Tag Archives: chicken

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken RecipePerhaps you’ve found your way through time and space to The Way Station, the celebrated Doctor Who Bar in Brooklyn. Or, perhaps you’ve been tinkering with cocktails for years to find that perfect match for your fandom celebrations. Or maybe you’re just looking for a great guide to creative, intriguing cocktails. You’re in the right place, with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

Andy Heidel is the owner of The Way Station, a bar and music venue in Brooklyn, NY. As R. Andrew Heidel, he is the author of the short story collection “Desperate Moon” which features an introduction by Harlan Ellison and praise from Ray Bradbury. As a book publicist, he launched the Eos imprint and helped make Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Neal Stephenson bestselling authors while with Avon Books and HarperCollins. He turned to bar ownership when he was downsized, and hasn’t looked back since.

I love when people deeply include things they love into their lives. Such is the case with Heidel, in his work and book! The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy is a cookbook and mixing guide that is genius (here’s another interview I did with him). The recipes (over 100) for cocktails are clever – and hilarious. Whether your fandom is Game of Thrones or Doctor Who, Star Wars or Star Trek, Ghostbusters or Lord of the Rings, this universe of cocktail recipes will enliven your life – and parties. I suggest trying them while watching your favorite shows and movies, to add an extra dimension to your viewing.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
A nice dry aged, bone in porterhouse, purchased from www.fleishers.com down the street from me and cooked in my cast iron skillet.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Cheese, hot sauce, box wine, spoiled leftovers.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Someone who sees cooking as a creative act and a devotional prayer.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Someone who is lactose and gluten intolerant, has nut allergies, doesn’t like spice, insists on eating vegan, then orders a habanero chocolate chip nut milkshake with a side of bacon… and then gets sick.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
All, please.

Your favorite cookbook author?
Mollie Katzen. I still have my Moosewood Cookbook from 25 years ago. I think I last referred to it 15 years ago. I’m much happier making mashups of recipes and cooking on the fly.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken RecipeYour favorite kitchen tool?
My cast iron skillet, which I call “Star Killer.” (Hint: it inspired the name of this dish.) Once a star begins to fuse its elements into iron, it explodes across the cosmos. The cast iron skillet I use came from the heart of a dying star and that’s kind of awesome. Neil deGrasse Tyson, I challenge you to a Star Killer Cookoff judged by Baron Ambrosia and commentated by Eugene Mirman. Maybe at the next Astronomy on Tap at The Way Station?

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Southern Americana, Italian and let’s play: “what’s in my cupboard?”

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Anything but tofu, please.

Favorite vegetable?
My baby’s got Baby Bok, Baby Bok, Baby Bok Choy.

Chef you most admire?
Anthony Bourdain. Man, I want to drink tequila and eat bbq with that dude.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

Food you like the most to eat?
Cheese. Especially stinky soft melty brine washed cheese from Crown Finish Caves in Prospect Heights.

Food you dislike the most?
Tofu and collard greens. Also, sand.

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
Write with my partner and drink. Sleep. Dream of electric sheep’s milk cheese.

Who do you most admire in food?
The farm to table movement—chefs caring about where the food they are serving is coming from.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
On the couch with my partner.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I’m not telling, then everyone would go there! Secret. Shhhhh.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food, fandoms, or cocktails?
No tattoos, but I bartended an event at a tattoo parlor once, if that counts.

Recipe: Star Killer Chicken

First, make yourself a drink. I made The Divinian (my 5th Element Cocktail) before documenting this, one of my go-to recipes, then turned to a nice sauvignon blanc out of a box because I was too busy cooking to make myself another cocktail.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

YOU WILL NEED:

One large cast Iron Skillet, one large bowl, a wooden spoon, a cutting board, a sharp knife, moral fortitude, and the following ingredients:

1LB boneless Chicken Breast (two thick breasts).
3 scallions

1 head garlic

1 shallot

1 small yellow onion

8oz fingerling, purple or baby red potatoes

8oz wax beans or green beans

One bunch broccoli

2 sprigs rosemary

salt to taste
pepper to taste

Olive oil

A sense of humor

A warning about the photos: I took them with my iPhone. I was making not only dinner, but also enough leftovers so my partner has lunch to bring to work for the rest of the week.

