I’ve been binge watching Orange is the New Black recently. I’m not sure if I like it that much, but I don’t dislike it, and it’s interesting and entertaining. In the summer, when good TV shows are pretty slim pickings, those are the only qualities I look for in TV.
And I’ve come to find that binge watching TV is one of my talents. Shows I’ve binge watched in the past six months: Sherlock (most obsessively 1 ½ seasons in one day), Everybody Loves Raymond, Mr. Selfridge’s. Okay, I guess that’s really all– Raymond has a ton of episodes though.
Anyway, I recently read a short interview with the woman who players Piper, and she said that they actually eat the food in the show. She said that the food is actually the sort of food they have in prison. I bet that prison loaf she gets in the SHU is real prison loaf! Horrible.
Thinking about unappetizing food makes me think about how great good food really is and how not having the privilege to prepare your own or choose what to eat would be incredibly difficult, frustrating and unsatisfying. Even when I have a meal made of the last of the leftovers, it’s still my decision, and it’s still better than pudding from Desert Storm.
30 minute recipes tend to be pretty hit and miss. (I prepared a shortcut chicken cacciatore a while ago that had the same taste and texture of mush.) These recipes always take more than 30 minutes since prep time isn’t included, and oftentimes they take shortcuts that make the recipe turn out not as good as a dish that takes more time. This took me a little longer than 30 minutes to prepare, but it definitely took less than an hour, and I consider that success. I also wasn’t certain that making my own teriyaki sauce would be better than store-bought, but it is. It tastes so much better, fresher and has a little kick. I even hesitated about purchasing the mirin– the bottle I bought was about $10, and the recipe only calls for two tablespoons, but I now know that I’ll make this again and find other ways to use it, too. I didn’t expect to be impressed, but I was and still am. This is definitely a weeknight go-to.
Note: The teriyaki, served over rice, is a pretty solid meal on its own. I served it with a side of sauteed baby bok choy, though, which rounded it out and pair well with the main dish. My method for preparation follows. There’s no need to wipe out the pan prior to cooking the bok choy.
⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds), cut crosswise into ¼ inch wide pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and thinly sliced
3 scallions, sliced on bias
1. Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger and cornstarch in a small bowl.
2. In a large nonstick pan, heat a glug of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once a drop of water sizzles in it, add half of the chicken, cooking until no longer pink (about 2 minutes on each side). Transfer to a plate. Add another glug of oil to the pan and cook the other half of the chicken. Add this to the plate. Discard liquid from the pan.
3. Add one more glug of oil to the pan; add bell pepper and jalapeno to the skillet and cook just until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, and stir in the soy sauce mixture. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Garnish with scallions and serve with white rice.
Sauteed baby bok choy:
If desired, move teriyaki to a serving dish to make this side, which pairs nicely with the dish. Do not wipe out the pan.
6 heads of baby bok choy
1. To clean bok choy, submerge in a bowl filled with cool water. Swish around, dislodging any dirt.
2. Cut baby bok choy in half long ways. Add half of the bok choy cut side down, to the pan used to cook the teriyaki– the pan should still be hot from the main dish, and keep it on medium high heat. Let cook for about 3 minutes; turn over and cook other side. Serve on the side.