New Year, New Ways of Eating

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It’s come to my attention that I’ve never been able to produce a December blog entry, this past December no exception.  Just too much hubbub I suppose.  And so here I am, at the heart of a bitterly cold January.  The very-cold has not gotten us down however, except for the truth that my toddler, Riley, and I rarely make it out of the house at all because of the weather.  So, perhaps I’m lacking in perspective a bit, but it could be worse I reckon.  Plus, in the daily company of a small grunting child who could care little for perspective herself, I feel I am not in too bad of shape.  She is my light anyhow and I just follow her about the house all day exploring, exploring. 

What a real fervor in this last entry of mine regarding our new President-elect.  I still feel that fire a bit but so much has happened even since last November.  Our nation, our world is in such a state of upheaval, one thing leading to another to another.  We are in genuine recession and that seems to be setting the tone for most of us, plus another war seems to have begun in the middle east.  However, Nate and I have been mostly finding ourselves content and mostly untouched, witnessing events and reading them as opportunities.  I have always felt that it is important to be regularly shaken and stirred, that these are the moments when we can really make change, large or small.  This will be the year for that beautiful discomfort, where we may be knocked down, only to be reminded that so much of life is in the knowing how to get back up again.

What does food have to do with all this?  For many of us we are seeing and buying food in new ways.  Many of us are either returning to our kitchens again or just getting introduced and are sharing home-cooked meals with our families at the kitchen table.  What a wonderful repercussion, may I say.  Some of us are simply doing more with less for the first time either by slimming down portions or splurging on one element of a meal.  The bulk section available in some markets is seeing more traffic and that is all-together a good thing for one’s pocketbook, turn over of product and therefore boost in quality, and of course the affect on one’s health seeing as though bulk products usually are whole grains, beans and legumes, dried fruits and nuts. 

This can be a new time for us in the realm of food.  Getting back to basics, carefully choosing what we eat so as not to throw away precious dollars, sitting down to eat with our loved ones.  Plus, with all the anxiety in the air we know we need to eat well and nutritiously in order to stay healthy and on top of things.  It seems meal-time is a place again where we can rejuvinate our minds and bodies by coming together with our families, relaxing, and eating carefully and healthily. 

You sense my optimistic tone.  In the spirit of the above I wanted to alert you to the fact that I’m going to be doing quite a bit of teaching this spring on the wide and controversial subject of eating well.  First, at The Wedge I’ll be teaching Eating Well in Tough Times, on April 1, 7-8:30pm and Personal Chef Tips and Tricks on April 22, 7-8:30pm.  I’ll also be teaching two classes at Cooks of Crocus Hill called Cook Once, Eat for the Week on March 31, 6-9pm, and Digging in to the CSA Box on May 19, 6-9pm.  Visit these websites for more details and info on signing up.  

Here’s a simple recipe to sooth and to enjoy at the table with your family.  A Japanese home-style one-pan dish that is one of my favorites.

Oyako Donburi (Chicken and Egg Dish) serves 2, multiply as needed

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs; 1/2 thinly sliced yellow onion; 4 large eggs; 1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice; Sauce: 1 tbs sake, 3 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs mirin, 1 1/2 tbs sugar, 1 cup chicken stock

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, trimming away any excess fat.  Set aside.  Have the onion, eggs, and rice ready.

To make the sauce, in a small frying pan, combine the sake, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and chicken stock and bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and simmer until the chicken is about half cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and cook until the chicken is cooked through and onion is soft, about 5 minutes longer.

While the chicken is cooking, break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork or chopsticks until well blended.  Place about 3/4 cup of the rice in each of 2 wide, shallow bowls.

When the chicken is ready, add three-fourths of the beaten egg to the chicken and onion and cover the pan.  When the egg has just set, after 4 or 5 minutes, uncover, pour in the rest of the egg, and then immediately pour the chicken, onion, and egg mixture over the bowls of rice, divided evenly.

Happy Days and Happy Eating to You,

Kristin