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Some Like It Hot / Cross-dressed Chickens

29 Feb

 

It was a really good idea, in theory…

In honor of Some Like It Hot, the phenomenal comedy directed by Billy Wilder, I made Cross-Dressed Chickens. If you have never seen the movie, this is a not so obviously corny name. The movie stars Tony Curtis, as Joe, a trombone player and Jack Lemon, as Jerry, a string bass player  who witness the infamous St. Valentine’s day massacre. In fear for their lives Joe and Jerry go on the run and of course, dress in drag, get hired by an all-girl revue and take a train to Florida. Joe, falls in love (well, at least lust) with Sugar Cane, the band’s singer, played by Marilyn Monroe. Jerry, while in drag accidentally picks up a rich gentleman caller and can’t shake him. This was really quite the racy film back in 1959, featuring cross-dressing men and all.

Is the name of the dish making sense now? Not yet? Oh, yeah I gotta tell you how I made these chickens “flavour-confused”.

We shall start with my marinade:

I consists of about two tbsp of honey, a cup of balsamic vinegar, a cup and half of olive oil and a big squirt of dijon mustard.  This is part of a chicken marinade that I got from Mark’s Daily Apple blog. I left out some other ingredients that were included in the original marinade because I felt like it and because I was afraid the marinade would turn out too sweet otherwise. Ha! I poured the marinade in a big freezer bag, added six chicken thighs and let the marinade do it’s thing for about half an hour.

The chicken thighs lookin’ sexy. No? Well, neither was Jack Lemon as a woman.

Once the chicken was marinated well enough, I put them, skin side down, in a hot skillet with some more olive oil. Searing the chicken helps to 1. cook the suckers 2. make the skin crispy and 3. give me one more dish to clean later. There is smoke in the picture, very dramatic.

I chose the above shot because it shows less of my not so spotlessly clean kitchen. Don’t worry germophobes, I’m not cooking this for you!

Next, I assembled a broiler pan. I don’t have a dedicated broiler pan, but I do have a metal rack that I never use that came with my microwave, so I pull the little plastic tabs off the corners and put it over a cake pan that I have lined with aluminum foil. Voila, jacked-up broiler pan!  The chickies go on the broiler pan and get their disguises! In this case, jamaican jerk sauce. I smothered some of the spicy sauce on each thigh, cooked them for 15 minutes at 375 and then flipped them, coated the other side and cooked them for another 15 minutes.

Yeah, this picture is way out of focus, but I have been playing with my aperture settings on my camera. And this, sadly, was the best of the lot.

It maybe was not the best flavor combination, jamaican jerk and honey mustard. Too sweet. But, with some refinement, I think it could be a  good idea anyway. I like to mess with my loved one’s minds by switching up flavors in the middle of meal prep. The husband just thinks we are having some kind of honey mustard chicken when he walks in the door and smells the air. But he is so wrong, it’s going to be a hot and spicy and in this case, nauseatingly sweet trick to the ol’ olfactory sense. This is so the mafia can’t tell what you will be serving for dinner. Culinary witness protection, however, did not save  these chicken thighs from being eaten. Or from being photographed by someone still learning how to use her digital camera settings. See out of focus below.

I’m all corny-joked out now. I promise. Please, rent the movie, it is way better than I could ever talk it up. Please, make the chicken but try a different flavor combo. I beg you.

Goodnight.

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Steel Magnolias / Cuppa cuppa cuppa cake

28 Feb

 

I have loved Steel Magnolias since I first saw it in my friend’s dorm room when I was 18. Its the story of a group of women living in a small southern town who come together and share their lives at a local beauty parlor. Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis have the best lines, showing that age does not mellow a person, at all. Julia Roberts was still young and adorable and watchable in this film. She hasn’t been really personable for some time now (sorry Jules). Darryl Hannah tackles the part of Annelle and is mostly convincing at being terribly awkward but she is still beautiful, lithe and like seven feet tall. How awkward can a super model really be?  Dolly Parton is, well, Dolly Parton, fun, friendly and country to the core. I cry, every time with Sally Field. But I can’t tell you why, because you might be one of those deprived individuals who have yet to see the movie.

The best part of the film, in my opinion,  is the sense of community conveyed by the almost entirely female cast. Everyone knows everyone else. Everyone is aware of everyone else’s business and try to stick their noses in wherever they can. Out of the goodness of their heart’s of course. This community of women gathers together at the beauty parlor to get their hair done but they also discuss their lives and are there to circle the wagons when disaster strikes.

Disaster is not so unlike what happened today…

During one of the beauty salon scenes, Dolly Parton, as Truvy and Olympia Dukakis, as Clairee are discussing recipes. Clairee asks Truvy about the “cuppa cuppa cuppa” recipe. Truvy, while creating a bouffant on Julia Robert’s head says, “It’s a cup of sugar, a cup of flour, a cup of fruit cocktail with the juice and you just mix and bake at 350 until gold and bubbly”.

This sounds like the most simple recipe in the world, yet I still screwed it up.  Let us begin at the beginning.

The cast of characters: Flour, sugar, fruit cocktail (who would have known that fruit cocktail had grapes in it too?), Diet, Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper (nothing in the kitchen can be done without aittle fake sugar refreshment) and milk not shown because I didn’t know I needed it until after this picture.

I figured the fruit cocktail would have included enough juice to make the mixture moist, but it didn’t. I added milk because hey, other baking recipes include milk, and adding apple juice seemed wrong. You can see the batter looking like a sand pit wearing fruit cocktail in picture three.  Also, Truvy, as wonderful a hairdresser as she may be, does not give detailed instructions. I just guessed on the whole “g0ld and bubbly” part. The batter never got gold, as you can see in picture number four. It got slightly less pale and bubbled and then became rubber. So I might not have even cooked it long enough. Or maybe I cooked it too long.

What have we learned from this kids?

Don’t add your own ingredients to baked goods if you don’t have a pretty good idea of what will happen.  Now, you know it will lead to sugar-laden material suitable  for soling your shoes. And then ,really, don’t eat a bunch of it anyway. Just don’t.

I really need the structure of an actual, tested recipe, written by someone who actually exists. If you are a total baking rock star, you can probably pull this one off just fine. Go for it. What else have you got to do today? If you get it right, let me know and we can meet at Truvy’s Beauty Spot, eat and get our nails done.

I want to say thank you, Ms. Stephanie Dyer, because you owned Steel Magnolias. You let me watch it. You got me hooked. I decided to follow in the pioneer woman’s footsteps and try the recipe for myself.

Love to all, but I’m gonna go sleep this one off.