Parchment Aplenty

Issue 69 had a feature on using parchment as a cooking method.  It had full meals, main dishes, sides, and even breakfast in a parchment.  So, here we go.

The first recipe I made was for a dinner party with the lovely neighbor.  I made the Chicken with Mango and Ginger.

Image

Not being a huge fan of spicy foods, I went easy on the jalapeño on my packet.  Somehow it managed to impart a small amount flavor without much heat so it worked well for me.  The ginger infused the chicken breast and the mango kept it nice and juicy.  (Warning: the mango also made the entire packet pretty juicy so be sure to serve it with something that can absorb a lot of liquid — I went with coconut rice.  It was a good decision.)  This was a delicious recipe and I will most likely make it again in the future, especially when I need a tropical escape!  I also think I might start pairing chicken and mango more often, grilled for example, or in a sandwich.  Yeah, it’s a good match.

Next, I made the Eggs with Mushroom and Spinach.

Image

I’m not going to lie to you.  I didn’t think this one was worth the effort of cutting the parchment (let alone any of the actual packaging of the ingredients into said parchment.  To be fair, I did make this recipe on a day when I had chills and aches set in by mid afternoon (yep, the flu) so I may not have been a totally unbiased opinion on that day.  I definitely didn’t feel any desire to finish eating my packet.  I maybe made it through half.  It was really plain and more or less boring.  And when considering the effort put into fixing it, it just wasn’t worth it.  I think I’d skip the parchment next time and just make a scramble.  So much easier and the separate parts would work a bit better together that way.

Needless to say, after coming down with the flu, I didn’t do much cooking for a while.  I ate soup.  Soup from a can.  Because I didn’t have the energy to eat anything else.  And after the flop that was the eggs with mushrooms and spinach I wasn’t particularly tempted to make another parchment recipe.  But I did.  I made the Potatoes, Leeks and Carrots in Parchment

Image

It may not look that thrilling, but it tasted pretty decent.  This was another instance where I would normally have just roasted these vegetables together, because vegetables are more delicious when roasted.  But! This is the light issue (hence all the parchment) and by using steam trapped in the parchment to cook these veggies, they stayed pretty flavorful and required much less fat than when roasted.  In fact, the fat was optional in this method of cooking, so it has its perks.

Finally, I made the Broccoli, Asparagus, and Snap Peas in Parchment.  And as a bonus, I also made the Herbed Orzo.

Image 

This is probably the one parchment recipe that I think really benefits from this cooking method.  Each of these vegetables is still super flavorful when steamed and don’t necessarily require anything added to make them awesome.  We liked it so much that we made it two days in a row.  Try it.  Trust me.  

The Herbed Orzo was slightly less exciting, but still an alternative to rice or potatoes so it might be a good thing to add to the mix.  The main issue with this recipe is that I found out after I made it that the bear doesn’t like dill.  And of course, I had decided that the main herb flavor would be dill… I ate a lot of orzo that week.

And now, G will fill you in on the final parchment recipe! Go G!!!

Thanks, B!  I’m winding this one up with the Salmon with Green Beans and Lemon Zest

There's fish under there somewhere...

There’s fish under there somewhere…

This was definitely good and certainly easy enough.  I like cooking things en papillote (that’s French for “No, G, not papillon.  You’re thinking of the dog…or the Steve McQueen movie.”), but I will admit it makes me slightly nervous.  I don’t think I’d be able to make B’s chicken dish without ruining it by busting open the packet and checking it.  But I grew to love the method by making a very similar dish from a Rachael Ray recipe.  She inelegantly calls it Spanish Fish in a Sack.  You’ll see that recipe is much more involved than the one in EF here.  I think this recipe is a good, simple option.  The wide pieces of peel are a nice touch.  But…if I’m bothering to make parchment packets, I’m probably going to go with the Rachael Ray fish sack.  It’s just too good. 

Advertisements

A Clinton Portis reference? Really?!

Chicken and lentil burger

Citrus herb seasoning salt

And here's what my meal would look like in a earthquake.  (really need to learn to take better pictures)

And here’s what my meal would look like in a earthquake. (really need to learn to take better pictures)

It makes more than this.

It makes more than this.

These are good burgers.  I will say that they aren’t the burgers you think they are.  You’d probably think that they are chicken burgers with some lentils.  It’s the other way around.  The chicken is really just binding together the lentils.  I found that odd, but tasty.  It has a good flavor.

One tip I will offer is to grind your own chicken.  But, G!  I don’t have anything to grind meat!  Don’t you need a Kitchen Aid attachment or something glamorous like that?  False.  All you need is a freezer and a food processor.  Check out these instructions.  I may never buy ground chicken or pork again.  I’ll probably still have to buy ground turkey because when do you find whole pieces of turkey except at Thanksgiving?  Although….I do have a plan for that…  My work gives out food gifts for the holidays.  It used to be a grocery store gift card, but someone with just enough knowledge of tax law to hate fun realized that that would be a taxable accession to income.  (boo!)  So now we get a fruit basket or a turkey. I take the fruit basket because I don’t know what to do with a whole turkey in the middle of December.  Or do I?  Next year, I’m taking the turkey, cutting it up, grinding the meat, and using the still slightly meaty bones to make stock.  As Clinton Portis once said, “Off the grid is off the chain.”

Back to my burgers.  We loved them.  J loved them once I introduced him to ketchup.  Oops.

I put the citrus herb seasoning on some frozen veggies with butter.  This is kind of cheating because I made the seasoning last year.  But this should go to show that it’s still good a year later.  Maybe not quite so fresh and citrusy as it was a year ago, but still good.  I highly recommend this seasoning on popcorn.  It also makes for a nice gift.  The little bit that I have is actually overflow from a present I sent my sister-in-law last year.  She liked the salt on popcorn too.  I’m not sure if I’ve done anything with it besides season frozen vegetables and sprinkle on popcorn. Maybe it’s time to make more.

Merry Christmas, by the way!  Please enjoy the flurry of posts as we all pull ourselves out of our food comas.