edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
chicken and vegetables on rice, topped with lemon yogurt, with a bottle of hard cider to the left



Tonight I attempted to reconstruct one of the Blue Apron recipes -- the Persian-style chicken with rice -- to... moderate success? It tastes all right, though I think I know some things that would make it better if I try again later this year.

Anyway, I wanted to try this both as a way to use the first two summer squash from my porch garden, and as an experiment to see if I even could approximate the recipe. So I bought some turmeric and cardamom, acquired some dried currants and some roasted almonds, and kind of winged it.

I cut out some of the fancy steps -- zesting an actual lemon to make the lemon yogurt topping, baking some of the rice -- because I don't like baked rice to start with and there is a reason I bought a small bottle of lemon juice concentrate a while back: namely, "I don't have the time or patience to deal with freaking lemons when all I need is some lemon juice." I roughly doubled the quantities of onion and squash (and of course substituted yellow squash for zucchini), and both substituted chicken thighs for chicken breasts and increased the quantity of meat, though not as much as I increased the vegetables. Also I used plain medium-grain white rice instead of jasmine rice, because that's what I had on hand.

I completely guessed on the proportions and amounts of the spices to use for coating the chicken, but I think I came pretty close. (Mostly I went by the smell and color of the blend.) I think if I were doing this again, I'd use slightly less onion (proportionately) and also use six chicken thighs instead of just four -- the vegetables ended up drowning out the chicken a bit, which is not terrible from a nutritional standpoint but does affect the overall flavor. I also had to add spices to the veggies as they cooked, twice, because there wasn't enough spice gloop left over in the pan when the chicken was done cooking. While that definitely helped, I think that A) more chicken and B) even more spice would have been better.

All flavor issues aside, I wound up with SO MUCH of the chicken-veggie mix. SO MUCH. I will be eating it for a WEEK. (This is not a bad thing!) One cup of rice only got me maybe three to three-and-a-half portions there, but rice shouldn't be kept indefinitely as leftovers to start with, not to mention that it's a lot easier to make a new batch of rice (plus currants soaked in lemon juice) than it is to make the chicken-veggie mix, so I am okay with that wild mismatch.


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Put away remaining laundry.

2. Took weekly photos of my vegetable garden, but forgot to post them. Ah well, next week!

3. Trimmed some overgrown bushes in my front yard, such that a person can now walk between the house and my car instead of finding the way impassably blocked by greenery. I must attack some other shrubbery this weekend, and possibly drag out my stepladder and give the lilac a thorough pruning.

4. Acquired cardamom and plain Greek yogurt in preparation for an attempt to approximate a Blue Apron recipe.

5. TOOK A NAP.

6. Took compost to bin. (I did this on several days, actually, but I am only going to list it once. Also the compost company finally came to empty the bin, and provided us with a new plastic liner bag which they'd neglected to do that last couple times they swapped bins.)

7. Remembered to bring a new box of tea to work, since my old one had run out.

8. Cleaned bathroom sink and toilet.

9. Called Cat Thursday afternoon and chatted for an hour and a half.

10. Cut my fingernails.

11. Vacuumed my apartment and did a little hand-dusting in awkward corners.

12. Volunteered for my church's recycling sale; I will presumably hear back from the organizers sometime this weekend.

13. Looked up hours of operation/donation for a few places I need to get to over the coming week.

14. Bought groceries (including almonds and dried currants for the previously mentioned recipe approximation attempt).

15. Backed up my computer files.

16. Began sorting my final coffee table storage box, which is full of I don't even know WHAT all kinds of completely unorganized stuff. I am taking a leaf from Cat's book and doing this in 15-minute increments, so I only take out small sections at a time and if I haven't figured out where they should go, I just put them all back in the box when I'm done. So far, I have sorted a handful of stuff into a permanent home in my nice new storage basket, recycled about twice as much, put two items aside to use a couple pieces and then throw out the rest, and set one thing in a place where I can't ignore it so I will finally get around to framing and hanging it properly. (It is a ridiculously twee baby's-first-cross-stitch project of a rearing unicorn that I sewed back when I was... I dunno, 10 maybe? which came with its own super-twee pink plastic frame, but dammit, it's adorable and I will display it with PRIDE.) And I stuck a bunch of other stuff back in the box because I have no clue what to do with it, so.

