September 05, 2001

on a food binge

I got to row in a lightweight women's four this morning, with a coxswain who only
outweighed each of the rowers in the boat by about 20 lbs. He's good though (I
trained him) and at least doesn't outweigh us by 40 lbs or more, like everyone
else there. It was a very good row, until the last piece where the coaches
switched two other people in and we weren't as well matched.

I'm on
a bit of a cooking spree this week. Yesterday I made chicken soup (from chicken,
vegetables, herbs, water, and my grandmother's recipe, that is, not from a can).
It's been hitting 105 degrees F or so, and if thus not an appropriate time
for soup, but I was in my local market yesterday and they were actually carrying
mandlen (soup nuts) for a change, as well as packages of whole cut-up chicken
complete with all the icky parts, so I couldn't resist.

Mandlen, for
those not familiar with Jewish food, are small delicate balls about the size and
shape of those round jaw-breaking oyster crackers, and weighing perhaps one tenth
as much. They have a very soft crunch, are mostly air inside, and you float them
on your chicken soup.

I considered also making matzah balls, which
are heavy dough dumplings that sink in the soup, absorbing enough of it to give
them flavor. However, there were critters in my matzo meal! Don't know what
they are, where they come from, or most importantly, how to get rid of them, but
we tend to get small ant-like bugs in flour or anything similar that is left
unsealed. We keep our flour and rice and sugar in plastic airtight canisters,
which seem to work well (though we've never had trouble with bugs in the sugar,
for some reason). The matzo meal box was actually in a ziplock bag, so I don't
know how the damned beasties got in, but get in they did, so I had to throw the
box away.

The major question with chicken soup is always what to do
with the left-over chicken. When the soup is finished, you're left with an entire
cooked chicken. It's way too much to throw away without guilt, but it's also
tasteless, having had all of the flavor boiled out into the soup. And the skin
comes out all nasty, yellow and goose-pimply and hard to remove. Mom usually
sprinkles hers with paprika and broils it for a few minutes, but that's not a good
answer (see the part about "tasteless", above). Or she'll make chicken salad,
which would work better for me if I liked chicken salad.

I am trying
a new solution this time. I'd bought some very thinly sliced beef, thinking to
make Mongolian beef or something like that with it - something sweet and spicy,
with a vaguely Asian flavor. I found a recipe for pork satay, decided beef would
work as well, made a bit extra of the marinade (measure ingredients? who, me?),
and threw both the beef and chunks of the chicken from the soup into it. It will
have about 9 hours in the marinade; I don't know if the already-cooked chicken
will absorb it as well as raw meat would, but I figure marinating can only

But I do have one question about the marinade: who ever thought
peanut butter dissolves in water and soy sauce?

Posted by dichroic at September 5, 2001 04:59 PM
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