I am cooking, I promise. I even tried a brand-spanking-new recipe last week. Of course, I didn’t love it. But I tried it.
It does make me wonder how my grandmother managed to do it. She had three kids within four years of each other and I have no idea how she got dinner on the table every night- no microwave, no take-out, no heat-and-serve food. I know how she got dinner on the table every night when I was a kid- because I was there and saw it- but she wasn’t working then- Oh, did I not mention that she also worked in the store with my grandfather? I do know that when I was a child, she’d start cooking dinner around 4pm, after picking me up from school and giving me a snack, while asking about my day. I realized this afternoon that I’ve modeled myself after her- we get home from daycare pick-up around 4pm and I start cooking around then as well.
I also know that my grandmother’s children used to grade her meals. Yes, with letter grades. I found this charming when I was younger and now I think it would just piss me off to no end. I mean, I get annoyed now if my husband doesn’t like what I make. These days my feeling is something along the lines of, “there’s food in front of you. be grateful.”
So what are we eating? Well, really nothing that would garner an “A+”. We’re eating things that are simple to make and that don’t take up a ton of time. I’m also trying to be on the more healthy side so am trying hard not to make pasta every night. Some nights it works, other nights we’re eating eggs. What can I say? I’m adjusting. But, to honor family tradition, I’ll add some letter grades to what I’m about to share.
Without further ado, here’s what we’ve been eating:
Last week we had Taco Salad (Final Grade: A) and we had homemade Chinese Food. Normally, I avoid frozen, heat-and-eat dinners but I bought spring rolls and dumplings at Whole Foods, thinking perhaps they’d be marginally better than the regular grocery store stuff. I made the fried rice. The results? The rice was good. The frozen stuff, not so much. (Final Grade: B)
Last night we had BLT salads (Romaine lettuce with bacon, tomatoes and homemade croutons- really easy, chop up some bread, toss it in a bit of melted butter and some salt and then toast in under the broiler for a few minutes until golden and toasty) with ranch dressing. (Final Grade: A).
I got my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to try the Chicken Adobo recipe in it. I managed to photograph it so I’ll share but we weren’t that thrilled with it. Not sure if I made it wrong or if it just wasn’t what we wanted but the final grade for that one was a B. I may not make it again. But you try it and let me know what you think….
Cook’s Illustrated Chicken Adobo
8 bone-in chicken thighs
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
3/4 cup cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons pepper
1 scallion, sliced thin
Toss the chicken in a bowl with the soy sauce. Let it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. When you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the soy sauce (but save the soy sauce, don’t get rid of it!) and place it, skin side down, into a room temperature skillet (non-stick is good) large enough to hold the chicken. If you don’t have one large enough, do it in batches or two different pans. Or make less. You decide. Put the pan over medium-heat on the stove and cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until the chicken is browned.
Meanwhile, add the coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and pepper to the soy sauce you saved and whisk it together.
When the chicken is brown, remove it from the skillet and put on a plate. Pour out the fat that has collected in the skillet (don’t save) and return the chicken to the pan, again, skin side down. Add the coconut and soy mixture and bring it to a boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about twenty minutes. Do not cover.
After 20 minutes, flip the chicken so that it is skin side up and cook for about 15 minutes. If you’re into it, you can cook it until the internal temperature is 175 F.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and cover it loosely with foil. Don’t use the same plate as before as you had raw chicken on that one and you don’t want to mix raw and cooked chicken. Yuck. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce in the skillet and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Cook the sauce until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
Pour this over the chicken and serve topped with the chopped scallion.
We served ours over rice with broccoli on the side. It wasn’t bad, just… not what we wanted. The husband hates eating bone-in, skin-on chicken because he doesn’t like the work involved and doesn’t eat the skin. I’m not sure this recipe would work with boneless-skinless chicken but I suppose I could try. It was a sort of soy-y, vinegar-y taste, not bad but a bit plain. A good hearty meal, though, that was pretty inexpensive.
Tonight we’re having pizza and tomorrow we’ll be having club sandwiches and maybe soup. My big fancy meal will be Friday night- Chicken Picatta. If it’s good, I’ll report back. Meanwhile, I also managed to make some pumpkin bread this week to share with a dear friend who came to visit with her beautiful 9-week old daughter. It was delicious and perhaps the best thing I’ve made all week.