Tag Archives: meat

What I’m Cooking Today: Royal Purple

My CSA is off this week, and I just ran out of vegetables! After a fun boot camp class at the gym, I was totally craving Brussels sprouts (I’m weird, I know), but Whole Foods only had ones imported from Mexico. Boo! So I had to improvise. I picked up some California-grown organic purple cauliflower and broccoli to roast, and made a Fulton Valley chicken breast with pan gravy, from a Rachael Ray (hey, she’s not so bad IN PRINT) magazine recipe.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli
Preheat oven to 400-425
Cut cauliflower and broc into even sized pieces, mix with small amount of olive oil (I used 1 tsp) and sea salt. Roast!

That’s it! I roasted them for about 30 minutes – just enough to the point where they were fork-tender with browned edges.

Chicken Breast with Pan Gravy (original recipe here)

You need:
Chicken breast
Shallots, minced
Wine (white or red, doesn’t matter)
Stock or broth (I used a veg bouillon cube – way less packaging! – mixed with boiling water)
Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400
Salt and pepper both sides of one chicken breast (the one I used was just under 6 oz)
Heat up one tsp olive oil over medium heat in a pan (I used stainless steel). When pan is hot, add chicken and sear one side for about 2 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it easily releases from the pan and doesn’t stick. Flip and sear the other side for another minute or two. Throw the whole pan in the oven for approx 15-18 minutes, depending on the the thickness of the breast.

Remove pan from oven and set on the stovetop over medium heat. Don’t forget the pan handle is hot!! I use a silicone handle sleeve, but before I got that, I burned myself many times. D’oh! Set the chicken aside on a plate to rest. Meanwhile, add the minced shallots (amount to your liking – I used a bunch!) to the pan and saute for a minute or two. Add wine (I used 2 oz of cab) and cook until slightly reduced, then add broth (I used about 1/3 cup), bring to a boil and let reduce. Add the chicken back to the pan to warm up a little. Serve with the sauce spooned over the chicken – and over the veggies, too, if you’d like!

This was a very purple meal, between the cauliflower and the wine reduction! Mmm, Anthocyanins. Nutritious, pretty low-calorie, and easy to make!

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The Great Meat Debate

I was a vegetarian for a long time, starting when I was 13. My friend, Jen, said that she thought if she couldn’t kill an animal herself, she shouldn’t eat it, and I was easily influenced. My Dad also went vegetarian around the same time for health reasons, so it was an easy decision, and my little sister (now a pescetarian and my go-to sustainable resource) followed suit. Finally, when I was a junior in college, I started craving chicken. I don’t know if I needed the protein, or what it was, but I made the decision to end my vegetarian days. I’d be making plans to go out to dinner with friends, and when asked where I wanted to go, I’d say, “Somewhere that has chicken.” My friends were like, “Janet… everywhere has chicken.” Heh.

But until recently, I never thought that much about where my meat comes from. I eat red meat rarely (heh, no pun intended), though I like it. Mainly I buy chicken and turkey, but I had no idea about the horrendous conditions many of these animals were raised in. Honestly, it took the media attention around California’s recent Prop 2 to really enlighten me and make me think about where my meat is coming from. I’d been buying organic, “free range” chicken for awhile, but usually from Whole Foods, who sells Rosie Chicken, and I’d heard from friends who read The Omnivore’s Dilemma that the chickens are not actually living such a lovely life. What’s a meat-eating girl to do? I’ve been trying to research humanely-raised meat lately, and it can be really frustrating. I came across this great site, The Ethicurian, which is a good resource for finding sustainable, ethical food. Still, it’s not easy. I’ve been shopping at Bi-Rite for the last few weeks, as they carry meat from Marin Sun Farms, which produces pasture-raised livestock. And I’ve been buying chicken breasts there that come from Fulton Valley Farms after reading this post about their chicken farm. For turkey, I’ve been buying Diestel or Applegate Farms – Applegate has a few products that are Certified Humane, though they seem to only be their pork products – and I’ve been buying Niman Ranch Bacon (which Bi-Rite sells by the slice – sweet!). I also ordered a special heritage turkey for Thanksgiving – though it has to come all the way from Kansas. The great local/organic/humane debate rages on. I’ve been trying hard to research all these companies and farms, but there isn’t always perfect information out there. My sister says a good thing to do is to ask if you can visit a farm, but I haven’t gone this far at this point. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the whole situation. Just because they aren’t certified, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t humane, but there are also a lot of places that claim to be humane and ethical, but really aren’t. I don’t really know enough yet. I’m not willing to give up meat at this point, because my body craves it, but I’m doing my best to make smart, ethical decisions. I’ll continue to research and post about this topic and I’d love to hear from others who also care about this issue! Any great resources out there that I don’t know about?

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