Tag Archives: cooking for a family

Rice, It’s What’s for Breakfast

Gentle Readers, being Southern, as I am, there are few versions of chicken and rice that I haven’t tried. Yet, no matter how much of a fan of leftovers I am (cold fried chicken, cold pizza, cold Mexican, yes please), I rarely considered rice for breakfast.

As a regular business traveler to the West Coast, I have certainly seen the pot of congee gurgling along right beside the oatmeal, but I passed it by.

For various reasons, mainly that the Moscone Conference center has been undergoing major renovations, business life has kept me from downtown San Francisco, home to a little tea house called Samovar. I eat two things there: the yogurt with dates and apples and mint, and the jook with smoked duck. (I have been known to devour the grilled cheese with pesto when wisely special ordered by a friend, but let’s not let fact checking disrupt my flow here.)

Shame on me for not investigating further and realizing this before last month, but jook and congee are really close relatives. So when I started to crave jook, I googled and learned the new love of my kitchen life, my Instant Pot, could deliver.

Shout out to Sweet Comfort Kitchen, the Instant Pot Chicken Jook recipe I based my trial run upon. I used all water instead of broth. Chicken quarters are cheapest, and since I’m picky about my bird (I can legitimately taste the difference between commercial and organic chicken, snarky Perdue commercials notwithstanding), I bought those and cut them into two pieces with my trusty poultry shears.

(Sidenote, if you don’t own a pair of actual hardcore kitchen scissors, run don’t walk. To get them that is. After that, walk, because, well, scissors.)

Now just follow the recipe in the link above and you’ll get this:

IMG_8840.jpg

Don’t be afraid to add more water to adjust to your preferred texture. And if you’re new to this like me, and have texture issues, like me, don’t skip the green onions and chopped peanuts or cashews. The soy sauce and toasted sesame oil shown here are key to punching the flavor. And when pollen slapped me in the face, I added red chili flakes to punch back.

At its core, this is very simple chicken and rice with ginger, amended at the table to your specific taste. The recipe makes a lot. Everyone ate it and I froze a couple for delayed gratification. The chicken was hearty and filling as well, and it reminded me a lot of Chicken and Dumplings with 1/10th of the work involved.

Not quite the refined smoked duck version of Samovar, but a great and simple technique to diversify breakfast, or really any meal. Savory rice, like so many other folks eat around the world, also lasts longer than my beloved commercial cereals, though it pains me to admit that.

What’s on your breakfast table? Tweet my way @practicalcook!

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Weekly Menus: Summer Style, Week of 7/15/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is once more happily ensconced in the test kitchen. The joy of summer is more gathering than hunting I think, so many vegetables, so little time. My philosophy of finding something good and interesting and getting out of the way still holds.

Tomato Watermelon Salad from Crook's Corner

Tomato Watermelon Salad from Crook’s Corner

My favorite moment with The Eldest Practical Cook Junior, when hearing that okra was one of the most loathed veggies,  she suggested we take it or another vegetable and prepare it multiple ways, then invite people over to see if we could convert them. Brilliant. I’m actually going to do that soon, a One Ingredient Three Ways thing. Please feel free to suggest the vegetable. I’ve taken on okra and Brussels sprouts, I’m not afraid.

Non-horsey Okra Pods

Non-horsey Okra Pods

But I digress, and there’s so much food to eat. Here are the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 7/15/2012

Weekly Menus: 7/15/2012

And the light-weight Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 7/15/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 7/15/2012

Because the CSA is tripled from my absences:

1 dozen eggs
1 pk bacon
1 regular bratwurst
1 cantaloupe
1 1 lb bag shelled butterbeans
lb filet beans
1 lb heirloom tomatoes
1 pt yellow cherry tomatoes

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Leftover fried rice
This was inspiration from yesterday. It was leftover plain rice with lots of egg, a stray piece of ham, ginger, ketchup, and soy sauce. Toss it with a few stir-fried veggies and go. I’m going to add edamame to the mix for round two.