1) Preheat oven to 425. Get an oven thermometer. I have to set my old gas oven to 560 in order to reach 425.

2) Place the cast iron skillet on stove on low and add enough olive oil to cover bottom of skillet.

3) Thinly slice shallot and coarsely chop garlic. Add to skillet. Add a little salt and pepper.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

 

4) As shallots and garlic caramelize, roughly chop broccoli, onions, potatoes, and put in bowl. Add beans and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

5) When shallots and garlic are nice and brown, place in bowl with the veg and stir till everything is nicely coated in the oil, add more salt and pepper.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

6) Turn up the heat to high under skillet.

7) After a minute, add the chicken and salt and pepper on the top side.

8) After 3 minutes, turn the chicken over. It should be a nice golden brown.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

9) Add all the veg from the bowl. Place scallions over the top.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

10) After 3 minutes put the whole kit and caboodle into the oven.

11) After 20 minutes, give the veg a stir.

12) After another 20 minutes, check the temperature on your chicken with a thermometer. It should be about 145 degrees. Once it is, pull it out and put on a cutting board to rest and leave everything else in the skillet to cook. If the chicken is not at temperature, bake another 5 minutes and check again.

13) Check your potatoes with a fork. If the fork goes through easily, they’re done. If not, put back in for another 10 minutes.

14) Plate and eat and drink.

i8tonite with The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Author Andy Heidel & Star Killer Chicken Recipe

– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite with Traverse City’s amical Chef Dave Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie RecipeTraverse City, Michigan is a special place. Globally known as an incredibly beautiful location, there’s so much more to Traverse City than Sleeping Bear Dunes, named the most beautiful place in America. It seems that everyone here loves food, as you can tell from the array of incredible restaurants, second homes of well-known chefs, and a farm to table movement that has been going on for over a hundred years.

Two of the things I love most about TC are the friendliness and sense community. Whenever I head north from our cottage an hour south, I ask my friend Mike Norton, of Traverse City Tourism, for a recommendation. He’s got the goods, and knows the best in town (including his contributions for my 50 best Midwest Coffee Roasters, but I digress). Mike recommended amical restaurant to me a while back, and I couldn’t wait to share this favorite restaurant with our readers.

Owner and Chef Dave Denison is one of those people you immediately love. He’s funny, creative, and extremely interesting. You’d pick him, if you were going to be stuck on a desert island (hopefully, his chef knife would come with him, because I would be carrying sunscreen). He started by cooking at a young age, and has always worked in restaurants. When he moved out west to California, he thought about getting out of this line of work. Luckily for us, his plan backfired, as he got a job at a growing chain restaurant, and moved up through the ranks and opened up restaurants all over the country for them.

Denison grew up in Southeast Michigan, as well as in Alamaba and Georgia. When he and his family decided to leave California and find a place to start a new restaurant, Traverse City fit the bill. He’s one of Traverse City’s top chefs, with his restaurant amical, which opened in 1994. amical started as a quick service gourmet cafeteria, and has evolved into a European-style bistro.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Denison remarked that they were fortunate in that through all these changes, their customers supported them and kept coming back.  He noted that “how amical started, to where we are now, is very, very different. We’ve always treated our guests and visitors with respect and knowing that they are the reason we are here.”

I was intrigued by his description of the local food scene. Denison said that “TC has obviously enjoyed national and international recognition over the last 10 years, and it’s well-deserved. It might look like it’s an overnight sensation, but people have worked a long time at their craft here, and many established chefs have been here for a while – in fact, moved to the area with the intention of practicing their craft, using local ingredients. Generations of families have been raising these local ingredients for 100+ years! The farm to table movement was always here, but we were able to utilize it well in our restaurants, and then people ‘discovered’ it. However, it’s always been going on in this area – now just on a bigger scale. This is an agricultural community that has lived for centuries with such natural beauty. We’re surrounded by farmers and people that create a bounty from the land, and we’re happy to be able to be a part of that legacy, and know that this will continue for quite some time.”

amical’s food is local, fresh, creative, and delicious. The staff are incredible – supportive, supported, and intent on creating an excellent dining experience in the community.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Cookbook School!

