zen.org Communal Weblog

November 6, 2004

Quick + Easy = Yummy

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:58 IST

Tonight we had a meal that has been a useful fall-back for us if we don’t manage to plan ahead (or, in this case, put off doing recipes and realized we’d done everything we picked in advance). We made lemon chicken with a tasty rice pilaf and a random vegetable choice (this time, spinach).

Normally, we’ve got about a week’s worth of recipes figured out, selecting specific dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Food allergies have made throwing together dishes a little more difficult, so if we work out the week’s recipes in advance we alleviate some of the stress that would manifest itself when we’re picking what to eat. It also puts all of the shopping into one trip, so we’ve managed to ease both demand for supplies (one big shopping trip with a carefully-composed shopping list) and what do to each time we have to cook (look at the menu list for the week). Another handy side-effect is that we can go back a few months and pick dishes we’ve not made in a while to speed up the process of putting together the week’s menus—then we can flesh out the remaining spots with new ideas. At least one dish a day is something we’ve done before.

Alton Brown, host of Good Eats on the Food Network, has done a bunch of cool books which tend to include great recipes. We’ve made a wide variety of his recipes (another side-effect of food allergies: you cook just about every single meal, and don’t eat out much), and like just about all of them. This time, it was his rice pilaf that’s incredibly easy. I’m including a link to his book at the bottom of this post because no-one has risked trying copyright attribution to post his recipe publicly. (Nope, I’m not going to try either, at least in any detail.) Anyway, it’s a simple process of melting some butter, toss in diced onions and garlic, then rice for a few minutes, then a whole bunch of water (or stock, or in this case we did 2/3 veggie stock and 1/3 white wine), and cover it and stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Out it comes, sits for a minute uncovered, then gets fluffed up. The end result is an awesome rice pilaf that goes with a wide variety of recipes.

My choice was a Lemon Chicken recipe that appears in the first of Susan Branch’s great set of cookbooks. It’s some flour-dressed pounded chicken breasts put into oil & butter for only a few minutes; having bashed it into a thinner piece of chicken, it accelerates the cooking time. Once the chicken’s done, you take it out and make a nice sauce with some more butter, some fresh chopped parsley, and a bit of lemon juice.

It’s all effortless, and dee-lish. Our son Patrick has consistently liked it, particularly the rice. We find the rice pilaf absolutely addictive. It goes well both with white wine and, of course, a wee pint of Guinness. 🙂

Sources: I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown, and Heart of the Home by Susan Branch.

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