Monday, June 28, 2010

Doing Food Penance

I am trying with all my Nesting Ground Mistress might to correct the terribly wrong nutritional turn our lives have taken. It's been weeks now since I became utterly overwhelmed and gave up on any attempt to bring at least SOME healthy food to the ballpark. Good-bye to fruits and carrots, and whassup to nachos, burgers, fries, polish sausage, etc. etc. ad nauseum. It's mortifying, really, to think of all the badness we've consumed. I didn't want to shock our systems by swinging too wildly back into the direction of a healthy diet, though, and so began easing our return to the world of proper living with a little Joe's Special tonight. Ground beef, yes, but with forty thousand pounds of spinach. Some potatoes on the side, yes, but roasted rather than fried. I hope this works or, frankly, WE ARE GONNA DIE.

In other news, I recently attended the 40th birthday party of my very sweet friend, J. at a shmancy locale in lovely Woodside. Let us discuss the appetizers. Why? Because they made me so happy I wanted to...sing. There were gougeres super-fresh from the oven; crunchy crostini with that super-milky mozzarella and tomatoes; demitasse cups of sweet corn chowder; prawns with some sort of spicy sauce, etc. I was so over-zealous (perhaps it was because of my near-constant diet of "snack shack" food) that by the time our actual dinner was served I was seriously regretting having Spanx-ed myself into my dress. My kingdom for a muumuu! Or at least something A-line.

Elsewhere in food...maybe things are not as gastronomically dire as I think. The other night (but when was it? Two weeks ago? Three? Everything is a huge softball blur...) I finally made the Slanted Door's Chicken in Caramel Sauce. I have a problem, though, with the name of this dish. Chicken in Caramel Sauce? Simply having brown sugar as an ingredient does not necessitate the use of caramel as descriptor, especially when the resulting dish tastes nothing like caramel. So, that's confusing. What's not confusing is the fact that it's so good and easy, and that the sauce over rice will make you dance a little dance, and that it's as satisfying as adobo in like a fraction of the time. I am a kind and thoughtful Nesting Ground Mistress, so I am cut and pasting the recipe here. If nobody currently loves you, you should make this, and then everyone will:

Chicken in Caramel Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

The inspiration for this dish that Charles Phan serves at his Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco came from a street cart in Vietnam. It's a good example of the great food that is served from street stands throughout that country.

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (see Note)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dark or regular soy sauce
1 teaspoon slivered ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 small Thai chiles (fresh or dried), broken in half
1tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless dark-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 pound skinless, boneless white-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
Steamed white rice
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Instructions: Combine the brown sugar, water, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, pepper and chiles in a small bowl. Mix well, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the shallot and saute until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken and saute until it is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by half, about 12 to 20 minutes depending on the pot size. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

via the San Francisco Chronicle



Gladys said...

thanks for the cut-and-pasting skills. the recipe looks great. good luck with the healthy eating...i know it's hard for *my* family!

Jill said...

Indeed the fare at the ball parks is not the picture of health. I like your line about "softball blur". Last summer, I was in a baseball blur, but mercifully Matthew is not on a team this summer.

ver said...

Definitely make this, G!

The one upside, Jill, is that if it happens again next year, we'll know what to expect. I think they're going to play two more tournaments after the State thing...

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Belatedly, please tell Vida and Risa how grateful we all are that they love our series.

ver said...

Hi Lauren! Thanks for leaving a comment and transforming me from Vaguely Dorky Mother to Coolest Mom Ever in the eyes of my daughters. This elevated status should last at least until morning. Score!

Risa would like you to know that she loves Durinda's people-freezing power best, but that her favorite girl is Jackie. Vida, on the other hand, likes Jackie's fast-running power, but Rebecca is actually her favorite character.