1 Technique – Infinite Meals or 1TIM
1 Technique – Infinite Meals (1TIM) is a new series that teaches the versatility of one simple cooking technique that can be adapted to virtually every cuisine, diet or taste. In the series I will demonstrate how to prepare a complete, healthy meal using the same technique without out ever getting bored. Each recipe will contain at least one protein, one vegetable and a starch.
The technique? Essentially it is stir – fry. Or is it a sauté? You know, it actually combines elements found in virtually every culture. The one thing that is required is a well stocked pantry especially spices and sauces.
Protein – in the common vernacular “protein” is usually called meat. However “meat” refers only to mammals like cow, pig and sheep. Chicken and turkey are poultry, duck is fowl and fish is well, fish. Since this series will be featuring all of this I will use the more formal term “protein.”
Vegetable – pretty much anything that starts life as a seed. Sometimes I may use just one vegetable and sometimes a blend. Most commonly I will use California Blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) as it is very neutral, it lends it self to many cuisines. You can substitute with what ever vegetables floats your boat.
Starch – perhaps I would be better off calling this “grain” but potatoes are not a grain and occasionally I will use potatoes. More often than not I will be using rice but I will also make dishes with Udon, pasta, quinoa are any number of healthy grains.
Seasonings – This is where infinity comes into play. In one recipe I might be using Greek spices and in the next North African. It is good to invest in dried and fresh herbs, I suggest growing some to keep them on hand. Sauces of all types are also good. Now and then I will include recipes for how to make sauces from scratch but for the most part I will try to use bottled sauces and spice blends so as to keep the recipes simple for the busy family on the go. I use a base seasoning for most foods that I blend myself with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Technique – though there will be variations from time-to-time here is how each recipe will unfold. In a pot I prepare the starch according to package directions and set it aside as I prepare the rest of the meal, usually the starch will be boiled – I always add a bay leaf and salt to any starch I boil. In a skillet I will sauté the protein seasoned with my base seasoning and/or the theme of the recipe. At some point the protein will be removed and replaced with the vegetables. They receive a quick sauté, just enough to heat them through but not make them soft. Eventually everything will be united either in the skillet or on the plate.
Now applying these elements, here is how a meal could take variation.
The foundation recipe: Sauté a chicken breast. Remove the protein and in the same pan saute California Blend veggies. In the skillet add some precooked rice and toss until heated through.
Tex Mex – Sauté a chicken breast seasoned with base seasoning and chili powder. Remove the protein and in the same pan saute California Blend veggies seasoned with base seasoning and cumin. In the skillet add some precooked rice, season with chili powder and toss until heated through. Garnish with lime wedges.
Chinese – Sauté a chicken breast seasoned with base seasoning. Remove the protein and in the same pan saute the California Blend veggies seasoned with base seasoning and Chinese Five Spice. In the skillet add some precooked rice, season with soy sauce and toss until heated through. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Cajun – Sauté a chicken breast seasoned with blackening seasoning. Remove the protein and in the same pan saute the California Blend veggies seasoned with Cajun seasoning. In the skillet add some precooked rice, season with Cajun seasoning and toss until heated through. Garnish with a sprinkling of Cajun seasoning.
By substituting the chicken for say, salmon you again add variation. You could replace the California Blend on the Southwestern with canned corn and a few pinto beans or the rice in the Chinese with noodles or add a can of gumbo tomatoes and okra to the Cajun.
By mastering this simple technique we are free to explore the world of flavor. So keep an eye out for my 1TIM Recipes.