Saturday, August 02, 2008

Food Notes

It seems like forever (but I’m sure it hasn’t been) since I talked about cooking. Today, “Miss Lazy-Full-of-Good-Intentions-to-do-a-lot-Around-the-House”, didn’t have any lunch. Around four o’clock I started dinner.

I cooked one of my standby main dishes, Chicken with Thai Fish Sauce. I LOVE this recipe. It’s quick, easy, and flavorful. I like the tart of the fish sauce, the kick of the sweet chili sauce, the tang of the limes, and the creamy peanut butter; not to mention the salty-crunch of the dry roasted peanuts. I paired it with plain Basmati rice, and Spinach with Fried Garlic Slices (and maybe a glass or two of Pinto Gris).

I thought I followed the spinach recipe to a “T”, until I re-read it. I LIKE my spinach to still have some … “standup” to it. I don’t want to eat a puddle of limp goo. So I did NOT cover the pan after I added the spinach to the garlic and chili flake infused oil. Instead I just tossed it a few times with my tongs – salted it, plated it, and dumped the garlic slices on as a garnish.

Frequently people complain about how hard it is to cook for one person. I think these three dishes illustrate perfectly how easy and satisfying it can be to cook for one. All three are easy to cut down to single or double portions.

Other people ask why I go to so much trouble to cook just for myself.

First of all, this chicken is tender and moist, and I cannot imagine any frozen dinner having less salt, more flavor, and better texture.

Secondly – what a beautiful plate this made. (sorry, you know me, the non-picture taker, but just visualize this). A chicken breast – colorful with the marks of a golden sauté, laced with a sauce that has red-pepper confetti splashes and a wedge of lime. The light green lime is set off by the verdant green of the flash tossed/wilted spinach and the red-pepper -confetti speckled spinach echoes sauce drizzled chicken. Finally the blinding white rice adds texture and fragrance to the overall medly.

I know that’s a lot of description, but here’s my point. I try to make all my meals look “restaurant ready”. Eating should be more than just shoveling food into my mouth. I want all of my senses to participate. Taste, smell, and vision.

Third, not only was this meal quick and easy without a big mess to clean up, it was inexpensive. This meal ROCKS!

Several weeks ago I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts at Trader Joe’s $8.00/10-13 pieces.

I had all the other stuff as ‘staples’ in my kitchen (and they need to be used before I leave next week), limes, fish sauce, sweet chili sauce, chicken stock, creamy peanut butter. The rice was from Whole Foods bulk section for about half what it costs in a package. I bought the spinach on Monday and had garlic on hand. My guess is this meal was less than $5.00 per serving. But most importantly IT TASTE SO GOOD!

For dessert – I ate leftovers. Last night my Sunday school class “officially” met the new minister. Just before 4th of July I ran across a recipe on this blog. I knew immediately it was something I’d like since it falls more into the “tangy” taste category and not the “sweet” column.

On Friday morning I hauled the ingredients to work. I’d tried to borrow an ice cream maker – but it didn’t pan out, so at lunch time I zipped over to a “big box” store – and for less than $30 purchased an ice-cream maker with a motor and rock salt. Returning to the office I whipped (with a fork, because I forgot my handheld electric beaters) together the ingredients for this yummy BUTTERMILK MOLASSES ICE CREAM.

Of course EVERYONE in the office pretty much hated me because:

  1. The noise

  2. They identified WHAT was causing the noise

  3. They thought buttermilk and molasses were sacrilegious as ice-cream ingredients

  4. I told them I wasn’t making ice cream FOR THEM

  5. After I gave them a taste they realized they were wrong and I was right. (so – guess who’s making ice cream for the office next week?)

Now you might be thinking, “If it tasted so good, why do you have leftovers?” That would be because Miss “I-Panic-and-Think-I-Must-Feed-the-World”, dashed home and made a SECOND batch before going to the party. (As if there would be NO OTHER DESSERTS for the class to gorge themselves on)

Now I’m off to take a shower and join Dr. Esq and friends for a Saturday night drink.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Easier ?? Just pour maple syrup over Vanilla ice cream; refreeze and eat !!! *O* Guess who ---