Size Matters


Back in the day, before Perdue and Tysons, I was always impressed with large poultry.  “Look and this big ole, juicy chicken” I would triumph to my husband in grocery stores, who frankly didn’t care until it was cooked and on the table 🙂  I guess I was hungrier then, young and active.


In fact, everyone I knew liked large poultry, roasts, steaks, vegetables and fruits; big was a good thing and with our lifestyles, we needed it.  I guess that’s why “they” started GM-ing and hormone-ing everything when families were larger and most of the population earned their living with physical labor and were tired AND hungry at the end of the day.  “People need to eat!, “they” said. “Let’s experiment and see just how big we can grow things!”  “No one in America should ever be hungry!”  “Three meals a day!”  “Balanced!”   And stuff like that.


Jessie “Jane”.


Anyway.  I got over my obsession with large poultry on a trip back to the States for home leave when, for the first time and the last, I bought a huge Perdue “oven-stuffer” that was layered with half it’s weight of dis-gusting, dis-colored fat!  I almost heaved as I was removing slab after slab of greasy chicken lard.   Bleah!  I almost heaved again 🙁


Around about this time, I started “cooking cute.”  I discovered bento boxes and Japanese cuisine.  Fresh, flavorful ingredients in adequate but reasonable portions.  Thank you Japanese people!  Since then, no matter what I cook and serve, ingredients and their size matter.  Tiny, sweet turnips!  Baby bok choy!  The baby-er the better!


This is a stir fry I’ve made several times using a variety of  greens and it’s good each time. Try to find hakurei turnips if you can.  I didn’t, but I did find these vegetables at the fabulous Asian food store in New Jersey.  Going back tomorrow to pick up 6 cases of wine and take another turn through the Asian market  😉


What is wrong with the garlic here?!  Maybe they do not adore garlic in Pennsylvania? With good reason.


I thought the garlic in Germany was bizarre!

Teriyaki Cornish Game Hens

3 cornish game hens (not Perdue nor Tysons), spatchcocked

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp sesame oil

Season the hens with salt and pepper, then rub with olive oil.  Preheat the oven to 425 F, place the hens, skin side up in a roaster with rack, then roast for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and sesame oil to boiling, stirring until the the sugar is dissolved.  Take off the flame and set aside.

Brush the hens with the teriyaki sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Brush again with the sauce, turn the birds skin side down and brush the insides, then return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Turn the birds skin side up, brush a final time and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Bok Choy and Turnip Stir Fry

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

6 small turnips, cut into chunks

Salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, slivered

2 bay leaves

3/4 lb baby bok choy, halved and leaf tips trimmed

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a wok, add the turnip chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Stir fry until brown, then add the garlic and bay leaves and continue to stir fry until the garlic is aromatic.

Stir in the bok choy, stir frying for about a minute, add the vinegar, then cover and steam for about 4-5 minutes.











About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Size Matters

  1. Cecile says:

    We raised chickens and grew garlic at our farm. I’ll never know if our chickens had a layer of extra fat ’cause we used them for laying hens and never ate them. (We gave the away when they got too old.) However, they were free-range, so they moved around a lot. I doubt they were ‘fat’. I can’t say the things about our pigs – they had constant access to feed – and left-overs – and they DID have a good-sized layer of fat. Tell me, what did you mean about garlic in PA and Germany – how are they different. Are they bigger in size? I know we grew Elephant Garlic, which we’d plant in the fall – and they were b.i.g. They were also flavorful and juicy!!

  2. Mad Dog says:

    Teriyaki sounds very good! I’m a big fan of corn fed chicken and the very best I’ve ever had has been home raised and loved – the flavour was much better than any shop bought free range bird. I bet Cecilia’s chickenare excellent. …and, of course, I’m a big fan of Joni 😉

  3. Your chickens were just normally fat Cecile and pigs are supposed to have fat layers, the better to eat pork bellies, my dear 🙂 When roasting chickens are as fat as pigs, that can’t be good. A fat chicken is good but there shouldn’t be pounds of fat on it. All the garlic I seem to find here is wimpy and dried out, with out that aromatic smell and fresh taste. I hate it. I guess I have to get some elephant garlic from Wegman’s but, although better than what I’ve got, it’s not what I want 🙁

  4. I’d find that gross too if I had to remove all that fat. I find the chicken from Perdue and Tyson and the like tasteless. Too much brine and not enough chicken. And I’m not a fan of paying for water and brine! What this country does to the food supply, honestly, stop experimenting and just give us good food. Thank goodness for the local farms.

  5. AnotherDish says:

    Welcome back to America. But I do love Big Yellow Taxi and your recipe for teryiaki cornish game hens!

  6. Well, you’ve certainly got some beautiful light where you live..that shot of the halved baby bok choi looks wonderful…

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