A few times a week Jeff spends the night at his house, I spend the night at mine, we do our own things. This usually involves me whipping up something super easy for myself to eat (leftovers, a cheese quesadilla, macaroni and cheese, pasta and cheese... catch a trend? Or I sprinkle Cajun on anything and tada! It's a meal!) and reading a book and goofing around on the internet.
It's not because I 'cook for my man', as some might say, as much as it's that I just don't cook for myself. I don't like it as much. When I cook, I do it for my own joy, but the most satisfying part is when other people enjoy it. Having a roommate who likes to cook with you, a best friend, or a significant other--they're good for that. I cook for Jeff with Jeff because it gives me a chance to make things that are really good and someone else is there to see what it's like to. I like -sharing- things. When I go out to eat, I always want to share. I want to try everything and have everyone try my thing. Food for me is as much social as it is pure joy.
But in any case, last night I made myself something. It was meant to be quick. My new year resolution was to eat a bit healthier. I already eat pretty well, but this meant incorporating flax seeds, a few more whole grains, a few less hamburgers, and eating more chicken like I used to. Oh, oh, and actually working out. It's not that I feel like I'm overweight, I know I'm not, it's just that I feel best when I have more vitamins and essential bladeblas. However, I'm still going to eat doughnuts, pie, cake, hamburgers, and fried things.
Whatever the case.
I made a quick baked chicken, very briefly soaked in lemon juice, brown sugar, olive oil, and ginger. Since I had kale in my Italian Wonton Soup I had sauteed/braised Kale with garlic (and a splash of marsala wine and lemon to keep it green). The rice... well, that was the best. I still have a whole load of pumpkin in my freezer. I guess I forgot my pumpkin quest-- but it's fine with me if it lasts. I know I'll want pumpkin things in the middle of the summer (maybe I should make pumpkin muffins soon?). But I decided it'd go good with my brown rice, so I added some in while it was cooking, with thyme and fresh basil at the end. Oh! So good! It wasn't sweet, it was really quite savory, but it was much richer than my brown rice normally is. Much richer than chicken broth makes it.
I enjoyed it. And felt healthy. The chicken came out a bit dry (I admit I over roasted the tiny piece I made). The kale was good, and delicious with the brown rice. I think I'll work on the recipe for the chicken -then- post it, as opposed to giving ya'll what I have now, which I think would be disappointing of my culinary talent.
Pumpkin Brown Rice
1/4 cup short grain brown rice (I used a tad bit less)
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon marsala wine
2-3 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
In a small pot with a lid, combine the rice, water, pumpkin puree, thyme, salt, and wine. Bring to a slow boil, reduce heat to low/medium-low and simmer for about an hour, until rice is soft but with a bit of a bite.
Remove from heat, tear up the basil leaves and gently stir them in, season to taste and serve.
Garlic Braised Kale
2 large kale leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon marsala wine
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
some chopped pecans, for garnish
In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat, once warm add the garlic and tear up the kale into bite sized pieces and add with the lemon juice and (about) 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sautee until just starting to wilt and then add the water and wine. Cover with a fitting lid and let braise over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until tender.
I have to apologize that my instructions here are a little bit... well, they're not exact (cooking times, etc). I admit when I was making this I wasn't planning a Foodival dish, I just happened to make one.
If you wanna try your hand at the chicken, I just used a small cut (probably 4 oz) of chicken breast rubbed with salt and pepper and threw it in a ziplock back with a lot of lemon juice, a little ground ginger, a little olive oil, and a small palmful of brown sugar.
Yeah, I know, those sound like Rachel Ray instructions. Sigh.