Monday, November 23, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...

After almost two months of not being able to cook (due to pain management issues and limitations on what I was allowed to lift), I finally made it back into the kitchen this weekend. After a fun morning buying real groceries (instead of just veggies for the rabbits), I spent a lovely afternoon in the kitchen, blasting great music, cooking yummy food, and realizing just how much the inability to do just that had been bringing me down. I kept things fairly simple because I wasn't sure how my back would hold up, but it's been a joy to get to eat fresh delicious food again rather than selecting from the assortment of dishes I had frozen in preparation for my hiatus from the kitchen. For dinner I made Maple-Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Apples. This is a dish I always start craving when fall rolls around, and it never disappoints.
While I was ecstatic to be back in the kitchen, Pedro was not nearly so happy. I suspect he was hoping that this whole "cooking" thing was just a phase I'd been going through and that it was a thing of the past. He was back huddled in the corner (with some company from Rico this time), prepared for impending death. Someday he'll learn that he never actually dies when I cook, but in the meantime he is a pitiful little guy every time I turn on the stove. Such the cute little dork, that one...
For lunches at work I made what I refer to as Emily-Style Chicken with Bok Choy. This is basically chicken marinated in assorted "Asian" ingredients (which vary depending on what I have on hand that day) and grilled, with a side of bok choy dressed in oyster sauce with a few drops of sesame oil and a bit of chili-garlic sauce.
The secret of making this dish for future lunches during the week is that you don't cook the bok choy, just wash it and toss with the sauce, then package it up with the chicken. When you heat your lunch with the lid slightly ajar, the bok choy steams just enough by the time the chicken is warmed through that it's pefectly cooked and still has a nice crispness to it. I can't tell you how amazing it was to have fresh, crispy veggies in my lunch after so long getting by on delicious-if-not-so-fresh reheated frozen dishes. Good stuff.

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