There’s one more thing you’ll love about amical – the annual Cookbook school, held during the winter months. Denison shared, “for those new to the series, this is what we do: once a month, our kitchen staff will create a week-long dinner menu that consists of recipes from a cookbook. You will find a nice blend of cookbooks from the past, previously featured chefs with new publications, and first time cookbooks. Over the past 19 years, the kitchen team has developed menus from over 100 different cookbooks…while preparing almost one thousand recipes. We credit our loyal patrons for their support and our staff for their passionate drive in making this series an incredible success.”

A community treasure, indeed. 

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
The winner of the big game gets milk and cookies! Go (your team here)!

Chef Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
“Professionally” since I was 15. My mom was, admittedly, a lousy cook, but for some reason I had an interest at an earlier age. She says it was due to my survival instincts.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Amish chicken with ancho chile cream and tomatillo salsa

What is your favorite food to cook?
I like to prepare hearty soups, especially during the winter months. Can you tell I’m from the Midwest?

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Tortillas (corn & flour)… and cheese – usually a St. Andre or a local chevre or Raclette. P’tit Basque, too.

What do you cook at home?
For a quick bite, it would be tacos. Or a stir fry.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Cardamom-Nutmeg Custard

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
The fact that they continue to return!

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
Paranoia. A few people think “we’re out to get them” or treat them differently because they were late, not from around here, etc… and for the record, we are not, unless you are late or from another town. JK on that.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Pyrex, then it’s on to ziplocks.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Cocktail. Right now its tequila, ginger beer, and lime.

Your favorite cookbook author?
I plagiarize cookbook authors on a frequent basis. Everyone from Mario to Jamie Oliver are represented somewhere on our menus. Right now we are using Pickles, Pigs and Whisky recipes from John Currence. But Yotam Ottolenghi is quickly becoming a new favorite.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
A 10” French knife but I like having a good quality mandolin around. A garlic slicer is a neat little gadget to have around, too.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Garlic Shrimp, Potato Shells, Lamb Meatballs, and Mussels in Coconut-Chile Sauce

Your favorite ingredient?
Onions, onions of all kinds. Caramelized onions, grilled onions, roasted onions, onion soubise, fried onions, don’t forget the chives, red onion, Vidalia onion, green onions…

Your least favorite ingredient?
Eggplant. My mom would pan-fry it and pour maple syrup on it. Yikes! Did I mention she was not a very good cook? But I love you, mom!

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Re-make a dish because we made a mistake.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Asian preparations for their versatility, quickness, and healthy attributes. Mexican is a close second.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
C’mon. Pork.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Heritage appetizers

Favorite vegetable?
Local asparagus. It’s only around up here for a few weeks in the Spring.

Chef you most admire?
One you would recognize would be Eric Ripert. Locally, it would be Harlan “Pete” Peterson of Tapawingo fame in Ellsworth, Michigan. He is so talented but incredibly humble. He just opened Alliance here in town. Already a favorite of many!

Food you like the most to eat?
Fresh seafood and shellfish. Walleye is a favorite. But put a fried egg on something and I’ll order it.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Rice Centennial Farm Ribeye ready for the Carnivore menu.

Food you dislike the most?
I never really acquired a taste for calf’s liver. I’ll get my iron somewhere else, thank you. (<<Look left)

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
None so far, but my wife has one. Does that count?

 

Recipe: amical’s Chicken Pot Pie

 

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Servings: 6
Size: 1.5 Cup(s)
Prep. Time: 0:35

Ingredients:
2 c chicken breast, cooked and diced
1/2 c carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 c celery, diced
half a medium onion, peeled and diced
1/2 c frozen peas
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cooked, diced
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 c whole milk
1 T chervil
1/2 T dried basil
1/4 T salt
1/4 T pepper
2 c chicken stock
4 oz butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 T grated parmesan
2 pieces puff pastry dough
1 egg, beaten

Directions
1. Saute vegetables in butter in a small stock pot.
2. When onions are translucent, add flour and mix. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add milk, cream, potatoes, stock, spices, and parmesan. Heat until sauce has thickened. Check for seasoning and proper thickness. Add more roux if needed.
4. Place filling in individual oven-proof dishes. Cut out a puff pastry dough lid to fit the top of the dish. Brush with eggwash and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, and the filling bubbles.

