WIAW 112 – Learn Something New…
Sure you can teach an old dog new tricks – as long as the old dog, or woman, is willing and curious…
So I’m still working with the phone – specifically, with the camera. (I seem to have everything else doing pretty much what I want it to.) It would be nice if anyone at all in the tech world wrote decent manuals… it would be even nicer if they updated the instructions they do have online, so they weren’t telling you to touch buttons that do not exist (I’m presuming they used to?) And, as a special favor to me, they might stop assuming that I wouldn’t even look at their product if I hadn’t been using a DSLR and Lightroom, and therefore know what they are talking about. OK – obviously I can take snapshots without a special app, but as long as I’m doing this, I want to do it well!
And then, there’s this. I’ve actually had it for a while, but didn’t want to write about it until I felt I had a clue – which seemed to be taking a while. But I will learn, I will, I will! (First lesson – most of what I learned with my stovetop pressure cooker 30 years ago does not apply here. This is much easier to use – which is good – but nothing I know about timing is now accurate!) I will probably mostly use it in much the same way I currently use the slow cooker – to cook ingredients. Beans, meat, root vegetables… I do, though, want to then use it for fast meals – the sort of thing you throw together, sometimes from those precooked ingredients, when you get home and need to put dinner on the table.
Meanwhile… I used the pressure cooker (one of these days we will both stop calling it the slow cooker!) to cook chicken, and then to cook brown rice in the broth left from the meat. (This was a couple of weeks ago.) And, well, something was wrong about the ratio or the timing or both – I ended up with overcooked, soupy rice. I shoved it in the fridge and we ate something else…
But then, the next morning, I realized that I more or less had congee… well, properly, I think it would be cooked even longer, until it was creamier, but close enough for breakfast. I heated my soupy rice in a pan, adding some chicken, and then cracked in a couple of eggs to poach. And it was a great breakfast! This actually is a picture from that first time – I forgot to take one the other day – but I’ve done versions a couple of times since. OK – I definitely want broth as the liquid, when I used plain water it was too bland. Leftover or frozen vegetables are a good addition. (I don’t want to get into cooking fresh vegetables first thing in the morning before – well – before breakfast! I need to be able to do this on autopilot…) Maybe someday I’ll figure out seasoning… My breakfasts tend to be streaky, so I don’t have to think in the morning, so I’m sure you’ll see this again…
Lunch is… everything in a pan? I should maybe take notes, as well as pictures. Cabbage, rice, and black beans, I see – I think some chicken, too, and broth? I must say, it totally looks like I Need to eat Now, what’s in the fridge? It has been a sort of crazy week, a bunch of things coming in on top of my usual schedule, so I guess it shows. Anyhow – I ate… and I like concoctions like that!
Now, this may astonish many of you, but until this week, I had never in my life made enchiladas. I’ve eaten them in Mexican restaurants, mind you (though I’m more apt to go for chile rellenos on the relatively rare occasions that I eat in Mexican restaurants…) Food is still relatively regional in this country – you visit me, and I’ll take you to a real Jewish deli, or real Italian (not a red sauce place) or other ethnic places rare in your region – or for seafood or fresh local produce, or… Mexican has not been our strength – I ate that visiting cousins in Texas and California.
But – for several years we’ve picked up occasional take out at a Mexican bodega in the neighborhood, where our tacos were filled with goat stew and chipotle chicken from a small steam tray at the counter. I can get dried peppers there, and queso fresca. And really, most Mexican food is naturally gluten free – I don’t have to adapt most recipes at all! So I need to learn this way of cooking – not Tex Mex, as most American is, but some, at least, real Mexican (which won’t be on the blog, as it would not be my original recipes) and also Anne’s New York Mexican-Influenced Cooking… All my breakfast tacos fit in that category already.
So I finally realized that enchiladas are a technique, not a recipe. That Enchilada Sauce is like Alfredo Sauce or Caesar Dressing – or Puttanesca Sauce – it’s not something that really comes in a jar. (I mean, you can have a jar of something that works, I’ve certainly used them, but it’s missing the point. Just as you can have a Real Recipe for a version that you like, but that’s not the only way to do it.)
So I threw together a chili sauce, sauteed cabbage and shredded pork moistened with the sauce, dipped tortillas in the sauce and assembled the dish. Sprinkled just a little cheese on top (I didn’t want the usual American cheese heavy version this time, though I might another day) and heated it all through.
OK, so we’re doing that again… It was fast, it was easy, it was good, and it totally lends itself to my Planning For Meals method of having food on hand to assemble into different meals. How on earth have I missed this? (Though maybe I should work on serving it without having it all collapse in a mess…)
So – phones and pressure cookers, congee and enchiladas – It’s a lot for this old woman! Sure keeps me from getting bored, though. What are you learning this week?
Come over to Jenn’s WIAW party at Laura’s Sprint2thetable.com and tell us all! (Why isn’t the new version of wordpress letting me give you two links in one line?? Apparently I have more to learn… That’s one thing about blogging – whenever you think you know what you are doing, something changes! I shall never be bored!)