Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rice Noodles and Crockpotting - So-called Stroganoff, Pho Ga

Back in the saddle again, I guess. Right now, I'm thrown off my sleep schedule due to spending all day Saturday recuperating from an awesome party involving half a bottle of Bailey's, among other poisons (and St Paddy's is still to come... ack), so I'm up right now and just put food in the cooker.

So that Saturday, I was really craving some stroganoff but didn't have any egg noodles or sour cream. The former I always balk at the unit price of, deliciousness aside, and the latter I always have to throw out but never seem to have when I want it. What's a girl to do? Well, I started with this crockpot delight, which I found while browsing the 2-ingredient section of Just Slow Cooking Recipes - because I may add 50 things to it myself, but that's my kind of recipe.

So-called Stroganoff
1 sandwich bag full of stewing beef (who actually weighs/measures their meat? Idk, 0.5-1 lb)
1 can mushroom soup
1T red wine (would've added more, but was concerned it had turned to vinegar and it smelled too awful to try given my nausea at the time)
1/4c dried mushrooms, cut up with scissors
boiling water
frozen peas
rice noodles/pasta

So I dumped in the 1st 3 ingredients and turned the slow cooker to High. In the meantime, I poured boiling water over the mushrooms to sit for 10 minutes - I should've just added enough to immerse (probably wouldn't have needed the tapioca then), but I went for a whole cup and needed to shake in some tapioca in a few hours to thicken.

It cooked for 3.5h, and then I added frozen peas. My bag of frozen peas tastes horrible, so I keep adding it in small amounts (never small enough, believe me) to things that will mask its awfulness while I try and get rid of it. It's the cross I bear.

In the meantime, I decided to try it with rice noodles, having just bought a bag of dried ones when I went shopping for chocolate cake ingredients. I wanted a third of a pack, but that proved impossible when I started to break the noodles and they turned into unyielding thorny stalks with sharp missiles. Being clear and small, the shards that shot off are still cunningly lurking in the kitchen until whenever I crack and sweep. I followed package instructions and poured boiling water over top for 10 minutes before draining.

Maybe it's because I was nursing a grudge at that point, or the fact that due to their diamond-like nature, I was unable to cut the noodles down to size, but I wasn't very happy having the stroganoff with rice noodles. I tried it again with pasta later, and that worked better. It's my school lunch tomorrow, and I put together some mini-potatoes with rosemary for that. Only thing I haven't tried yet is rice, which probably would've been the best (but annoying to make, what with having to clean the cooker... I really need to make a batch to last the week like my dad does).

Taste-wise, it was good enough, I guess. I don't think I'm going to repeat the experiment until I can do it up right. Two substitutions in a recipe with twice that number of ingredients is too many.

Anyway, I'll using up the rest of those deadly noodles in the pho that's brewing right now.

Pho Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (in the process)
I used this recipe as a bit of a springboard, although they used broth from the start and I just stuck in chicken backs. The aforementioned backs are, according to the package, from November, but they've been in the freezer the whole time. I ended up with that unusual cut because meat just seemed really expensive that day so I cheaped out and got my 0.6kg for $2-something.

Pho Ga
2 chicken backs (see, this is how I think most meat should be counted. Anyway, ~0.3kg or 2/3lb)
2.5c water
many shakes of 5-spice powder (was running out of spoons by that point)
2t minced ginger
1/2t sea salt
2t honey
2t fish sauce (probably too much, but more came out than I intended)
1.5t lime juice
1/2t sesame oil
5 or 6 balls (pods?) of coriander
4 or 5 peppercorns
1/4t cumin seeds
rice noodles

Wash chicken - take out any organs you see (I wasn't really sure what I was looking for and may have forgotten, so let's hope this works out.
Put in slow cooker on Low along with other ingredients.
Cook for... not sure yet, but based on my schedule it'll probably be there for 6.5h.
Take out backs (I guess?), pour over rice noodles, wait 10 minutes to eat.
I may also add a can of chicken, we'll see...

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