Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teryaki Chicken With a Plan

This meal actually started almost a week ago. Regrettably, I am not the kind of cook who can rely on her instincts or instantly find inspiration in her fridge or pantry. I am a planner and oddly enough, it's enjoyable!

The planning: I wanted to first familiarize myself with the Fiddlehead cookbook - I only purchased it about a week ago. Reading, drooling and decision making ensued. All of this thought is actually very enjoyable for me - I like methodically thinking out each step and tracking down / selecting each ingredient. On day two of planning I settled on Chicken Teryaki (pg. 82) with Teryaki Marinade (pg. 210), buckwheat soba noodles and a mandarin sesame salad with the Oriental Vinaigrette (pg. 217).

The prep: With so much going on in my life (I know I'm not special in this arena), doing prep work the day before really helps get dinner served before nine o'clock at night. I cut up carrots, zucchini, green pepper, and broccoli. The recipe also calls for mushrooms and cauliflower, but I subtituted sugar snap peas (still in their shells) since my husband is not a fan of either. I mixed the sliced veggies, tossed them in a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning, and tossed them in the fridge in an air tight container.

Sliced veggies in Fridge coated with lemon juice

That evening I also mixed up the marinade. Before heading out to work the next morning, I chopped up the chicken and added it to the marinade. Here in Fairbanks we are fortunate enough to have an actual meat market where I'm able to purchase locally "grown" beef, goat, chicken, pork. They also import Alaskan seafood from the coast.

Marinade ready for fridge. Thanks for the applesauce pancakes honey!

The cooking! This is actually a really nice quick meal once the preparations are done. I sliced the onion and whipped up the oriental vinaigrette while the wok heated and the sesame seeds for the salad toasted.

Veggies in my tiny wok

The veggies cooked up nicely - I decided to cook them uncovered to prevent over cooking (love my veggies on the crispier side) and in two batches. I also browned the onions a bit before adding the pre-sliced veggies.

The teryaki chicken

While the veggies rested in a warm oven, I tossed the chicken into a hot wok. I strayed from the recipe a bit by adding the marinade liquid to the wok rather than leaving it out. I was glad with the result since there was plenty of liquid to coat the veggies when I put them back in the wok for the final mixing.

Final product!

The final result was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend the oriental vinaigrette - I ended up mixing it in with the soba noodles. There wasn't a lot of talking as me, my husband and a guest tucked into the meal and there were compliments to follow (Thanks Fiddlehead!). I would deffinitely recommend this meal and it would be easy to adopt it for a vegetarian/vegan diet.

P.S. As I get ready to post this, I want to make a small note. Today I took the extra soba noodles and veggies with a little bit of the vinaigrette in for lunch. It made a really nice little pasta salad that I didn't even have to heat up.

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