Versatile (Bargain) Chicken

March 23rd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Besides being an inventive HG-delighting cook, BSK is a canny shopper. BSK is a fan of Whole Foods chicken (Pine Manor brand is a favorite). A few days ago, BSK found a PM chicken for sale. Eight bucks. Took the bird home and “spatchcocked” it. That is, BSK cut out the backbone and flattened the bird so that it would lay flat in the roasting pan. Showered the bird with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, Goya Adobo seasoning. Served the chicken with spring asparagus and couscous. There was lots of crisped chicken skin and savory gravy to enrich the couscous. Sumptuous meal. HG/BSK like dark meat so thighs, drumsticks and wings were happily devoured. This left an ample amount of white chicken breast. The next day it was cut into strips and mixed with spring onions, fennel, sliced radishes, tiny Kumatos, scallions and Belgian endive. HG made a dressing for the chicken salad. Sesame oil, Vietnamese fish sauce, soy sauce, wine vinegar, a dash of Chile oil. This was served with chilled Vietnamese rice noodles. Two great meals. Each meal used four bucks of chicken. That’s what shopping and cooking skills can achieve. Thanks, BSK!


August 10th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

A few nights back, before Lesley R. and family headed back to Rhode Island, HG/BSK felt that after days of seafood it was time to pay attention to that excellent bird: The chicken. But, first there was homage to the sun. Much play on the beach in front of the HG/BSK home. BSK, Massimo and Lesley R., SJ and Handsome Haru were off in kayaks, exploring the calm sea waters. HG was content to stroll and wade in the gradually warming surf. Exquisite Maiko prepared lunch: Japanese curry, an EM special using a Japanese roux package as a base and adding her own spicing plus onions, potatoes, carrots, bonito broth, breakfast sausage and a bit of water. Totally unlike Indian curry. Thick. Unctous. Delicious. Served in small portions (after all, it was lunch). Then on to the wide beach off Maclaren Road for beach glass collecting and shore hiking. Lesley R. preceded dinner with her tarragon-laced Newfoundland cold water shrimp salad. This was followed by a blast from HG/BSK’s New Jersey past: Stretch’s Chicken Savoy. The dish could only be found at the eccentric Belmont Tavern in Belleville, N.J. Composed of chicken, red wine vinegar, white wine, garlic (much), rosemary, anchovies (abundant). Major league flavors. Lesley R. recreated the lush dish in bravura style. It was accompanied by BSK’s signature smashed potatoes (chicken broth and scallions) plus a seasonal PEI treat: Yellow beans. Green salad. Local cheeses (plus some from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) accompanied by a very special treat: Armenian candied pumpkin (introduced to Massimo and Lesley R. by Lesley’s lovely friend, Dr. Diane, a lady of Armenian heritage.) Great day, Great fun. Great food.


Versatile Bird

April 19th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Back in New Mexico where our gardens are ablaze with color. Daffodils, tulips, forsythia, lilac bushes. HG/BSK ambled through the apple orchard which is in full blossom. The fragrance is delicious. Fish are leaping about in the Koi pond and Toby, The Wonder Dog, is leaping in pleasure–delighted at the HG/BSK homecoming. BSK prepared one of HG’s favorite dishes: A roast spatchcocked chicken. BSK marinated the succulent Bell & Evans bird at room temperature in a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary. The nicely browned, juicy chicken (and plenty of herbaceous, garlicky juices) was served with BSK’s smashed potatoes. (BSK crushes boiled potatoes with chicken stock and then adds sliced scallions). The next day, HG cut the left over chicken in slivers. Sliced Persian cucumbers, sweet onions, carrots and radishes. Cooked and quickly cooled (under cold water) some Chinese cellophane noodles. Made a dressing of Vietnamese Red Boat Fish Sauce, brown sugar, water, sesame oil and red chile flakes. Mixed everything together, Topped the platter with torn leaves of mint and basil.and a shower of chopped, salted peanuts. A bottle of Sriracha on the table for added heat, Drank cold Anchor Steam Ale with this vaguely Vietnamese dish. Pleasant eating on a warmish spring night.