– The End. Go Eat. – 

 

 

i8tonite with Napa’s Chef Sean O’Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za’atar Roasted Chicken

i8tonite with Napa's Chef Sean O'Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za'atar Roasted ChickenSean O’Toole, the chef/owner of critically acclaimed TORC in downtown Napa, developed a passion for locally farmed produce early on in his cooking career. Originally from Massachusetts, O’Toole has a broad understanding of global cuisines and techniques as well as a deep appreciation of locally sourced, artisanal foods.

Over the course of his cooking career, O’Toole cooked at San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton hotel, Restaurant Maximin in France, and Tabla Restaurant and Café Boulud in New York City. He cooked as Sous Chef at San Francisco’s Fifth Floor restaurant and Masa’s, Chef de Cuisine at Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas, the Culinary Director of San Francisco’s Mina Group, Executive Chef at Bardessono in Yountville, and Chef/Director of Kitchen Operations at San Francisco’s Quince and Cotogna.

i8tonite with Napa's Chef Sean O'Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za'atar Roasted Chicken

O’Toole is culinary focused on cooking with the region’s bountiful selection of fresh products, forging longstanding relationships with the people that produce, forage, and glean them. His combination of experience, passion, and culinary skill define O’Toole’s ingredient-driven cuisine at TORC — a very personal endeavor that reflects his family heritage, and the culinary influences and mentors that have shaped his career.

Chef’s Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook?
Any

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Straus greek yogurt

What do you cook at home?
Mostly meats and grilled vegetables

i8tonite with Napa's Chef Sean O'Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za'atar Roasted ChickenWhat marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
People who know what they want

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
Indecisiveness

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Pyrex

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
In that order: beer, wine, cocktails

Your favorite cookbook author?
Currently David Thompson

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Microplane

Your favorite ingredient?
Any mushroom wild and foraged

Your least favorite ingredient?
Ripe papaya

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Direct unmotivated people

i8tonite with Napa's Chef Sean O'Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za'atar Roasted Chicken

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
French infused American

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Beef

Favorite vegetable?
Artichoke

Chef you most admire?
Currently Chef Jean-Francois Piège

Food you like the most to eat?
Chicken wings

Food you dislike the most?
Ripe papaya

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
One!

Recipe: Sumac and za’atar roasted chicken with roasted vegetables

i8tonite with Napa's Chef Sean O'Toole of TORC & Recipe for Sumac and Za'atar Roasted Chicken

Recipe serves 4 people

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground sumac
2 teaspoons za’atar (Eastern Mediterranean spice blend containing thyme, cumin, sumac, and sesame seeds)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 2 1/2- to 3-pound chicken, wings and wishbone removed

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Soften 2 tablespoons of the butter to room temperature and combine with the parsley, sumac, za’atar, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Fill a small disposable piping bag (or plastic bag with a corner snipped off) with the mixture and reserve.
Place the piping bag under the skin at the top of the breast and squeeze the butter mixture under the skin. Using your hands, spread it out to cover the whole breast. With butchers twine, make a loop below the knee joints on the drumsticks. Pull the neck skin underneath the bird and tuck the drumettes. Using the twine looped around the legs, tie a knot.
Coat the outside of the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of soft butter, and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a hot cast iron pan. Cook the chicken in the oven for 50 minutes, basting with the renderings every 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to rest and reserve the pan and the renderings to roast the vegetables.
Roasted vegetables:
1 piece fennel bulb, cut into quarters and cored
6 white pearl onions, peeled
6 small potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters
Finely grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
10 Taggiasca olives, pitted
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Increase the oven temperature to 425° F. Toss the potatoes and fennel in the pan that was used to roast the chicken, so that they are coated with chicken renderings. (You may also choose to roast the vegetables in a clean pan, tossed in the renderings and additional butter or olive oil, if needed.) Roast for 15 minutes, then add the pearl onions and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Drain the excess renderings from the pan if necessary, then toss with the zest, olives and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, quarter the chicken and cut the legs in half, at the joint between the drumstick and thigh. Serve the chicken and vegetables together on individual plates, or pass family-style.

 

The End. Go Eat.

i8tonite: Farm Musings – Husbandry at Hateful Acres

This is part of the on-going series on Food Musings written by award-winning poet and writer, Julie Fisher. She is also  the founder of Litmore, Baltimore’s Center for the Literary Arts. 

