Sunday, March 14, 2010

Good stuff cooked and eaten recently

It all started with eating Alaskan king crab for Thanksgiving. I've been cooking a lot since then, but it's been much more modest in terms of cost and complexity. And traveling way too much but managing to find some very good things to eat. Among the highlights:
  • Several roast chickens, since around Christmas. Easiest non-vegetarian dinner for anyone with an oven, a pan, and a chicken. My method is to roast at 400 upside down (back side up) for about 75% of the cooking time, then turn it breast side up so the white meat doesn't dry out. You can also throw some taters in the oven at the same time. After/during carving, I eat some crackly skin on the sly and put the rest, plus the bones and giblets, in a freezer bag. Which brings us to...

  • Chicken stock. A good project for a snowy or rainy weekend afternoon. Takes time but honestly not that difficult. LaVarenne is my guide. And the house smells great. And if you have at least two freezer bags full of roast chicken carcasses, it makes incredibly good stock and then you can make...

  • Variations on Asian noodle soup, classic Eastern European Jewish chicken soup, or any other soup that benefits from a rich stock as a base.

  • Black-eyed peas, grits, biscuits, pan-fried okra, collard greens. All eaten on a recent trip through the south. Well worth the trip.

  • Broccoli. I craved broccoli after days of travel where green vegetables were not to be found. Craving - think vampire, but a vegetarian version. Lots of different methods for preparation but my fave is blanching in boiling water, draining, roasting in a 400 oven with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

  • Steamers, raw oysters, pasta with shrimp, and a steak dinner at my mother-in-law's house. I would live with her except I'd have to become a marathon runner to balance out the calorie intake.

  • Turkey and black bean chili. One of my favorite easy and healthy recipes that makes a huge amount (even when I size it down). Grated carrots and chopped celery might not sound like traditional chili, but I guess turkey isn't traditional either. Delicious and makes enough for several meals. Just have to be careful chopping the jalapenos...I can eat them but I don't enjoy getting the juice on my fingers or in my eyes.

  • Fried rice, lo mein, spring rolls, and curry chicken from a recent Chinese New Year celebration - all home-made. It's almost spring...time to go on a diet??