Friday, August 19, 2005

Lundberg Black Japonica

Lundberg Black Japonica
Originally uploaded by
Food Fanatic.

Now THIS is good stuff! You know how sometimes you are grocery shopping and for some reason you get stuck in an aisle, with some woman and her 3 toddlers plugging the way in front and a little old couple discussing what kind of [insert product name here] they got last time that they really liked and how they better be sure to get more of that this time?

Well, when that happens, it can pay to browse the shelves near you. You sometimes find interesting stuff and it keeps you from pulling your hair out. This Lundberg Black Japonica was what I found on the shelf in my last traffic jam at Lowe's grocery.

It took a little longer than basmati rice to cook ... about 45 minutes, actually. And instead of using 2 cups of plain water, I put 4 vegetable bouillion cubes in with it, along with a speck of olive oil. It was a big hit at home and this package was about $2.69 or thereabouts. I'll buy it again. It's a nice change from potatoes,noodles or white rice for a starch. More substance and fiber, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Pressure Cooker Fried Chicken

This is definitely something I'll do many, many times.
This recipe is for a 6-8 quart Pressure Cooker.

2 1/2-3 lbs Chicken Pieces
1/2 cup Flour
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika (I used half-sharp, to make it "zippy")
1/4 cup Shortening
2 sm Onions, cut into halves
1 1/4 cups Water

Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika together on a plate. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.
Brown the chicken pieces, a few at a time, in hot shortening in the pressure cooker.
Place the rack in the bottom of the cooker. Place the chicken pieces on the rack, put the onion pieces on top and carfully pour in the water.
Cover, set the control at 10 and cook 15 minutes after the control jiggles, or cook at 15 for 12 minutes.
Cool the cooker normally for 5 minutes, then place under faucet.
Once the pressure is released, take the lid off the pot. Place the chicken on a cookie sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp.
Prepare gravy with the drippings.

Skim any excess fat from the broth. Add enough water to the broth(if necessary) to measure 2 cups. Heat to simmering.
Mix 1/4 cup Flour with 1/2 cup Cold Water until smooth.
Gradually stir the flour mixture into the hot broth.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy is smooth and thickened.

This recipe from the Mirro Recipe & Instruction Book that came with my Pressure Cooker.

For The Lancaster News

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pork Loin

Pork Loin
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic.

Smithfield is the preferred pork producer in our local grocery stores, it seems. In Minnesota it was Hormel. Hormel pork loin packages contain one piece. I was surprised to see two pieces in this Smithfield package. And dismayed. One end of each piece was very thick, the other rather thin. I decided to tie the two pieces together for more even cooking. No butcher's twine. Toothpicks? Too short. Finally I decided to skewer the two pieces together before placing it on the grill.

They turned out great.

I did not put anything on the loin. Didn't even salt and pepper it. It was not a pre-marinated one, either. I just decided to put soaked mesquite chips on the charcoal while it was cooking. That turned out to be all the flavor I needed.

Chuck Roast in a Pressure Cooker

A friend reminded me of the convenience and quickness of the pressure cooker. I drag it out only about 4 times per year, always for roast beef. I've never had roast beef turn out more juicy and tender than when it's been cooked under pressure.

This particular meal had problems, though. When you don't use the appliance very often, then each time you do, you have to learn its idiosyncracies all over again. In this case, I had the pressure too high and the selective control never jiggled. While it was steaming steadily, I mistakenly thought it was still BUILDING pressure, not that it was already at it's maximum. Consequently, I cooked the roast too long, waiting for the control to jiggle. Finally a burning onion smell prompted me to reduce the pressure and open it.

I did find the bottom of the roast burned to the pan and the onions were a disintegrated mess, but the roast itself was as flavorful and moist as it always is. Of course, since the bottom of the pan was full of burned meat, I couldn't make gravy out of it, but we were fine.

I really need to get this thing out more often.