Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hainanese Chicken with Rice, Bittman Style

Followed the recipe for the most part - variations in italics, though I didn't include the alternate pan-cooking of the rice and just went straight to the cooker. Decided to not halve the broth recipe because I'm doing close enough to the full measure of rice (in the cooker) and want the delicious chicken juices for other recipes. My variations in parentheses and italics, just cos that's the way I roll. Apropos of nothing, I'm having way too much fun watching Colbert and listening to John and Bradley debate the fine points of ambush journalism as I type this.
  • one 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into pieces (2 lbs. of thighs, which is 4 of them)
  • 3 tbsp. garlic, roughly chopped and divided (4 tbsp.)
  • 5 slices fresh ginger, smashed (10)
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil (1/8)
  • 2 cups rice (a scant 2c.)
  • 2 tbsp. dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger-scallion sauce (recipe follows below)
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • chopped fresh scallion and/or cilantro
Rub the chicken with the salt and half of the garlic and ginger (I also slipped some garlic and ginger underneath the skin). Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. When the water boils, put the chicken in the pot; it should be barely submerged (add or subtract more water as necessary, then make sure it's boiling). Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes (I cooked for 15, but those thighs were fat). Turn off the heat and keep the chicken in the water for at least 1 hour, covered. The meat should be opaque all the way to the bone - if it isn't, return to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Leave the chicken be, or remove it from the stock, whichever you prefer.

Put the neutral oil in a skillet over medim heat. When it's hot, add the remaining garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, till the garlic begins to brown (3-4 minutes).

Pour the oil-garlic-ginger mixture into your rice cooker. Add the rice and enough broth from the chicken (it was about 3-1/4 cups for me), and start cooking.

Carve the chicken however you wish (with or without bones), then rub with dark sesame oil. Serve as you choose - Bittman advocates drizzling some of the sauce over the chicken and serving it over the rice with the tomato and cucumber, while I am probably going to pack it straight into my Bento and keep the sauce in tiny Tupperwares on the side.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce (again from Bittman, with variations in italics)

While this sauce is lovely on its own, the accidental addition of some red pepper flakes worked well.
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used peanut)
Mix the first five ingredients together in a heatproof bowl.

In a pan, heat the oil over high till it smokes. Pour the oil over the ginger-scallion mixture, mix well, and serve or store.

Tonight's Dinner - The Fried Rice Chronicles, Vol. 3

Leftovers, ho! While, sadly, I ate the green beans before remembering that fried rice was an option, the tuna and a nearly-dead shallot were welcome additions. Skipped the egg this time.
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 heaping tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 heaping tbsp. scallion, chopped, plus some minced scallion for garnish
  • 1 tsp. shallot, chopped
  • 1-1/2-2 cups day-old rice, mashed and de-clumpified (a fork works well)
  • 3 or so oz. leftover seared tuna, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place oil in a skillet or pan, preferably nonstick, then turn the heat to high. Wait a minute or so, then add garlic, ginger, scallions and shallots. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for about a minute.

Turn the heat down to medium-high. Add the rice, de-clumping with your hands if you haven't already. Stir often for 1-2 minutes.

Add the chopped tuna and stir until no longer red. Add the soy sauce and stir till it's incorporated into the rice. Correct seasoning.

Garnish with scallions and serve.

Now that that's all in my belly, let's see if I actually get around to cooking my chicken or succumb to satiation and/or food coma.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's Bento

Double helpings of garlic steamed rice (#3 here) and catfish sinegang (to which I added a couple of banana peppers from Eastern Market).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Green Beans with Shallots

It's stormy outside right now, but we're full and happy and watching the Bosox-Orioles game. This recipe is part of a lovely, Eastern Market-provided meal of green beans (original and mostly-followed recipe here), seared tuna steaks (marinaded in soy sauce and lemon juice, as per the Bittman) and boiled corn on the cob.
  • about 3/4-1 lb. green beans, trimmed (we got these and two ears of corn in a variety bag for $3, so not sure exactly how much we had)
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for about 4 minutes or till they're crisp-tender. Drain them, shock then in cold water, then set them aside.

Over medium heat, saute the shallots in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the green beans, turn the heat to high and cook for 2-4 minutes more, until the beans are done to your liking (we like ours on the crispy side, so we were closer to the 2-minute mark).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bittman: 101 Simple Salads for the Season

Here. Love his lists; will have to find and put up past ones for reference (probably in this post).

Couscous Salad with Basil, Tomatoes and Zucchini

Took a long weekend to recover from a Portland (Ore.) business trip, but started cooking again. Wanted to make something light and refreshing for the ballgame (much to our delight, the Nats beat the Mets 4-0 in a complete-game shutout), and this worked nicely (didn't have time to cool it before the game, but it still tasted good). Tastes even better today, after a night in the fridge. Bonus: John's basil plant needed trimming anyway. Original recipe from the back of a Near East couscous box; variations in italics.
  • 1 package Near East plain couscous (about 4-1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 large tomatoes (I used about a cup of grape tomatoes), chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, sliced into strips
  • 1/3 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half then thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1-2 cups boiled, sliced sausages or more to taste
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add couscous and pepper. Cover, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.

Put couscous in a large bowl. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice. Add tomatoes, basil leaves, scallions and zucchini. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Top with feta cheese and sausage slices.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rhubarb-Rosemary Daiquiri

I'm not normally a fan of sweet drinks, but this recipe seemed intriguing (and my last experiment with rhubarb turned out well). It was a perfect lounge-in-the-park drink for the July 4th weekend - sweet but not cloyingly so, with the woodsy taste of the rosemary and the sharp tang of the lemon adding levels of complexity. (Thanks, idogcow!)
  • 2 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup rosemary leaves
  • 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
  • 6 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups white rum
Bring 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons sugar to a simmer, stirring often. Remove from heat; add 1/2 cup rosemary leaves. Let steep 5 minutes. Strain, pressing on rosemary; discard rosemary. Let cool 1 hour.

Place rhubarb, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1/2 cup sugar in blender. Process until coarse puree forms. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into medium bowl. Use your hands & squeeze rhubarb pulp to release as much liquid as possible through sieve; discard pulp. Cover and chill rosemary syrup and rhubarb juice separately at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. [Note: The longer steeping time really does help - the rhubarb mixture developed a deeper, more complex flavor.]

Mix rosemary syrup, rhubarb juice, remaining 5 tablespoons lemon juice, and rum in pitcher. Serve over ice, garnished with rosemary sprigs and lemon twists.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tomorrow's Bento

I've not been as remiss with the cooking as it may seem. For one thing, John has been doing a lot of cooking for us lately, including a lovely chicken dish with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil and orzo and a delicious by-the-Bittman bolognese sauce just a couple of days ago. For another, I've been mostly repeating old standards or rushing through too-simple-to-be-written-up dishes. Not that these are excuses.

At any rate, here are the contents of tomorrow's Mr. Bento, from top to bottom:
  1. Cherry tomatoes with Laughing Cow cheese wheels
  2. Artichoke hearts sauteed with garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper flakes (next time, I'll add more garlic, dry the [canned] 'chokes more thoroughly and try to get a bit more caramelization going)
  3. Garlic steamed rice (a new favorite: When making rice with a rice cooker, add a small head of garlic - this particular time I used about 9 cloves, peeled and crushed but not minced - to the rice and water, then cook as normal. The rice around the garlic develops a faint tinge of sweetness, and the cloves themselves remain whole but can be mashed wonderfully into the rest of it)
  4. Boiled sausages with spicy suka (Filipino cane vinegar infused with garlic and chiles)