Friday, January 10, 2014

You're Just What I Needed

I am so sick of the way grocery prices whether it be produce, meat or canned food is going up and up to where it's almost impossible to eat right and have enough to feed your family.  Okay, my 'family' is a man and two cats.  But even the dang cats were getting all mucked up by their cheap food.  We had to start buying quality cat feed or the older cat Willie seemed to be going down fast in health. Now he runs around and beats the crap out of the younger girl cat Monkey, daily.  This was a switch from him getting thin, throwing up and sleeping all the time. Not to mention his squirty poops. 

The best I can do right now is buy the best quality chicken I can afford and unfortunately at this point, it ain't free-range. Because of all of this,  I am determined to bring sexy back to the everyday vegetables perhaps in the way that in the depression home cooks found new uses for disposable parts of the cow, pig and chicken. 

Celery, onions, lemon, carrots and iceberg lettuce are still relatively cheap even buying organic.  If you cut up celery diagonally like in Asian food, it really tastes great sauteed.  As roasting onions with just a little balsamic vinegar is really divine.  Carrots can add sweetness, color and that potato-ey feel to a soup.  They are amazing in salads and why I ever got away from using them is beyond me.  I still use these items as a base for stock and starters for most meals but I'm also now featuring them in the dish itself.  They hold their own along side broccoli and snow peas.  Let's face it.  We eat everyday and if you don't eat processed foods, then it becomes a constant burden to incorporate vegetables in your meals.  I've noticed that frozen vegetables are cheaper lately, of course they're super easy to use. They taste heads above canned and they don't have added salt, are not overcooked and so for me, right now, they work.  Another interesting tidbit is that most seem to come from Mexico.  I just rinse them in warm water before adding them directly to the dish.  Nothing better than vegetables slightly al dente.

So I high-heat wok cook my onions and celery, then I add my thin cut chicken breast that has quickly marinated in a little soy, corn starch and chicken stock along with white pepper and lots of garlic.  Then I add my thawed brocolli.  To mock rice, I used my new weapon...millet.  An ancient African grain that dates back 3500 BC.  But mostly I tried it because it was one of the cheapest of the expensive whole grains packaged by Bob's Red Mill.  I went to buy Quinoa again and it had jumped to $15 bucks.  This looks like it but it actually tastes more corny and denser.  I liked it.  Reading up a bit, sounds like it may not be as life changing as quinoa but it was great in this dish and I aim to use it regularly. It's gluten free if it matters. It's high in protein, fiber and B vitamins.  Sold!

This was major pleasing and a small victory in my ongoing battle with all these varied forces trying to ruin my love affair with food.

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