Category Archives: Eating

Chomp it up.

Dinner & a movie

We had B and Rachel over for dinner last night and watched “Serenity” and had dinner.

The movie was good. The dialogue seemed a little forced in places, but overall it was an enjoyable movie. We might have to borrow B and Rachel’s “Firefly” DVDs sometime.

And again with the Cook’s Illustrated recipes …

The meatloaf itself was great, but glaze with the recipe wasn’t so hot. The cider vinegar didn’t blend at all. I’m wondering if maybe our vinegar had gone bad. Does vinegar go bad? I thought that was the nature of the stuff. Anyway, I’ll be using my own mix next time.

The magazine suggested crafting a special baking dish as follows:

Fold heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a 10 by 6-inch rectangle. Center the foil on a metal cooling rack and place the rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes in the foil with a skewer (about half an inch apart). Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Meat Loaf
3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , grated on small holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium rib celery , chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (powdered)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground beef chuck

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread cheese on plate and place in freezer until ready to use.

Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foaming; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and add tomato juice. Cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool.

Whisk broth and eggs in large bowl until combined. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. Crumble frozen cheese into coarse powder and sprinkle over mixture. Add ground beef; mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Transfer meat to foil rectangle and shape into 10-by-6-inch oval about 2 inches high. Smooth top and edges of meat loaf with moistened spatula. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf reads 135 to 140 degrees, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove meat loaf from oven and turn on broiler.

While meat loaf cooks, prepare glaze. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meat loaf with rubber spatula; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 5 minutes. Remove meat loaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing.

Tangy Orange Chicken

We made the “Cook’s Illustrated” recipes for Sweet, Sour and Spicy Stir-fried Chicken and Broccoli with Cashews and fresh Spring Rolls for dinner tonight. The spring rolls won’t be making another appearance at our table, but the chicken (which, for the sake of ease, we shall call Tangy Orange Chicken) was outstanding. It’s a little time-consuming, and it requires your full attention to make. Just be sure to have all of your parts ready and within reach before you start the actual stir-frying. Oh, and my apologies for the blurry photo. I was so eager to try it, I could hardly hold still.

Tangy Orange Chicken
To make the chicken easier to slice, freeze it for 20 minutes until it is firm, but not frozen.
Serves four as a main dish with rice

Chicken for Stir-Fry
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest from one orange

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews , toasted in dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 6 minutes
1 1/2 pounds broccoli , florets cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 1/2-inches tall and 1-inch wide), stems trimmed, peeled, and cut on bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 medium scallions , sliced 1/4-inch thick on bias

  • Combine soy sauce, sherry, and water in medium bowl; add chicken and stir to break up clumps. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  • Mix sesame oil, cornstarch, flour, and orange zest in medium bowl until smooth. Drain chicken in strainer; press out excess liquid. Toss chicken in cornstarch/flour mixture until evenly coated.
  • Whisk chicken broth, orange juice, vinegar, soy, hoisin, cornstarch, sugar, and pepper flakes in small bowl; set aside. Combine ginger, garlic, and 1 tablespoon peanut oil in small bowl; set aside.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of chicken to skillet in flat, even layer. Cook, without stirring, but gently separating pieces, until golden brown on first side, about 1 minute; turn chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on second side, about 30 seconds. Transfer chicken to clean bowl. Repeat with additional 2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining chicken.
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add 1/4 cup water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium-low. Cook broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, then transfer broccoli to paper towel-lined plate. Add garlic/ginger mixture to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, sticky, and golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds, Return chicken to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1 minute. Off heat, add broccoi and cashews and stir to combine. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.
  • Victory

    Because even the failed effort yielded such tasty results, I gave the cream-filled cupcake recipe another try. But this time, I switched to cake format. Giant cupcake, you win the people’s ovation and fame forever. Also, Rockford made Chicken in Cherry Marsala Sauce for lunch today. It was tangy and tasty and, according to Rockford, easy to make.