January 30, 2014 § 6 Comments
As Superbowl fervor has grown and game day snack recipe ideas are trumpeted across the land, I cannot get my mind off of chicken wings. I have no idea how football and chicken wings became so dearly intertwined, but they certainly are and we have been hearing about wings nonstop for the last month. How could I not fall prey to this tempation? Two weeks ago I made a batch of chicken wings that was very well received. They were marinated, baked, then broiled and they were a fine, healthful rendition of hot wings. But my itch, it was not scratched. My true desire was to fry wings. So inconvenient, so smelly, so time consuming. Today, as I type I have a slight sheen of grease on my forehead, my hair smells like fry oil, and I have a smile on my face. Beside me sits a sheet tray with row upon row of beautiful fried chicken wings, cooling. I haven’t even eaten these wings yet and I know it was totally worth the trouble.
Sometimes we cook to relax, to recall, or to meditate. For me, frying chicken is all of those things – the ultimate in comfort cooking. You need to stay right there, stand by your stove and watch the oil bubble and the chicken turn golden. You can’t walk away and help the kid get that thing down from that place, or write an email. Must stay with chicken. The sound of the gurgling oil is kind of mesmerizing, and when you lift the chicken from the pan, if all has gone well, it looks just like store bought. I find that strangely satisfying. For years my husband has tried to talk me out of frying chicken at home. We have a few very decent fried chicken joints in our neighborhood, why bother going through all of this effort? Our little house smells like a fry basket by the time I’m done, and we have to open the windows, and close off the bedrooms. But I will not be dissuaded. Where is the love in fried chicken that somebody else made? Accept this chicken as a token of my love, light a scented candle and quit yer moaning. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2011 § 3 Comments
When the sun sets at 4 o’clock and you’re inner compass is wonky, something has to be done. For me, that thing has been to make stock, the foundation for all things delicious in winter cooking. Making stock is restorative on many fronts. It’s simple, which relieves my brain. It makes my house smell good, which makes it feel more like a cozy haven and less like a prison run by grade schoolers. And it allows me to stockpile… that word is so appropriate…which will relieve untold amounts of stress in the future.
August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
The dish I’m writing about is well-documented in the blogosphere. Google ‘Zuni Cafe Chicken with Bread Salad’ and you’ll see. I’ve been trawling the internet for nearly an hour, looking for a blog post to link to that describes this dish the way I cooked it tonight, and I haven’t found one. So I need to write one, because I hope you make this dinner, and I hope you make it JUST LIKE THIS. This is essentially a warm bread salad – Croutons of the Gods, tossed with warm greens and crowned with golden roasted chicken.
A little background… One evening last winter I cooked my usual roast chicken. On this fateful night I took the very good advice of cookbook author Dorie Greenspan and placed a few slices of baguette under the chicken. The bread soaked up the juices from the chicken, caramelized, and transformed into crispy but chewy pieces of Nirvana. It’s like roasted chicken skin, but bread. “This is naughty,” my husband declared with a gleeful smile. And there hasn’t been a chicken roasted in this house without Naughty Bread since. Cholesterol, wha…? « Read the rest of this entry »
August 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
My family spent this weekend camping near Mount Rainier. It was dry and it was sunny and I was so so grateful for that. I’m a reluctant camper at best, and a little sunshine helps a whole lot. We packed light – I was determined to keep it simple. What’s better than a hot dog cooked on a stick over a roaring fire, really? My one concession to complex campfire cookery: Rabbit Stew. It sounds so rustic, just the sort of thing one should make when braving the wilds of a National Forest Service campground (beetles and skeeters and pit toilets, oh my!).
I ate a lot of rabbit when I was in my twenties and just starting to get interested in cooking. It’s delicious meat – flavorful but lean. But something happened after I had children. I think it was reading all of those children’s books to my daughters – ‘rabbits’ became ‘bunnies’…sweet lil’ bunnies with twitching noses and soft fluffy tails, hop-hop-hopping down the bunny trail. What kind of mother would I be, devouring a bunny? I assumed that my kids would object to cooking and eating a rabbit for dinner. Well, I was wrong. Turns out they think with their stomachs first, just like their mom and dad. Heartless little gourmands. A few weeks ago they had their first tastes of rabbit and enthusiastically devoured much bunny. Although, they preferred it if I called the meat ‘hare’, not ‘bunny’ while they got used to the idea. So, now that I knew where they stood on the matter I was eager to cook rabbit again. If you’re going camping this summer, or just like the idea of cooking up a batch of stew over your backyard fire pit, read on for some tips. This technique could be used for any number of meat/vegetable combinations. But bunny is best. « Read the rest of this entry »