Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cooking at home

Cooking is really a rare occurence these days. Which is too bad because the new apartment came with a brand new gas oven and a brand new refrigerator that are not getting very much use at all. But we had a staff potluck this past week, where we were supposed to bring something we ate during our childhoods, so I cooked my very first dish in the until-then-unused kitchen: chicken adobo.

My mom made this all the time when I was a kid, and she still does to this day. It can be made either with chicken or pork and is usually served with chopped tomatoes and steamed rice. It's an easy, one-pot dish, provided you opt to buy your chicken legs already separated. (I went to town on my chicken legs, hacking away at them with a knife and kitchen scissors. I still haven't figured out how to cut up a raw chicken gracefully.)

My mom's chicken adobo
(courtesy of my mom)

Four chicken legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c soy sauce
several cloves of garlic, smashed
lots of freshly ground black pepper

In a large pan or pot (I used a dutch oven), brown the chicken pieces on all sides. You may have to do this in batches. Drain off all the rendered fat. To the chicken, add the remaining ingredients. On low, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 min, until the chicken is cooked through, moving the pieces around occasionally so that all are coated with the sauce.

Serve with chopped tomatoes and rice, along with a little of the sauce.

Serves 4.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Gourmet grub at Google

Now that I work for the corporation that owns this blogging site, I've had very little time to cook. I'm at work all day, and then when I come home, all my kitchen stuff is in boxes (I just moved a week ago). But who needs to cook when I get gourmet food for free?

My first week on the job, which started a month ago, I was completely in awe of all the delicious food that was available at all time and at no cost. There are sixteen different cafes that all have different themes, such as regional American, the "seven seas and the seven continents," raw and vegetarian, and "the fourteen tastes." In the above photo, from the Spanish tapas cafe, my lunch consisted of a flageolet gratin, yellowtail sashimi, fennel soup, beef tenderloin in some sort of delicious sauce, and a composed salad of apricot, frisse, and goat cheese. (Dessert, not shown, was a white chocolate cheesecake with fresh raspberries and a vanilla custard with candied hazelnuts and chocolate mousse.)

There are specific meal times that the cafes are open, but during the off-hours, there are fridges where prepackaged meals, salads, soups, and fruits and veggies are available. One day, I picked up a wonderfully spicy goat curry with dal and basmati rice; another day, I had teriyaki salmon, broccoli raab, and rice. I've also had a huge salad with carrots, ridiculously delicious tomatoes, bacon, and feta cheese. And it's all in season, from local growers when possible, and well prepared.

I will start cooking again soon (to tell the truth, I miss it!), but in the meantime, I'll be reporting on the things I'm eating at work.