Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Eat! You're Wasting Away...

To break up the monotony of my heavy thoughts, here is a recipe.

Everyone has gotta eat, right?

Disclaimer: It's not really a recipe. I write recipes like I write concert reviews, which is to keep it vague. Vague! Everyone showed up! People clapped! We drank! It was amazing! That way, I accept no blame when you go to see them and hate it. If you cook this and hate it? Meh...maybe you just weren't cool enough for the experience. That's how horrible people do these things.

Stuff you need:
A rice cooker
Unless you really know what you're doing, not optional. Read on...

Surprise! You did not see that coming, did you? But seriously...use whatever rice you like. I use whole grain, multi-grain, wild, whatever. I do not use white rice for this dish because you are cooking meat at the same time you are cooking the rice, so, make it take a while to cook--you've got time. Brown rice takes a while, so...use that.

Liquid for Cooking Rice
Water, broth, etc. Follow your package directions for the amount, BUT short the liquid slightly--meaning if you are making a cup of rice and your rice needs two cups of water to cook per the package, use 1.75 one and a half teaspoons. Maybe. You have some frozen and liquid-y ingredients coming up what will make up the difference. Don't sweat it.

Did you ever notice that when I a post a recipe, it usually has spinach in it? Why is that? I'm hardly Popeye in the spinach consumption department, but there it is....again.  Fresh, frozen, unimportant. Yes, really.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper
Did you ever notice that when I a post a recipe, it usually has roasted red bell pepper in it? Why is that? I used the jarred kind, but if you must roast your own, please do. Don't burn the house down.

Hot Sauce
Don't skip this. Maybe you're thinking, "I don't like hot food." First of all, I hate to be the one to have to tell you, but if you don't use hot sauce in your life, you're not really living, you're just sort of existing until the inevitable. Second of all, the hot sauce doesn't make it hot. I use a couple of teaspoons, no big deal. Why use it? Because of the spinach. I was married to Jim Payne, and you don't come away from that experience without learning that you have to add heat to greens when you cook them, period. This is not even open for discussion. If you have no hot sauce, use cayenne pepper. Note to connoisseurs of hot sauce:  I like a habanero sauce from Pepper Palace for this, called "America". I don't know why it has that name. It's a good, all purpose sauce with its best feature being that it doesn't taste like buffalo wings (*cough* *cough*).

I might die if not for Williams Sonoma Ultimate Roast Chicken Rub. That stuff is magic. I definitely would not have lost 70 pounds without it. You buy it, and you try it out on roast chicken, like it says in the directions...then you realize what you have, and start sprinkling it on pork, on cooked vegetables like broccoli, in soups--pretty much everywhere. I don't use it on beef, or seasoned meats like ham, sausage, etc. But everywhere else. Everywhere. *sigh* I love it as much as my record collection. Now...say you don't have any, or can't get any...then what? Use your judgment. Here is that the company says is in it: "Kosher salt, black pepper and garlic. Traditional herbs and spices, including fennel, thyme and cayenne. Hints of tangy lemon and aromatic mustard add a lively finishing touch." The lemon is sort of key, here so if nothing else, be sure to add salt and some lemon juice to this dish. If you buy the seasoning, please leave some for me--I love you and everything but I have to protect my stash. And yes, I totally wrote a review for it on that page. It's so good.

Your favorite variety of boneless and preferably skinless chicken. Fresh or frozen, unimportant. Yes, really, as long as you're not using huge frozen pieces--it does have to cook through in the space of an hour, after all.  Uncooked, preferred, but ultimately you can use leftover chicken here, too. You can also skip it and have a vegetarian thing--it's all good. I use frozen tenderloins most often.

Make the thing:

Notice no volumes in my ingredients? your volumes around the rice. Serving one person? Use a half cup of rice, as much chicken as you will eat, and a good handful of spinach. If you like more or less spinach, or bell pepper, or seasoning, base it on your rice ratio.

So! Into the bowl of your rice cooker, add rice, rice cooking liquid, spinach, bell peppers (cut into quarter-inch dices), hot sauce and seasonings. Don't skimp on those last two things. Stir that. Add chicken. Close the lid. Push the button to start the rice cooker. Walk away.

In an hour or so, that brown rice will be done, and the chicken will be done, and all of the flavor will be sucked into the rice and you'll be in some kind of food nirvana. Don't fight it. Think about all the ways your life may be lacking, and replace it with this feeling. Solve your problems with food, like the rest of us.

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