I am back at home in TN and back in the saddle doing food prep for my little fambly. Please note the use of the word little. Cuz we are a small family. TheMan, Doodlebug and myself and none of us are typically big eaters. Even with the occasional staff person and my food-vacuum-cleaner of a brother partaking of our meals with us we still don’t go through massive piles of food.
I know this. I tell myself this. I remind myself of this multiple times when preparing food. And then when I survey the mounded heaps of steaming dishes when I’m all done I realize that yup. I did it again. I cooked enough food for a small army. It’s like my brain doesn’t compute how to cook any other way. So, unless the a fore mentioned vacuum cleaner happens along to suck up some of the leftovers my food prep for one big meal = lot’s of leftovers that will last us several more days and probably be turned into different meals.
As an example. Last night I baked a whole chicken. Encouraged it’s thawing along at a more rapid pace by placing it in a large metal bowl with hot sea salt water until it was thawed. Removed the pouch of internal organs and patted the chicken dry. In a large baking pan I drizzled a cooking oil mixture made out of Coconut, Safflower and Olive Oil (all three extra virgin/organic) and drizzled a bit over the chicken. Whole cloves of raw garlic along with firm pats of butter in alternating pattern were inserted under the skin and the innert cavity filled with a handful of whole, raw garlic. The outside and inside was heavily sprinkled with various seasonings. Along the bottom of the pan I spread the Chickens ‘gizzards’ or internal organs. And added another hand-ful of raw garlic. (I went through three whole heads of fresh garlic for this meal.) On top of the gizzards and garlic cloves went un-cooked Wild Rice with seasonings sprinkled over the top. On top of the wild rice the seasoned chicken was placed and a few cups of water poured on top of the rice. This baked covered for almost two hours. Uncovered for ten minutes to get a nice crispy skin and then was ready to serve.
Before serving if you choose to try this dish I would recommend fishing out the gizzards from the rice so that nobody gets an un pleasant surprise as they scoop things onto their plate (cough::SorryLizzy!!!::cough) The reason for their inclusion is to add extra flavor/nutrients to the whole dish. They will later be tossed into a stock pot for broth along with the bones from the leftovers.
Since our CSA Veggies have accumulated into heaps of beautiful bounty that had begun to wither and was bordering on going bad I had to do something fast that would use up almost all of them. This time of year we get a lot of greens. A LOT of greens. And my family isn’t all that crazy about greens. So I have to get creative. Stir Fry using a friends borrowed Wok has been the solution to this problem. With enough seasonings piled on the strong tasting greens are subdued into something edible by the pickier among us. So I chopped up four odd looking squash (the other thing about CSA veggies is occasionally you have no idea what something is so some experimenting is required), three heads of Chinese Cabbage, A bag of Cabbage Greens and two clumps of mixed greens. The primary problem when I do a stir fry is that I don’t measure. And I do not yet possess a good enough grasp of Asian seasonings to use them well in my typical slap dash dump a little of this and that manner of cooking. So last night crisis hit when I realized I had added way too much Lemongrass essential oil. Potatoes were added to the stir Fry in large chunks to help absorb the excess flavor. Whole Cloves of Garlic were thrown in amongst everything else to try to balance out flavors. This and that was hurled in along with a can or so of Coconut Milk turning it into less of a stir fry and more of a chunky soup. But, in the end a balanced and delicious dish was the end result and I might have even been able to act like I had planned it that way all along except that in my panic all available people had been roped in as tasters and witnessed the seasoning panic. (ahem) Note to self: Panic quietly and discreetly next time so you can appear as though you actually meant to serve Coconut Thai Stir Fry Soup for supper.
Also in the food lineup last night was Sweet potatoes and wild yams. I literally have a huge drawer full of these yummy tubers in my fridge. Both CSA’s we are part of (Summer and Winter they have a few weeks of overlap) have been quite generous with them so I’ve been getting double rations. TheMan hates these little orange delicacies so it’s up to me and the Doodlebug and any random guests I can coax into helping me eat them. Last night I thin sliced a 13×9″ pyrex baking dish full of sweet taters and yams and thickly sprinkled layers of Heavenly Sugar, Cinnamon, Cardamon, Allspice over them. Interspersed pats of butter over the whole thing, dashed a few drops of Ginger and Orange Essential Oil and popped the whole thing in the oven. It came out delicious! Next time I think I’ll add some Coconut Milk or regular Cream to it for some added flavor/creaminess.
After supper was over I went into leftover-meal prep for tomorrow mode. Extracted all the meat off of the chicken bones and along with the skin put it in a mixture of spices water and vinegar on the stove to turn into stock over the next couple of days. The leftover chicken was torn into chunks and dropped into the crock pot along with the leftover rice. The soupish stir fry was dumped on top and extra coconut milk added to the whole thing. I set it on low and went to bed. This morning I had leftover sweet potatoes for breakfast. Today we had a delicious soup for lunch that was a perfect marriage of seasonings.
(Happy sigh) I love good food. I love my kitchen and it’s oh so good to be home. =)