“Something Wicked This Way Comes”


What is that?  A witch’s kettle of Thai green curry, perhaps, pieces of zucchini mysteriously bobbing to the surface.  How about pairing it with rice, blacker than midnight, and pulsing with cubed squash, colors of the spooky season?  This is a pairing Martha Stewart imagines and features on her website. (*1)  In keeping with the theme, she calls the duo “Cauldron Curry” and ” Squeamish Squash with Rice.”  Creepy.

Both preparations have considerably more to recommend them, though, than mere novelty.  The curry is a scintillating blend of chicken and mild squash, bathed in a spirited sauce sweetened a bit with creamy coconut milk.  The other superstars of Thai curry also make an appearance, including lemongrass, limes, chili peppers and ginger.  The resulting blend packs a little heat, though the coconut milk and lemongrass compensate nicely.  Spice enough to accent the other flavors and to warm autumn’s chill, but far from making things uncomfortable.

The green color befits what might “boil and bubble” away in a witch’s vat, and it acquires this status naturally.  Generous helpings of pulverized cilantro and baby spinach see to that, providing verdant shades which coconut milk softens.  Complements nicely the decorative linens accompanying:Haunted Mansion PlacematColor plays a key role in today’s other offering too, as rice of the deepest ebony (or intensely dark purple at least) really sets off the orange butternut squash.  It’s a riff on the original recipe, which uses plain white rice.  The “Black Pearl” variety contributes faintly floral notes, not to mention the color, which is strikingly spooky, don’t you think?:Black Pearl Rice

Plus, it’s more in keeping with the holiday which both dishes emphasize.  No trickery here, though, as both submissions are splendid choices for any season.  Speaking of which, here’s today’s dinnerware, rising from realms beyond:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is black-mist.jpgA chill crisps the air now, and distant bonfires lend wisps of smoke, ideal for savoring these inspirations.  Particularly when witches, ghosts and other creatures lurk just beyond the faltering light, creeping ever nearer as the shadows are lost to nightfall.  Just trick-or-treaters, or something more sinister? Better fortify yourself!

*****

Cauldron Curry

(Thai Green Curry)

For the curry paste:

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup)
  •  2 teaspoons chopped and peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest (from two limes)

For the stew:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
  • 1 14-ounce can of light coconut milk (*2)
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut one inch wide
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into one-inch pieces (*3)
  • coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, for garnish

Start by making the curry paste.  In a blender, combine the coriander, cumin, peppercorns and salt.  Pulse until coarsely pulverized.  Add the remaining curry paste ingredients and pulse until a paste just forms.  Don’t be overly zealous in processing the mixture; you want the paste to have texture and depth.

Next, move to the stew.  To the paste in the blender add the baby spinach and one cup of the regular coconut milk.  Blend until fairly smooth.

Put the remaining coconut milk and the light coconut milk in a medium stockpot.  Place over a high flame and bring to a boil.  Reduce flame to medium, stir in the spinach-curry mixture and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for five minutes more, until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender.  Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with basil.

NOTES:

1 – The “Cauldron Curry” recipe came from the Stewart website, though it has rotated out of circulation since then.  Little matter, as the preparation appears many places elsewhere on the web, although its original home has moved on to other ideas.

2 – You can use two cans of similar consistency if you’d like, though using one each of regular and light coconut milk will provide appreciable richness without being overwhelming.

3 – Chicken thighs are a good choice, as they’re moister and have a better flavor.  Plus, when trimmed adequately, they’re nearly as lean.

*****

Squeamish Squash with Rice

  • 2 cups water
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • half a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup jasmine rice (*4)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  •  1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Add the water and ginger to medium saucepan and place over a high flame and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce flame to medium and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

NOTES:

4 – Sure, jasmine rice is great, though black rice results in “electrifying” Halloween colors.

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34 thoughts on ““Something Wicked This Way Comes”

    1. Same to you, my friend Cozy thrills on this most atmospheric of all nights! πŸ‘»

      Glad you enjoy the linens too, Rachel. Many more to come, future Halloweens included!

