Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pomegranates - Part II

The organic beef ribeye looked really good at the market. I used the rest of my pomegranate reduction as a marinade. The sweet and tangy taste of the pomegranate married well with the beef. Too bad I got distracted by Dancing with the Stars and overcooked my steak. Ho-hum.

Pomegranates - Part I

I would like to express my gratitude to those who have fruit trees in their backyards. You always share the bounty of your harvest and I am greatly appreciative.

I wandered into the kitchen/break room at work last week and discovered a bowl of pomegranates with a note that said something like "Please take!" Now I give myself credit for showing restraint and only taking one.

I have fond childhood memories of my mom getting pomegranates from the local farmers market when they were in season. One by one, I would pop each delectable red ruble into my mouth. Wearing my old-red-pomegranate-eating t-shirt, I would savor each moment when the tangy juices burst onto my tongue.

As I started to peel into my pom, a light bulb went off. I put the rubles into a small pot and added just enough water to cover the seeds. After straining and reducing the liquid, I added mirin and ginger powder. And this is the creation I have come up with...

The pomegranate reduction mixed with the pan jus from the pork chop created a tangy and
savory sauce. I actually tipped my plate to drink what was left of the sauce after I finished the dinner.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oyster Sauce Pasta???

What to do when you have a cupboard full of pasta that was on sale last week but no tomato sauce? I thought about pasta carbonara, but I gots no bacon. So I just pulled some chicken thighs out of the freezer, poached them in salted water. The poaching liquid created a nice broth. The pasta shells gets added. This is my new favorite way to cook pasta. It absorbs all the chicken flavory goodness. Add some chopped up cauliflower (that was the last of my supply) and stirred in 2 tbsp. oyster sauce (which, btw, tastes nothing like oysters). The starch from the cooking liquid made the sauce nice and thick.
Yep, this is one of my ghetto meets gourmet shining moments. When it's the end of my grocery cycle and I have odds and ends to work with. The chicken was flavorful and moist. I really liked the combination of oyster sauce with cauliflower. The flavor is savory with just a hint of sweetness. This is great comfort food.
There are a couple things that I would do differently the next time I make this. I'd try to add the cauliflower in a bit earlier so that the pasta doesn't get too soft. I would also add some color to it. What is it with me and beige food lately? Maybe a sprinkle of green onions at the end, or some colorful veggies like carrots.

Oyster Sauce Pasta
1 cup uncooked pasta shells
2 chicken thighs
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 quart water
4 tbsp salt

Combine salt and water in large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add chicken thighs.  Bring water back to a rolling boil  Lower heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until chicken thighs are
cooked through.  Remove chicken thighs and set aside.
Bring liquid back to a boil.  Add pasta shells and cook for time indicated on package.
Once chicken thighs are cool enough to handle, chop into cubes.  Set aside.
About 3 minutes before pasta is done cooking, add cauliflower.
Drain cooked pasta and cauliflower.
Combine pasta, cauliflower, chicken and oyster sauce together.  Mix well and serve.

Got Pork?

Mmmm...pork. The other white meat. And incidently, Homer Simpson's favorite meal is pork chops.
I didn't have the foresight to thaw out the pork chops that I had in the freezer. So I just ran the package under some cold water, just enough to defrost the very outer layers of the chops. I rubbed the rosemary between the palms of my hands to release the flavor and aroma. Rosemary is one of those herbs that goes well with almost any meat. Little bit of freshly ground pepper here and a shake of salt there. The meat made a satisfying sizzle sound when it hit the pan, mmm...pork. Made sure it was cooked all the way through. I also sauteed some sweet onions and garlic with cauliflower. I guess this is a pretty beige meal, but I don't got any greens in the fridge this week. I made two and saved the other piece of pork chop for lunch. I think it was even juicier the next day when I reheated it in the microwave(55 seconds on med-high). Don't ask me how that's possible, I was just blessed by the almighty Pork Gods.