***

“The industrial mind is a mind without compunction; it simply accepts that people, ultimately, will be treated as things and that things, ultimately will be treated as garbage.” Wendell Berry

These Musings are a reflection of my amateur farming experiences and research which intertwine with waxing poetic about the genuine pleasures of cooking, growing, harvesting, and sharing food. Our relationship to food is a biological imperative first, of course. But I believe the evolution of our food science and artistry is also an ingredient of our humanity. The good, generous, and delightfully curious part of all of us.

How we eat is no longer dependent strictly on what we can hunt or gather. It’s become this incredibly complex soup of choices and emotions and evocative memories and politics and class and income and marketing and industry. We no longer eat just to survive. Our daily lives are consumed by food and eating. We order our schedules and plans around food- shopping, preparation, and clean up. Food is a part of ritual. Food is so closely intertwined with our memories as to be inseparable. We remember the cooking smells of growing up, the scents of certain foods linked to great experiences, there’s the association of food eaten during an illness or particularly rough time. We are as fervent about food and eating as we are about religion and politics and sports. Our emotions and intensities cannot be separated from what we eat.

Some of us are fortunate and were taught to treat food mindfully and with a reverence for the ordinary. Some of us have such a helter skelter relationship to food we find ourselves with addictions and other harmful eating habits. Most of us fall in the middle. We don’t take food for granted, but we like convenience and ease of preparation. We are aware there are nutritious food choices and comfort food choices – and we tend to teeter between the two. As modern lifestyles evolve, we spend huge chunks of time away from home and we overschedule our time. This feeling of time scarcity makes us so susceptible to food impulses. As citizens of modern civilization, we are also recklessly bombarded with food marketing. We are consistently taunted by food AND food like substances.

Husbandry at Hateful AcresAs farmers, our food choices are simplified. We eat what we’ve grown or managed to stock up on, freeze, or jar. We only get taunted by the food industry when we are out and about, like when we are shopping for what we can’t grow or we didn’t pack snacks to bring along and we’re starving. I’m so grateful for this simplicity, because we spend less money on conglomerates and we eat nutritious food.

But farming has attuned our minds another way too-food is no longer an abstract list of purchases. Food becomes not just a thing but an interlocking process. Food is not just a jaunt to the store or market to get onions but a continuity. It’s also not a process with a beginning and end. Of course we plant, grow, and harvest onions but the harvest is not the “end.” There is no concrete end to the process because a) once you grow onions you will want to continue to grow onions, and b) the ability to grow onions doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Growing onions requires un-polluted, nutrient dense soil. Growing onions also requires sunlight, and non polluted rain water and good drainage and few predatory insects and a watchful eye on potential blights.

Nutrient dense soil is acheived with the right mix of compost and manure. Compost and manure don’t arrive magically, but through a fantastic, reciprocal energy exchange between animals, dead matter and decomposition. The result is beautiful, dark, rich soil full of complex nutrients, beneficial bacteria and good microorganisms. Nothing is wasted, there’s no garbage because a millenial old natural cycle is maintained.

AND we are intrinsically included in this natural cycle as labor and as consumers. We aren’t an anonymous cog in an assembly line wheel. We see and eat the fruits of our labor.

Husbandry at Hateful AcresSince we are learning from scratch to be farmers, we’ve had to make a significant choice early in our farming goals and decisions.
The decision was whether we would go into food production or farming. That seems at first glance to be a semantic choice, but any, even brief, research into food growing advice uncovers the duality of food production or farming. One method is heavily mechanized, reliant on machinery and man made chemicals. The other is small scale and labor intensive. We chose the latter. Part of the decision was pragmatic. We didn’t want to go into heavy debt. We aren’t borrowing money to buy equipment we can’t afford, much less maintain. One part of the decision was impulsive. We prefer the sensation of our hands in soil and the “normal” sounds of outside like birdsong and creek burble over the constant sound of large tractor engines.

Before WWII, it was simply farming. but its not simple now. The military/industrial complex learned large scale food production ccould use up the stores of unused munitions chemicals. Farming “science” spread and convinced farmers that bigger is better and more profitable. I don’t begrudge farmers who had their eyes on a comfortable, future living. But as it turns out, what seems to be too good to be true is mega-agriculture/factory farming.

