just wasn't in my mom's spice rack.
I looked at the cardamom in the cupboard, considered it, then passed it by to look for the salt and pepper. Salt- ground both coarsely and finely for texture- and pepper were sprinkled generously on the potatoes. Beyond that, I wasn't sure, so I gave the cardamom a second look. I cracked a few pods and spread the dark seeds around the dish, then chucked the whole thing in the oven to roast.
The flavor and the aroma when I pulled the dish out of the oven were so very good. It was sweet, cozy, warm, and rich.

More recently, I made Cardamom Chicken and Rice for my Nanny Family. I found the recipe through pinterest from a Jewish Italian Blog. The original post is in Italian, so I needed to head to Google Translate before I was able to start on it. We already had most of the ingredients on hand, so choosing the recipe was a no-brainer.

Here's the original:
Look! A picture! Haven't seen one of those around here for a while, now.

Here's my adaptation.

2-4 chicken breasts cut into pieces about the width and length of your three middle fingers (or two fingers, if you have big hands)
1 cup or so of rice - any kind or a mix. I mixed the last of a couple bags
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
A handful of cranberries or so
10 or so cardamom pods
5 or so cloves
Parsley or spring onion greens for garnish
Salt and Pepper
A pan big enough to hold everything with a lid

Soak the cranberries in water to soften them, and set aside.
Smash the cardamom pods and save the seeds inside. Crush the cloves to release their flavour.
Rub the chicken with oil salt, pepper, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, and cloves.
Cook the onion slices in a little oil until soft and golden.
Set the chicken in the pan with the onions and brown them on both sides. Use patience here. To get a good colour and richer flavour it took between 5 and 7 minutes on each side for me. Play the radio and don't flip the chicken until two songs have passed.
Set the chicken aside.
Use the cranberry water to loosen the scapings at the bottom of the pan, then add the rice and cranberries and stir.
Place your cooked chicken right on top of the dry, uncooked rice.
Pour water over rice around the chicken (or use stock, if you want to be rich and fancy). Use enough to cover the rice and get the chicken wet, but not so much as to drown the chicken.
Cover and let sit over low heat for about a half hour, or until the water is gone and the rice is fluffy and tender.
Top with garnish and serve in pan.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Surprise

There's a pit that a few bloggers fall into- making their blog the best way for close friends to keep abreast of their lives. Events, emotions, opinions, developments all go on the blog. Friends become readers, then fans, then just another face in the crowd.
Real, meaningful friendships can develop through blogs. People who have never met in person find kinship in the souls each one bares to the ocean-vast internet. But too many folks have made it so that the friends they already had need to become blog-friends in order to maintain their relationships.
I decided not to do that. I have a couple people who are close to me as flesh, and I had to tell them this news in person first- which is why it's been so long since I've written.
My nanny-family has confirmed my position with them until January 2015!
I will remain as a live-in at my current rate, free from rent, utilities, or trying to muster up the motivation to cook dinner for one on late and lonely evenings.
This means no apartment, which means no dinner parties or game challenges. But it does mean a stable job for the next year with guaranteed pay.
It also means that I'm welcome, accepted, and appreciated. Keeping me as a nanny meant they recognized that I'm skilled in my job. Keeping me as a live-in means they like me as a person.
Thinking of that gives me a little piece of joy- one that I'm always surprised to receive.