Friday, June 27, 2014

Pork following "Pollan's Second Recipe"

  • A pound or so of thin boneless pork chops, patted dry
  • An onion, sliced thin
  • Four cloves of garlic, chopped small
  • Six ounces of shitake mushroom, chopped into bits no bigger than an inch square
  • Half a pound of raw green beans, cut in one inch slices on the diagonal
  • Grapeseed oil or another oil with a high smoke point (not olive oil or butter)
  • Tablespoon of chicken Better than Bouillon
  • Tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Tablespoon of corn starch
  • A cup of quinoa or rice or some other grain you like or have around
  • Assemble the ingredients, including measuring and chopping
  • Put the grain onto cook as per its own directions and set a timer so you don't forget it.
  • Measure three-quarters of a cup of water and add the Better than Bouillon and the soy sauce.
  • Put half a cup or water in another cup near the stove.
  • Put some of the oil in the dutch oven, and heat on the stove until it shimmers--probably a bit below maximum heat, but pretty seriously hot.
  • Put one layer of pork chops in the pan and check after three or four minutes.  
  • Flip when they are no longer stuck to the bottom of the pan and nicely brown on one side.
  • Remove from pan when no longer stuck to the bottom and nicely brown on the other side.
  • Do another round if needed.
  • Add a bit more oil to the pan and heat for a few seconds
  • Add the onion and garlic and stir constantly until you smell them and then a bit longer until you notice that some of the garlic is brown
  • Add the green beans and stir constantly until you notice that most of them are a bit brighter green.
  • Add a bit more oil and then the mushrooms, and stir constantly until you notice that most of the mushrooms are a darker brown (bonus: the onions are likely to be brown and caramelized and lovely by this time)
  • Add the water and use it to deglaze the bottom (meaning scrape gently until the lovely tasty brown stuff mostly comes off the bottom and some of the water has evaporated
  • Add the water-Better than Bouillon-soy sauce, stir, and then put the pork chops back in
  • Lower heat and cover for maybe five minutes, and then check that you like the green beans (cook more if not, and cook more if Molly is worried about the chops being done.)
  • Mix the cornstarch with three tablespoons of water
  • Add that to the pot and stir until the sauce thickens nicely
  • Check to see if you like the level of soy flavor (add more if not)
  • Serve over the grain (you did remember to set the timer and get the grain off the heat, right?)

Meso 'Merican Magic

This is insanely good food: black beans, red quinoa, and yellow corn.  It needs two hours or even a little more, but very little work.

The ingredients are half a cup of black beans, a cup of red quinoa, three cobs of corn, and maybe a small onion and maybe some whole cloves, and a bit of salt.

The Black Bean Part:
  • Put half a cup of black beans beans in a pot with enough water to cover, plus an inch
  • Bring to a boil
  • Remove from heat and wait an hour
  • Drain and rinse
  • Put back in the pot with enough water to cover, plus an inch, again
  • Peel a small onion but don't cut it.  Stick some cloves in the onion. Or don't.  Or don't even do the onion
  • Bring to boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover
  • In half an hour, bite one bean to see if it's done
  • From then on, use timer to remember to check every ten minutes until done
  • Drain (throw away onion and clove if they happened at all)
The Red Quinoa Part (starts after the beans have been cooking for half an hour):
  • Rinse a cup of red quinoa
  • Put it in a pot with two cups of water
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover
  • Cook for 15 minutes
  • Check to see if the little white rings have appeared (If not, cook a bit longer and check again)
  • Check to see if there's water left (If so, drain off the extra)
  • Put the lid back on and let it sit for ten minutes to get fluffier
The Yellow Corn Part (starts when you cover the simmering quinoa)
  • Peel three corn cobs and break them in half
  • Place in a pot with enough boiling water to cover, plus an inch
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover
  • Cook for five minutes
  • Drain
  • Cut corn off the cobs.
  • Alternative: open a can of vaccuum packed yellow corn
The Combining Part:
  • Combine
  • Add a little salt

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicken following "Pollan's second recipe."

  • a pound of chicken boneless chicken thigh, cut into cubes of about an inch
  • three cloves of garlic, minced
  • one onion, chopped up small
  • about a quarter pound of mushrooms
  • about half a pound of snow peas
  • grapeseed oil (though only because my olive oil bottle was empty)
  • a teaspoon of “Better than Boullon” stirred into half a cup of water
  • the juice of a lemon, squeezed into the water with the bouillon
  • a tablespoon of cornstarch, stirred into three tablespoons of water
  • some farro, cooked according to its directions, which are the familiar one cup with two cups water brought to boil and simmered twenty minutes--but rice, guinoa, or anything else that cooks like that will work as well.
  • Get the farro started
  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven (or big frying pan)
  • Brown the chicken pieces at a moderately high temperature in two batches and move to a plate
  • Lower the temperature a bit, add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, add the onion and stir until it gets kind of soft, add the mushrooms and a little more oil and stir until they darken a bit.
  • Add the liquid and use it to deglaze the bottom of the pan (meaning scrape it gently to get most of the brown bits of flavor to come loose)
  • Add the chicken, cover, and simmer for about ten minutes.
  • Add the snow peas and simmer for another two or three minutes.
  • Add the cornstarch mixed with water and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over the farro or other grain
  • The Michael Pollan part is "Roots browned in fat, then simmered with protein, vegetables, and liquid."  In Cooked, he has great fun working through world cuisines as separated mainly by the choice of which roots: carrot-onion-celery is French, but onion-garlic is Italian and scallion-ginger means you're in Pacific Asia.  It's kind of a master rule that allows for infinite variations based on what looks good at the store or what has been in the fridge long enough that it probably should be cooked tonight.
  • I originally planned to use soy sauce rather than lemon juice, but found my jar had vanished. Then I looked for white wine, and had none of that in the pantry.  Lemon was my third choice--a sign of how flexible the recipe really is.   It could also be done with pork.  Or beef.  Probably shrimp.  Certainly broccoli if added a a few minutes sooner.  Or whole green beans.  Or whole chicken thighs and allowed to simmer another ten minutes before adding the vegetables.  If I didn't have soy sauce or wine or lemon juice, I'd probably add some parsley or thyme to the water and bouillon.

  • Pollan's first recipe is basically dead animal over slow fire watched by a group of people (often all male) consuming some fermented liquid.