Wendell Berry is a writer and farmer who I respect immensely. His writing has been instrumental in clarifying my goals as someone who grows food and raises animals. I am currently re-reading Bringing It To The Table, Wendell Berry On Farming and Food,  and I’d like to share this excerpt that somewhat sums up our aim…

“Husbandry pertains first to the household; it connects the farm to the household. It is an art wedded to the art of housewifery. To husband is to use with care, to keep, to save, to make last, to conserve. Old usage tells us that there is a husbandry also of the land, of the soil, of the domestic plants and animals-obviously because of the importance of these things to the household. And there have been times, one of which is now, when some people have tried to practice a proper human husbandry of the nondomestic creatures in recognition of the dependence of our households and domesti life upon the wild world. Husbandry is the name of all the practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world; it is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.

And so it appears that most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture’s manifest failures are the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry. The attempt to remake agriculture as a science and an industry has excluded from it the age-old husbandry that was central and essential to it, and that denoted always the fundamental domestic connections and demanded a restorative care in the use of the land and it creatures.”

We practice husbandry at Hateful Acres.

Husbandry at Hateful Acres
Farm Cooking: Vegetable Stock

There are infinite uses for cooking with vegetable stock. AND you can use the “scraps” from vegetables you use in other dishes.

Take any vegetable scraps you have around – carrot peelings, onion skins, celery ends and leaves, etc. If you think ahead, freeze these as you get them, and then just pull them out of the freezer when you make stock.

Cook the scraps with a little bit of your favorite oil – just until soft. Then add water (how much you add depends on the quantity of your vegetable scraps), and simmer gently for an hour. Cool, strain, and use. Freeze extras!

 

 

 

 

My Stepmother’s Filipino Chicken Adobo

My Stepmother’s Filipino Chicken was a popular post. I’m sort of rethinking how often I write these as I’m finding three times a week is a bit much.  Tell me your thoughts. 

I called my father to wish him a happy birthday. He’s hard of hearing now, so I’m screaming into the phone. He still doesn’t understand English very well. As a Filipino, who was in the U.S. Navy, he never quite assimilated. He did try, though. He married a Caucasian woman and then that went belly up. (I was a by-product of that first union.)

On his second try at marriage, he gave up attempting to be “white” and married a former Filipino beauty queen, Myrna. They had two sons. I lived with them in their Virginia Beach ranch home for a short while in my teens. It was the first time that I ate well. One of the great memories I have of being with him and his family, Myrna or her mother, Grandma, was cooking Filipino food: chicken adobo, pancit, lumpia, or guisantes (simmered pork and peas) for a family dinner. My father never used utensils when eating. He ate only with his hands and fingers; somehow, food never dropped onto on his clothes.

There was to be a party at the house. I think it was a birthday party, but I don’t recall. The morning before, about a dozen of my Dad’s friends, my tios or uncles – depending on whom you ask — all speaking Tagalog (the native dialect of the Philippines), came over and began digging a hole into the backyard. Into that pit, about four feet deep and eight feet wide, lined with banana leaves, a bonfire was started. By early afternoon the next day, and about three or four cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon later, the men were cooking up a whole pig over blistering coals.  Between slugs of beer, a discussion of basketball and smoking cigarettes, they took turns slowly rotating the carcass; occasionally, throwing water onto the pig, creating a delicious billow of white smoke. Its purpose was to create a crispy skin and succulent roasted meat.

Their wives – my stepmother along with aunts and tias, about a dozen women in all — gathered in the kitchen and dining room, rinsed vegetables in pots of cold water. Two ladies to a pot.  Carrots cut into matchsticks, tomatoes diced, and onions chopped. The smell of pig’s blood simmering with Thai chilies was perfuming the house. Sweet. Spicy. Earthy. It mingled with cigarettes and constant chattering.

Sometime around 2 in the afternoon, more friends showed up. No one knocked or rang the bell; they just greeted with hugs and kisses. The elders met on bended knees, and heads bowed. Their folded hands kissed in blessings.

Adobo

Chicken Adobo (Myrna’s recipe)
Quartered chicken, using only legs and thighs. (I used about 3 lbs of chicken thighs)

For every cup of soy sauce, use a half cup of white vinegar. ( I used two cups of soy sauce and a cup of vinegar. You might want to do a cup and a half of soy sauce.)