HG Post #1000: Alabama Chicken – a HG/SJ Collaboration

August 14th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ introduced the assembled Freeman/Riva clans to Alabama White Sauce Chicken sandwiches last night. A wonder of a dish, just right for happy, informal family feasting. It was accompanied by lots of first of season hot buttered corn on the cob. As HG’s late Mom would say when she wanted to describe the ultimate in deliciousness: “Nu, nu, don’t ask!!” The chicken and corn were preceded by some “Kyoto” style, pickled mackerel sashimi. As previously reported, when Exquisite Maiko first arrived on Prince Edward Island, she picked up numerous fresh mackerel right from the fishing boats at Naufrage harbor. Some were eaten that first night with scallion and ginger, others were air-dried and salted for grilling and a portion were marinated and slightly pickled. They were equally delicious as first-night sashimi with the mackerel flavor intensified by the marinade and the texture gaining a firmer mouth-feel. But, the SJ chicken was the star; Here’s how SJ made the wondrous Alabama Chicken:

Okay, SJ here. This post, by the way, marks the 1000th HUNGRY GERALD post so it is rightfully a collaborative posting between HG and myself (I humbly “edit” HUNGRY GERALD and provide the illustrations to HG’s wonderful writing). Sooo….I first heard of Alabama White Sauce Chicken sandwiches in Saveur Magazine (complete with recipe). It sounded so delicious but oddly none of my friends from Alabama have ever been able to confirm that this dish is actually a part of Alabama’s culinary heritage. Whatever the case, it is a delicious sandwich and this is how I go about making it: spatchcock a chicken (or two) and cut into quarters. Mix a tablespoon each of salt, cumin, coriander, black pepper, garlic powder, celery seeds and a teaspoon of cayenne. Take half this mix and rub into the chickens — when done wrap in plastic and let sit in fridge for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce! Take 2 cups Hellman’s Mayo and mix the remainder of the spice mix into it. Then add a half cup of the STRONGEST white horseradish you can find and a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix it all up well. Divide the sauce in two dishes (one for basting the chicken and one for serving with the chicken) After about two hours take chicken out and let it come to room temperature. If you have a smoker, get it ready or if you have a bbq and can get some nice hickory or apple wood chips in there, do that! If you only have an oven, then…you know what, use that as it will still be great. Cook your chicken low and slow at about 225 degrees basting it every 30 minutes with your white sauce. After about 2 hours it should be ready. Shred the chicken discarding the bones (feel free to munch on the skin) and serve on a hamburger bun with dill pickle chips, cole slaw and a hefty dollop of the white sauce! Enjoy!


A Nambe Night – Healthy and Good.

December 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Nambe is a town just a few miles north of HG and BSK’s home in New Mexico. You might recognize the name from the unique metal alloy designs marketed under the NambĂ© label. Two interesting women, our good friends Vicki B. and Sarah N., are temporarily domiciled in a historic adobe dwelling tucked away in a corner of the Nambe Pueblo. The house is not faux Southwest. It’s the real thing. A shepherd’s fireplace (shepherd sleeps on a shelf above the fireplace). Old dark beams. Thickly plastered walls. Low ceilings. A delightful place to be on a chilly evening. The women, though not puritanical, are health conscious. Dinner was cauliflower soup, creatively spiced and soothing. Then a lovely chunk of crisped chicken with sliced sweet potatoes in a sauce that had hints of New Mexico chiles. Dessert was a melange of Greek yogurt and stewed and fresh seasonal fruit. A goat blue cheese from a Santa Fe Farmers Market artisan helped the group finish off the red wine. The meal was preceded by New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and smoked trout consumed in front of a copper hooded raised fireplace. The meal was as healthy as it was delicious. Adding to the delights of the evening were Vicki and Sarah’s accounts of their mental and spiritual adventures. Warm and stimulating pleasures on a cold night.

Bye Bye

September 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Haru and Teru are off to Brooklyn, leaving behind Prince Edward Island for the harsher realities of school and careers. For HG and BSK this will mean Prince Edward Island quiet and serenity, no sounds but the wind and the sea. Of course, this will mean no extraordinary cuisine from EM. No funny insights, swim companionship, beach walks, book reading and much more from Haru. No delicious cuddles and silly noise making with the enchanting six month old Teru. Tonight, SJ took over the preparation of a farewell dinner. SJ marinated some organic, free range farmers market chicken in a mixture of oil, garlic, adobo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The chicken went on a charcoal grill and the result was crusty, spicy, juicy hunks of bird. SJ also did the best, simplest summer pasta: A host of chopped herbs from the garden — marjoram. chives, mint, parsley, thyme, rosemary,Thai basil — were mixed with ripe local tomatoes and thin slivers of garlic. These were placed on top a big bowl of artisan pasta from a local market. SJ then heated up hot olive oil (just before the burning point) and poured it (with the appropriate sizzling sounds) over the herbs, tomato and garlic mixture. The heady herbaceous aromas filled the room. Post feast, Haru manged an ice cream bar but the rest of the dinner party could only sip wine and murmur the bittersweet sighs of farewell.

