Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cookers Cooking

it's fun to share a kitchen with someone who also likes to cook, and who has fantastic culinary sense all his own.  dan recently cut up a raw chicken into the traditional parts the other day, bravely embarking on a knifespeariment neither of us had ever attempted!  it was not as intuitive to do as one may imagine, and yes, there may have been some hacking and yanking involved at various points.  but he did it (i cheered!), and we ended up able to use a tasty farmer's market chicken in two different delicious meals.  i couldn't believe it never occurred to me before, but it is WAY economical to cut whole chickens up yourself than to buy the pre-packaged/separated parts from the big box.  great for stretching one's ethical chicken dollars!

the night of the chicken-cutting, we decided to grill the thighs/legs (haunches?) and breasts, leaving the wings and carcass (such an appetizing word) for soup-making.  we marinated the parts for grilling in a delicious mix consisting of:
olive oil
dash of sesame oil
glug of white wine
1/2 lime
sea salt
parsley/tarragon/rosemary (dried)
2 cloves superchopped fresh garlic

and let it all mingle 'n chill in the fridge while we prepared the vegetable: farmer's market rainbow chard!  

now i love me some rainbow chard, and i am undaunted if/when it gets wilty-looking, as in the case of our chard for this particular evening.  i cut the very ends off of the stems under running water and then plopped the whole chard bunch in a glass of water in the fridge, like a vase of flowers. it perked up within the hour, and was 100% delicious!

i chopped it roughly and sauteed it quickly in some butter over medium-high heat with fresh onions, several cloves of garlic (we. love. it!), a tiny glug of white wine, and some seasalt.  dan taught me this quick green-wilting trick:  once everything is hot and buttery, clear a little space in the middle of the pan and slip an ice cube in there.  cover the pan, leave the heat high, and let it get all steamy for a few minutes.  then uncover, turn up the heat and stir everything around again so that any liquid reduces into a puddle of delish to go with your greens. YUM. YUM.

so then dan grilled the marinated chicken parts (about 30-35 minutes total over medium heat) until juices ran clear and joints were loose in sockets, and we ate 'em with the chard and some straight up box macaroni and cheese.  i know, not super TUF, but sometimes you just can't replace ancient comforts.

the next meal we made with this lovely chicken was soup of the noodle persuasion, and it was just REALLY REALLY GOOD.  perhaps it seems a bit counter-intuitive to make soup in the summertime, but if you have the ingredients and the gumption, what the hell! and dan is good at soup.  there was hardly anything to it, either: he boiled those chicken wings and carcass (ew) in water to generously cover for about an hour, and skimmed that scum stuff off every once in awhile.  then i helped him take out the bones and pick all the meat off 'em (a visceral, but amusing, process!), putting the bones back in the pot and the meat in the fridge for later.  THEN he added coin-cut carrots, several small rough-chopped onions, many garlic cloves (whole this time!), and spices--seasalt, celery seed, coriander seed (WOW), parsley, oregano, ground mustard--you know, the spice cabinet.  and let that gently simmer on low for another couple hours.  we then decided to let it cool off in the fridge and have it for dinner later.....

....at which point i re-heated it with some smashed-up spaghetti noodles and simmered until they were soft.  oh yeah, and i made KILLER AWESOME YEAST ROLLS to go with it, using my new favorite bread recipe.  it's actually so great i'm going to devote the next post to it.  geeah i love bread.

by the way, this process made a BUNCH of chicken soup, and we are bad left-over eaters.  but i kid you not, we ate every last drop of this soup over the next few days.  you know it was good when.


grilling is, of course, the best way to cook in the summer...you can grill a huge variety of vegetables and meats, it doesn't heat up your house (unless you are crazy like me and BAKE something while grilling is happening outside!), and you end up smelling really good when you come in.  so the other day we had this half-an organic purple cabbage sitting in the fridge from a previous grocery store adventure, and dan said, how about we grill it?  and i said, _grill_ purple cabbage? and he said, why no?  and i said, right on!  because i LOVE grillsperiments.

so we cut the half in half, and marinated the quarters together in the fridge with a glug of white wine (always!), olive oil, seasalt, tarragon and paprika.  look..BRAAAAINS!

sorry.  before grilling, dan rubbed a bit of butter on each one, and wrapped them individually in some foil, dumping the marinade in there as well.  we put them on the grill for about 40 minutes (well before the lamb chops!), and they could've gone for even a bit longer.  but let me tell you what...that was the best cabbage idea i had ever heard!  i have never described cabbage as luscious, but.  that was some luscious cabbage.  next time i will have a significant quantity of goat cheese to schmear on there, but it was perfect just by itself.

those are some organic new potatoes plain ol' boiled, and some delicious texas farmer's market lamb chops.  all due respect to my colorado peeps, but i'm sorry, texas grassfed lamb is just thicker and richer than ya'll's hard workin', low-oxygen mountain lamb that i had previously grilled!

one last note about the grilled cabbage: LOOK AT THAT COLOR.  it's practically pornographic.  i think we should all resolve to eat more purple things.

more soon!  especially about bread!  stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. OK, I'm trying a comment. Let's see what kind of hoops they make me jump through. This is from another blog I follow, Uradiance. It applies.

    It's not enough for me to tell you that you have a beautiful soul. You are beauty. Every atom of your flesh is an awakening universe. Your breath, your secret smile in sleep, the tilt and sway of your stroll, the tingle of wet grass on your bare feet, your wrinkles, your soft places, the skip of your mortal heart, your moments of silent forgetting, your shadow, the mistakes you make, the things you leave unfinished, settling just where eternity intended them, your sacraments, bathing, eating dessert, the landscape of your body rising and falling under the stars: you are natural beauty and don't know it, beauty that can't be helped.