Wednesday, August 27, 2008

*frickin' chicken.

Sorry for the brief hiatus. And the lame post title. I haven't felt up to blogging, in part because things haven't been terribly funny 'round the Woodside. Not because I was momentarily distracted by Matt Damon, New! Reduced-fat White Cheddar Cheez-Its, and Dove Rich Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

In these trying times, what is a beleaguered vegetarian to do? Torch a chicken, I say.

Two ladyfriends were descending upon the Woodside for the sacrificing of sorrows at the feet of the almighty fermented potato. I had a very Dinner: Impossible! menu-planning moment mostly defined by the panicky hurling of ingredients into the basket at the grocery. This experience is also marked by frantic pacing of the aisles, passing what I'm looking for a minimum of six times. Where is the peanut butter aisle at the Publix, dammit? Oh, that one? The one that says PEANUT BUTTER above it? Well why the hell would I look there?

BREAKING NEWS: More distressing word, courtesy of my doctor's office (nothing life-threatening—breathe, people. Just irritating/frustrating). I thought bad things happened in threes, not 12s.

End pity party.

BUT. I interrupt this blog to introduce the following question: Why oh why does the Food Network suck so hard right now? I want to see interesting, sane people make good food. I don't care if the Neelys are on a road trip or Paula's doing cackling cartwheels.

Then again, odds are I'm just cranky.

I started with the hummus because: easy. I won't bore you with the gory details, because I've bored you with them before. I put the whole shebang into white dishes

and snorted a little because that fishy dish from the Big Bro was meant as a nod to my place of work but really comes out making me look like a Christian. Thank you, Jesus, for the pita chips.

(I will bake cupcakes for anyone who can find me that clip from "Saturday Night Live" where Jesus comes to the woman's kitchen to ask her to stop praying for frivolous things like keeping the rice from sticking to the pot. Because that was seriously hilarious, and I like to say "thank you" with inadequate, sloppy baked goods.)

I dressed up some rather banal tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives by putting them on long skewers. I debated making a dressing, but decided I shouldn't because I suck at it. I'd end up like Rachael Ray, putting pig parts on a salad and dressing it with mustard PLUS vinegar. Because you know mustard doesn't have enough vinegar in it already. Idiot.

So I put the pretty pretty skewers on a tray, sprinkled them with red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, and called it a day. Most of them ended up dunked in the hummus come snacktime.

To round out the appetizer portion of the meal, I decided to try to re-create (read: badly approximate) the baked feta with focaccia and spicy marinara from Bottega Cafe. Theirs always comes out spicy and briny and golden. Mine went in like this:

and came out like this:

I served it with toasted baguette slices, and it was pretty good. Because I put it in the oven alongside the chicken, I couldn't get a proper broil on it, so it lacked the aforementioned goldenness. But the spatters on my beloved Le Creuset (thanks, JBSH!) prove that I managed to achieve appropriate bubbling yumminess. I don't know about B and S, but I for one ate my weight in it. No small feat.

Bring on the bird!

Hello, you. You're adorable! A hen, to be exact. Lemons, thyme, and garlic are pretty much all you need. You shove them into the chicken and scatter them around the pan. Tie his li'l legs together and tuck his wings under. THEN

Brushwithmeltedbutterandcoverwithbacon. Aherm. I had the bacon in the freezer—hooray for resourcefulness! If you roll them in individual slices, it's not hard to peel them apart when they come out of the icebox. Into the oven for one hour, whereupon it looks like this.

You can see why that bacon is so important. It seals the chicken juices in without letting the skin brown. That happens after the bacon comes off and the chicken roasts for another 30 minutes. Et voilà!

An imperfect tan. That is some crappily uneven heat, sad sad oven. White wine, some chicken stock, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken juices go into a pan to reduce and become a sauce. But that didn't really happen. The reducing, that is. I sort of ended up with watery winey stock. Although that can't be too bad, right?

S and B were duly impressed, albeit a smidge confused as to why I'd made them an entire animal for dinner. B had to bring her surgical skills into play to carve the GD thing, because I couldn't pull that bitch apart to save my life. Wüsthof, thou must get thee to a sharpener, STAT.

S helped with food styling. She's all magaziney like that. Mostly she wanted to try to hide some of the pinker juices for my more squeamish readers. But that is good business! It was juicy and tender and delicious.

I hear. I, of course, had none.

The leftovers went to Bonita, where JBSH served it up to the padre in a completely spontaneously invented chicken salad.

I am going to take ALL of my pictures here from now on. This blog will change its name to On the Bonita. Have you ever seen more beautiful natural light in all your life? That is some annointed mayonnaisey goodness right there.

So here's to you, my carnivores. And here's to me. The law of averages says I have good things coming my way. Aaaaaaaaaaaany minute now.


at: 9:05 AM said...

Well I am not happy I missed out on this spread! I looked last night for the rf white cheddar and Publix was sold out - they must be good my friend......


K. says:
at: 10:20 AM said...

LJ: well you know what that means. you will just have to eat the regular FF version. what a shame ...

at: 11:34 AM said...

Fat Free?

K. says:
at: 1:01 PM said...

anonymous: FULL FAT. an adverbial phrase meaning, "full of fat."



my foodgawker gallery



I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.