Friday, April 27, 2007

My 600th Post, Today

But never mind that. We're here to talk about how to get a lot of bang for your buck.
The bang, in the case of the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge, means great flavor, good nutrition, and compelling presentation. Wouldn't want to eat a tiresome plate of rice all week long just to prove something. You'd prove to be boring (and starving) yourself, and you'd fall off the wagon.
The chicken we roasted for the week's meals went pretty far. Cranky wanted to use some of the meat in a chicken salad, but I had plans for using it in a chicken hash later in the week and didn't want to spare any.
Then we came up with a superb idea. I would spare a small amount of meat (about a fifth of the overall available bird), and we would extend the salad with cooked rice. Rice lightened the mixture so that it wasn't mouthful after mouthful of chicken shreds, which, come to think of it, is probably why I don't like chicken salad.
I loved this chicken salad. We cooked the rice in chicken stock! Little lovely bits of chicken and chicken-flavored rice suspended throughout a silky blend of homemade bay yogurt and homemade mayonnaise, studded here and there with snipped pickleweed and chopped walnuts. It was served with baby Romaine leaves, so we could scoop up dabs of this poufy salad and transport them to our mouths.
I thought the wheatberry salad was fantastic.
This was better.
Total cost for two (and jeez, the entire blurp of yogurt I used only cost 11 cents): $4.80.
If there's a lesson here, it's along the lines of thinking beyond your paralyzed conceptions of recipes. You might say, "Chicken salad doesn't have rice in it."
I might say, "Aw, c'mon. Think outside the chicken."
One more lesson: Any reason why you shouldn't use chicken stock to cook the rice? Especially if the rice is going in a chicken dish? I learned something.


Dagny said...

My mother has cooked rice in chicken broth instead of water for years. Even if it is not being served with chicken. *sigh* I never thought of extending the salad with rice. I usually use lots of veggies and nuts.

tammy said...

This is fun! But, tell me, over the course of the week, did you ever get really low blood sugar and kind of freak out a little bit because you couldn't think of anything creative? But you were hungry. But nothing was coming to you? But you were really hungry.

Or do you work well under pressure.

Katie said...

I always use stock to cook rice - either chicken or beef, depending on the dish.
I agree with you about the chicken salad - I think rice (or any grain) would improve it - but, then, I'm not an "all protein" kind of person.
Interesting week you're having....

Katie said...

Forgot - 600! Yippee Skippee! Hurray! Well done and all that!

Greg said...

Local and frugal. Love it

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

I love chicken salad, and yours looks divine. I think the idea of using rice is brilliant, because sometimes chx salad can seem like "chicken overload" after 2 or 3 bites. This makes it last longer...

Hurray for #600!

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I know about cooking rice in broth, but I'd never thought about this particular use. Mainly, I like rice plain. I buy really good-tasting rice. (I hate to see people drown their rice in soy sauce... but sometimes I do that, too.)

Tammy: Aha! Your first attempt. Two years ago I did the challenge, and I was feverish and shaky by about day 3. I think illegal corn chips ensued. Anyway, it's SO EASY, according to me. With practice. And I do like a challenge, so that's fun. Good luck.

Katie: I only ever thought of using stock for rice in dishes like pilaf, etc. So for a salad -- cool! New idea. But, so, now... whenever there's stock on hand, maybe. But I like the taste of pure rice.
(Thanks, Katie.)

Greg: I think we were supposed to be brought to our knees on this one. No. Too easy. Too good.

Jennifer: Then I know what to serve you for lunch! yay!

Barbara said...

Congrats on 600 posts. Cooking the rice in chicken stock would be a bit like making a risotto then! Happy house moving Cookie.

ChrisB said...

I missed commenting on your 600th Congratulations. I'm having intermittent connection problems and cannot always leave comments which I find so frustrating.

Don said...

I cook my rice in water but usually throw in a bullion cube or two. Gets me a similarly improved taste w/o having to keep more stock handy.

cookiecrumb said...

Barbara: Yes, but not as flav-o-matic. Just "nice." Thanks for the good moving wishes. :)

ChrisB: Connection problems? I just hooked things up at the new place and guess what: Connected!! Yay.

Don: I hadn't thought about bouillion cubes in rice for a long time until you mentioned it. Good one!