New Dehydrator New Possibilities

So my mother and only neighbor just bought a dehydrator which I am to share with her. This is an industrial size commercial dehydrator and it has something like 6 very large trays. I have always loved the machines because they make one of the most delicious primal things: jerky. However, my mother brought out a thing from my past that I had forgotten and never realized that I love. As a child we had a smaller dehydrator that somehow got lost in a move or broke or something…not sure. Anyways, when we had the thing, we would make jerky by the lb and for some reason my mother always thought to make dried tomatoes. I always thought they were weird and tasteless (I probably never actually ate them).
On a trip today with my father, he produced a small tinfoil satchel of jerky for me as well as a pouch of the small dried red chip like creations my mother had spent all night on. I tenatively reached in and popped half of one in my mouth. I must not have ever tried them because what I got was a flavorful crunchy and mouthwatering treat. I was fascinated by these simple little creations. All they were was roma tomatoes, salt and pepper that had somehow dried up into a concentrated burst of tomato flavor. They were amazing enough that I was more saddened by the end of the package of tomato than I was of the end of the package of jerky. By the end of the day, I have probably eaten 10 tomatoes which all in all is not bad but also not great. I cannot make a habit of this but I have also just bought a huge bag of roma tomatoes for my mother to dry. I am getting so excited for more!

Going a little Thaiwaiian

1 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 chicken leg (10 to 12 ounce), cut into drumstick and thigh and skin discarded
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, 1 or 2 tough outer leaves discarded and root end trimmed
1 (2- by 1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) dried chile (preferably Thai), halved lengthwise and seeds discarded

This recipe is from and it is only slightly modified by me. I cut up a whole chicken so that I would have left overs and then did the sauce according to the recipe.

I used a mixture of Thai seasonings which were the same as the ones in the recipe but they came out of a nice neat tube from the Produce section of the grocery store. This is a convienient way of doing this because they are fresher and it stays in the fridge for a week or two after opening. I added a touch of soy sauce to my chicken broth because it makes it perfect.
I added some onion and some extra garlic to the sauce before adding the chicken.
I cooked the chicken slowly in the sauce after searing it in the pan and it was fall off the bone tender.

I made some rice to add to the meal and sauteed up some swiss chard as well as some beet greens. It was a fully satisfying meal. I loved the chicken. It was sweet with a really light coconut flavor. Fantastic and I will be making this again.

Lemon Feta Chicken with Acini de Pepe Pasta and Spinach

So I love Rotissere chicken that you buy at the store. It is a quick chicken meal that I can pick up and throw something together at the house. I don’t buy them often because it seems extravagant but when it comes down to it, you can’t buy and roast a chicken most of the time for that price.
I had most of a chicken left over from a night or so ago and I wanted to use it before it went bad so I came up with this.

1 or most of one whole roasted chicken
1 cup acini de pepe or couscous or small pasta
1-2 cups washed spinach
1/2 juice lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese *reduced fat for us*
Basil fresh or dried
Either greek seasonings or use a mixture of the following
lemon pepper, basil, rosemary, small bits of lavender, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano
green onions small bunch cut down to the whites
Cucumbers scored with a fork cut into slices

I shredded the chicken, took all the bones and skin and threw them into a pot of water with the bottom parts of the green onion and basil. Pesto also works well for this because it has other flavors in it such as the pine nuts and parmesean that add a depth to the broth you will make out of this mixture. When you have boiled it down you will use this stock to cook your pasta or couscous with. This not only uses the entire bird but the pieces of the vegetables as well. Your pasta or couscous will be more flavorful for it.

Once you have the broth set aside, you take your shredded chicken and mix it with the lemon juice, herbs, mustard, salt, pepper, and the feta. Place this mixture in the oven to allow the chicken to reheat and the feta to melt a bit. 350 degrees for about 20 min should do. It might even take less time depending on how much chicken you have left over.
Steam your spinach lightly but not thoroughly.

Once everything is cooked, to plate it, you place a bed of the spinach down and place your cucumber on one side. Get a round implement so that you can form the pasta into a round cake like shape. Place your chicken on the top just spilling over a bit and place some of the green onion on top for color.