Friday, March 19, 2010

Dinner Chez Hawthorne. The Calm After The Taste Of The Beach. Rosie Cooks Again.

After a long weekend, which involved Mr. Hawthorne and me going out to eat 3 days in a row, I was exhausted Going out to eat damn near killed me. I am a homebody. I'm not agoraphobic. Really, I'm not. Shut up, XK. I don't know how people who are regular restaurant goers do it. In case you're just dropping in, I'll let you know: This past weekend was the annual Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach. In case you haven't read about this, you might be interested in going back several posts and see my favorite events which I've attended each year for the past three years. Friday night, it was Kelly's Restaurant. We had a six course meal paired with wines and beers. All for $37. Saturday afternoon, we crawled to Lucky Twelve Tavern for their fabulous It's All About Oysters. See my posts HERE and HERE. Sunday evening we (I) were (was) stressing as we headed out for our third and last outing to Pamlico Jack's for the Crowning Glory of Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach - the EXPO. See posts HERE and HERE. I'm telling you from my heart: it is very difficult to go out every day and eat. I've spent the last few days trying to recuperate from my weekend whirl-a-gig. Tuesday afternoon and evening, I was on my road to recovery. I was in the warmth and comfort of my kitchen. I was going to nourish my family. My kitchen was hugging me. Are you getting a warm and fuzzy right now? I poked around in freezers, fridge, and pantry and an idea was starting to come together. I'm pulling in an Asian Reduction Sauce from Chef Andy Montero of Montero's Restaurant in Elizabeth City, who hosted our last cooking class at the North Carolina Aquarium. And I find some frozen Chicken Bosoms. Black Jasmine Rice. Asian Salad Fixin's. Wontons. And a heap of ingredients for a sauce reduction. Rosie had a plan.
Shall we start with the sauce?
Ingredients for the Asian-inspired sauce (Chef Andy Montero's recipe): 1/2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp olive oil 1 cup Mirin 1 cup White Zinfandel or Chardonnay (I used Pinot Grigio) 3 TB soy sauce pinch red pepper flakes 1 tsp ginger minced 1 tsp garlic minced 1/2 tsp each white and black sesame seeds 1/4 cup green onion, sliced on bias 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar 1 TB oyster sauce In a small sauce pan, heat the two oils and add the pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. Saute for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the mirin, white wine, and soy sauce and reduce by at least half. Add in rice wine vinegar and oyster sauce. Add the sesame seeds and green onions. In case you're wondering about Mirin, or not, it's a rice-based wine often used in Japanese cuisine. It is similar to but has a lower alcoholic content than Sake. (14% as opposed to 20%)
Rosie Tip #723: Buy fresh ginger. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Freeze. When ready to use, nuke for 22 or so seconds. Squeeze with Thumbkin and Pointer.
And ya got JinJerJoos.
I joosed my ginger, then minced it and the garlic.
Minced ginger and garlic go into sesame and olive oil.
Saute for a minute or two, being careful not to burn garlic. It gets bitter.
Mirin goes in.
White wine in.
Tamari soy sauce.
Ginger juice.
Swirlie action shot!
Reduce at least by half. Here's Rosie Tip #428: When making a reduction, you need LOW heat. You need DIFFUSED heat. I put my pan of liquids in a cast iron pan. It will cook slower and will not burn. Trust me on the diffused heat thing. I've learned the hard way that a reduction can turn to disaster in a matter of seconds.
After this concoction is reduced, add in a tablespoon of chocolate sauce. NO. NO. NO. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Make that a tablespoon of oyster sauce. KER ...
... PLOP! Action shot!
Red pepper flakes. Black and white sesame seeds.
Pepper flakes and sesame seeds go into the reduction.
Sauce is ready. Just set aside and reheat before serving.
I chopped some green onions diagonally.
Action shot of my sauce! This is happy and musical to me.
Oh, why not chop a bit of fresh basil?
Here are the chopped scallions and basil and some white asparagus I happened to have and needed to use.
I fried up some wonton sheets ...
... until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.
Next, I started on my black Jasmine rice.
One cup of black jasmine rice.
I rinsed my rice ...
... and dropped it into 3 cups of boiling, salted water.