We shall see how that project continues.

17. Called my parents to discuss trips to and from NJ in August and September, and also to wish them a slightly early Happy Anniversary. As of tomorrow (Saturday 7/29/17) they will have been married for 43 years. ♥

18. Rescheduled a planned phone call with Vicky, because today turned out to be bad for her after all.

19. Posted two mini-ficlet prompt meme fills: How Easy All Can See (Rabadash talks to Ilgamuth about the political implications of courting Shezan) and Queen of the Night (Lucy decides that a queen of Narnia can set her own bedtime). Both went slightly diagonal to the prompts, but I think they turned out all right even if they're not what I meant to write. *wry*

And that is pretty much that for the week. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Three of my squash plants have produced/are producing actualfax squash. This is very exciting! (I suspect I will feel differently later in the summer, since I am already starting to have "oh no, I need to think of something to cook with all of them..." forebodings, but for right now let me revel in the squee, yeah?)

Tan is not fruiting since, as mentioned in my last gardening post, its central stem was destroyed by squirrels before it could set and open more than three or four flowers, and it's currently engaged in regrowing that.


one pale yellow summer squash with a human hand for size reference

1. Sethera - Friday, 21 July 2017


two more images under the cut )


Meanwhile, the Lazarus pepper is not only continuing to grow a very nice bell pepper fruit, its other branch is working up toward flowers. And pepper F1 (of my eighteen grown-new-this-year plants) looks ready to open a bud within the next few days -- a few of the other new peppers are also growing buds, but they're all much smaller and nowhere near ready to open.


one green bell pepper with a human hand for size reference . buds on a pepper plant

4. the Lazarus pepper
5. the Lazarus pepper - new buds!


one more image under the cut )


And now I am going to go mix more eggshells into all the plants' soil, because judging by the growth rate on those squash, they are going to NEED calcium pretty soon. :)

---------------

So today I picked my first two squash. I probably could have let them go another day or two, but whatever. Squash! :D

(I have a plan, but it requires cardamom. I must remember to track some down today or tomorrow...)

two yellow summer squash on a stove with human hand for size reference

7. Sethera and Azer's first squash, ready to cook when I get my act together in a day or two :)


[[original Tumblr post (plants) for when the embedded images inevitably break ; original Tumblr post (squash) for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Laundry! Washed, dried, air-dried, folded, hung, and put away.

2. Changed linens.

3. Withdrew cash to pay for cab rides to and from the airport.

4. Bought gum for airplane takeoffs and landings.

more items under the cut )

21. Finished packing, aside from a few things I am still using/will use overnight, which I'll add to my suitcase or backpack in the morning.

The plan is to go to bed at 10pm tonight (and take a Benadryl in hopes of knocking myself out) so I will not be completely brain-fried when I get up at 4am in the morning. UGH.

I must remember to light candles to Meteora, Constructa, Constricta, Wayland, and Trilitus, to request good weather, no mechanical troubles with the planes, a smooth and timely flight, no airport delays or complications, and no taxi delays. (My pantheon of travel gods is about 85% a joke with myself. But only 85%. The other 15%... well, that's between me and my superstitions. *wry*)

And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go wash some dishes and clean my teeth.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Wow, I kind of forgot to make one of these posts for a while, didn't I? I knocked my sleep schedule out of whack midway through and got stuck in a rut where I am a little too brain-fried to be productive and instead spend hours surfing the internet and not getting to bed early enough to fix the sleep debt problem. But I think I may finally have started wrenching myself back into a more useful schedule as of last night. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, stuff!

