Friday, August 20, 2010

The End of an Era

It is with heartfelt regret that I must relay this bit of unfortunate news. Something which has consistently brought joy and amusement to just about everyone I know is no longer. I'm not sure what the most delicate way to phrase this is, so I'll just come out and say it. I, Jonathan Steffens, am a college graduate. I think most of you have known this to be coming for a little while at least. And it is most certainly long overdue. However, it still feels like a shock. We all knew it had to happen sooner or later, but the foreknowledge doesn't quite prepare you. I'm not sure anything could really prepare you. But here we are. I suppose there is nothing left to do but grieve and try to find some way move on, no matter how difficult it may seem. To all those affected by this tragic loss, you have my deepest sympathies.

If there is anything I can do to help you through these trying times ahead, please don't hesitate to ask.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken Curry

This is a new segment where I share recipes I've developed.  I've honed my cooking/baking skills as a sort of hobby and I'd like to share some of the finding with my adoring audience.

Chicken Curry

I've been working on this recipe for many many months.  And I think I have finally gotten it to where I want.  Now just so you know, my first 3 or so attempts were bad.  I mean really bad.  It's hard to put into words just how terrible they were.  Anyway I've come a long way. 

I wanted to call it Indian Chicken Curry, since that's what I started out trying to make, but I don't think it falls into that realm anymore.  I've added a few more Thai elements as well as, I'm sure, some Americanization.  But I definitely still find it enjoyable and tasty and I hope you do too.

  • 2 medium sized red onions - chopped coarsely
  • ~1 inch ginger root - minced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 habanero pepper - chopped
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • ~1.5lb chicken thighs (4 pieces or so) - cut into halves or thirds
  • Spice Mix
    • 3 tsp curry powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp ground pepper
    • 1 tsp red chili powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp mustard powder
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric


Add oil to wide bottom pot.  Saute onions, ginger, garlic, habanero, cinnamon, bay leaf over medium heat until onions are mostly translucent.  Add coconut milk and bring to boil.  Reduce liquid about 50%, stirring regularly (~5-10 minutes).  Remaining sauce should be a slightly thick gravy.  Reduce to simmer.

Lightly coat chicken in spice mix.  Heat pan and sear chicken (~1-2 minutes each side).  Remaining spice mix can mixed into simmering liquid.  Add chicken to gravy.  Cover pot and simmer 45 minutes.

Serves 3-4


  • Serve with jasmine or basmati rice or naan or whatever really.
  • Mix gravy before serving since the fat tends to collect at the top.
  • The spice mix can really be whatever you want it to be depending on what you have available.  The only requirements I think it needs are the curry powder and the salt.
  • The chicken needs to be thigh.  Leg is probably ok too, but do not use chicken breast.  It will make for a very dry meat.
  • This curry is fairly spicy.  If you want it even spicier, add more chili powder or peppers.  If you want it less spicy you can remove the habanero.  And then after dinner you can head the mall and find some killer heels to go with the skirt you're wearing.  This is curry.  It's supposed to be spicy.
  • Turmeric stains.  Bad.
  • When smelling, don't inhale too deeply.
  • If you don't have ginger, garlic, or cinnamon you can use their respective powders, but try not to if you can help it.
  • I like to listen to Streetlight Manifesto while making curry.
  • If you have trouble finding all of the spices listed, you can always try shopping at the Ithaca Wegmans.  We have an Indian food section with dirt cheap spices.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What is your Quest?

You know that scene in The Last Crusade where Indiana Jones has to make his 'leap of faith'?  That's one of my favorite movie scenes ever.  What makes this scene so powerful to me is the simple yet profound image of faith in action. 

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see"

Maybe Indy wasn't sure or certain that he wouldn't plummet to his death (which always makes me wonder why he didn't feel around before stepping off - but that wouldn't be a leap of faith if he did, now would it).  But he stepped off anyway.  Indy was all in on that one step. 

I see faith as a little bit of a gamble.  Hebrews 11 gives the faith all stars.  But look at the list.  We have Abel giving a large sacrifice.  We have noah preparing for a flood despite it never having rained.  We have Abraham holding onto God's promise of his inheritance in a foriegn land. 

Abel risked not having enough to eat.  Noah risked looking foolish.  Abraham risked the well being of his entire family.  But like any good gamble, it's all about the payoff.  God does reward the faithful after all (see parable of the talents)  Except the payoff isn't always what we expect.  In fact these three never saw all of the payoff during their lifetimes (v13). 

Faith asks us to risk much of our own wants, desires, maybe even our own lives and makes no guarentee of seeing the reward in this lifetime. I guess it takes a little bit of faith to make that a good deal.

"You have chosen ... wisely."