You Gotta Stick The Landing

There has to be a special circle in Hell reserved for people like me who go to the trouble of marinating chicken in whey for 24 hours and then can’t be bothered to make proper fried chicken with it the following evening. I look forward to seeing what delights await me; I imagine it’s like that scene in Being John Malkovich where Malkovich himself goes through the door except that everybody is Paula Deen and they speak only in emoticons. Probably the frowny face ones with the tears, on account of it’s Hell and all.

Keep reading You Gotta Stick The Landing…

Castles Made Of Couscous Melt Into The Cheese, Eventually

I made some pretty good chicken pho last night. Muggy heat notwithstanding, the Kid wanted chicken noodle soup because he wasn’t feeling well. So I dutifully trudged off to the weekly market, procured a bunch of chicken wings, and trudged home. Wings make good stock. Normally, I make, you know, wings with them, saving the tips, and then cook the cooked second and third segments with the raw tips to make a wonderfully flavored but still gelatinous stock later on. This time there was no time, so in the pot they went, whole and unjointed, with all the pho-requisite flavors.

Keep reading Castles Made Of Couscous Melt Into The Cheese, Eventually…

Wangs

And not the computer, neither. I know it’s Sunday, but I just discovered a trove of pictures on the camera that I had completely forgot about, and I thought of you, poor readers, frantically anticipating my next post with the impatient fervor of Ree Drummond praying for Paula Deen to stroke out on national television. So I wrote this because I feel your pain.

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The Pleasure Principle

When I imagined this meal, it was rather a lot like the poulet fermier aux morilles I had back in Paris on the night I got plowed tasting Burgundies at the huge agricultural fair. While that meal was a perfect drunk-thirty chilly March comfort food home run, this iteration ended up being a pretty perfect conclusion to a rainy yet balmy May Saturday.

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A Zoo In My Lovage

By the end of the last post, I had figured out that one of the prominent flavor notes in lovage is quite similar to fenugreek. If you cut some, or, better, tear it, your hands will become insistently perfumed with the persistent aroma of the plant. When people dismiss it with variations of the “it’s like celery” line, that’s a cop-out on par with the “tastes like chicken” descriptor so loosely applied to things as different as mushrooms and alligator. Lovage doesn’t taste like celery, though it approximates it visually, up to a point. It’s much closer to fenugreek, with a whiff of caraway and a citrusy tang.

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My Satisfaction I Exhibit Thus

Though this is another paean to leftovers, hear me out. Everything about this meal was spot on; the various components had been transformed beyond recognition from their original preparations, and to excellent effect.

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I’ve Seen Fire And I’ve Seen Sauce

I do enjoy a vacation from blogging sometimes. There has been no shortage of cooking, both here and in Vermont, but not so much documentation. Among other memorable events, I taught a bread class, cooked for 75 or so people at a charity benefit, and fed my family daily as is my wont, but just wasn’t feeling the writing about it part. With an average of a post every other day for six and a half years, I don’t feel bad about taking a break. So now, as regular content resumes—subject to an impending deadline and how well I stave off the cold that Milo caught right before his birthday, torpedoing a weekend’s worth of fun—I’ll begin lazily simply with a few shots of How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Keep reading I’ve Seen Fire And I’ve Seen Sauce…

Tastes Like Chicken

I smoked a couple of chickens yesterday, and as I was prepping them (pulling the necks and organs out, salting them) Milo walked over and pointed to the offal.

“Ew. What’s all that?”

I explained.

“Is it edible?”

“Of course,” I said. “You love chicken liver pâté and we had beef heart tacos a while ago.”

“Oh yeah. Can I eat these hearts?”

“Of course you can.”

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One Thighs Fits All

Yesterday I was out all day for a story—90 minutes each way in the car, three hours of chatting, 375 pictures taken, stop at farmers’ market on the way home—so dinner was not in any danger of being a complicated endeavor. Circumstances conspired to make it another one in the seemingly infinite series of “chicken parts cooked in a vaguely winglike manner” meals that I’m sure you’re all thrilled to read about on a regular basis. But bear with me; this technique works a treat and is dead easy with any bird parts you might have laying around.

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Dump And Stir

Just a quick one today, since I’m on deadline. This was an utterly unremarkable dinner the other night: fried chicken and cucumber salad. The chicken didn’t even get a buttermilk marinade, because there was neither time nor buttermilk; it just got tossed in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder) and fried in a mixture of canola and peanut oils. It was perfectly fine. What made this meal something that you really want to put your face in was the sauce, which I threw together based on what was in the fridge.

I used roughly equal parts of the mango salsa, barbecue sauce from the lamb ribs, and kimchi. And those three links right there show exactly why it ended up being so transcendently good: rather than bottles of various store-bought condiments, they were all homemade. That richness and depth of flavor (and uniqueness, since apart from the kimchi they were one-offs) is the key to making ordinary food into a celebration of sustenance. Anything you can do to equip yourself with homemade tomato purée, chutneys, salsas, and pickles will reward you with interest when you need to phone in something on . . . → Read More: Dump And Stir

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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