Sunday, December 22, 2013

Curried Shrimp Chowder

Yesterday, my husband and I sat down to do some meal planning for the coming week and round out our grocery shopping list.

Every so often, Tim likes to make clam chowder. He has not made it in awhile, and floated the idea. I like his clam chowder very well. Usually, we buy a couple of cans of clams, which is fine. But this week it morphed into something else.

It started when I suggested that we use some sort of firm white fish instead of clams. But when we got to the market, their white fish didn't look all that great. But they had shrimp! But I had to promise to peel them.

Today, while we were out and about, I asked Tim, could we add curry powder? Tim responded, I don't think it would work with the milk, but maybe coconut milk? I said, that sound great!

A plan began to develop in Tim's mind.

He sautéed onions and garlic in one pot, and cooked about 2-1/2 pounds of small red potatoes (cubed) (unpeeled) in a separate pot, so he could drain off the starchy water. When the potatoes were fork tender, he added two cans of coconut milk to the onions and added the potatoes as well as some cardamom, turmeric, cumin, salt, and black pepper. When that was heated through, he added the shrimp and simmered just until the shrimp were pink.

It was very tasty, but I'm not sure it conforms to the strict definition of chowder.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

Between one thing and another, we didn't get our tree up and decorated until a couple nights ago. But now it is all lit and decorated and festive.

Over the years, I have acquired quite the assortment of ornaments. When my sisters and I were kids, we would receive typically one new ornament each Christmas, such as these three. The first two I kind of remembering getting while I was in grade school. The third one, the elf, I've had for so long I don't remember how old I was when I got it.

Some of my oldest ornaments I must have made, possible at Sunday school. Styrofoam seems to be a popular craft item.

In the above picture is also one of my oldest ornaments, the little red horse. Here is a better angle.

It used to have a curved, gold-colored horn on its head. That fell off quite some time ago. I'm not sure why I never tried to fix it, and now I'm not sure if I even still have it. I may have to look carefully in the bottom of the box where I store my ornaments to see if it is there.

Several ornaments are made of straw, and I believe come from the Scandinavian tradition.

One of my favorite ornaments is this sled that my dad made out of popsicle sticks and painted silver. 

This year, for the first time, I put up some ornaments that came from my mom. I remember a few of them from when I was young. As I recall, I wasn't allowed to touch them because they were so fragile, such as this glass horn.

Quite a few ornaments were gifts from various people over the years. This bird is the first ornament I can remember being given by someone who was not a member of my family.

Her name was Tina Caloroso. She was in my Camp Fire Girl troop when I was in fifth or sixth grade. She was a student at my school, but she was in the class for hard-of-hearing kids. Whenever I hang that ornament, I wonder about her — where she is, what she's doing.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Exotic Birds

Yesterday, a customer came into the store with her macaw, named Maia.

It was the second time she had come in, since I began working there last August, but I gather she is a semi-regular customer who comes in from time to time.

The first time, after she left, I thought, "I should have taken a picture with my iTouch!"

The second time, I didn't miss my chance.

Maia is a very accommodating bird.

She showed her "eagle wings."

More than once.

She is friendly. She willingly used my arm as her perch. Her grip is not uncomfortable at all. Her claws look sharp, but her grip is relaxed and does not pinch.

And showed her eagle wings again.

Pretty bird.

Later in the day, another customer came in with her little parakeet. It was chirping loudly and insistently, apparently because it was hungry. I was able to snap just a couple of pictures before she had to leave.