      The green really draws the eye into its depths, doesn’t it? Best of all, it’s a completely natural potion, coconut milk mixing with basil, etc. to cast a spell.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks!

        Excellent. You’ve had some interesting decor. I’m sorry I haven’t been more expressive on the subject (or any) lately — my mental capacity hasn’t exceeded “cool.”

        Natural potion, indeed! Makes you wonder what the spell might be…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Must be some kind of conjuring spell.

        Already, it’s summoned more comments than has anything else in the last few months. And today’s only Tuesday. Plus, sometimes you’ll get a person or two opining weeks later.

        That’s awesome you appreciate the linens, Rachel! For a while more I’ll burn through the last of the “generic” stuff from Kohl’s or Target. However, the more vibrant Spoonflower patterns will be increasingly frequent. That’s a large part of why I made the investment, to read what you and others think!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Makes sense. Holidays are temporal focal points; Wonderful for such magics. Unfortunately, it sometimes has the side effect of making every other day seem like a dry spell.

        Ahh. Personally, I put less stock in what I think; but I can definitely appreciate the thought you put into such things. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I appreciate your compliment, Rachel! Your reasoning explains much, particularly why holiday posts usually have an exclamation point attached.

        The lulls between them may glisten soon, too, as I gain more experience, and as comments such as yours encourage me.

        Someday, maybe, September 17 could elicit as many comments as do Thanksgiving or St. Patrick’s Day.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh, Rachel, I’m super-stoked about what’s ahead! Not just the recipes, but the props elevating them.

        Best of all, I can’t wait to read what you think about them! For example, all of 2026 will sparkle, and I hope you’ll agree!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’d love that, Rachel!

        2027 is but a dozen recipes or so away from being ours, too. Then from my imagination to yours.

        By the way, are you still thinking about making the double chocolate cookies for your mother?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Only a dozen? Must be a baker’s dozen. πŸ˜†

        My thoughts have been overshadowed by other things lately. But I do think it would be something she might appreciate, especially given the… eclipsed state things have been in. So, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Great to read, Rachel! The only question remaining is whether you’ll enjoy making them as much as your family (and you, of course) will delight in reducing them to crumbs on a plate.

        Eclipsed states? Taken from recent headlines, that description is. See? We keep up on current events. Although…discussing food is much more nourishing for the soul.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks much, Crystal!

      You digging the linens really encourages. For the moment, I’ll work through the last generic fabrics from Target and Kohl’s. Waste not, want not, or something like that.

      Soon, though, more consistently it’s on to the vibrant tablecloths found online. Patterns echoing each week’s story, and sometimes inspiring tales of their own.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jenn! Your enthusiasm for the tablecloth makes me smile, and it definitely will encourage similar efforts later.

      As for this week’s fabric, I got it from Disney, and it’s taken from wallpaper at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyworld.

      It’s among many “custom” patterns yet to appear, as I currently burn through the last generic Target and Kohl’s pieces in my inventory. Then it’s on to the vibrants, which may elicit as much comment as does the food some weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Jenn – ah, we share that appreciation, then!

        So, the Anaheim Haunted Mansion has that wallpaper too? I’m sure I frequented the -land Haunted Mansion when we lived in L.A., but the Orlando version is much more recent for me. Nostalgia for it spurred the quest for a dish matching the wallpaper.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I believe the one in Anaheim does have the wallpaper. I recently went a couple of weeks ago specifically to ride the Haunted Mansion because they decorate it with The Nightmare Before Christmas theme during this time of year.
        Anyway, I’m not sure if the wallpaper is the same color as your linens because it’s so dark in there, but I’m pretty sure the pattern is the same πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awesome experience, Jenn! Great way to satisfy your cravings, as the Mansion is only twelve miles distant. For me, it’s more like 1,200 (Florida), thus the years-old nostalgia.

        As I recall, though, the green paper was from an upstairs hallway, whereas the stuff plastering the loading area downstairs is purple.

        Of course, could be my memory is hosed. There’s always that possibility. 😏

        Liked by 1 person

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