Attention, Citizens of Richmond!
Be very grateful I did not invite you over to partake in this meal with me!
Meal No. 22: Coconut Poached Chicken; Watercress and Chile Oil; Rice Noodle Cakes; Green Tea Shakes
I hope no one got complacent after two good meals, because this was Not Good. Oh, where to begin?
So many things went wrong; some of them our fault and some of them Martha’s. First of all, the recipe called for two pounds of skinless, bone-in chicken breast. The Husband was dispatched with a list, and somehow he ended up bringing home drumsticks, a fact that I didn’t realize until I pulled the bag of chicken out of the refrigerator at 8:30 on a Sunday night. Now, I will not fault him because he did the shopping at the beginning of a nasty bout of stomach flu, and perhaps he was delirious or rendered blind to my handwriting.
Because The Husband was still recuperating when I made this, I only made a half batch since I knew I would have to go it alone. I contemplated inviting a friend or two over, but since that would involve vacuuming I decided not to. You may thank me when you see me.
The chicken was poached in some unsweetened coconut milk, which was seasoned with sliced ginger, scallions, and garlic. After the chicken cooked, it was removed, the sauce was reduced and then some fish sauce and lime juice were added to the liquid. Unfortunately, the sauce had a very unpleasant grey tone, probably from the dark meat chicken. I decided while eating this that I really don’t care for the texture of drumsticks. I can’t even describe it, but it seems too chewily flesh-like. I have probably just ensured that I will never eat a drumstick again, now that I have typed that. The grey sauce was really not working for me, and it had a viscous texture even though I had strained it. Just writing this out makes me feel a tad queasy.
The color of the sauce and meat texture are not Martha’s fault, since we didn’t follow directions. However, the sauce itself was too bland even though I had anticipated this and doubled the seasonings! It needed more flavor, like a red curry paste. And to not be viscous!
I don’t think I had ever eaten watercress on purpose before; it may have been mixed in a salad or two that I ate once upon a time. So, I was surprised it tasted spicy, like a radish. Therefore, it seems odd to me that it was served with a dressing of heated oil with garlic and chile in it (Martha gives the option of jalapeno, serrano pepper, or red chile flakes). So, it was spicy stuff on spicy leaves, much like the redundant coffee affogato from last month. I would have preferred the heat in the poaching broth.
Rice Noodle Cakes:
These involved cooking some rice noodles, then mixing them with beaten eggs, bean sprouts, ginger, and scallions. I think I added too many noodles, as I had nearly twice as many pancakes as it was supposed to make. Martha said to pan fry them in 1/4 cup oil, which was waaaay too much! Look how greasy they were!
The second batch was a bit more edible, as the first batch soaked up most of the oil. That said, the flavor was ok–like a noodle-y, gingery egg foo yung. They might work for a super kooky brunch, if you add some shrimp or chicken for more flavor, but they didn’t do much for the entrée and spicy salad.
The dessert was a milkshake made with green tea ice cream, milk, and a bunch of mint. Since there is no lactose-friendly version of green tea ice cream that I know about, we skipped this one. I was still hungry, after not finishing my chicken or noodle cake, so I had extra salad, which was hardly any fun at all.
Not all of that is Martha’s fault, but her bland sauce, greasy noodles, and weird salad are. In fact, typing that up brought to mind the greasy Swedish fest from Winter and the Horrible Salad streak.
Chicken: D (it would probably be a C –with a breast)
Rice Noodles: C-
By the way, while cooking this for me, I made a homemade chicken soup for The Husband. I didn’t use a recipe, and it turned out awesome! I boiled some drumsticks with a shallot, celery, and carrots, and added parsley, chervil, French thyme, and a chicken rub mixture, then added some noodles at the end. My grade: A
Take that, Martha! 🙂