jesse_the_k: Muppet's Swedish chef brandishes cleaver and spoon with rooster at side (grandiloquent cook is grandiloquent)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
This post exhibited more of my squishy writing than pleased me, so I edited it for coherence on 7-Feb-12 2000 CST.

When I discovered I was celiac (unable to digest the protein in wheat, barley, rye, and many oatmeals) I had to learn a new way of cooking. Sandwiches for lunch were out, as well as flour tortillas. In their place grew my 5-ingredient lunch, which I've been eating for more than four years and I'm not bored yet.

My diet also requires very high protein portions and relatively low carbs. One thing which has made cooking possible for me has been MyGuy's willingness to create meal-size protein packages. Grocery stores offer price savings on larger quantities. They'd never last fresh in a two-person household, but because he's sliced and squished and wrapped them into 120-g units, the whole, "now what am I going to have for lunch?" issue gets a lot less stressful.

Overview: the five ingredients
  1. Oil (only olive for me)
  2. Onion (little yellows work well for one person)
  3. Greens (details below)
  4. Protein (more below)
  5. Interesting Liquid: currently mirin, white wine, red wine, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, tamari, lemon or lime juice

Right now our freezer contains many varieties of single-serving PROTEINS:

Burgers: Emu
Burgers: Bison
Burgers: Elk
Burgers: Ostrich
Burgers: Turkey
Tenderloin: Beef
Tenderloin: Pork
Flank steak: Beef
Chicken breasts
Liver: beef
Liver: chicken
Scallops
Shrimp
Tempeh
Walleye filets

For each lunch, one of those protein packets partners with one member of the greens family: dark leafy green, incredibly good for you and delicious once you learn how to cook 'em, We get these fresh from locals during our tragically brief growing season, and from the Californian engines of industry otherwise:
Spinach
Chard
Beets
Napa aka Chinese Cabbage
Bok Choy*
*and a host of Choy cousins (in my town we have Hmong, Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese growers varying the names. I just check with the veg czar to make sure that these are short-cooking like the previous, or long-cooking like the next)
Collards
Kale
Mustard

Preparation

When I began this regime I'd prep each ingredient completely and set it aside. Then at the end I'd bring everything back together for a get-to-know-you reheat. And I know that works -- the onions won't lose any of their magic if they end up sitting sentry in a little dish for 15 minutes while I do the other bits.

After a year I got a good enough feel for the timing that I can multi-task -- I can defrost the protein while I'm chopping the onions and so forth. Now I've become comfortable with it, it takes 35 minutes from "hungry now" to dishes in the sink.

So, let's make lunch!

POTS
3 qt skillet with lid
3 qt glass casserole with lid

The DRILL

1.  Clean GREENS
For one serving prepare one third to one half a head of dark greens; strip leaf from rib, discard rib. tear leaf into palm size, clean thoroughly (gravel can lurk within).
Place in casserole, cover, microwave for 2 minutes (except 6 minutes for collards or other long-cooking greens). 
Remove dish from microwave, open lid to permit sulfurous steam to escape, make sure leaves are just slightly underdone, put lid back on. The greens continue to cook while you ....

2. Slice onion as you please
Oil into skillet, set on medium, when smells nice add the onions, 
shovel around, leave uncovered for a while, shovel around again, 
Cover. Let sit until step 3, then empty into greens

3. Brown the Protein. 
Unwrap packet
Place on glass lid
Defrost in microwave (Better to err on the side of still frozen, because it simplifies next step)
Cut into cubes
Saute in pan until seared around 5 minutes
Add more oil if you wanna

4. Let's dance.
return onions and greens to pan, cover, turn down low, let flavors mix for 10 to 15 minutes. Moisture from greens will "deglaze" the pan (soften up the nummy burned stuff)

If things look a little dry, add Interesting Liquid, 1 - 3 teaspoons or a healthy swig, turn up heat and stir until thoroughly mixed and heated

Transfer the completed food into the casserole so I only have two dishes to wash.

