Jun. 16th, 2008 10:15 pm
plonq: (Bork Bork Bork)
One of the benefits of bison is also one of the pitfalls, that is, it is generally much leaner than beef. While this makes it arguably better for you, it also makes it a little tricky to cook since most recipes assume your meat will have a higher fat content. If you are not careful you can end up with a lump of dry, flavourless meat.

Here is some farm-fresh bison, sliced thin and mixed with a small amount of soy sauce and sesame oil. It ultimately went into a stir-fry with some baby bock choy (also fresh from the farm), onion, red pepper, bean sprouts, and sliced water chestnuts, carrots and celery. You can tell that the bison did not come from the grocery store because it is not a bright orange-red like the meats you typically see in the store.


Usually when I do up a stir-fry, I cook the meat, drain it and then dump in all of the vegetables and steam it all together for a bit before I add the sauce. This time I removed the meat after it was cooked, poured off the juices, and then stir-fried the vegetables by themselves. I added some fresh oil and tossed the onions until they were just starting to turn transparent around the edges, then I dumped in the carrots and celery. Once the carrots were showing preliminary signs of cooking I tossed in sliced red pepper and water chestnuts to heat up a bit. I stirred that for about a minute and finally added the bock choi, along with a couple of tablespoons of the stir-fry sauce.

Once it had cooked down a bit I poured in the bean sprouts and covered the wok to let it all steam for a couple of minutes. I poured off the excess moisture, added the meat back to the wok and cooked it all together again for about a minute. Finally I added the rice vermicelli and the rest of the sauce. I tossed everything over high heat until it was thoroughly mixed and pronounced it done.

Even though I had dumped off excess liquid more than once, the stir-fry still ended up a bit soupier than I'd have liked, but it was still pretty tasty in my humble opinion.
plonq: (Bork Bork Bork)
I used to do more of the cooking around here, but lately [ profile] atara has taken over much more of that role. She's been planning out most of the menus and delivering a wide variety of traditional and experimental recipes. Since she was working this weekend, I decided to take it up on myself to try my hand in the kitchen again. Yesterday I grabbed a recipe from a new cookbook we picked up on Friday and made a barbecued chicken with peaches. I tried an old trick of mine with the rice, where I brown it in a bit of butter and sesame oil before adding the water. The results were quite satisfying. [ profile] pierrekrahn and [ profile] dronon dropped by with gifts of salad, drinks and dessert to make the evening complete. The only thing better than experimental cooking is having willing subjects to try it on.

While I was out shopping yesterday I also picked up some pork shoulder to try yet another new recipe today. I browned some diced pork shoulder and onions in a skillet and then dumped them into the slow cooker along with some chicken broth, white wine and tomato paste. There is also some garlic, lemon zest, cracked pepper and a few other sundry spices in the blend. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but at the moment it smells very good. In about an hour I am going to stir in some honey, and some prunes that have been soaking in brandy for the past few hours. The only question now is whether we will have it over rice or couscous (I am leaning toward the latter because it is much easier to make).

Have I mentioned that I enjoy cooking?
plonq: (Pounce!)
You know that you are overdue for cleaning the freezer when you start producing bags of mystery meat that neither you nor your spouse can identify. "Is this chicken or pork? Should I add this to the broth pot, or put it back in the freezer for a future meal?

It was a frozen bag of meaty -- something.

It's too late now, but in retrospect I should have taken a picture and tossed it up here for some expert meat identification. Working under the assumption that it was most likely chicken, I added the frozen clump to the pot of water along with the three bags of readily-identified chicken parts. I suppose it's not the end of the world if we end up with a bit of pork flavour in our (what promises to be very rich) chicken broth.

We get lazy sometimes too often and buy the boneless/skinless chicken for our cooking, and I always kick myself afterwards because we are wasting so much money on convenience. It does not take a lot of work to peel and de-bone the much cheaper bone-in breasts. The meat is just as good, and we always have leftover bones, fat and skin that we can turn into very useful broth. This batch should have an interesting flavour too, since I've included a couple of whole carcases from earlier, spicy chicken meals we'd had. As is the case with most of our home-made broths, this one will probably wind up as garlic soup in a couple of weeks.

There is something comfortably domestic and homey about having a big pot simmering on the stove.
plonq: (Bork Bork Bork)
I haven't made this recipe in years - I'd forgotten how good it smells when it's cooking. What do you get when you combine 1 1/2 pounds of Great Northern beans with a pound of pork hock and some chopped onions in a sauce of maple syrup, brown sugar and molasses? Something that looks like this after about 6 hours in the slow cooker:

Boston Baked Beans


Oct. 29th, 2006 03:06 pm
plonq: (Contemplative mood)
The quandary
Assume for a moment that you are in charge of stocking the shelves in a medium-large grocery store. For the sake of argument, pretend that you want to stock things in a logical place where a typical shopper (who we will allegorically say is a short, dumpy, anthropomorphic snow leopard who has a passion for fish, scotch, and Thai curried chicken) can readily find it. You are presented with a slightly unusual product to stock: coconut milk. Where would you stock this product in order to ensure that a consumer would reasonably know where to look for it.

a) In the ethnic/Asian cooking section, with all of the other ingredients usually used in Thai cooking.
b) In the baking section, since that seems to be a reasonable place to put it if you don't have, or don't think of the ethnic foods section.
c) In the canned fruit/vegetable section, since that makes sense too if you stretch things a bit.
d) In the soft drinks aisle, next to the sparkling water.

Give yourself
2 points for the right answer.
4 points for an answer that makes sense.

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