Archive for Aroma

Chicken and Rice Noodles and the danger of cooking with a migraine.

Posted in Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by urbannight

There are all these ways to cook with less oil to make things healthier.  But I’ve discovered a secret.  And I will share it with you.


If you want to properly sauté up onions and garlic, and get the onions close to caramelizing without them starting to char up, you really need to use more oil and not less.  For a veggie that is very strong and bitter, it amazes me that it has enough sugar in it to caramelize when cooking.  I’ve found that I like mine best if I stop just as it is hitting that stage.


SO . . . I started by mincing up three slices of onion and adding a heaping spoon of minced garlic from the jar.  I dumped it into the heating oil and sprinkled with cayenne.  Yes, I use a lot of cayenne.  I love it.  Like I may have mentioned before, it has a lovely sweet mild flavor with heat that comes through otherwise mildly flavored dishes.  And it adds a lovely heat to strongly flavored dishes without altering the flavor.   


The smell of onions and garlic sautéing in olive oil is one of my favorite smells.  Unfortunately, migraines screw with your sense of smell.  Not for everyone, but definitely for me.  You probably don’t really want to know that it smelled like cat piss to me.  I was very unhappy about that. 


While I kept an eye on the minced herbs (because, really, an onion is more of a very large herb than a veggie) I diced up a chicken breast.  It was a lovely chicken breast.  If I had been thinking, I would have taken pictures of my lovely sautéing onions and garlic as well as the chicken breast.  I have, in the past, tried using precooked chicken.  It ends up tasting rather horrible with a terrible texture.  No matter how horrible I feel, if I don’t start from raw chicken breast from the meat counter, it doesn’t turn out right.


Now this is the trick, to not only cook the chicken, but to get it to start to brown up without the onions starting to fry themselves.  I stirred often and let it sit for short bursts and for once managed this trick perfectly.  At this point, I had used no salt at all.  I used a salt-free chicken and poultry seasoning my parents sent me from their last trip to Hawaii.  I added several cups of water and two chicken-flavored bullion cubes.  And the salt goes through the roof.  If I had been thinking, I would have picked up low sodium chicken broth.


I opened a package of rice noodles.  It was in 3 ‘sheets’ for lack of a better description.  I took out two and put the last back in the bag for another time.  Gripping a sheet firmly in each hand, I twist it in the middle to break it in half, slowly and carefully, so not to send bits of rice noodle in every direction.  I have tried cutting it with kitchen sheers but that just made a huge mess.  I stirred the noodles in, covered it, and let it cook until the noodles were done.


By this point, it lost it’s distressingly unpleasant aroma.  It smelled quite good.  It tasted even better.  I could have had two bowls of leftovers.  But I decided to have a second bowl instead.  I would have taken a picture of it today but it just doesn’t look as pretty in a Ziploc bowl as it does in a proper bowl at home.  So no pretty pictures for you.  I really have to do better to remember the camera when I cook up delicious things.

Nose Pollution, Aroma or Smell Pollution?

Posted in Advertising, Food, Life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by urbannight

I wonder what you would call intense and unpleasant odors.  I would think it would be air pollution.  To be clear here, I’m not talking about something obvious.  Not a pig farm.  Not driving into a town with a lot of lumber mills.  This is about smelly stores in the mall. Leather smells lovely.  Until you go into an exlusive leather store and the scent leads to an instant migraine.  Candles can also be pleasant.  Up to the point you enter a small confined space filled with thousands of differently scented candles.

But what about the interior corridors of the mall?  How far should those scents be allowed to extend?  I ask this as I recover from a serious sinus episode triggered last thursday after work.  I walked past the store.  I was not even on the same side of the hall as the store.  I was across the way.  My sinuses instantly filled and began a non-stop process that led to complete congestion and a sore throat and me losing my voice. 

Saturday I realized I no longer could taste anything.  My lemon italian ice just tasted like shaved ice.  No flavor at all.  I realized that my unsatisfying lunch and dinner were due to lack of taste.  Sunday continued along the same linrd.  So I didn’t make anything special.  In fact, Cottage Cheese makes a handy meal when you can’t taste anything.  It is smooth and cold and easy to eat.  Have it with some milk to coat that itchy, dry, painful throat.  It hurt more from coughing than anything else.

This morning was much better.  I could taste food for the first time in days.  I had picked up a biscuit and gravy from the breakfast counter.  Not one of my favorite things.  I find it to be a very bland meal.  I’m not big on country gravy at all.  Pepper.  Lots of spicy black pepper.  I could taste it.  It was wonderful.  It was the best thing to pass over my taste buds since Friday afternoon.  Or was it Thursday?  It seems so long ago.  The day I picked up Indian take away and had Lamb Vindaloo with Indian Rice and Paratha.  I think the only reason I could taste that is because it was hot hot hot.  It was heaven in a red sauce. 

But back to smells, and odors, and aromas, and stench.  When a shop is so overpoweringly smelly that it makes shoppers sick, I think they need to re-examine their ventilation issues.   I’ll avoid that end of the mall from now on.  I really don’t want to go through another sinus infection triggered by smelling perfumed wax.