On days when I'm alive with energy, I've been known to add a clove of garlic or ginger knob to the onions. When the fresh greens are totally hopeless, I use frozen versions, or frozen green beans/sugar snap peas.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-25 11:19 pm (UTC)
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (K-ON: Mugi forces tea)
From: [personal profile] laceblade
I feel like I could do all of this, except for Interesting Liquid! I would probably/definitely add garlic, though.

While I couldn't swing this for lunch, I could with dinner. I actually....never, ever include protein when I cook for myself, :( All I mostly make are toast/toasted bagels, and rice + vegetables. I should totally eat more protein! And there are different kinds! Now I just need to figure out how to cut things into "120g packets," bwahaha.

IN CONCLUSION: FOOD.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-26 01:42 am (UTC)
laceblade: back of Arya Stark (Game of Thrones), holding sword, facing water (Arya of House Stark)
From: [personal profile] laceblade
Yeah, I also use fresh garlic too, almost always. I actually like peeling the cloves.


I have yet to find a fruit juice I can tolerate (they all have acid of some kind, usually citric acid), but I hadn't thought of mixing herbs/spices with water, :O

I do add mushrooms to most things, though (they're my favorite), which I guess explains why I haven't felt a lack for Interesting Liquid yet, lol.

I'm hoping after a few tries, I can just eye the meat and know what's up.

*looks forward to an explanatory dinner*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-26 05:39 am (UTC)
boxofdelights: (Default)
From: [personal profile] boxofdelights
*adding to recipes folder*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-27 04:30 am (UTC)
dogstar: Fireflight! (Default)
From: [personal profile] dogstar
This is awesome!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-02-06 09:20 am (UTC)
rydra_wong: Fingers holding down a piece of meat (heart) as it's cut with a knife, on a bright red surface. (food -- a slice of heart)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
Oh, this is awesome. Permission to link in [community profile] playeatsleep?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-02-07 02:39 pm (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
This is great!

I have a garlic press where I don't need to peel 'em. It's awesome, and it's vastly increased my use of garlic, since my knife skills aren't good enough to mince that fast. I'm not sure it's doable with all presses, but it should work for the heavy ones.

I note that your list of greens does not include kale. May I recommend it? It's tasty, and if you get sick of it, you can make kale chips.

Re: How could I forget kale!!!!

Date: 2012-02-07 08:14 pm (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
I have never been in the position of trying to keep kale chips! I kind of inhale them. Though I will keep that in mind now that I am single again.

Here's the garlic press; it is stupidly expensive, but a lot of people seem to think it's worth it. I got it as a present, and like it so much I've given it as a present twice, and if a garlic press thief stole mine I'd replace it instantly.

However, it's heavy and might be difficult to squeeze (I have tiny hands but a good grip; ymmv). Some recommend its less expensive cousin as also allowing unpeeled cloves; others complain that one isn't durable. I have no experience with it.

Re: How could I forget kale!!!!

Date: 2012-02-11 01:26 am (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
The ginger thing didn't work for me when I tried it, but it may work differently for you -- maybe I didn't slice it enough or something. I don't remember any more. :) I've taken to freezer+microplane grater for ginger.

Re: How could I forget kale!!!!

Date: 2012-02-11 01:43 am (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
I read it from someone on the Internet! I did not peel; I don't recall if they did. I almost never bother with peeling ginger, though. I go through phases of using lots of ginger, then using none, and often end up with moldly ginger, so as soon as I read that I decided to try it. I just put the whole root in a ziploc in the freezer. I didn't chop it up, because that would make it harder to grate without also grating my fingers. The microplane grater is made of magic, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't know if there's a comm. It would certainly be welcome in [community profile] iron_chef_csa, which I need to re-start now that I am no longer living with a vegetablephobe.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-02-08 01:12 am (UTC)
lucidscreamer: Yul Brynner as Pharaoh Ramses (Default)
From: [personal profile] lucidscreamer
Here via the Carnival comments link. Just found out that gluten hates me, so I'm kind of desperately trying to learn how to cook gluten-free. This post was very useful for me. Thank you!

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