Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I'm at this point at which I still feel a strong pull to run every single day. I've spent the last four months with the nagging voice in my head telling me that I should be outside on my feet. It doesn't go away overnight. The feeling was strong this evening, but I stuck to my plan to come home and begin a little November project.

There's a television show I've been watching on JLTV called Feed Me Bubbe and I've decided to make some of her recipes. I read a really good blog that today asked if readers wanted to teach themselves something in the month of November.

So I got started early. Anyone here surprised by that?

I made Bubbe's Kasha Varnishkes because that's something I wanted to make right when I saw her make it. I can watch food shows on television and not be bothered one bit with the idea that I should make the recipe I see. But this was interesting because it called for Kasha, which is buckwheat groats. A new grain to try out - that was intriguing.

Not sure where to buy this little delicacy, I asked a friend of mine at work where I could buy Kasha. He said it was hard to find here, so they buy it down in Kansas City. He said next time they go, he would bring me a box. But do you know what happened the next day? He brought me a box.

That was more than two months ago, so with the new challenge and a short trip to the store for bowtie pasta, I whipped up Kasha Varnishkes and a roasted chicken.

The chicken is a whole 'nother story. If you know me, you know I have a thing against chicken. Corporate chicken is what I call it. Tortured animals with nasty carcasses...I'll stop. I don't go into it all because that's sort of rude and because if you really want to know, you can look it up yourself. So chicken is not a dish I will eat unless I know where the chicken came from or if I am a guest at someone's home, right? Another guy at work offered chickens for sale this year from his brother's farm. I decided to follow a second recipe from Bubbe called, if you can believe it, roast chicken.

I saw this show, too. She used a sharp knife to take off some pinfeathers. OK, gross. I do like for my food to come from a farm nearby if I can help it, but I am a typical 21st century North American girl and I do NOT want to get to know my food on such a personal level. I still want it to look like the grocery store invented it.

I was about to pour boiling water over the chicken (don't ask me, I was just following the recipe) when I sort of screamed and jumped away from the sink. The neck was still attached. I'll be darned if I didn't think some pretty awful thoughts of my co-worker and his brother just then. I got my kitchen shears and sort of hacked away at the darn thing all the while making girlie EWWW noises. Disgusting! Making it worse was the stuff hanging out of the neck - I swear to you the bird's head was ripped off rather than chopped.

Edited to add: I was using the dull kitchen shears to disconnect the neck from the blasted animal. I have a pair of sharp ones that are set aside for emergencies such as this, but did I use them? No. Instead I just sawed and hacked my way through. Stubborn much?

I could just spit. Stupid freaking chicken. I hate chicken. I'd like to say I'm over it. Sort of. Now I think I will just cross off everything on my bucket list. I've seen it all.

She's super tiny, isn't she? 

The chicken recipe called for allspice under the skin, which smelled good while it was cooking, but I didn't get any taste from it. This stupid chicken was the smallest thing I've ever seen. EVER. I think with the legs out like that, it looks like it's trying to escape from the slaughter.

Below is the dish with the groats and bowtie pasta. I have never made it before or eaten it before. Also, her recipe was a little more confusing than I thought it was going to be. I saw her make it and I had it printed out in front of me, but I think I was trying to make it take less time, so I didn't follow step by step. It's the sort of dish that calls for the cook doing 2-3 things at once. But the recipe was written to have you do one thing at a time, which would have taken longer. Also, I didn't saute the onion and I used canned mushrooms instead of fresh because I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money on fresh for something I've never done before.

This recipe needs a covered, oven-safe pan

This dish was really dry. It was so dry that I added some of the drippings from the chicken (more than I care to admit, but can you say "tasty" for me?). I have no idea if this dish is meant to be dry, but other than the oil for the onion & mushroom saute, I didn't change anything. In the end, it needed more chicken drippings than the amount of oil called for. I would make this again because I think it's yummy, but I wouldn't serve it to guests.

Next up I will make her kugel. I bought the noodles tonight, but I have until the end of November...

Lastly, for those of you who remember that my cell phone takes truly bad photos, this is my cell phone at work. My camera is under the weather (when I can find it), so I just used my phone. This is the result. Looks tasty, eh? I guess I won't win any foodie awards!


Sofia Reino said...

Well Caron, you certainly made me laugh and what a great way to start the day. Now in terms of the dryness, two things. Non corporate chickens have much less fat, so one usually has to adjust. Also not having used fresh mushrooms which would give quite a bit of juice would also be helpful. Now in terms of, would you redo the recipe again? One thing that I always do when it is a recipe with lots of steps is that I try to make whatever I can ahead of time and ALWAYS have all ingredients out and ready to go.

Caron said...

You're right about the fat and that was evident, but I was prepared for that. Same as when I grind my own hamburger. I sometimes have to add a little oil to the pan when I brown it.

Remember that brown rice recipe I loved so much earlier this year? This Kasha varnishkes was very similar to that. That's why I like it. As for time, I was stubbornly trying to make this on a work night when really I didn't have the time to do it the way I prefer: taking my time.

Rambling Woods said...

I guess my stomach isn't quite back to normal yet..oh dear...I am afraid of chicken and wear plastic gloves if I have to cook it..yes I am strange.. I also like chickens as birds....kugel is good!!

Caron said...

Oh, I am wary of chicken, Michelle. I don't like what I call corporate chicken. This chicken came from a farm nearby. I still haven't made the kugel, but I will soon. It just seemed like too many calories so close to Thanksgiving.

Lauren said...

corporate chicken, love that. I'm so with you. I want well-raised chickens but I also don't want to think about the chicken too much. Yay for cooking homework, kasha reminds me of my grandmother.