Friday, December 11, 2015

Fried Chicken

A long stretch of low-fat meals left me hungry for fat and savory. Half-remembering Dooky Chase's legendary fried chicken from her Seventies cook book, I dry rubbed several bone-in thighs with cayenne, powdered garlic, and thyme. While the meat got up to room temperature, I beat an egg and set out a bowl of flour for breading. Granulated flour was what was on hand. 

The egg looked insufficient, and remembering Chase's cream, I substituted sour cream. It beat into a thick gel that clung to the raw meat and held the flour well.

I heated a generous depth of olive oil in a small enameled cast iron saucepan, frying two thighs one at a time hot and fast, setting them into a medium oven to coast to a finish. A third thigh I browned and set aside for the next day.

The leftover oil made a good base for a Paul Prudhomme-style fast roux. I heated the oil, added enough granulated flour to thicken it, let the mixture brown, and then seared half an onion, a long stalk of celery, and one of the largest green peppers that is not green pepper ordinaire, all diced, in what Prudhomme calls Cajun napalm. When the vegetables were nearly soft, I added boxed low-sodium chicken stock by the quarter cup, letting the stock reduce between additions. The technique is Prudhomme's way to accelerate the cooking of the vegetables. 

I added the half-cooked chicken thigh, cut up into pieces the size of a walnut, and threw in the bone and another cup of stock for good measure. Twenty minute's simmer was all it took to generate a workday gumbo served over leftover rice.

The egg-sour cream and granulated flour breading produced an unprecedented crust. It was thick, flaky, and held up well in the oven. I topped both the first meal and the next day's with minced scallions.


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Upgrade


Someone commented that green pepper ordinaire is just too ordinaire. I've been experimenting with substituting peppers with more ooomph, and the payoff is substantial. Wear disposable gloves and remember to stay away from your eyes.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Morgue

I learned this term from an old-school print journalist. It means a file of material that is no longer immediately relevant. Most of my digital files include a morgue of  contacts and discussions.

Nearly any category of possession benefits from having a morgue. Housekeeping is much easier when dead inventory doesn't clog things in constant use. A fast or slow moving tote for thrift shop donations is as good a morgue as any, especially when it lives close to the exit.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bread Is Convenience Food

Bratwurst is convenience food, too, as is canned sauerkraut. Put the three together with some choice mustard, and by the time the sausage is heated, you have a fine, simple lunch for a fraction of the time and money that junk would cost.


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Redneck Design

A music documentary included a memorable shot of the bed of a pickup truck. Mounted on a vertical two by four just behind the driver's door was a heavy duty zinc-coated cola opener.


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