White-cut chicken with ginger-scallion oil

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(bái qie ji) Adapted from KQED Food and The Woks of Life

Ingredients:
One 3-4 lb. free-range chicken, at room temperature
2 whole scallions, cut into large pieces
5 slices ginger
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons Kosher salt, plus more to season the chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:
3 tablespoons finely minced scallion (white and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt
soy sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Clean the chicken inside and out, removing any innards, rinsing with cold water. Optional: Rub salt liberally inside and out and sit for 1 hour. I didn’t.

2. Fill a large pot with water full enough to cover at least ¾ of the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, and add the smashed ginger, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Place the chicken in breast side up, cover, and bring to a boil. Switch it to low heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Flip the chicken, cover it and cook on low heat for some more time. Test if the chicken is done, insert a chopstick near the thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. To lift the bird out of the pot, slip 2 chopsticks beneath the wings and lift up. Let cold water run over the chicken for a minute or so “to cool the skin off quickly to give the chicken skin a “crunchy” texture.”

5. Pat the bird dry and rub with the sesame oil. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes before cutting — I started cooking late, so I just let it cool as long as it took to make the dipping sauce and boil some potatoes (my carbs for the meal, because I didn’t have a rice cooker).

6. Prepare the dipping sauce by heating the vegetable oil just until it starts to smoke. Pour it over the scallion, ginger, and salt, and mix together. Serve with the chicken immediately.

My friend Peggy highly recommends this recipe for times of sickness — I saved the broth afterwards, and it made a pretty tasty soup! I boiled some rainbow potatoes from Trader Joe’s for 10 minutes in the broth, to make the meal a bit heartier. Stay warm!

~Jessica

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Budget Meals: Day 5

Ingredients:
6 eggs $0.99
1 medium carrot $0.25
1 medium green zucchini $0.82
4 red onions $0.98
1 small yellow squash $0.40
Ginger $0.54
Total: $3.98
2 packages udon noodles
roasted peanut oil / sesame oil + vegetable oil
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
Thinly slice red onions, ginger. Slice thinly into sticks 1/2 carrot, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/4 zucchini. Saute onions and ginger and carrots in vegetable oil. Add the two squash, and cook, stirring.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook the udon for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Season with soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Add a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with cold water, to form a slurry. Set aside

Scramble two eggs with chopsticks in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some green scallions. Fry separately in a little oil in a pan. Add to the rest of the stir fry. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

Redoing my sister’s udon with tofu and bok choy, this is my budget version. I had a bag of frozen edamame lying around, so I tossed that in the stir fry. My kingdom for some crushed red pepper flakes!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 3

Ingredients:
GOYA Pink Beans in sauce $1.50
4 small red potatoes $1.34
1 head of garlic $0.39
1 red bell pepper $1.32
Ginger $0.54
3 red onions $0.67
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
5-6 Brussels sprouts $0.98
Total: $7.41

Directions
Chop finely the small red onion, 1/3 the red bell pepper, two of the potatoes. Mince two cloves of garlic, and a thumb of ginger. Cut off the Brussels sprout stems and slice each in half. Saute the onion, ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Cook until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, then the potatoes. Season with salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme. Add the the Brussels sprouts last (mine were slightly overcooked in the stew/soup). Add the can of pink beans (Rosadas guisadas — preparados con aceite de oliva, cilantro, y cebolla). Again, I threw in a handful of pasta for extra carbs. Top with some sliced scallions, and serve. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 2

Ingredients
425 g GOYA white beans in sauce $1.50
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
1 red bell pepper $0.78
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $5.60

Directions
Chop finely 1 red potato, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the bell pepper. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger and all the head of garlic (it was going bad). Saute the onion, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Add the carrot, potato, and bell pepper in that order, cooking each a few minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the white beans (Blancas guisadas – preparadas con Aceite de Oliva, Cilantro, y Tomate). Rinse the can with water and add that too. I had some De Cecco elbow pasta lying around so I threw a handful of that in, along with a pinch of organic ground turmeric. Divide into bowls, top with sliced scallions. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 1

Ingredients
737 g Iodized salt $1.59
425 g black bean soup $1.59
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
2 plum tomatoes $0.46
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $6.96

Directions
Chop finely 2 potatoes, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the tomatoes. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger, 1 clove of garlic. Saute onions, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Saute carrot, then potatoes for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and can of GOYA black bean soup (Frijoles negros – preparados con aceite de oliva, pimiento, y cebolla). Stir frequently, cook a little longer and serve. Top with sliced scallions. Serves 3 (on a diet).

I recently moved off my friend Amber’s couch and got my own place. Rent is $1100/month, including all utilities. My training stipend of a “modest” $2500 is to cover four months of NYC living. The GRE exam costs $205.00, the Educating All Students (EAS) exam is $92.00, the Content Speciality Test costs $134.00 (I’m taking the Biology CST, of course), Fingerprinting is $99.00. This means budgeting. A lot.

At least the GOYA black bean soup is the bomb-diggity! (Even though it has MSG and added sugar.)

~Jessica

Chinese broccoli with garlic

IMG_2674Adapted from steamy kitchen Gai Lan

Ingredients:
400 g Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)
cooking (vegetable) oil
3-4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed but left intact
1/2 thumb of fresh ginger, cut into coins and smashed
Chinese rice wine, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil
cornstarch mixed with cool water (1:2)

Directions:
Rinse the greens. Trim the ends. Cut diagonally, approximately splitting the leaves and (edible!) stems. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger if you prefer that. Add the oil to your wok and heat on medium-high. Saute the garlic, then ginger, until fragrant, without burning. Add the gai lan but watch out for oil splatters! Wield the wok lid as a shield if need be. I added diluted soy sauce to substitute vegetable stock, and steam covered for 3-4 minutes. Heat the oyster sauce and sesame oil and cornstarch water, all mixed together for 1 minute to thicken a brown sauce.

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Amber’s Method:
Soak the greens in cool water for 10 minutes, several times. Trim the end but don’t cut them in half. Smash the garlic cloves, slice the ginger. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan (proportionate to the amount of greens) and a pinch of salt to the wok. Saute the garlic, then ginger, then add the green and stir and toss constantly, quickly. Stir-fry, basically. Do not steam covered. After a few minutes, plate the greens. Drizzle the oyster sauce and serve immediately.

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Asian greens are great. I think it would have been nice to make this with mushrooms, although I hadn’t any in the fridge at the time. Next time perhaps!

~Jessica

Chole

aka Chana masala. Adapted from Padma Lakshmi, a repeat from an earlier recipe.

2 onions, quartered
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used red)
6 large firm, ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
Salt, to taste
2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste

Chop finely the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and ginger root. In a pot set over medium heat, warm the (I used coconut) oil until hot. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and peppers and cook for 20 minutes. Add the Garam Masala and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the salt and chick peas and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the curry over rice.

~Jessica

P.S. I also threw in some green and yellow squash for extra vegetables, and we threw in a dollop of peanut butter for added creaminess!