when recommending food it seems to me the most important thing to determine is what nutrients the person is lacking or craving at a given moment. for example, is the person in the mood for something salty, something sweet, something fatty, some combination of those? is the person craving protein or vegetables?
2013.11.13 - Bought a White Oaks pasture-raised chicken, 3 gold potatoes, 3 red potatoes, a thing of garlic. I don't think the garlic and potatoes added enough to the flavor of the chicken to justify the extra effort necessary to include them. If anything, I think they distract from the chicken's natural flavor. They might be a better addition if you're using a less-expensive chicken that doesn't have skin that tastes as good. Also, I put a good amount of water at the bottom of the pan to avoid drying out the chicken, and it worked. I think I had the chicken in there for about an hour; it has a smaller breast than the typical chickens you see in the store, so it seems to cook faster. Also, I cut the potatoes into four pieces each and had their cut sides facing upwards (so the skin was down), which turned out to be a bad idea, because the potatoes dried out and didn't cook as quickly. There was a few that were rolled on their side and those were the best: they soaked up the water, stayed tender, and cooked all the way through. I think I also noticed that the red potatoes weren't as well-cooked as the gold potatoes, even though they were basically the same size. The last thing I noticed is that 1) a little bit of garlic goes a long way, and 2) garlic has a fairly pleasant aftertaste as long as it isn't too strong. It might be a good ingredient to pair with some other ingredient that doesn't have an aftertaste, like pasta.
- a big metal bowl to hold the cut-up and cooked broccoli
- This is what you're going to eat out of.
- a big sharp cutting knife
- a cutting board
- a pot to boil water in
- a cover for the pot
- a bag of salt
- a small strainer
- a giant spoon or metal spatula something similar
- This is to scoop broccoli into the small strainer.
- A spatula is preferable because water will run off it, which means water won't have to exit through the strainer, which can take some time if you've already got a lot of broccoli heaped into it.
- Put water in a pot to boil.
- I'd estimate around a gallon, maybe a little less.
- Have the heat on full-blast.
- Pour three "sweeps" of salt into the pot.
- In other words, shake the bag left and right as you move it forward and back across the top of the pot of water.
- There's no easy way to explain how much to put, you'll have to iterate.
- You're going to be putting more salt into the water than you would put salt onto the finished broccoli, but it'll be worth it because the salt will be more-evenly distributed in the broccoli.
- While the water's heating up, cut up the broccoli and put it into the big metal bowl.
- First cut off the really thick stalk (if there is one), and then cut off the florets, aiming right below where the middle-sized stalks (maybe 1/2" in diameter) end and the really small talks (less than a centimeter in diameter) start to really pop up.
- The goal is to get rid of the somewhat thicker stalks which aren't going to taste good or have a good texture.
- If you have someone else cook the broccoli, I've found that they'll tend to leave the stalks in in, either entirely (i.e. including the thickest one), or partially (the middle-sized ones). None of it tastes good and it'll make you not want to eat broccoli anymore.
- As you finish cutting up the broccoli, the water should be boiling.
- Pick up the big metal bowl filled with broccoli and use the big metal spoon/spatula to scoop the broccoli into the boiling water.
- Use the spoon to press down on the broccoli so that all of it gets soaked / submerged in boiling water.
- Cover the pot.
- Wait ~5 minutes.
- Take off the pot lid and see if it's done.
- If the color starts to fade, that's a sign that you're over-cooking it.
- I've found that if the broccoli is good and you cook it properly, the broccoli can go from a dull green when it's uncooked to a vivid bright green as it's being cooked, so that it'll look like the steam-in-bag broccoli.
- The best way to check if it's done is to take out a piece with the spoon, put it in the strainer to get rid of the boiling water, let it cool for a few seconds, and then eat it. You want it to retain a little firmness, so it isn't mushy (overcooked) and it also isn't crunchy (undercooked).