1. Took my weekly vegetable photos and posted them. Also applied some MiracleGro.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

3. Finished reading Marie Brennan's Within the Sanctuary of Wings (which I enjoyed a lot -- I really do think the Memoirs of Lady Trent series gets better as it goes on, and I'm sad to see it finished) and returned it to the library.

more items under the cut )

15. Finally pinned down a meeting time with the DRE to talk about Youth Group activities this summer and in the 2017-18 year. Unfortunately, because we kept getting distracted and I will be gone for a while, the meeting isn't until July 2, but hey, at least we now have a time and date.

16. Took my trash bin to the curb for pickup.

17. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup.

And that is that.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
chicken and vegetables on rice, topped with lemon yogurt, with a bottle of hard cider to the right


I finally made the third Blue Apron dinner tonight, so.

What Blue Apron assumes you have: stove, oven, cutting board, knife, small cooking pot with a functional lid, pan of reasonable size, a zester, several bowls and plates, measuring spoons, measuring cup, a whisk, a baking tray, a cooling rack, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

What Blue Apron provides: chicken (pre-cut!!!), 1 zucchini, 1 onion, 1 lemon, some parsley, a small packet of whole almonds, a small container of currants, a pat of salted butter, a packet of spice mix (cardamom, cumin, and turmeric), 1/2 cup jasmine rice, and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.

The recipe is as follows:

1. Cut onion into thin slices
2. Cut zucchini into quarters (lengthwise) and then into slices
3. Chop parsley and almonds (they can go into the same dish)
4. Zest lemon, then cut into quarters
5. Dump currants into a bowl and squeeze two lemon quarters over them so they can soak in lemon juice for a while

At some point in here, start the rice (the exact time will depend on how efficient you are at cutting and zesting):

1. Dump 1 cup water, the rice packet, and some salt into a small cooking pot
2. Bring to a boil
3. Cover and reduce heat to low
4. Cook ~13 minutes, or until all water is absorbed
5. Transfer ~half the rice to a baking tray and spread into an even layer
6. Set the rest aside in a warm place (I suggest removing it from the pot to avoid sticking)

At some point in the rice-cooking process, you will want to start pre-heating the oven to 475F.

While the rice is cooking, you can start the chicken:

1. Rinse and dry the chicken.
2. In a bowl, mix spice packet, salt, and black pepper
3. Dump the chicken in and mess it around until fully coated
4. Heat olive oil in a pan
5. Add chicken, cook on medium-high for ~7 minutes
6. Put chicken in a dish and set aside in a warm place

At this point you start the vegetables:

1. DO NOT CLEAN THE PAN; YOU WANT THE SPICE AND OIL AND CHICKEN GUNK
2. Add the onion and cook ~7 minutes
3. Once onion is soft, add the zucchini and cook ~7 minutes
4. Once zucchini is cooked, add the parsley, almonds, and chicken
5. Cook 1-2 minutes to mix flavors
6. You can add salt and pepper to taste at any point in this process

While the vegetables are cooking:

1. Drizzle olive oil over the baking tray
2. Bake the rice for ~8 minutes, stirring halfway through
3. Theoretically it should turn lightly brown and crispy
(NOTE: I did not cook the rice this long, because noticeably crunchy rice is kind of texturally gross to me)
4. Set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes
5. Mix into normal rice
6. Add the currants and lemon juice, mix thoroughly

Also while the vegetables are cooking:

1. Mix yogurt, lemon zest, and 1 tsp water in a bowl
2. Squeeze the remaining two lemon quarters into the mixture
3. Whisk everything together
4. Add salt and pepper if you want (I don't think it needs any)

Then you put the rice on a plate, dump some of the chicken and vegetable mix over it, and top everything with a blob of the lemon yogurt. The rice makes two portions, but the chicken-veggie mix makes three, so I guess I will be making some rice (and squirting it with lemon juice?) on Sunday night to go along with the third portion.

I was a little skeptical of the lemon yogurt, both as a general concept and as an accompaniment to this dish in particular, but trust me, you WANT to make and use it. It really pulls the whole meal together!

Also, this time the super-dry hard cider was the correct beverage choice. ;)


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Cooked the second of my three Blue Apron meals. Details in this post. Took all resulting compost (and compost from previous days) to the communal bin.

