April 13, 2010

When Life Gives You Blue Chickens...

What’s the story with Blue Chickens, you say? I’m glad you asked!  No, it’s not a corny take on an Elvis song. Or an old family recipe. These very real birds taught me a good lesson. One that seems to come back at me again and again.

I was young, adventurous, and had been living in Asia for about a year and a half. The lack of access to Mac N Cheese and RiceARoni® was proving a crash course in “how to really cook without a box.” About Christmas time, I had the lovely idea to host my first real dinner party. Look out Martha, here I come!

A lovely Roast Lemon Herb Chicken recipe had caught my eye.  Now it was down to assembling my ingredients.
Veggies… check.
Lemons… check.
Herbs… check.

The only thing left was the chicken. I hopped on the bus after work for the 40 minute ride to my most trust worth grocery market. It was out of the way. But with a dinner party coming I was sure to find the best chickens here. As I rounded the corner to the small meat section, I was caught… by the sight of this  BLUE skinned
This awful bird looked like something bruised and beaten from a day in the ring with Rocky. The deep blue purple bird should have been headed to the ER, not my dinner table.  

There were no normal birds to be found. So the next day I proceeded to take another bus part-way across town to another grocery market. (I still wasn’t brave enough to purchase meat at the open market where birds would be hanging from the stall or still squawking from their pen… I am the city girl of the family, after all.)

Store number three…  once again, the same funky fowl...
wrapped in plastic, with CLAWS

Tears started to well up in my eyes. The blue skin was one thing…
But the thought of having to CHOP off the CLAWS myself… I just couldn’t do it!!
All I wanted was to make was a nice, NORMAL, roast chicken dinner!! Is this too much to ask?

I left the store in tears.
Picked up a latte at Starbucks … yes, there are Starbucks in Asia… Thank Goodness!!!
And went on with my dinner.

Lemon Herb Chicken Wings may not be Martha’s dish, but they are now mine!
(and they were from normal chickens)

I still haven’t tried a blue chicken myself. You never know when the day may come… but I can say:

When life gives you Blue Chickens…  have a good cry, get a latte, and improvise!

PS - It turns out the offending fowl may have actually been a delicacy known for their healthful properties, particularly for women. Go figure?
NY Times "Now, a Chicken in Black"

April 8, 2010

My Fuzzy Pink Robe

If I could spend all day in my fuzzy pink robe, I think I would.  
It’s soft. It’s cozy. It’s not too pink. 
It feels a lot like the robes at my favorite spa…

But when it’s APRIL and I wake up to SNOW dusting the yard I just want to cozy up in The Robe.
And hibernate.
For the day.
Me. My robe. My coffee.
Maybe a sappy movie… like When Harry Met Sally, or Casablanca. Something classic, lovely, heartwarming.
The only thing better might be spending the day at that spa! 

April 5, 2010

I'm in love...

You know you're getting older when you're in love with a piece of cookware. But OH! I am so in love with my new  dish from Le Creuset. It's a deep dish enameled stoneware pie plate. And it's beautiful perfection.

It was an impulsive purchase. Out on a date with my man, ordering a latte and there it was... bright as spring... deep and smooth... calling me to take it home to my kitchen.

I've always dreamed of having the perfect dish of baking Dutch Babies (also known as German Pancakes). They are a family favorite for breakfast... and unashamedly simple, especially if you have the right dish. It makes Saturday morning breakfast so simple! 

I've never had the right dish... until now. My standby baker broke. And the pottery dish can't really be heated hot enough so the pancake doesn't quite come out right. Really, when they say the right dish makes the meal, they're telling the truth.

But this... my Dutch Baby in my new deep dish... it was a perfect piece of breakfast heaven... puffy, golden crisp on top, soft inside, mouthwatering mmm...

Don't tell anyone how easy it is. Just enjoy!

Dutch Babies
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 stick of butter
fresh lemon, powdered sugar, syrup or jam for topping!

Preheat oven to 400°. Put 1/2 stick of butter in the deep dish pan and put in oven to melt as it heats. Once butter is nearly melted, whir 4 eggs in a blender for 1 minute. Slowly add milk and flour, blending for 30 seconds more. Pour batter into pan with melted butter and bake for 20-30 minutes until puffed up and golden (perfect time for sipping coffee and reading the paper). Slice and top with your favorite pancake toppings... fresh squeezed lemon and powdered sugar are my favorites!

Add fresh squeezed juice and coffee and breakfast is complete! 

See, I told you it was too easy. Shhhhhh!

(My gluten free, lactose and dairy intolerant friends... no worries. I'll post my GF, milk free recipe soon!)