The Thighs Have It

June 26th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Chicken thighs for dinner. So much better than flavorless chicken breasts (and cheaper). Here’s how HG and BSK do it. Make a marinade of olive oil,lemon juice garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, coriander. Add a tablespoon or two of Greek yogurt. Mix well. Give it a light dusting of Goya adobo. Marinade in the refrigerator for two or three hours. BSK is going to barbecue and serve with canned white beans (enriched with a garlic and parsley sofrito) plus BSK’s unique mix of zucchini, corn niblets (frozen corn does just fine), New Mexico chile powder and a bunch of fresh herbs from the BSK garden. HG and BSK will eat outdoors on their terrace, sip chilled red wine and watch dusk make beautiful patterns on the surface of Las Barrancas, the colorful bluffs located on Native American lands. Sounds good? It is.

Delicious Discovery – The Compound’s Chicken Schnitzel

March 19th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

HG and BSK’s favorite luncheon restaurant is The Compound on Santa Fe’s gallery lined Canyon Road. The Compound is a lovely place. White washed adobe walls and beamed ceilings. A few select works of Native American and Hispanic art. Best of all is the New Mexico light — most artfully represented in the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe — that pours into the room. The lunch menu is small but choice: A “Stacked Salad” with butter lettuce, ham, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, hard boiled egg, bacon, blue cheese dressing — basically a riff on Cobb Salad; a house smoked pastrami sandwich; a lobster and crab salad; a lunch-sized steak; a burger with poblano peppers. All good but the star is the chicken schnitzel. The chef gently flattens a generous chicken breast (still a bit thick, not a paillard). Then the chicken is given the traditional Viennese Veal Schnitzel treatment of breading and frying to greaseless crispiness. It is topped with a sauce of wine, butter (maybe a hint of cream), parsley and an abundance of capers. Flanked with a mound of sauteed leaf spinach. HG accompanied the dish with a nice flute of Gruet sparkling white from New Mexico. In HG’s opinion, the Gruet is better than champagne or prosecco.

HG has long dismissed the chicken breast finding it dry and tasteless. Not The Compound chicken breast. Don’t know the secret. Brining, perhaps?

Observing BSK.

September 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK looks good. HG has been observing the woman for 48 years and she still has the body of a much, much younger woman. Her energy level is extraordinary. BSK can push, pull, lift, swim, kayak, etc., etc. at a high level. She is flexible and supple.

What are the secrets? First of all, be lucky in your choice of gene pools. BSK is the daughter of athletes. Then, there’s movement. BSK is rarely still for long. Stretching, walking, and various Yoga poses are part of her daily routine.

Food? BSK loves food and wine. But, unlike HG, BSK is rarely immoderate. BSK adores fruit and vegetables. BSK’s most frequent lunch is carrots, radish, celery, turnips, raw broccoli dipped into hummus. BSK is devoted to salads. Green salads. Radish and celeriac. Raw, sliced turnip. BSK grills chicken and flank steak. Serves it over mounds of greens in a mustardy vinaigrette. Fish and chicken are staples. Lots of chicken salad for lunch and often dinners of Spatchcocked roast chicken (dusted with Goya Adobo). Unlike naughty HG, BSK does not eat the lush, crisp, flavorful chicken skin. When in a hurry, BSK lunches on Greek yogurt and blueberries. Winter breakfast is blueberries and oatmeal. When corn is in season, BSK is voracious. But, she uses little or no butter. Just some coarse sea salt. Since yellow beans are now in season on Prince Edward Island, BSK prepares them in abundance. Steams them until tender. Stops the cooking with splashes of cold waters. Dresses the beans in (once more) the special mustardy vinaigrette. Showers the salad with an abundance of herbs.

BSK weaknesses: Ice cream, of course, and an old fashioned English perversion — a sickening licorice variety pack known as Licorice All Sorts.

Tasty Mr. Peanut

March 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Unchanging. Slightly retro. HG refers to Planters Salted Cocktail Peanuts. Crack open that pop-top lid and revel in whooosh of escaping air and fresh, peanut aroma. Grab a handful and yes, they’re nice with an ice cold martini. But, don’t stop there. These nuts have many delightful uses. HG likes to sprinkle them on a steaming bowl of congee. They are irreplaceable in a Tin Roof, the dessert of vanilla ice cream, Hershey’s chocolate syrup—and crunchy, salty peanuts. They are a splendid accompaniment to chicken curry. They are a nice addition to a chicken or beef or pork stir fry. When making a chicken salad with last night’s roast chicken add Planters to a dressing of mayonnaise and chutney. Make a place in your pantry for Planters’ unassuming, pleasant little treat.

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