Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Chicken Saga

I haven't been very consistent with the posts about what I've been making, so I'm going to do my best to review the past few weeks.

Aside from the standard lettuce, cucumber, feta, sunflower seed salads that I rely on, I made a Thai cucumber salad for the Super Bowl. It was flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, chili, peanuts, red onion, and sweet peppers. All of the cucumbers from the co-op have been fresh and crunchy, and they were especially appealing as the main ingredient in this salad.

When it was really cold I was trying to experiment with different cuts of meats, and I thought it would be a good idea to try a stewing chicken. I got a recipe for a chicken pot roast that could be adjusted slightly for a stewing chicken, which is a hen that is usually 10-18 months. The chickens that we're used to eating are younger, so stewing chickens tend to be tougher and have a little more flavor. They also need to be cooked to account for these qualities, and I was excited to make a roast bird with purple fingerling potatoes from the co-op, carrots, and onion.

I didn't have a roasting pan with a lid, so I used foil to cover everything, and eventually I realized that foil and a limited number of hours weren't going to be enough. The chicken, though it was cooked through, was still difficult to cut because it hadn't tenderized much at all. Davy and I ate some of the vegetables, which were properly cooked and dripping with flavor, and then we made a last minute run to Buz and Ned's right before it closed.

The chicken still had potential, and I boiled it for hours in my soup pot. It made the apartment smell heavenly, and eventually I was able to pull it apart and make chicken soup. I used some of the carrots and onions from the original roast, and added celery and ditalini to make it a more substantial dish.

One of the items I was most excited about from the co-op was the pound of oyster mushrooms from Dave and Dee's. Sensi used to get their products when I worked there, and it was great to try a new kind of mushroom directly from a farm. Oyster mushrooms are fairly mild, which makes them versatile, and since I'm the only one in our apartment who eats mushrooms, they went a long way. For one dinner I sauteed them with butter and spinach, and ate them over olive bread toast with a poached egg on top. I also added them to leftover risotto and baked pasta, and repeated the olive bread toast and poached egg meal.

The salad mix I got last week was a nice change from the head of bibb lettuce we'd chosen for several weeks in a row. The leaves varied from basic to unfamiliar, and were a pleasant blend of sweet, spicy, and earthy flavors.

I splurged on a pound of homemade fettuccine to make fettuccine alfredo for Valentine's Day, and I could tell how wonderful it was going to be before I even dropped it in the boiling water. The fresh aroma was magnified while the pasta cooked; it was extremely tender and the perfect al dente after two minutes.

Although it's only mid-February, I think that some new produce items will be available soon. In the mean time, I'm going to stock up on squash, continue buying lettuce, cucumber, and eggs, and maybe find an excuse to buy another pound of fresh pasta.

Co-Op Week 6

I'm going out of town this weekend and there aren't many new options available, so I only got eggs and lettuce this week. Hopefully next week will be more interesting.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Co-Op Week 5

Since a lot of what I ordered last week went to my parents, this week's order was similar:

- small cucumber

- 5 oz. salad mix

- 1 lb. turnips

- a pound of fresh fettuccine

- 1 lb. collard greens

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Winter Co-Op Week 4

I ordered the following for this week:

- a dozen eggs

- a head of bibb lettuce

- two small cucumbers

- a pound of turnips

- a head of cabbage

- a pound of pumpkin ravioli (for my parents)