Categories
Food WordPress

Cindy’s Caribbean Chicken Curry

As some of you know, I work on the Theme Team at Automattic, helping WordPress users with all things theme-related.

We recently rolled out a new recipe shortcode which lets you easily add nicely formatted recipes to a WordPress.com blog, complete with a handy print button. (Food sites without a clean print feature drive me nuts!)

All you need to do is put your recipe between a special set of shortcode tags and you’re good to go. There are optional settings for the recipe title, time, difficulty, and servings.

Hearty kudos to my colleague Michael Cain for whipping up this treat for foodies everywhere to enjoy.

Cindy's Caribbean Chicken Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

This is an original recipe from my friend Cindy. She’d never written it down before, but kindly put it together after serving me this yummy dish one night. I knew I’d be getting cravings for it – it was that good.

The stew is delicious with plain white rice but I like to serve it with coconut-scented Jamaican rice and red beans – Skinnytaste has a tasty version.

Hearty comfort food for a chilly night!

Step 1: Wash Chicken

3 lbs. chicken
Juice from one lemon

  • Make sure the chicken is skinless. Breast, leg, thigh, bone in, boneless, doesn’t matter. Personally I prefer leg and thigh, as the meat will not dry up as easily as with breast meat.
  • Wash the chicken in a colander until the water runs clear.
  • Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the chicken, and rub everywhere. Rinse chicken again in water, and then pat try with paper towels. (Don’t know why this step is done. Could just be a remnant of what people before refrigeration did. I did it once without the lemon step and it tasted different. So I continue to do it.)

Step 2: Make Marinade

1 medium onion
6-8 cloves garlic
1 tomato
Handful of cilantro
1 tbsp. black pepper

  • Process everything in a food processor until it’s a thick paste.

Step 3: Prep Chicken

1 tsp. yellow or dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

  • Put chicken a large bowl.
  • Salt chicken (don’t skimp) and pepper everywhere.
  • Add mustard and mix.
  • Add the marinade to chicken and toss to coat.
  • Take a knife and kinda stab the chicken in several spots to get the marinade in there.
  • Either cover bowl with plastic wrap or put chicken in zipper-lock bag.
  • Put chicken in fridge and let it marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

Step 4: Curry Slurry

2 heaping tbsp. curry – gunpowder, madras, or Jamaican curry powder if you can find it
1-2 tsp. turmeric – use more if your curry powder has less
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp. mustard seeds

  • Heat large pan to medium heat.
  • Mix curry and turmeric in a small bowl and add enough water to make a thin paste. Mix well to create your curry slurry.
  • Add oil to hot pan.
  • Add fenugreek and mustard seeds.
  • When mustard seeds start popping, add the slurry.
  • Cook and stir the slurry until most of the water evaporates and the curry is darker in color. This may take a while.

Step 5: Preppin Mo’ Spices

1 tbsp. ginger paste – pound ginger in mortar and pestle or finely grate
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 chopped onion
Salt
1 hot pepper, finely chopped – traditionally it’s a scotch bonnet pepper, but jalapenos or another type of chili would work (optional)

  • Add ginger, coriander powder, and onion to slurry.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Add a few drops of water if spice mix becomes too dry.
  • Add finely chopped hot pepper. Be verrrrrrrry careful when chopping them and use gloves if you have them, and be prepared to wash your hands a lot. If you are making this for people who don’t like spice, you can add the whole pepper (unchopped) to the stew while it’s cooking.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

Potatoes & carrots, chopped into chunks (optional)
Whole scotch bonnet or other hot pepper (optional)

  • When onions are soft, add chicken and toss all ingredients together. Cook for a few minutes with the lid on. The chicken will start to create its own juice within about 10 minutes.
  • Boil 2 cups of water.
  • Add potatoes and carrots if desired.
  • Add whole pepper if using.
  • Add enough boiling water to barely cover the chicken. You may not need all the water.
  • Once water comes to a simmer, put on the lid, and lower hear to medium low. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until vegetables are done.
  • When the chicken is tender, you can increase the heat to boil off some of the water, or if you’re good at mixing cornstarch to sauces, you can thicken up the gravy. I’ve never done it, cause I’m too scared.*

And you’re done!!

*Note from kp: if you try this, first mix 1-2 tsp. cornstarch well with cold water, then add the mixture to the pot.

If you blog on WordPress.com, feel free to give the recipe shortcode a whirl and let me know what you think. And if you try Cindy’s chicken, I hope you enjoy it!

Categories
Technology

Backslash No More

Dear CBC Radio,

I have some news for you – a role-reversal, I know.

It’s not a backslash. When you’re reading out a show’s URL on the air, that character after your domain name, you know the one I mean. It’s not a backslash.

Unless you’re a computer programmer, if you’re under 40 or started using computers later in your life, you likely don’t even recall the need to ever type a backslash. For most folks, the backslash’s usefulness was relegated to the dustbin of operating-system history when Windows supplanted the dreadful DOS as the PC’s OS du jour. The backslash’s glory days were over by the late eighties, early nineties at the latest.

Just in case you’re not clear about what I mean, see the \ character in the middle here:

c prompt

That is a backslash.

The Web has been a daily presence in many people’s lives for nearly twenty years. It’s common knowledge that the slash in a URL goes to the right – in other words, forward.

So, dear CBC radio announcers, could you please stop reading out URLs as “CBC.ca backslash show name”? It makes you look antiquated and out of touch. It makes listeners cringe. And it’s just plain incorrect.

