Sunday, August 29, 2010

1 chicken 4 ways: numbers 2 and 3

In the last several years, I have endeavored to make a few meals a week meatless and to make the most of our meat. Think Michael Pollan's mantra: eat meat, not too much, mostly plants. When I buy a piece or package of meat, I want it to make several meals, complementing the vegetables and starches, but not dominating the meal. It has also been important to me that the meat we do eat comes from local and humane sources. I've been heading out to a nearby butcher to get pork and whole fresh chickens. That's where I got the meat for our beer-can chicken.

A few days later, the rest of the chicken became a lunch and a dinner. Sorry about the dark photos. We've been eating really late for the last few weeks, so my natural lighting for photos has been nearly gone.

Curry Yogurt Salad
from Serious Eats

2 to 3 ounces of boneless, skinless shredded turkey or chicken or 1 shredded Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlet
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons of curry powder
7 ounce container of single-serve Fage 2% yogurt, or other Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of cashews
2 tablespoons of golden raisins (sultanas)
1 pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Mix the curry powder into the Fage, add a pinch of salt or pepper to taste. Add the raisins and cashews. Add a pinch of nutmeg if desired. Squeeze lemon on the cooked, shredded Quorn or poultry. Stir into the yogurt mixture. Add more curry powder, salt, pepper, or lemon to taste. Serve on shredded lettuce or on a slice of warm cinnamon raisin bread, whole wheat bread, or Naan bread.

Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups
from Serious Eats

I had less chicken and more mushrooms than were called for, but everything still balanced well.

2 pounds chicken, skin removed and bones removed (in my case, precooked chicken)
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
2 scallions, white part diced and green part chopped
1 cup cremini mushroom, chopped
8 leaves Boston, bibb, or iceberg lettuce
Salt and pepper

Finely dice the chicken. Pour the oil into a work or large iron skillet set over high heat. Add the ginger and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Dump in the chicken and mushrooms. Continue stirring, breaking up the chicken pieces, and cook for about a minute, or until the chicken is white and no longer raw (if using precooked chicken, just stir-fry until the chicken is warmed). Pour in the oyster sauce and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat and add the scallion greens and chopped water chestnuts. Stir until everything is combined. Season with salt if necessary. Fill each lettuce cup with a little bit of the mixture and serve.

I felt like this could have used some kind of soy-based sauce to top the lettuce cups. I liked a bit of okonomiyaki sauce and Matt used some Sichuan black bean paste. I thought something like a ponzu might be nice too. Any ideas?

Monday, August 23, 2010

1 chicken 4 ways: summer edition

At the very end of last winter I used one chicken to make three different meals, oven roasting the various parts and then making stock with the carcass. Unfortunately, just as I was getting the hang of the process, it was getting warm and I didn't want the oven on in the house. That's when we made a grilled beer-can chicken.

grilled beer-can chicken

The chicken in the picture is actually one we made back in June or July, but I forgot to get a shot of the one this week and they turned out essentially the same anyway. It doesn't look that exciting, but the skin gets nice and crispy and it has an appealing barbecued flavor. The beer (or soda, whatever you like) keeps the chicken very tender. Each time I've used a Penzey's seasoning mix, first Northwoods seasoning and then Bangkok mix. Like on an oven-roasted chicken, most of the flavor stays on the skin, so the meat does benefit from a gravy, mustard, barbecue or other sauce. There is a good set of directions for grilling a whole chicken here. The only adjustment I have made is to place a crushed garlic clove and some additional seasoning inside the can of beer.

We had a lovely dinner of about half the chicken, plus corn on the cob, grilled cherry tomatoes, and grilled brussels sprouts. Next time I'll show you the lunch, dinner, and soup I made from the rest of the chicken.

korean out and in

Since we got back from Japan, at least half of the recipes I've added to my list to try have been Asian recipes of one kind or another. Actually, more of them have been Thai or Korean than Japanese. I have tried a couple of Korean and Korean-inspired recipes and have really enjoyed them. We also made it Chicago for dinner at Dancen Korean restaurant (it is really, really dark in there).

fire chicken with cheese

seasoned rice balls

I tried making a Korean barbecue chicken earlier this year that turned out just okay. The daeji bulgogi, or barbecue pork that I made recently knocked my socks off. It's sweet, spicy, oniony, and meaty--in other words, pretty complex.

daeji bulgogi, pickled kohlrabi, kimchi, & rice

I can't say how authentic this is since I have never eaten its equivalent at a restaurant. I just know that I thought it was really great.

daeji bulgogi

Daeji Bulgogi
from Serious Eats

I let this marinade for at least 24 hours, and that seemed to be the key to the pork's tenderness.

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
1/4 c soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp crushed ginger root
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 green onions, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced

Place the pork in the freezer until it firms up, about 1 hour (or if frozen, thaw until it is still slightly firm). While the pork is in the freezer, combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, gochujang , mirin, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions in a small bowl.

Remove the pork from the freezer and slice into pieces 1/8 inch thick. Place the pork and sliced onion in a large Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade and seal. Toss to evenly distribute the marinade, then open and reseal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour to overnight.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the pork slices on the grill and cook over direct, high heat until the meat is seared on both sides and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with bibb lettuce or rice, kimchi, and quick pickles.

Chinese-style pickled kohlrabi

We're always up for a breakfast sandwich, so we jumped on the chance to have a Korean-inspired bacon muffin. I made some adjustments to the original recipe, swapping out the Canadian peameal bacon for plain old American bacon. I also added a fried egg, which you can see dripping out of the sandwich in the photo and left off the sesame-vinaigrette salad.

bacon, egg, & kimchi sandwich

Bacon, Egg, & Kimchi Breakfast Muffin
adapted from Closet Cooking
makes 2 sandwiches, can be easily multiplied for more

4 slices bacon
1/2 c kimchi (drained and chopped)
2 eggs
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp gochujang
2 English muffins (lightly toasted)
1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
shredded romaine in a korean sesame vinaigrette, optional

Cook bacon until crisp (we like a cast iron skillet), then drain on paper towels. Pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add kimchi to the skillet and saute until a bit caramelized. Carefully crack one egg at a time into skillet, cook over medium until bubbling, then flip and cook just until set, 1-2 minutes.

Mix mayonnaise and gochujang in a small bowl. Sprinkle bottom of muffin with cheese, then top with fried egg. Add bacon, kimchi, and romaine salad, if using. Slather top muffin with gochujang mayo mixture, join the halves, and enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

summer at home 2

It seems I've taken quite a break from blogging! The summer has just flown by. Now we're entering the beginning of both the school year and the best time of the year food-wise. The farmer's market has finally broken out of its strictly green phase and now features melons, squashes, and sweet red peppers. Our CSA boxes are bigger now so I'm enjoying the slight panic I experience when I see four large patty-pan squashes come out of the box. Yes, enjoying. How else would I find out that chocolate zucchini cake turns out fine with patty-pan? And if I had used up my zucchini on cake, how would I have made a deliciously creamy zucchini basil soup? Ah, conundrums I'm happy to encounter.

I'm going to unload a few of my summer recipes, lazy style, before summer produce is gone like my lazy summer.