Read an Excerpt
From Chapter One: The Crew of the U.S.S. Voyager
Chief Cook and Morale Officer
Straightening out what would become my galley and organizing the pots, pans, and various utensils, I knew that I must take Captain Janeway's admonitions to heart. I would be assiduous in my assignment. The crew's needs were my needs. I would live to serve meals, that is.
But before I could begin preparing the dishes the crew would love, I needed to understand more about them, about what they liked to eat. So I decided to conduct a series of interviews, a kind of "away mission" to each crew member's palate. On this journey I came to learn many things, not only about the crew's tastes in food and things like traditional holiday meals and the concept of comfort food, but also about the crew as individuals. They shared with me their hobbies and hopes, their peccadilloes and pet peeves, their noble and varied reasons for being in Starfleet or the Maquis, and a little more than I wanted to know about different gastrointestinal ailments. It was an illuminating experience that I would later draw upon in many ways. As a chef, I could surprise them with a taste of home tucked away inside some alien morsel. And as morale officer, I now knew a little bit more about them, which would help me reach out in a personal way when they needed support and kindness. All in all, it was an inspiriting, stimulating, and very productive mission.
Garret Wang's Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
My character, Ensign Kim, loves twentieth-century Earth cuisine. It's fortunate for me that I like it, too. This is one of my favorite recipes because it combines my favorite spinach rotelle with sun-dried tomatoes (I like the imported kind for a treat every once in a blue moon) and fresh chicken breasts. This is a light dish that also makes a great luncheon entreé on a buffet table. Serves approximately four.
1 16-ounce package spinach or multicolored rotelle pasta (largest size)
2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts (skinless is optional)
16 ounces pesto sauce (packaged, from the refrigerator section of supermarket)
6-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
grated Romano cheese, if desired
While pasta is cooking in boiling water, slice chicken breasts into long bite-sized pieces. Coat the cooking surface of a 12-inch skillet with olive oil, add garlic powder or crushed garlic cloves, and heat. When pasta is done, drain and set aside. Cook sliced chicken in the olive oil and garlic over medium heat, turning frequently until chicken pieces just turn brown. Do not burn. Drain sun-dried tomatoes and slice into thin lengthwise pieces. Combine pasta, cooked chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto sauce in a large mixing bowl or salad bowl. Toss thoroughly, cover lightly, and place in refrigerator. Serve well chilled. You may add some more olive oil and Romano cheese. This dish goes very well with a pinot grigio or Soave.
Ensign Kim's Rice Noodles in Milk
It didn't take me long to figure out that Ensign Kim is more of a nosher than an eater, but he goes for this dish in a big way. The noodles I use are actually slivered and pressed wokky intestines, and the "milk" is sap from the Pyrinthian blacto weed. Mr. Kim is not aware of this. In your galley, you can prepare a 16-ounce package of store-bought rice noodles from the Asian-foods section of your supermarket or any Asian-foods specialty store according to the package instructions. Drain, remove the portion you want to use, then refrigerate the rest.
In a microwavable bowl, add the noodles you want to use, enough milk (skim, reduced fat, or whole) to cover the noodles completely, a small pat of butter (optional), and maybe a dash of garlic salt, and heat on high in your microwave for a minute. Test to see if it is heated through, and if not heat for another 15 seconds, making sure that the milk doesn't boil over or form a skin. You can also serve with cinnamon instead of garlic salt.
Another recipe I prepare for Harry is Moo-Goo Ngow, my variation of a traditional Asian dish.
1 minced garlic clove
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds round steak, cut in small pieces
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 1/2 cups beef bouillon
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons water
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or, better, a wok or electric wok, until it's hot; then add garlic. Reduce heat and sauté about 2 minutes. Remove garlic. Add the steak and onion and sauté over an easy flame, stirring constantly until the meat is brown. Add the broth and mushrooms, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Make a thin paste by combining the soy sauce, water, and cornstarch; let it thicken for about a minute, then pour it over the stir-fried meat and mix it in. Keep stirring until the liquid thickens up. Serve meat and sauce over rice. Serves 4. Wow!
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