2. Boiled two eggs.

3. Deposited a check.

4. Paid my dental bill from my May 15th appointment, which had finally come in the mail.

5. Posted another tiny installment in my Narnia/HP crossover: The Test of Gold, in which Edmund and Ginny take an unusual boat trip.

6. Baked brownies.

7. Walked to Stewart Park on Sunday morning for my church's annual picnic, which is preceded by a brief service composed of a few songs, a volunteer appreciation segment, and a youth bridging ceremony (ie, welcoming middle-schoolers into high school, and graduating seniors into adult life). The day was sunny and bright with a mild breeze, the songs were fun, the bridging speeches were moving, and the food was delicious. :)

I get to Stewart Park via the Renwick Wildwood Bird Sanctuary (which is both more direct and VASTLY more pleasant than the other potential routes), and this year the cottonwoods are all shedding their seeds so thickly that parts of the path looked like they were covered in snow or swathed in a million spiderwebs.

Also three mosquitoes attempted to bite me, but I squished them all and only one got far enough into the biting process to leave an itchy welt.

8. TOOK A NAP.

9. Changed linens.

10. Outlined a fic I may or may not ever get around to writing, but the idea wouldn't stop bugging me until I fed it a little structure, so.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
rare steak and a vegetable and potato medley on a plate, with a bottle of hard cider to the right


I forgot to take process photos this time, but here is the finished product!

You may notice that I put the salsa verde on the side rather than spreading it over the vegetables and/or the meat. That's because, given how terrible the charred lime from the last recipe ended up being, I wasn't sure the flavors would actually mesh well. But they do, and when I reheat the leftovers I'm totally dumping it over everything. :)

(Note: I chose the wrong hard cider. This meal really needs something fruity, but I grabbed the driest option in my variety pack. Oops.)

This recipe is pretty simple in concept: steak plus roasted vegetables plus a bit of zing. I doubt I'll ever recreate it exactly, but I do like steak an awful lot so attempting a slightly simplified variation is not out of the question.

What Blue Apron assumes you have: an oven, a stove, a baking tray, a frying pan of decent size, paper towels to pat the steaks dry, a cutting board, a good knife, aluminum foil, a whisk, measuring spoons, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

What Blue Apron provides: 2 steaks, ~1/2lb fingerling potatoes, 3 radishes, a bunch of asparagus, 1 lemon, some garlic cloves, some parsley, and some capers.

The recipe is roughly as follows:

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Clean and chop all the vegetables.
3. Cut the lemon into quarters.
4. Smash or grate the garlic.
5. Put the potatoes (cut side down) on a baking tray.
6. Cover them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (I would advise getting some oil UNDER the potatoes as well, if you want to remove them with any ease.)
7. Bake ~15 minutes. Turn the oven off and set them aside to cool.

While the potatoes are baking:

1. Clean the steaks and pat them dry.
2. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan.
4. Cook the steaks 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how rare or well done you want the meat.
5. Set the steaks aside on a cutting board and cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
6. Allow them to set for at least 5 minutes.

While the steaks are setting:

1. DO NOT CLEAN THE FRYING PAN; YOU WANT THE STEAK JUICE AND BROWN GUNK.
2. Dump the radishes into the frying pan and cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes.
4. You can add more salt and pepper at any point here, if you want.
5. Add ~1/2 of the garlic and cook ~1 minute.
6. Turn off the heat, add the potatoes.
7. Squeeze 2 lemon quarters over the mix. Stir.

While the veggies are cooking:

1. Mix parsley, capers, ~1/2 of the garlic in a bowl.
2. Squeeze the other 2 lemon quarters into the bowl.
3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and whisk together slowly.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the veggies are done:

1. Cut the steak (crosswise) into slices.
2. Plate and serve.

This time I think it really does serve two. (Well. I probably could have divided it into three portions, but as mentioned above, I am kind of a sucker for steak, so. Two it is!)


