Well that’s a hell of a mouthful. Haha. You see what I did there? I made a food joke. This is SUCH a tasty dinner. I often find myself making curries, casseroles, and other “composed” dishes where everything is all mixed in together, and then nights when I just cook some meat and veggies, I am always so pleasantly surprised.
I am all out into autumn mode. We have had cool, foggy mornings for the last week, with beautiful afternoon sun. The trees have just begun developing their characteristic autumn tinges of yellow, orange and red. I am thrilled. And for me, autumn means finally being able to turn the oven back on (we also try to make it til at least October before turning on the heat for the season, so baking at night also helps keep the house a comfortable temperature), and eating squash. It’s funny. I’m not usually obsessed with squash, but for some reason, my favorite food in the whole world and what I base almost every meal off of for weeks at the beginning of autumn is squash. Yesterday night, Craig took a long look at this week’s meal plan, then brought me over to my whiteboard and went down the list. “Squash, squash, squash, squash. Why is everything we’re eating squash?” “Um… It’s Autumn.” The way that man doesn’t understand WHY we’re eating 3 squash this week is beyond me. On Sunday as part of my food-prep for the week, I peeled and chopped up an ambercup squash, and in doing so, destroyed my poor thumb. When the knife finally went through the squash as I was cutting off the ends, my thumbnail managed to shave off a sliver of the still-very-hard squash and it firmly embedded itself under my thumbnail. There was blood, and cursing, and whining. Then I put on my big-girl panties and finished chopping the MFer up, knowing that I would be the one having the last laugh. And I did.
Makes 5 servings
*Heat your oven to 450
*On a rimmed baking sheet (I have a half-size sheet pan that I’ve been experimenting with seasoning like cast iron or carbon steel.), drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil, then toss your squash on, stir around to coat in oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
*If using weak stock, on the stovetop, begin reducing your chicken stock down to about 1 cup.
*After about 10-20 minutes, check on the squash. If it is beginning to brown on the bottom, stir.
*Heat a large ovensafe saute pan over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil.
*When oil begins shimmering, add your pork tenderloins and allow to sear. When it’s ready, the meat will have developed a golden brown color and will easily release from the bottom of the pan. Flip, and allow to cook a few more minutes before transferring pan to the oven (still at 450).
*When the squash looks “done” (this is up to you. I like my caramelized a bit. You might like it a tiny crunchy?), remove squash from oven and set aside.
*Cook your broccoli. I steam mine in the microwave by putting it in a pyrex bowl with just the amount of water that clung to it from washing, then putting a dinner plate on top of it and microwaving for 5-7 minutes. However you’re most comfortable cooking it, do that. Roasted would probably be better than steamed actually.
Nutrition Breakdown per serving:
I have a very well-used copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, and also another bible of hers, The Bread Bible and they totally changed how I bake. If you haven’t baked by weight, you probably have avoided it because it seems like too much hassle. But you’re wrong. Or you don’t have a food scale? Who does, right? Well… I DO! They cost like $15, and they save like 11ty dishes. Seriously. I abhor washing dishes. Unless it NEEDS to be hand-washed (my nice knives and cast iron are pretty much it), everything I own goes in the dishwasher.
But why is baking by weight so useful?
Sticky shit. I detest sticky shit. Measuring molasses? Gross. No thank you. How about corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup? Same thing. You have the measuring cup, the spatula, invariably your hand, and if you’re smart, you sprayed the inside of the measuring cup with nonstick spray, which you almost certainly oversprayed on the counter/floor/mixer/glassware.
Semisolids. You ever try to measure semisolid fat that’s not neatly packed into a cube with nice hash marks dividing it into tablespoons? The “smart” way to do this is to fill a pyrex measuring cup with a predetermined volume of water and then drop bits of fat into it until your water level increases by the amount of fat you need in the recipe. Great idea, except you will invariably get smears all over the inside of the measuring cup, necessitating it either being hand washed or going in the dishwasher (thus taking up valuable real estate). Plus, then you have wet fat, which is not great when you’re making something like a pie crust where the balance can easily be thrown off by the extra teaspoon of water that’s clinging in the nooks and crannies of your grease.
Stuff that’s variably dense. Stuff like grated cheese, kosher salt, chocolate chips (some are larger than others, affecting density), even(or especially) flour. It makes a difference.
It’s easier! What’s simpler than throwing your bowl on a scale, then just scooping flour into the bowl til you hit a certain number, zeroing, then adding water, sugar, fat, cheese, or whatever in. That shit’s amazing. You can just shake or scoop whatever ingredient you’re adding into the bowl. No need to dirty a measuring cup! Plus there’s no question about exactly duplicating something if you weigh it. This is my favorite way to cook breakfast. Waffles at 6am? No fussing with finding the right measuring cup before your contacts are in. Just dump ingredients in til the number is correct.
How do you go about converting a recipe to weights? That’s fairly simple. If you’re using a recipe from the internet, you have 2 options. You can either copy & paste it into a document stored on “the cloud” (I like using OneNote on MS’s Skydrive)/start a blog that you can search, or you can print/copy down the recipe onto paper. Personally, I’m always trying to add more shit to my recipe file, because invariably I’ll be unable to track something down online when I most need the recipe, but different strokes… Regardless, have your recipe open/in front of you as you are cooking (as you would normally), and just set your bowl/measuring cup on the scale before adding ingredients. Need 2 cups of beer? Get your 2 cup measuring cup, put it on the scale, zero it out, then add beer til you hit 2 cups. Then take down the number shown on the scale (I’ve recently begun writing down both oz and grams, but I prefer using grams.. they feel more precise) next to the ingredient name. For beer it would be something like “2 cups stout – 236g, 8oz” If you do this with all of the elements of the recipe, the next time you make it, all you have to do is put your bowl on the scale, dump in your 236g of beer, then hit zero/tare to reset the counter, and add your next ingredient.
I don’t measure small amounts of things by weight. By small amounts, I generally mean something that would normally be measured in teaspoons or tablespoons. My scale is accurate enough for larger volumes of stuff, but is not sensitive enough to read in tenths of grams, and that’s the type of accuracy you need for stuff like baking soda or nutmeg.
I’ve changed my mind on this. Small amounts of stuff are just as easy to measure by weight. I bought a cheap pocket scale that reads in tenths of grams that I love using.
After I got such nice light photographing my japchae dish, I figured that since it was paleo, I’d submit it to chowstalker, which has now changed it’s name to stalkerville (which wtf, this looks bad on my browsing history!), which is basically a less elite(read:pretentious) version of tastespotting/foodgawker for paleo/primal/grain free/whole food recipes. An interesting aside, as I was typing that last sentence, the editor of chowstalker just added me on google+. I feel so elite now! Anyway, I submitted that, then figured I’d submit some of my other primal recipes. You know, because they’re delicious, and a little more traffic to the blog makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Anyway, I started submitting some of my paleo posts and then got to thinking that overall my photography has gotten much better than it was a few years ago, and maybe I could hang. So I started submitting recipes to the big 2. Lol. What a way to take your self esteem down a few notches! I had 2 photos that had been accepted a few years ago. One was my orange chicken, the other was israeli couscous with a harissa yogurt sauce. After getting so many of my poor recipes denied, I figured that since I had bought the domain to my website, and had registered with a new ID, I’d try submitting something that I’ve already submitted and had accepted. Lol. NO.
It turns out that in order to get your stuff published, it has to be more than a technically good photograph, it has to tickle the fancy of whoever is reviewing it. Because one person liked it enough to accept it, the other thought my composition sucked and told me to fuck off. Anyway, saw it this morning, thought it was funny, figured I’d share.
