Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sous Vide Chicken Bento


Sorry for the intermission last week. I meant to post something but it was my birthday and my intended substitute post didn't happen because I decided to be lazy. It was an enjoyable birthday but it's good to be back. Anyhow, on with the show. I went with a light box this week I feel like I've jumped off the healthy rails a bit too far recently and this is my attempt to bring it back in. It's easy to get carried away since I no longer have a real mandate to cook healthy. But part of the challenge I laid down when starting this blog was to provide interesting, low priced, healthy meals.


Our main protein today is a tarragon herbed chicken breast cooked sous vide. My other experiments with sous vide chicken breasts yielded some wonderful juicy chicken. I went on to quickly brown the outside (30 seconds per side) and got different results. Although still juice it wasn't the same texture difference. I think my preference is to go ahead and leave the chicken as is (without the sear) and serve it more like a poached chicken breast. I could have gone with a bit more salt, but of course this will let my diners opt for more salt or not so I guess it's not a total blow out. I love the simplicity of the chicken, sprinkle on a bit of herbs seal it up and throw it in the water bath. My biggest question is: Why is it store bought chicken breast are so much bigger than if you order chicken breast entree at the restaurant. I mean these bad boys were huge.

I have to give credit to Ginny, guest contributor over at Maggie's Austin on one of her posts for this side, this was a fun one to replicate. The picture looked very yummy and I went over to the website of The Woodhouse to read the description. Stuffed Tomato: oyster mushrooms, spinach, toasted orzo, asiago cheese. Sounds easy enough. I sauteed some onion and mushrooms and toasted the orzo and cooked it down like a risotto. As you all may or may not know I love orzo, but usually I throw in the ingredients add the liquid and simmer it till it's done. The downside is that there's a tendency for the orzo at the bottom to slightly over cook, especially in the volume that I'm cooking in. So the extra work paid off with a more consistent dish that was cooked perfectly. The asiago really transformed the dish but I felt there needed to be a bit more saltiness so I dropped in some parmesan. I skipped the spinach, I figured fresh spinach wouldn't reheat well. A simple replication, I'll have to drop by the restaurant and try the real deal to see how close I was.


I needed a veggie and I settled on a simple roasted zucchini. Bit of chopped garlic, balsamic, olive oil and salt popped it in the oven for 30 mins and voila side dish done. This turned out far better tasting than I had envisioned it in my head. The balsamic added a nice tangy sweetness to the vegetables and of course I'm a big fan of the texture of roasted zucchini.






Last but not least I did a chocolate bundt cake. I decided to put all the badness into just dessert today. It's a simple cake nothing fancy, I decided not to glaze the cake since that would just add unnecessary calories to the box. The cake came out quite moist and it was pretty easy to put together. I believe the leftovers I've left in the break room have been cleared out so, I guess it didn't totally lose out from the lack of glaze. I think I may have to delve more into desserts, it's one of those things I don't personally eat, but folks generally like. I apparently do quite well with what desserts I produce but I'd never know as I don't ever appreciate them myself. Well I'm sure my bento eaters will appreciate it, we'll see what madness I can come up with.

It's nice to go back to a healthier menu. This was actually a very simple menu to produce, no pre-work the day before, kind of refreshing considering some of my recent meals have taken quite an orchestration to get done.

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