Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Jamie's Fowl Dinner, MJ, Valdemar.
We watched a Jamie Oliver programme on Sunday night called Jamie's Fowl Dinners. A large number of people were sitting at dining tables and Jamie had a kitchen to one side. He also had other set ups in the area together with a number of experts from the field of egg and chicken production. One of the first things they did was to give each table a bunch of baby chickens which the diners had to sort by sex (light ones were males) which chickens (you know, those pretty little fluffy things) they proceeded to deprive of oxygen so, much to the horror of some people there, they died in front of the audience - male chickens are considered useless in the egg producing industry although their carcasses are used for other things. From there he went on to show all kinds of other horrid things which happen both in the production of eggs and in the production of chickens. Eventually he cooked a meal using free range products and battery products and the consensus of opinion was the free range tasted so much better. Many of us know what happens but you don't think about it, Jamie made everyone in the room think twice about the mistreatment of chickens and what is done to ensure we have cheap food. One woman did say she wouldn't change because of the difference in cost; she figured a lot of people couldn't afford to change. If you would like to read more Jamie's Fowl Dinners gives you all the information you need. I must say I have a lot of admiration for Jamie Oliver and his hard hitting programmes whether it be teaching the British how to cook, school kids how to eat, or making us really aware of the food on our plates. Poor Matt, he is totally fed up with coverage of Michael Jackson and his memorial service. Ever since MJ died, there has been intensive coverage in every form of media. Enough is enough surely. I am more interested in what is being said, but even I am getting tired of all the speculation. Did you watch the service? I certainly didn't, if you did miss it, it is on the GMA page here. This morning on TV they had a doctor whom I head say "as far as I know I am not the father of his (MJ's) children" - now what? I didn't see the whole report but the speculation is, apparently, that MJ is not the father of his kids. I have started a re-reading session on Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series. It is a long time since I read them and reading a bunch of short stories the other day, stimulated me to read the rest. I have just read Arrows of the Queen which I have as an ebook, from the library I got Exile's Honor which I am currently reading as well as Exile's Valor and I have purchased The Herald Mage Trilogy through Amazon.ca to keep me going. I was pretty staggered, I ordered the Trilogy books over the weekend and I already have one of them. I have always liked the name Mercedes since I read The Count of Monte Cristo. That was the name of his love before he was sent to prison. I enjoy cooking things in packets whether they be parchment or foil. It is a nice clean method and also keeps in the juices and flavours of whatever you are preparing. I often cook salmon this way, and here is an Eating Well recipe for cooking chicken. Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard & Zucchini in Packets Makes 4 servings 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ¼-1 ½ pounds), trimmed and tenders removed (see Tip) 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced 2 sweet banana peppers or cubanelle peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 ½ cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below). 2. To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart. 3. Place a chicken breast on one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch boarder around the edges for folding and spread with mustard. 4. Toss zucchini, peppers, shallots, tomatoes, oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place about 1 1/4 cups of the vegetable mixture on top of each piece of chicken. 5. Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the vegetables are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, about 25 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness, be cautious of the steam.) Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes before serving. Equipment: Parchment paper or foil Tip: Chicken tenders are the virtually fat-free strips of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of chicken breasts. They can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded "chicken fingers." Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it's not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking. Have a great day.