Leftover Fried Rice

Leftover Fried Rice

Monday: Beans and Rice
This will probably be Indian food. I’ve been craving, and we haven’t made dal in a while. Nothing better than spicy vegetables in the summer. Seriously. (See Some Like It Hot for my diatribe.)

Tuesday: Sammie Platter
Because I can eat my weight in tomato sandwiches, let’s just go ahead and call it dinner.

Sandwich Platter Piled High!

Sandwich Platter Piled High!

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner
It’s biscuit time again, per the Juniors. We’re still hammering out our favorite recipe, having had a worthy contender at the Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, NC.

Fresh-Squeezed OJ for the win!

Fresh-Squeezed OJ for the win!

Thursday: Take me out to the ballgame.
Hot dogs, burritos, I say yes. We are stepping out this evening, and I expect an eating marathon.

Friday: Beef!
I’ve been craving it. Probably meatloaf. Though I am omnivorous, I lean toward my vegetarian roots (pun intended) in the summer. Sometimes I have to toss some iron into the mix.

Saturday: Dine Out!
I have to check some items off the growing recommendation list. If you haven’t, please check out the RTP Restaurants page and let me know what you think!

Have you stepped out of the kitchen this summer? Perhaps to the grill, or simply because you’re cutting things up and serving rather than turning on the stove? Share your summer cooking strategies in the comments below, or Tweet my way!

Send your heirloom tomatoes, questions, and kitchen challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Next on Wednesday, 5 Wines Under $10 from Trader Joe’s.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 5/6/2012

Gentle Readers, it is time once more for The Practical Cook to hit the road for some field research. More like her job is taking her to 3 cities interspersed over a span of 6 weeks, but let us pretend it is a culinary journey, shall we? So once more the kitchen will be turned over to The Practical Cook’s Mom. Thanks in advance. I know my children will refuse to eat my cooking for a month after this.

The Moveable Honeybun Cake Feast

The Moveable Honeybun Cake Feast

A PSA and hint as to my destination. I plan to avoid the treat that is not a treat. As I have not yet packed, shopped, or even completely finished my plans for this trip yet, I shall get right to business.

Weekly Menus are as follows:

Weekly Menus: 5/6/2012

Weekly Menus: 5/6/2012

The Four-Square Grocery list will be (lean because TPC’s Mom brings a U-Haul’s worth of food with her.Yes, I’m related.):

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/6/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/6/2012

No CSA this week, I’m doubling down next week.

Which translates into:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken and Veg
I’m thinking salad and something potatoey. Possibly home fries, just to prove to my kids that I can cook them just like my mom, in an blatant attempt to maintain their loyalty in my absence.

Monday: Chicken Potpie
My mom will be whipping up a recipe she’s been wanting to try. Hope she takes pictures.  (She’s serving it with sweet potatoes and kale. I’m doomed.)

Tuesday: Sammies/Leftovers
Gotta eat down the stores!

Wednesday: Beans and Franklins
I used to call them that, and still do in my head. Just owning it. This will be served with slaw and okra. Because my mom is Southern like me, and can feed my children piles of vegetables only to have them rejoice. Sigh.

Thursday: Taco Night!
Served with salad and pintos. The Eldest Practical Cook is very fond of them “ranchero” style, or whole. If someone in your crew doesn’t go for refried, try whole and see if it makes a difference. (Or you can try serving this with Bok Collards, as I had last night. Eyes on you Blended Familia.)

Friday: Pizza and Salad
I’ll be back for this meal, and I’m betting my mom serves it with black-eyed peas and corn, or broccoli. It’s Dinner Without Borders as far as she is concerned.

Saturday: Dine Out!
The Youngest will be selecting our destination to celebrate a special day. I can not predict the outcome, but will keep you posted. She is a woman of discerning taste.

What is your favorite (or your kid’s favorite) dish from Mom? We’ll share the results next week, just in time for Mother’s Day. Post a comment below! I vote for my Mom’s sweet potatoes, followed by any dessert that comes out of her kitchen. Thanks Mom, I will bring back surprises.

Send anything but the San Francisco treat to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, The Great Dishwasher Debate: To Rinse or Not to Rinse, I Answer That Question

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