Saturday, 18 September 2010

Lets Talk About Food: Oat-covered Chicken and Fried Rice.

I've been cooking.  The real thing too, with basic ingredients from scratch and everything.  Ask anyone who's known me for a while; this is a strange occurrence.  Still, if you think about it, me starting to cook now makes a lot of sense.  It really comes down to three things:

One, hunger.  I'm on T and among other things, it makes me hungry.  Very hungry.  Food-is-the-best-thing-in-the-world hungry.

Two, cost.  I'm on the prowl for a job, but in the meantime money is tight.  I could spend over $60 for frozen, ready-to-heat meals, or I could spend $45 on twice as much chicken, some eggs, and everything I need to make Borscht a couple of times over.

Three, something one of my teachers said.  It was an analogy about learning skills versus learning specific projects by rote.  He said, and I paraphrase here, that say you know how to make scrambled eggs, and only scrambled eggs, that's all you're going to make.  However, if you understand that heat + eggs = cooked eggs, you can come up with a variety of ways to cook eggs.  I pretty much took this analogy and sent it back to the concept of cooking: food + heat + spices = cooking.  From there, I can experiment.

So, here's what I did today.  I took a piece of boneless, skinless chicken breast, an egg, some breakfast-type oatmeal, and various spices.  I beat the egg in one bowl and put some oatmeal and spices in another.  I took the chicken, dipped it in the egg, then rolled it in the oats etc. until covered.  Then I put it on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 Fahrenheit.  I think I let it cook for about 15min, though I'm not 100% sure.  Meanwhile, I made some rice and cleaned up a bit.  The chicken was ready before I needed it, so I ended up keeping it in the oven with the heat off and the door open a bit while I worked on the rest.  When the rice was ready, I added the egg I'd used for the chicken into the same pot I cooked the rice in.  I also messed with the burner heat some and added soy sauce and frozen peas.

The fried rice, pretty much perfect, at least by my standards.  The chicken... well, it ended up a little bland and a little dry.  I think next time I'll get the rice started before hand, and maybe use more spices, and putting them in the egg as well, rather than just the oats.  Either way, it was more than edible, and I didn't have anything half-cooked to give me food poisoning.  I'll call that a success.