Sunday, May 07, 2017

Whole30: Day 8

Posting a day late again, which I think is fine: means I had a nice evening the night before that went until late. Yesterday, that time was spent not going to an art show (whiny So Cal voice: it was coooooooold) and instead staying in and making Thai green curry chicken for dinner. I’ve been wanting to make Thai green curry since I went to Thailand three years ago and took a cooking class where we made it from scratch (ok, I have no desire to recreate THAT part: that shit is hard). When I got back, I immediately went to Surfas and bought green curry paste and… put it in my pantry, to languish there for three years. 

It languishes still: turns out there’s sugar in it. 

I still want to use it, because the ingredient list is what we made in Thailand, but I had to find a sugar-free version, and that, at least, I was able to do. So last night, we had coconut green curry chicken with bok choy and snowpeas, and tonight is going to be a Serious Eats InstantPot chicken chile verde recipe, so that’s three nights in a row with new recipes, two of them involving green chicken.

Also, last night we were watching a dog through Rover. I will say this for Rover: the only dog owners that have ever contacted me have the CUTEST DOGS. They're little and adorable and I've loved the two that have stayed with us. Last night's dog was named Maisie, a sweet mop of a dog that was just a little larger than our dog Ellie. 

Maisie and Ellie with their respective toys, looking at the camera
in a rare moment of photogeneity (I don't think that's a word, but it should be)

Overall, the day was a pretty lazy one. I had a follow-up facial in the morning (I mentioned previously that my skin was kind of broken out, and I attribute this to the facial I had on Day 1; when I told the aesthetician what happened, she urged me to come back so she could fix it, hence the follow-up; no, I didn't have to pay for it). On the way home I picked up some nitro cold brew from Bodega in Santa Monica--yes THAT Bodega, the wine bar; they have a coffee shop during the day, now--and once home, cooked all the bacon we had left, some for right then and some to crumble into salads later. And then I sat at the kitchen table reading the internet until I realized I was so hungry that MUST EAT NOW. Breakfast was a hurried affair because I had to get out the door, so I didn't eat much then and snack bacon only goes so far, so around 2:30 I made egg salad just to have a snack to tide me over while I made an actual lunch. And then, once I'd eaten, I just started looking at recipes for dinner and making a list for Whole Foods. (I spent a TON of money at Whole Foods again. $50 or so was just for expensive condiments: fancy olive oil, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar, smoked sea salt... in fairness, I DO make a lot of salad dressing, and WILL use all of those--champagne vinegar was on the list because I just finished the last bottle!--but I might've gone a bit overboard.)

How I felt: Good--no headaches!--except for becoming mentally murderous at 2:30 because I hadn't eaten enough.

Breakfast: A rushed hardboiled egg, then blueberries and cold brew in the car on the way to my appointment at 9:30. A couple pieces of snack bacon (that's a thing, right?) and nitro cold brew when I got back a little after 11.

Lunch: Appetizer: hardboiled egg mashed with mayonnaise because I LOVE egg salad and we have all these hardboiled eggs on hand these days, and also I was going to lose my shit if I didn't eat something right then and there. Once I'd taken the edge off, I made a big salad with spinach, arugula, half an avocado, a piece of crumbled bacon, chopped kalamata olives, another hardboiled egg, tomato, and a vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, olive oil, minced shallot, mustard and mayonnaise. (And I learned that champagne vinegar DOES taste different than regular ol' Red Star White Wine Vinegar, hence going overboard at Whole Foods a couple hours later.)

Dinner: An adapted Kitchn recipe for Thai green curry chicken that was only ok: it could be I didn't love it because of the changes I made, or because of the green curry paste itself, or because it's just an ok recipe. It had decent bones, but I want to go read more recipes in this vein and try again, because I have these memories of green curry from Thailand that just... it has to be possible to recreate a semblance of that. This didn't do it. Recipe below so I remember, but be advised that I have no intention of following it ever again.

Oh, we also had some roasted sweet potato to add more diversity to the menu. It was delicious.

Sweet potato, left; curry, right; sparkling water, top;
not pictured, The Other Guys on the teevee

Coconut Thai green curry chicken

1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken, half breasts and half thighs, sliced into bite size-ish pieces
1 can of coconut milk, unshaken
green curry paste
cooking oil (we have sunflower or safflower oil now, because it's Whole30-compliant)
fresh ginger, minced
a cup and a half of snowpeas, de-stringed and roughly chopped
2 heads of baby bok choy, roughly chopped and then washed (way easier in that order)
some Penzeys Now Curry Powder
8 oz chicken stock (maybe this is what messed it up?) because it didn't look like we had enough liquid for the chicken AND the veggies
chopped fresh cilantro and green onion for garnish

1. Heat cooking oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat (note: I think this is too high, but I've never done this before what do I know) and then add curry paste and cook until you see that it seems to be burning on the bottom of the pot and isn't really cooking the way you'd expect so hurriedly add the solids from the coconut milk to bring things under control. Add the minced ginger then, too, because you just realized that this recipe didn't actually call for that, it must've been a different one, but hey you already have it what could it hurt, now is probably a good time for it.

2. Add chicken and stir to combine, then add the water from the can of coconut milk. Then add a bunch of the Penzeys curry powder, because it looks like you should've used all of that 4 oz jar of green curry paste but you didn't and I guess you have to saute it? but it's too late for that now so let's go with more different curry. 

3. Lower heat so the mixture is simmering and start prepping your vegetables. Start by de-stringing the snowpeas and then stop part way through because it's taking forever and this is dumb because they require less cook time, so start tearing and chopping and washing the bok choy so that's ready, then go back to the snowpeas. Dump in the chicken stock at some point, now that you've seen that the available liquid will probably not be enough for all the veggies you're currently prepping. Definitely do NOT use the coconut cream sitting there on the counter that you purchased for coffee but it turns out you probably won't be able to consume it all that way. After 15 minutes or so, when the chicken is looking almost done, add the bok choy and stir in so it starts to soften.

4. Realize that there's TOO much liquid in there now and wish it'd reduce, but then everything will be way overcooked. Try anyway, and overcook the chicken and the bok choy; add the snow peas just a couple minutes before serving so at least those are fine. Taste the broth and add coconut aminos to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro and green onion; serve.

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