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Picture time!


eight images under the cut )


curry in a bowl, with catfish and a charred lime on top . curry and fish in bowl, with a bottle of hard cider to the right

9. the finished meal (before I ditched the lime)
10. the finished meal plus a drink :)


The things Blue Apron assumes you have are: several plates, paper towels for blotting wet fish, a cutting board, a can opener, a good knife, a zester, a carrot peeler, a measuring cup, a teaspoon (I did not bother to measure my olive oil this carefully), a pan with high sides (or a big pot), a frying pan of decent size, access to clean water, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

The ingredients Blue Apron provides are: two catfish fillets, ~1lb Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk, some bok choy, some carrots, some garlic cloves, 1 lime, cilantro (I didn't use this), 3 Tbsp rice flour, 1 lime leaf, 2 Tbsp red curry paste, and 1 Tbsp white sugar.

The curry recipe is as follows:

1. Clean and prep all the vegetables.
2. Zest the lime.
3. Cook potatoes in olive oil for ~15 minutes. (This is a lie. It will take more like 25 minutes.) Season them with salt and pepper at some point in this process.
4. Add the carrots, garlic, and curry paste (to taste). You can add more olive oil if you need to make everything mix well. Cook ~2 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk, bok choy, sugar, lime leaf, and 1/4 cup water. Cook for another ~15 minutes, maybe less if you like your vegetables fimer.
6. When you have turned off the heat, remove the lime leaf and mix in lime zest instead. Add more salt and pepper if you want.

During the times the curry is cooking, you will be doing two other things! While you soften/brown the potatoes:

1. Cook the two lime halves (cut sides down) in olive oil for ~3 minutes, until charred.
2. Set them aside somewhere until you serve the meal.
3. Clean the frying pan; you will need it again.

While you cook down the coconut milk, etcetera:

1. Clean the catfish and pat it dry.
2. Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper.
3. Put the rice flour on a plate.
4. Cover one side of each fillet in flour.
5. Cook the fish (flour side DOWN) in olive oil for ~6 minutes.
6. Flip, then cook another ~3 minutes.

If you time it right, your curry and fish should be done at about the same time. Put the curry in a bowl, drop the fish on top, add a lime, and you are good to go. :)

Blue Apron claims this serves two. I am pretty sure it produces four portions of curry and three portions of fish, but eh, to each their own.


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I did not cook yesterday because I felt cruddy by the time I got out of work and mostly just wanted to sleep. But! I feel better today (and have also acquired a zester), so.


Poll #18473 Blue Apron experiment, take #1
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 7


Which meal should Liz cook for dinner tonight?

View Answers

crispy catfish & spicy vegetable curry (with charred lime)
2 (28.6%)

seared steaks & salsa verde (with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, & radishes)
5 (71.4%)




ETA 8:30pm: Thank you all for your help!

However, as [tumblr.com profile] longroadstonowhere pointed out over on Tumblr, fish is likely to go bad faster than beef, and so should probably be cooked first. On that principle, I am attempting the catfish curry thing. I have read the recipe thoroughly, set out the necessary dishes and whatnot, and chopped all the ingredients. (Also I am going with four garlic cloves rather than two because I like garlic.)

I am now about to turn on the heat and attempt curry. Wish me luck!

-----

ETA, 10:00pm: The recipe as written estimated ~40 minutes cook time. In the event, I turned on the heat for the curry around 8:50pm and finished cooking around 9:45pm, which is about 15 minutes longer than advertised. This is mostly because potatoes always take longer to soften/brown than recipes think they should, and I KNOW this and I am not sure why I forgot. *sigh*

The recipe claims to serve two. I think it produces at least four portions of curry, and three portions of fish. I preemptively discarded the cilantro garnish (I am not one of the people to whom it tastes like soap or soapy mud; I just think it tastes like muddy grass, and why would I want to eat that?), and after attempting a couple bites, I have also discarded the charred lime half because WOW it is bitter and not adding anything useful to the dish since the curry was already cooked with a lime leaf and seasoned with lime zest.

The fish and curry are pretty tasty, though, so all in all? Victory! \o/

(I will post some photos after I finish eating.)

Profile

edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

S M T W T F S
   1 2 3 45
6 7 89101112
13141516 17 1819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags