Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ah, the Kitchen!

Nothing would do for me the day after we got back but going to the grocery for a big package of chicken.

I had been jonesing for chicken all of the past week, even ready to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken, knowing full well it would make me feel sick to my innards. Fortunately, the one time we were at a place with a KFC sign at the right time of day, the eatery was closed. Thus The Life That Guides The World saved me from gastroenteritis.

Anyway, Tuesday I cut up chicken leg quarters, surprised to find that part of the back had been left attached to the thigh, probably to add poundage to the cut, or maybe to produce a straighter, more "attractive" top line to the quarter. The back portion is almost all bone, and nasty for a diner to deal with, so I cut them off each piece and put them in a freezer bag. Along with the braised chicken, I made fried cabbage and rice. A feast.

Standing before the stove, tending my cabbage, I was truly at peace. Home again, in my kitchen again, making food better than anything we could get on the road.

We were hardly in the door Monday before John told me he'd picked up some lamb for black-bean chili, so Wednesday I simultaneously made the chili and cooked up the chicken backs from the day before, making broth from them and a stalk of celery and the last onion from last year's garden. The chili turned out fine, and in the evening, I strained the chicken broth and put it away in the fridge.

Today I made, for the first time in my life, chicken noodle soup. The broth from the day before, along with the liquid from the chicken braising came to a boil. I seasoned it with a little salt, some Louisiana Hot Sauce, and two teaspoons of juice from a jar of "tamed" jalapenos. When it came to a boil, I dumped in one kohlrabi, cubed the size of southern style hash browns, and began dropping the thin noodles into the boiling stock one by one.

Making the broth from bones took an afternoon; mixing and rolling out the noodles from scratch could be seen as a bother; nevertheless, the resulting soup was really pretty dang good. Why didn't I ever try this before?

Well, it just wasn't enough to make soup today. The other craving I've been having is for chimichurri, that South American sauce made from parsley, garlic, and olive oil. Most people like it over grilled meats, but I love it over fresh bread. I only learned about its existence last year, and only attempted to make it once (it sucked.) Today I was determined to try again.

It worked this time, largely because I got bold with the garlic and used enough to get a robust taste.

You have no idea how happy I am to be back in my kitchen!

1 comment:

Katrina Stonoff said...

I noticed that last time I bought a cut-up chicken, that they are cutting them up differently.

I suspect it stems from two things. First, it's easier because you can just saw a chicken in half with power saw. Second, you can sell the backs (which nobody wants) for the same price as the more desirable pieces like the breast and thigh.

It annoyed the heck out of me though, and I won't buy another cut-up chicken. I had to re-cut everything anyway, and it turned into one big mess.