We had a luau at work several months ago because.. well… pineapple was on sale. Why else would you have a luau? I decided to give a classic hawaiian potluck style dish a shot – Chicken Longrice. In my search for a recipe, I came across a website that I don’t know if I could have survived without. The Domestic Man has such a great accumulation of recipes and simple preparation. Plus, we seem to have similar taste in food, however he seems quite a bit more adventurous than I am! Regardless, I came across a recipe for the most intriguing looking dish, something that he refers to as a combination of Chicken Long Rice and Japchae. In the end, my dish appears to have more in common with japchae than long rice, but it really doesn’t conform to either. This was a super quick and easy recipe to throw together. Under 30 minutes, and I had 6-8 hearty servings. The only caveat is that this requires a couple ingredients that I haven’t seen at any of my regular grocery or high-end grocery stores. They required a trip to our local asian supermarket. You can also get them online, but even on Amazon, some of that stuff is crazy expensive compared to Uwajimaya. The not so bad thing about that is that both of the items are shelf-stable and fairly cheap, so I tend to stock up on them when I go, then they’re ready to go in my pantry whenever it strikes my fancy to make something requiring either of them.
Sweet potato starch noodles – or dangmyeon – I’m pretty sure the bag size that I use is 12oz, but there are only 2 things that are in english on the entire bag, ingredients and limited nutrition information. They tend to have a fairly unappetizing grayish cast. Look past it. They don’t taste as weird as they look. In fact, they taste magnificent. I toss mine into a pot of just boiled chicken stock, turn it off, and let it soak. They absorb as much moisture as they seem to want, and do fine sitting in additional liquid. They don’t get gummy or break down or get yucky after sitting either. They stay tender, supple, and firm. This makes them way better than rice noodles or pasta for any type of leftovers, plus… well… they’re paleo, delicious, and so pretty!
Dried Black Mushrooms – or as the packaging so appetizingly puts it “Black Fungus.” It’s those little strands of mushrooms that you get in dishes like mu shu pork. They reconstitute easily in some hot chicken stock and are so nice. You could probably use something like dried shiitakes also, but I haven’t experimented with them and these are so cheap and tasty and novel!
Enjoy this dish! Add whatever you have lying around needing to be used in your kitchen! Bell peppers might be nice, or celery, water chestnuts, anything else.
The chipotle powder that I ordered came in a canister with the type of lid that twists to allow either pouring or sprinkling, but neither let the spice out very fast, and I am impatient. So I grabbed a butter knife to pry off the top and dump it into my jar. Unfortunately, the canister wasn’t as secure as I was imagining it would be, and I also left my silverware drawer open when I grabbed the knife. So now I had a drawer full of chipotle powder. Remembering that I had been meaning to clean out the silverware caddy, I wasn’t too irritated, except that I was in my kitchen, in a bathrobe on and a towel in my hair before 6am sneezing while I cleaned all of the chipotle powder off of all of my silverware and other drawer paraphernalia. I got out a pint glass for each knife, fork, teaspoon, and tablespoon variety to keep my silverware separated, and got it cleaned. Then I thought to myself, “Self, this is ridiculous. You must photograph this and put it on the blog. People love reading about the misfortune of others.” So I scooted all of my pint glasses full of silverware closer to the chipotle-lined caddy, and of course knocked over the one with the knives in it, which broke, and then got glass shards all mixed into the mess of chipotle powder all over my counter.
Anyway, probably avoid doing THAT first thing in the morning.
So let’s just dive in! First things first… I had to get dinner going. Since the rotisserie chicken was essentially “done,” all I really needed to do was chop up some tomatoes, a ball of mozzarella, and basil, mix, top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season it. Then I cut the ends off my green beans and chopped them into 1-2″ long pieces, and sauteed in a little grassfed butter. Then I just pulled some breast meat off the chicken and put it on a platebowl, topped with green beans and the caprese mixture. Not magnificent, but quick and colorful!
Then carrots got cut into matchsticks for the japchae
And I cut up my cauliflower into quarters and packed it up in a baggie til I need to cook it on Friday.
And my chicken stock… I put it outside on our covered deck table to cook overnight, no sense in adding more heat to the house. When I got up this morning, I brought it in to cool off, strained it, and packed it up into containers to throw in the fridge. Came to about 2 quarts. I’ll use some of it in the longrice/japchae and the rest I can use next week.
The rundown of what I actually accomplished over the course of 2.5 hours last night:
Everything else is just quick-cooking and assembly at this point. Nothing should take more than 30 minutes to put together (with the exception of starting up the grill), so by preloading the time all to one day