Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Green Tea Chicken Expiriment

This was my second attempt - to be honest, it came out only about as well as my first. 

My neighbor told me that if you throw some chicken in on a bed of uncooked rice + water, you'll have a yummy dinner.   Well, I don't much care for white rice, so I never bothered.  But then one day I saw a lemongrass chicken dinner that I couldn't eat somewhere, and thought that maybe using green tea + brown rice, I could make a yummy "one dish" meal.  Well, I'd need vegetables (a nice steamed asparagas would go well). 

So, my theory was good - I brewed about a cup and a half of a lemon-grassy green tea, added it to 3/4 cup of my favorite short grain brown rice, threw some frozen chicken on it + threw it in the oven at 350F for about an hour.   The chicken was overdone and the rice was underdone.  And I had WAY too much liquid.  And too much rice. 

Tonight I tried it again.  This time it was 1 cup of tea to 1/2 cup rice, and I tried to thaw the chicken while pre-cooking the rice for about 20minutes.  Unfortunately, I think my still-mostly-frozen chicken kept some of the rice from cooking all the way through, even though I mixed it up a bit half way through.  The rice was still a little underdone, when the chicken was done, and there was still too much liquid even though I cooked it with the lid off for the last 20 minutes. 

The flavor seems pretty good though - even with the thighs I used this time.  

I think the brown rice is really the difficult bit here - it takes much longer to cook than white rice.  But I also think it's soo much yummier that I'm keeping it! 

Next time - 2/3 cup tea, 1/2 cup rice,  cook for ~20 minutes while thawing the chicken ENTIRELY, cook another 30, stir (leave lid off if needed), cook at least 20 more minutes. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

American chop suey and other beef thoughts

I tend to eat moderately seasonally, but often the day-to-day menu items are so un-noteworthy that I come around to the same season again and think "What DID I eat last Novemeber?".  

Tonight, I'm eating my take on:

American Chop Suey

~ 1 T garlic
~1/2 cup of chopped onion
~ 1lb ground beef
~1/2 box of whole wheat elbow macaroni (ziti works, too)
~ 2/3 c of tomato sauce*
~ 1/4 c chopped celery

Start water boiling for macaroni.  Saute the garlic, onion + celery in a large cast iron frying pan until the onion is translucent.  Add ground beef.  When the water is boiling, add the pasta + cook according to manufacturer's directions - err on the side of underdone.  When the ground beef is done, add the sauce, pasta and cheese + mix.  
*I use so little sauce in large part because sauce without vinegar and/or black pepper is REALLY hard to find and canned/jarred tomato products are a mold hazzard. So, I'm working off a relatively small stock of frozen sauce that I made when the tomatoes at the cheap farm stand near work were at their peak.  Next year, I want to hold a tomato sauce canning party... 

In other news, running into an old friend on Ravelry got me thinking about higher quality meat.  Supposedly, grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3, which I hear rumours is good for allergies.  

I usually buy the family pack of whatever % is on sale of ground beef + freeze it in roughly 1lb chunks.  Today, I thought I'd buy the higher-quality grass-fed stuff - but it was 9$/lb!! For ground meat!  And apparently, that's a fair price!  I bought the 3lb family pack of conventional for about 9$ total, instead.   Of course, it looks like my co-op has antibiotic/hormone free ground beef for $2.99/lb this week - I should stock up. 

I also looked into meat CSAs in my area - Chestnut Farms has a meat share that starts at 10lb/$80/mo for some regular and some high-quality cuts.  That's currently a bit too expensive for me, but it's better than $9/lb for the cheapest cuts!  

Oh well - that part of dinner was a little light on the vegetables, so I'm going to go have a "second course"!