Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

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I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Irony In The Kitchen

Cooking stuff. Possibly of interest only to me, a proud carnivore, with a very limited diet at the moment.

Last night I fried up some ground lamb in the form of meatballs, using a good dollop of rice flour as a binder. It came out very nice, but no drippings worth making a gravy. So I improvised. Despite numerous pours into the trash, I still had a nice bit of grease in the pan. I'd forgotten the ground lamb didn't leave anything behind, but clean tallow unless you do two batches in the same pan. I only used a pound of ground meat (lamburger?), so only one batch. I drained off most of the remaining fat, and dribbled in a little balsamic vinegar. The heat removed the tartness (acetic acid), and the body of the remaining vinegar created a nice psuedo dripping as I'd hoped. Sprinkled just a touch of rice flour too, so I'd have some more browned material. Ah ha, I thought, adding a thin dribble of honey. I did not want sweet, I wanted caramelization. The rice flour, rich vinegar, and honey did the trick. No sweetness once they were caramelized, but they nicely mimicked drippings and I made a dandy gravy. Or should I call it a sauce? Either way a bit of reducing and thickening with rice flour and I had a comfort food type gravy for my meatballs. It was good for dinner, and again for lunch today. I'll probably use that last bit tomorrow.

Here's irony. I added sweet items in the form of balsamic vinegar and honey to create a sauce/gravy that was not a bit sweet, and it worked. Tonight was the opposite.

The marinade with balsamic vinegar, Worcester sauce, smoke flavor, a fruity hot sauce and salt which I like so much has very little sweetness. Okay, the vinegar has some, but it is a small part of the marinade which is cooked off, and after tossing the marinade very little of it remains anyway. Yet this was a mildly sweet dish. A different level of caramelization. I sauteed the marinated chicken chunks, then removed the chicken and reduced the liquid which cooked out of the chicken just a little. Then in went coarsely chopped carrots, which were steamed/sauteed in the chicken stuff from the previous step. I actually seared the carrots at the end. Then scrape it into the holding bowl with the chicken, add a little more olive oil to the pan and add a couple medium sized chopped yellow onions. Sautee them till they caramelize. This adds the sweetness. Add some water and thickener (either corn starch or xanthum gum work quite well) and reduce as needed. Then dump the carrots and chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes. The sauce matures and blends. Spoon it over something like rice and enjoy. I made a moderate batch, and will have enough for three more entres. Maybe more.


Blogger B.D. said...

Basalmic Vinegar is a tricky thing to work with. The brands vary quite a bit in acidity and sweetness. I love the stuff. I make a reduction of it by buying a bottle, opening the windows, and boiling it down to half or one third of it's original volume. This tends to intensify the already sweet elements. Once done, I pour it back into the bottle and use it as a topping for salads (instead of dressing) or roasted beets (where it especially shines).

4:27 AM  

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