Amazon is not always the answer

I wrote two years ago about buying food handling gloves from Amazon. That box of 500 lasted until just recently. I have used them regularly while preparing food, but have not been entirely happy with them. They were rather ill-fitting and I couldn’t always get them on fully. That meant if I was chopping something loose floppy glove fingers would get in the way. Rather awkward.

Two years ago I did not fully appreciate what my local Smart & Final had to offer. I have since learned to appreciate the store’s value. For example my Scotch is cheaper there than at BevMo. (And Smart & Final is a lot closer than the nearest BevMo.)

Smart & Final has a good selection of food handling gloves. I bought a box of large gloves, selecting a name brand rather than the S&F house brand. I’m really pleased. They fit well and are highly flexible. I can work much more comfortably wearing them than I ever could with the box I bought from Amazon. The cost for a box of 100 is about the same as what I paid for the box of 500 from Amazon, but the comfort and flexibility they provide make the price difference well worth it.

Sometimes it pays to not reactively default to Amazon.

food handling gloves

chicken piccata

I recently made my own take on chicken piccata.

chicken piccataI sliced a boneless skinless chicken breast lengthwise and pounded it. I mixed Harris Ranch lemon garlic seasoning with flour and dredged the chicken in it. I sprayed my stainless steel Calphalon frying pan with olive oil and cooked the chicken. I put it on a plate in the microwave.

I added cooking sherry to the frying pan and then the juice of a large lemon. I rinsed half a jar of capers and threw that in. I nuked the chicken for a minute, put it plates, and covered it with the mixture from the frying pan.

Marvelous, if you’ll allow me to say so. Certainly Terry loved it.

replacing my Misto

The Misto has been a key kitchen tool for me for a number of years. It allows me to spray olive oil on pans, dishes, or food rather than pouring it from the bottle. I really can’t live without it. The problem is that a Misto only lasts for so long.

MistoOne time I replaced a worn-out Misto with a different brand that had a clear bottle. When I pumped up the pressure so I could spray the olive oil it exploded. All over the kitchen.

Never again. I tried to clean my most recent Misto after it started putting out a flat stream instead of spraying. I soaked it in soapy water and then cleaned it out by spraying clear water through it. It started leaking.

That’s OK. I can only expect a Misto to last a couple of years and that one did.

So I replaced it and have moved on. But I have my Misto, so critical to my cooking.

chicken stir fry with peanut sauce

This recipe for chicken stir fry with peanut sauce violates the basic rules of stir fry in a wok.

stir fryThe instructions say to cook the chicken first, take it out and cut it up, cook the bell pepper and broccoli, make the peanut sauce, and put it in along with the cut-up chicken.

A stir fry guru such as Grace Young will tell you that your wok needs your full attention once it is hot. You can’t go off and do other things once you start cooking in it. So I cut up the chicken and bell pepper first and made the peanut sauce. I used frozen broccoli florets, so that wasn’t an issue. I cooked the chicken, added the bell pepper and then the broccoli. Finally I added the peanut sauce. (I admit that I did turn away to clean the cutting board.)

This turned out really well. The peanut sauce was excellent.

Peruvian baked chicken thighs

Peruvian Baked Chicken ThighsI was channel surfing on a recent afternoon and I punched up PBS Create. They were showing an episode from season 2 of Sara’s Weeknight Meals. Sara was demonstrating Peruvian baked chicken thighs, which looked really good. I looked up the recipe and made it shortly thereafter.

I did a couple of things I don’t normally do. I used bone-in thighs as the recipe specified. I also kept pretty close to the recipe. I don’t always do that. I omitted the cilantro and used red wine vinegar rather than white wine vinegar.

The result was marvelous. Very, very tasty. I didn’t make the green sauce, but I may well do so the next time.

chicken and biscuits

This is straightforward, simple, and serious comfort food.

chicken and biscuitsI had some leftover rotisserie chicken that I needed to use. I took part of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and put it in a saucepan along with water and Penzeys Brady Street seasoning. I turned on the heat and added the chicken. I put everything in a baking dish and topped it with a tube of biscuits from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. I baked it all in the oven per the instructions on the biscuit package.

Talk about a tasty and filling comfort food supper! Terry was more than pleased.

chicken and biscuits

butter garlic herb steak foil packets

Normally the recipes from The Recipe Critic are quite reliable. This one was a mixed bag.

butter garlic herb steak packetsFor the butter mixture I used thyme, garlic, and white pepper. I couldn’t find rosemary, I omitted parsley because Terry doesn’t like it and I don’t think it adds anything anyway, and I always omit salt on general principle. For the steak I used a New York steak on sale at our local grocery store. At Terry’s suggestion I added some cooking port.

The recipe calls for grilling for fifteen minutes. It’s definitely not grilling season, so I broiled the packets in our toaster/broiler oven for a full half hour. The steak was great. Tender, tasty, and delicious with the port. The potatoes and carrots were totally undercooked, virtually raw.

So we sealed up and froze the veggies for another meal sometime. We enjoyed the steak. And in spite of the undercooked veggies, it does make for a nice picture, doesn’t it?