A bit of this and a bit of that

I like to cook. I am not a gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I prefer to use fresh ingredients when possible, and we’re really focused on minimizing the use of anything from a can or a box (unless it was something I canned myself). I subscribe to dozens of food blogs and bookmark tons of recipes and I love trying to make new things. Sometimes they’re successful; other times, not so much, and then that’s why delivery pizza is such a wonderful invention.

I cobbled together two things recently that turned out pretty tasty. The first (which I tossed together on Friday) involved some chicken breasts and mushrooms and a large onion, chopped, plus a few frozen cubes of Meyer lemon juice (from last year’s crop), and a bunch of garlic, tossed into a crockpot and cooked slowly all day. I tasted it near the end and it was kind of flat, so I tried adding a bit more garlic, and then I tried adding in a bit of thyme, but nothing really seemed to do the trick, plus I was really looking for that lemon flavor, and then I remembered that last year, when faced with a bumper crop of those aforementioned Meyer lemons and not wanting to make another metric ton of lemon curd (and I do love lemon curd but seriously, there is only so much of that we can consume in a year, and our tree, while small, is prolific), I put up a whole half-gallon jar of preserved lemons. And they have been sitting in the refrigerator for about a year, because I had no clue what to *do* with them.

Preserved lemons, by the way, are nothing more than lemons cut into quarters, seeded, and packed into a jar with a whole lot of salt and then left in a dark corner of the refrigerator to sit and marinate for a while. The salt extracts the juice and breaks down the rind, so that when you finally dredge out a piece later, the rind is soft and pliable. They are very salty (obviously) and very bitter since you’re basically eating the rind, but they have just the strong lemon flavor I was looking for. I pulled out four segments, tossed the slimy pulp and then chopped up the rinds up into teeny pieces and stirred them into my chicken creation. Perfect! Granted, I have no clue how to recreate this, since aside from the lemon components, I didn’t bother measuring anything else I threw in there. Ah well.

The second was what I had for lunch today. We had a leftover yam in the fridge, and I was hungry, so I chopped up about one quarter of it, tossed it in a pan with a little olive oil, and just about as it was almost cooked, I added in one egg whisked with a dash of soy sauce, and a few heaping spoonfuls of brown rice. The soy sauce made the eggs a little grey, and a few of the yam pieces got a bit burnt when I was distracted removing a certain grey tabby cat from the dining table where he was trying to shove the box of jigsaw puzzle pieces onto the floor, so it wasn’t the most attractive of dishes, but oh my was it tasty. And at least this one I should be able to recreate again if ever I am in the mood.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.