I barely simmered this, uncovered, for about 30 - 40 minutes, adding a bit more water as needed. Before serving, I added some LOLUB. That's Land o' Lakes Unsalted Butter. I want my Food Network show STAT. Our protein tonight is chicken.
Heh. I love to bandy about the word "protein." Skinless, split chicken bosoms.
You do the Sandy Math! Oh wait. It's been done for you.
Mr. Hawthorne, once again, had the shit detail. I got him to bone and slice the COLD chicken. I have Raynaud's, so dealing with cold is challenging for me. Then I waited for the earth to move a bit so I could get The Light for that photo. Check out one of my new knives in that picture. Friend Zadig suggested I look into these. And my friend, Marion, of course, has known about these knives forever. They are Thai Kiwi knives.
These knives are razor sharp and I love them. And they're CHEAP. The one in the picture above was $2.95 and I clenched it this afternoon when I was picking up a handful of flatware in the sink basket. And I can assure you, it's still razor sharp. I bought them at The Wok Shop. I'm used to my heavier Wusthof knives and my favorite is the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix in the link above is the Grand Prix II. Apparently, I have the GP I. I like mine better than the GP II. Mine has a straight edge.
I bought these four Thai Kiwi knives from The Wok Shop. Above photograph from the Wok Shop's website.
Chicken soaking up some Vitamin D.
Freshly ground salt and pepper.
Heat up some ELBOO and LOLUB. That's Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil and Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter! (That part has to kinda be yelled.) Repeat 500 times until ELBOO and LOLUB are seared into your brain like EVOO.
Saute the chicken over medium high heat until nicely browned. About a minute before the chicken is done, toss in the sliced asparagus.
Pour in the reheated, reduced sauce.
While Mr. Hawthorne was tending to the chicken, I made an "Asian" slaw.
Equal amounts lettuce wedge and cabbage wedge Small carrot. Green onion. Chili garlic sauce. Wasabi. Soy sauce.
Shred and thinly slice.
Ah ... I came upon some crystallized ginger.
So I have the shredded cabbage and lettuce, the sliced carrots and scallions, and the ginger. And I'm going to add rice wine, chili garlic sauce, Wasabi, soy sauce, and sushi vinegar.
And some sugar. You want to know how much for the amounts? I shot pictures so you can see:
This much soy and wasabi. Yes. Look closely. The wasabi is in there.
This much chili garlic sauce. Then I started building dinner.
Fried wonton on the bottom. Then black jasmine rice. Chicken strips. Sliced scallions and basil.
Doesn't this look like caviar?
Here it is with my Asian slaw.
I liked this. A lot. First, you have the fried. No brainer there. Then you get hit with the slightly floral presence of the texturally pleasant black jasmine rice. Top that with the seared chicken, scallions, and basil. The cool, refreshing slaw was the perfect counterbalance.
This was dinner Tuesday night.
And Wednesday morning I had this for brunch. With some chopped tomato and red onion.
Liking the tilt of the earth here.
After the hectic (to me) events of the weekend, it was comforting to be in my own kitchen making something I've never had before. Something I created. And it was good. It was satisfying. It was what I needed.


Marilyn said...

Looks lovely. And I can see all the flavor!

But seriously, I have not been able to find black rice around here. I'm so bummed.

southdrivein said...

Rosie, you ought to look into going to Va, Beach every now and then to shop at the ethnic markets up there, you wouldn't believe how much money you can save. Good example is Cans of Coconut milk are 59 cents as opposed to 1.50 to 2.00 down here . You can buy 5-10 lb bags of jasmine rice for about the same price as 2lb bags here. Tell Mr. Hawthorne he's welcome to ride up with me sometime. Its unbelievable how much mark up there is on that stuff in a regular grocer. BTW , I too have a fear of sweaters but things are a lot better since I joined the support group at the church

Rosie Hawthorne said...

South, Mr. Hawthorne got the jasmine rice at some Asian market in Va. Bch. He just can't remember where it is. Howzzabout emailing me directions to some of them. Would appreciate it. He's actually going up tomorrow. Thanks.

Kathy said...

I can just see the relief oozing from my computer screen. I know you're glad to be in your kitchen. Oh, and I can see the flavor of your dinner too.