By the way, I’m only bringing this to your attention because I care so much about you. I’m not picking on you – it’s like telling a friend she has toilet paper stuck to her shoe: a brief moment of embarrassment followed by gratefulness and relief.

xoxox

kp

xkcd comic strip
xkcd perfectly encapsulates my feelings on the matter
Categories
Personal

List

This was supposed to be the exciting post in which I re-premiered a revelatory autobiographical documentary I made many decades ago. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as thanks to my over-attachment to outdated technology, I have no way of converting my old VHS tape into a digital format at the moment. (Ironically, the software we had for the task no longer runs on our current operating system.)

Despite this technological failure, I will still share with you the title of the video: Kathy P: Listoholic. In the spirit of the piece – which will have to wait for another day – I present to you, a list:

Five Random-But-Slightly Related Things You May Not Know About Me

  1. Back in the stone age pre-Internet era, I worked in film and television as a production manager, associate producer, script supervisor, and editor, among other stressful, demanding, and unglamorous positions. If you – or your children – watched TV in the 1990s, you may have seen some of my shows.
  2. I used to be called Kathy. My moniker morphed in 1992 when I assistant directed a kids’ TV show and the floor manager’s name also happened to be Kathy. Two Kathys on one control-room/studio intercom system was not workable, so being the younger Kathy I volunteered to give up my name. Kathryn stuck.
  3. Before I thought I wanted to work in film and television, I thought I wanted to be a professional actress. I had small parts in movies and acted in plays from about the age of eight to my late teens, when I discovered super-8 filmmaking and decided that being behind the camera was a much better place to be than in front of it. (Later in life I would learn that behind-the-scenes was not all it was cracked up to be, either.)
  4. I get nauseous and headachy watching movies that are too handheld, fast-cut, or that were shot with a high frame rate. If I take anti-motion-sickness meds beforehand I can usually handle it.
  5. My favourite genre is the documentary. There is nothing quite like reality to move and inspire.
kp commercial
One of my stranger gigs back in the acting days. I’ll let you guess what I was doing and for what kind of production.
Categories
Personal Technology

Late Adopter

I have an embarrassing confession to make.

I provide tech support to bloggers for a living.

Before that, my career was building WordPress blogs for clients.

But this is my first blog.

I don’t count the bare-bones, default-header-bedecked site that mainly consists of beginner WordPress resources, nor will we speak of the single-subject and now inactive, anonymously penned site on some other blogging platform that shall remain nameless.

This is my first blog.

The milestone has made me reflect on all the other technology I’ve embraced kicking and screaming much later than most.

In rough chronological order:

rotary phone
rotary 4EVAH!
photo courtesy of Clemson via Flickr
  • Touch-tone phone
  • Cordless phone
  • Voice mail
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Facebook
  • iPhone
  • Microwave

No, wait, I still don’t have a microwave.

I’ve…

…been giggled at by store employees (“You want a… phone with a cord connecting the handset to the base? Do they still make those?”)

…been glanced at surreptitiously with a mixture of pity and disbelief (my heavy white Macbook at a company-wide meetup where I was the only person with a computer over a couple of years old)….

…been addressed like I was completely insane, or perhaps just senile (Bell Canada: “Madam, are you quite sure you don’t have a touch-tone phone? We would be willing to take the $2.55 charge off your monthly bill but I highly doubt you are not using it.”)

…had my tape-answering-machine beeper stared in bafflement (a piece of technology so outdated and apparently un-memorialized – not even qualifying as hipster-retro, like the venerable cassette tape – I cannot find a single image of it on the interwebs)

…had my little retractable-antenna-topped Nokia and later my scratched-up iPhone 3 stared at and outright mocked (with affection, since these were my friends we’re talking about).

I wore it all with a badge of stubborn pride and irony.

But now, with the new blog, and the arrival of an iPad mini in the household this week, I feel a small sense of loss and sadness. Now I’m just like everyone else, you see.

Except for the microwave. There’ll always be the microwave.

Categories
Travel WordPress

WordCamp London Contributors Day

WordCamp LondonAs part of WordCamp London last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Contributors Day at Mozilla Spaces.

The day was a chance for WordPress enthusiasts of all stripes to pitch in and make the open source project better, whether it’s by testing bugs, coding patches, translating text, writing documentation, contributing to BuddyPress, or making WordPress more accessible.

In one corner of the main room, many of my colleagues from the theme team at Automattic were busily collaborating with community members to get the next default theme, Twenty Fourteen – already available on WordPress.com – ready for shipping with WordPress 3.8.

I decided to spend time with folks like me who have a passion for helping other WordPress users, so I went into the room adorned with a sign that said Support. Tucked away at a conference table, Michael Atkins (cubecolour in the WordPress.org support forums) led a lively band of folks who wanted to get more involved in the forums. We were later joined by my Automattic colleagues Jackie and Fabiana and collectively got pretty geeky about the ins and outs of WordPress support.

Michael had created a handy site full of tips and links. We shared our favourite tools and tricks, from time-saving text expansion apps (my fave is TextExpander), to essential screenshot and screensharing tools. One thing I forgot to mention that day is the Lazarus browser extension, a super-handy add-on which restores the content of a form field if you accidentally lose it. We discussed how to keep on top of the threads you’ve answered and how to handle challenging forum situations.

Aside from the nuts and bolt of support, we talked a lot about keeping a friendly and approachable tone in forum replies and being empathetic. While we may have been using WordPress for years and know all its ins and outs, it may be someone else’s very first time trying to make a post. If they’re not tech-savvy, they might be feeling completely overwhelmed and frustrated. One negative experience in the support forums can really turn off a new user, and they may never give WordPress another shot! As support-forum helpers we have the valuable opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen.