Orange Chicken

In a Hurry?
  • Forget about it, it's way to complicated
  • TL;DC too long, don't cook

Here’s another success story! Not! For a couple of days now I’ve been thinking about chicken recipes. And I actually tried some of them: Last week I had chicken breast marinated in a lemon juice and olive oil mix. The result was interesting, but nothing much to talk about. Later, I tried myself on a honey mustard chicken in the crock pot. That got way to dry and left a sticky mess in the crock pot. And today, I found this: Orange Chicken. Sounds easy, especially if you have experimented with orange and lemon sauces before.

But once I had lined up the ingredients, I started to get annoyed. For starters the recipe asked to batter the chicken pieces and then deep fry them. I have trouble breading chicken breasts and pork chops, because it is such a slow process. My ADD keeps me from rolling two dozen pieces of chicken in egg and flour and then slowly drop them into the oil. I just put the pieces in a plastic bag, added some flour, salt and pepper, rolled it around for a while and pan fried it.

What’s worse is the sauce. Go back to the recipe’s list of ingredients where it says Orange sauce and start counting. A dozen different ingredients, and water even twice: Orange and lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, I am not going to repeat the list here. It’s a recipe not fit for this blog. Even if it turned out well. Ginger actually helped with that. If you really want to give something an Asian touch, add ginger. Soy sauce is just not subtle enough. And the recipe actually helped me getting closer to conquer the rice. But that’s for a post somewhere down the road, once the results stabilize.

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More About Vocabulary

I just stumbled upon this article at White Trash Barbecue

So you’ve entered into the world of barbecue. You’re cooking up some good shit. Your food has become the talk of the town. People are lining up to eat your ‘cue. Feels pretty good huh? Sure, you can walk the walk – but can you talk the talk? Can you shoot the shit while working your pit?

Like any profession or hobby, we barbecue gurus – wait that’s probably trade marked – we BBQ pitmasters have our own ways of speaking. Do you know the lingo?

Here’s the full article: Tuesday Tips: Barbecue Lingo I’ll have half a rack, fries and hush puppies. And some slaw.

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Cooking as a Second Language
Aug05

Cooking as a Second Language

Aside from the usual lack of training, the general inexperience and the tendency to procrastinate, there’s something else that slows me down on my path to become the next Batalli, Emeril or in my case Wolfgang Puck: Language. I constantly get frying and roasting mixed up and really don’t have a name for the act of leaving a casserole dish in the oven for some time. I understand some of the cooking methods need to be defined even for the native speaker, which gives me an easy excuse to be confused about some of them.

Let’s have a look what we have to deal with: Cooking, boiling, broiling, grilling, frying, roasting, baking, sautéing, steaming. Now for the research on the subject: http://goo.gl/cRffx

Cooking is the generic term for it all, which is already the first stumbling block, because in German, it has the same meaning as boiling. Boiling is cooking something in water brought to a boil, which usually happens around 100C or 212F.

Let’s call broiling a technicality and skip to grilling which is done on a grill, which in German is a rost. Rost is called a false friend, something that sounds familiar in the other language but has a different meaning. But let’s go back to grilling, which is applying heat to the subject, usually meat, with the grill keeping the meat from falling into the fire.

Frying is difficult, since a frying pan translated means roasting pan, which makes you want to get your head banged by one. Frying involves cooking in various amounts of oil. Sautéing covers the pan in a thin film, you need a good deal more for frying, and when deep frying, your subject, usually twinkies, is submerged in it.

I think roasting is grilling in a pan or on a baking(!&?%) sheet in the oven. Your subject is often basted in tasty goodness. Casseroles, in the oven, without a lid are baked. Baking in general applies to cakes, pastries and pizzas. In short, a lot of it involves dough, except for baked potatoes.

Steaming involves boiling water. The resulting vapor cooks the food while we try to keep the water away from the food. Back home, steaming involves German engineered pots, which makes it far more complicated than necessary and mostly overcooked.

But I still don’t have a term for cooking something in a casserole dish with the lid on.

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How to Rate a Recipe, Part 2

The battle is over. There’s only the sound of silence in your kitchen. Your brother, who had invited himself for dinner is sitting there, looking for something to complain about. The meal actually doesn’t give him much ammunition and the dirty dishes, pots and pans left in the kitchen aren’t much of his concern. He’ll leave eventually, his need to insult me unsatisfied, but at least he got something to eat. No, I am not going to glorify your cooking here, although it would have made a nice counterpoint.

And you are still facing those dirty dishes. Let’s have a look at the aftermath. Two flat plates, cutlery, a skillet, a pot you used for the rice, lids, the cutting board, cutting and peeling knives, a wooden spoon, a spatula and a spoon for tasting. The stove is semi messy, but still needs some love.

That stack of dishes can be classified in a couple of ways: dishwasher safe, with or without rinsing, hand wash, with or without scrubbing, surfaces for preparation and cooking surfaces. There are more cooking utensils which haven’t been mentioned here, but need some cleaning eventually: baking dishes and casseroles which usually need some soaking before they can be scrubbed. The crock pot is the biggest example here. The oven will need some serious cleaning every now and then. A food processor usually needs special attention as well, due to the knives and cutters involved. Baking sheets are usually just large, but easy to clean. A muffin sheet however can turn nasty if you don’t use cups. Don’t forget garlic presses and graters. Beverage containers open up a new dimension, and serving dishes rarely come self cleaning. The later is of lesser concern, since guys don’t do serving dishes.

I find myself wanting to go to the kitchen and rummage through the cabinets for the one item that would be the nastiest to clean. I am holding myself back, since I made my point already. There are many cooking utensils out there, each with its own cleaning requirements. If you add it all up, the result will be some extra work the lazy cook can’t stand. If you didn’t like cooking to begin with, don’t tell me you like cleaning dishes. And preferring doing the dishes over cooking doesn’t count. It’s time to come up with a rating system that explains how involved cleaning up will be afterwards.

(to be continued)

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