Bay leaves. About three of four. (I used four fresh bay leaves but dried is good too.)

Garlic. “…as much as you want,” she says. (I used a whole head).

A quarter teaspoon of whole peppercorns. (Myrna’s instructions, “Throw in peppercorns.”)

Place everything in large pot and bring to boil, about 20 minutes. Cover slightly with the lid not all the way on the pot. When it gets to boil, turn to low heat to simmer, cooking for another 20 minutes but check the chicken and baste with the sauce. Cook until chicken is cooked through, with juices running clear. Serve over rice. Make it fancy with chopped scallions.

Note: I do not know of a Filipino who uses sugar or fries the chicken after it’s been braised.

The End. Go Eat.

I8tonite: Aromatic Chicken and Goodbye to Hollywood

Old Town Scottsdale Central Scottsdale

I’ve feel I’ve discovered something about myself; as much as I love the idea of being a steady beacon in a sea of waves, I might be incapable of it.  I mean being that stay-in-one-spot type of person.  I think that’s what a parent is, someone that you know will be there. I see that in my friends who are parents…hell, I see it in my friends who aren’t parents. They wake up, they drink their tea and go to work, some with kids in tow.

Me? I wake up. I drink my coffee. Manage my clients. Pitch the media. Cook. Write. Love my dogs and boyfriend. Then when it gets too quiet…in my life…I feel the need to shake it up which is what I’m going to do.  (We are going to do.) Life is supposed to be an adventure, right? Therefore, I’m up for the challenge and the adventure. No one has said that I’ve ever been held back by fear… admittedly, I’m scared shitless.

It’s really not goodbye to Hollywood; it’s saying hello to Scottsdale and beyond.

Billy Joel sang it well, “So many faces in and out of my life. Some will last. Some will just be now and then. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. I’m afraid it’s time to say goodbye again. Say goodbye to Hollywood.”

Oh and by the way, this spice rub for chicken is delicious and easy home-cooking.  At least one thing is easy.

Aromatic Roasted Chicken Thighs (adapted from Primal Palate)

 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1  teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Note: I don’t even measure. I just eyeball it.

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the spices together in a large bowl. Rinse and dry all the chicken; then toss all of it into the bowl with  olive oil. Rub all the chicken around in the spice mixture. Let sit for about ten minutes while the oven continues to get hot. Take all the chicken and spread it out into an even layer in a large roasting pan. Cook for about 30 minutes until the juices run clear. (If you want, throw some veggies around it like cauliflower, small potatoes, wedges of zucchini.)
The original recipe says to grill as well. That’s up to you.

Pantry Preferences: Plainly Preferred

As a home cook, I choose my recipes very carefully. I want them to be simple. I don’t need to have toasted fennel seeds, combined with homemade harissa, needing to stir the pot every 30 minutes to make sure the reduction is only reduced by a quarter. I’m sure most of us look at recipes that are easy to make without being unhealthy.

Therefore, on a weekday night, after my Sunday farmers market grocery sprees when I get my herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil), garlic and lemons, lettuces, I start thinking about my menus. Planning the proteins, the vegetables, and preparations. I hate wasting food so I try…. it doesn’t always work…. but I try to plan around my work and social calendar. Often, I eat out at least 3 times a week. For me, that’s a lot. If I eat out more than that, I start to not feel so well. Too much rich food and not enough control over my diet. However, food is like medicine for me. I eat more vegetables, simply prepared, feeling great the next day. If I overindulge in sugar, alcohol or fats throughout the week, I start to feel less than stellar. But that’s I me. I’m approaching the mid-century mark….and like a 1950’s well oiled car, my body needs love and care. (Trust me, I danced in-and-on NYC dive bars after imbibing on my share of alcohol for decades…I need love and care! LOL.) I’m getting off topic but I do feel that it’s important to cook at home.  We have complete control over what we eat when we make it ourselves.No one can get it wrong if you do it yourself.

For me, I need to have this following pantry items at all times to make anything taste yummy and for ease throughout my week.

1. Salt and pepper (Gizmodo.com writes a brilliant essay on the pairing and noted use.) Kosher salt is the best for cooking and flavoring.

