Lest you think that fire and moving is all I’m thinking about these days, well, okay it’s mostly what I am thinking about. But not quite all. My mom is blessed with a fantastic cook’s kitchen, much larger than our tiny galley cabin kitchen will be, and I am making good use of it.
A while back, I bought this book off Amazon. Against All Grains, by Danielle Walker.
I bought it, and then promptly had to pack it before I could read it, because, well… moving. And then the big box of cookbooks went into the storage unit. It might have been the first thing I pulled back out, before even some art supplies and clean clothes. After weeks of crazy eating due to weeks of travel and moving, my body has been letting me know pretty clearly that it is time to go back to a clean diet, mostly paleo with minimal grains, organic veggie and lean protein based. I’m so excited about getting to cook from this book!
The first thing I decided to make was the orange sesame chicken. Now I love Panda Express orange chicken. Mmmm. The delicious crunchy sweet and tangy nuggets of battered deliciousness are one of my favorite things. But, not so great for me what with the wheat and the sugar and the preservatives and all. This recipe is actually what prompted me to buy the book, in fact. I love orange chicken so much. Naturally it’d be the first thing I’d make, right?
Okay, just, yum. Look at all that. All paleo, all friendly to my body, all things I like.
I’m not going to post the recipe here, you will have to get the book for that, but I will note the alterations I made, ok? I pretty much made this recipe as written, except for a couple of things. I used fresh Valencia orange juice (she doesn’t specify either way) and when I was done squeezing the orange, I zested about a teaspoon of the rind and added it to the sauce. That’s not in the recipe but it punched up the citrus flavor really nicely. I also doubled the garlic.
The sauce mixes up nicely, quite thin and there’s a decent amount of it. I thought there might be too much for the amount of chicken thighs that we’d planned to cook, but there’s a reason for that. It’s not super sweet, but rather, it’s got a nice mix of tangy/kicky/sweet. Intense without being overwhelming.
Not crazy about the color balance on these. Camera phone. Sorry… but you get the idea. All the organic chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) nestled in their bath of delicious sauce. We set those on low for 3.5 hours and forgot about ‘em.
Meanwhile, woman does not live on orange chicken alone, alas. We need greens. And this cookbook has a recipe for a simple garlic/ginger broccoli that looked like it might mesh well with the orange chicken so I decided to cook that up as well. About 3 and a bit hours in, I started to prep and cook the broccoli so it would be ready on time.
Happy trees! I doubled the garlic and ginger in this one as well – what can I say, I LOVE garlic and ginger.
This makes use of coconut aminos in place of soy based sauce (gluten and soy being verboten on paleo) and while they have a slightly sweet, somewhat different flavor, they do work well in place of soy sauce, tamari or shoyu. I rather liked the flavor. It’s one of those ingredients I’ve felt reluctant to embrace but it is growing on me.
While the broccoli was going, I went back to the crock put and fished out the chicken thighs. Ladled the sauce into a small pan and put that on the stove to reduce by about 50%.
It thickens up nicely in about 20 minutes. The flavors come together beautifully in the crock pot with the chicken, and this just intensifies everything at the end.
Seeing as how we personally are not, actually, against all grains, we ladled this over some organic brown jasmine rice. Sesame seeds to top, and off to the table.
Not a lot of talking, quite a lot of eating, and three empty plates.
I’d say this one is an unqualified success. Two thumbs up!
(crossposted to my food blog, at ciaosugar.worpress.com)