The Week in Review

At the end of the week, it’s fitting to take stock (food pun) of how the Plan went in the days previous. Teriyaki bowls were conceptually a winner, though I would choose a different teriyaki recipe next time. The recipe I tried this week (link in previous post), produced a sauce far too thick and somewhat cloying, though it delivered satisfying chicken. My stir fry accompaniment, picture below, was excellent. The key is to be unafraid to cook the vegetables for different amounts of time. Bok choy stems go first, then broccoli and carrots, and, finally, bok choy leaves. Staggering the veg takes no extra time whatsoever, but it’s a step I neglected for far too long.

Teriyaki Bowl Vegetables
Teriyaki Bowl Vegetables

We subbed some pre-made chipotle-flavored vegetarian crumbles for the tempeh on Mexican night. In theory, I like this move; I’m not above using a pre-made ingredient to speed things along. However I found the crumbles disgusting from a textural perspective: soft, spongy, wet. We’re trying to eat less meat, for both health and sustainability reasons, and this product was not a good ambassador of the meat-lite lifestyle. When done right, an omnivore eating vegetarian or vegan cuisine shouldn’t even notice that a meal lacks meat. Sadly, with the crummy crumbles, I was wishing I had a mouth full of ground beef with every bite. Next time, I’m going all black beans if I want a taco salad to be meatless. Black beans are the BEST. If I figure out the brand of the meat substitute, I will update it here.

Our Lentils and Chard with Salmon from The Best Skillet Recipes was a huge hit, as per usual. It also uses the technique of separating and pre-cooking the stems from a leafy green! This may be where we picked that up…Anyway, this cookbook seems like an underused resource in our house. We’re going to delve deeper in the coming weeks.

For the uninitiated, “The Best…” books are from America’s Test Kitchen, who are also the minds behind Cooks Illustrated magazine. They do extensive recipe testing and focus on explaining why a recipe works and why they chose specific ingredients and methods. In my mind this approach seems geared toward the more advanced home cook, who could then make educated guesses with recipe modifications or apply techniques to other dishes. At the same time, I imagine that having detailed justification could also help inspire confidence in a new cook (or the skeptic!).

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