2. Extra virgin olive oil.

3. Lemons (and sometimes limes, oranges or grapefruit are good to have)….lemons though are at the always in my house.

4. Garlic

5. Fresh herbs

Optional

1. Hard italian cheeses (Parmesan, Reggiano or Asiago)

2. Flour

3. Onions

Clearly, this is based on a Mediterranean diet and I just find it simple. As long as I have the first 5 ingredients, I can make beef, poultry, seafood and vegetables taste amazing. And for me, I’m trying to keep it simple.

Let’s Make Something:

Salad Dressing: Two parts olive oil, 1 part lemon. Twist of Salt, twist of pepper. Boom!

Roasted Fish: Take one lemon and slice into several rounds. Take the fish  (salmon,cod, halibut) and place on bed of the citrus rounds.Take your chosen herbs, rough chop. Stir with some olive oil and garlic, making a think paste. Coat the fish and roast at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes Boom! Pretty too!

Chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put slivers of garlic under chicken skin (breasts, thighs, legs), Heat up a pan that can go directly into oven. With the garlic stuffed chicken, place skin down and sautee until brown. Turn over and do the same. While chicken is browning, create herb paste, like above. Once chicken is browned, place face up squeeze juice of one lemon, and herb mixture onto onto poultry. Season with salt and pepper, and take lemon rind and place in skillet. Depending on the amount of chicken, cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Boom!

Yucatan Chicken Dinner Party with Mark and Mary

Cucumbers with an Herb & Garlic Goat Cheese Dip
Cucumbers with an Herb & Garlic Goat Cheese Dip

Being a single person, I admit that I like cooking for myself. I don’t have to worry about someone saying, “That’s too much of this!” or “Don’t put that in!”. I really enjoy the freedom of not hearing another voice. First, I have more voices in my head then Sybil and, second, I think if you think you can do much better, than I am really happy to relinquish the task. Instead I hear, “What are we going to do for dinner?” Yep, single….much better.

Although I do find, as a couple, you have a lot of dinner parties. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe because you get tired of looking at each other night after night over the same table. Who knows? Recently, I’ve found myself the happy recipient of being a guest at many delicious dinners as I have shared such as Shelley’s, David’s, Mark’s and Mary’s. Thus, in return, I decided to do the same for Mark and Mary making it a two-fer.

Red Potato and Egg Salad
Red Potato and Egg Salad

And…cough,cough… being the over-the-top control freak that I am (“Didn’t I say no wire hangers!” Oops, that was Joan Crawford.)…I love cooking food in themes. Hawaiian-themed with everything garnished with a pineapple. (Heh!) Southern themed. Italian-themed. For Mark, who did Moroccan, and Mary, who did barbeque, I opted for “Picnic Indoors”. It was a menu which consisted of Cucumber Slices with Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese Dip (see above), a simple but delicious Red Potato and Egg Salad sans the Hellman’s (mayo) (also above), BBQ Beans, and a lovely Roasted Yucatan Chicken (Roasted Achiote Chicken). Essentially, everything could be served at room temperature or cold. Making the temperature of the apartment come down by the time dinner came out. It was a very gay dinner. (Get it? Came out? Gay dinner?)

The Roasted Yucatan Chicken is one of my favorites on the roasted Chicken. Hailing from the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, achiote paste is fairly easy to make or buy it at your local market. The paste made from the annatto seed is very hard so it’s best if you use a spice mill or grinder. (The seed is actually used often as a coloring agent from everything to cheese, to clothes so be careful how you handle it.) Once you coat your chicken in the paste, it will come out with a deep orange hue, something akin to a sunset. It gives the skin a deliciously mild heat and smokiness. You can use this on grilled fish and chicken or oven-steam in foil. Make a lot and you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

You Will Need:
1/4 cup annatto seeds. (Found in the ethnic section of your supermarket, somewhere by the soy sauce and jarred Gelfite fish)
1 teaspoon cumin or powder. (Make these easy on your self, the annatto seeds are tough enough.)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/ 4 tablespoon of allspice berries
Sea salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed
Juice of 3 limes

Let’s Make This Puppy:
Combine the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice berries, and salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Grind to a powderlike consistency. In a small bowl, mix the powder with the garlic and lime juice. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

Use for Cochinita Pibil or any grilled seafood