Chickenlicious

After reading The Kitchn’s post about Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk and then eating some curried chicken, I wanted to try my hand at adding some currylike flavors to the chicken in milk. I love coconut curries but find them a little too rich, so I thought the milk would give some creaminess without being overpowering. And I was right! It was delicious. I’m not one for recipes, so measurements are approximate, but here goes:

3 pieces quartered chicken, on the bone with skin (I suggest cutting them to separate drumstick from breast for a total of 6 pieces)

1.5 cups 2% or whole milk

10 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped

4 bay leaves

2 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. Adobo con pimienta (in my house, chicken is never cooked without adobo)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. coriander

If you have a slowcooker, throw everything in all together as one does in a slowcooker. I did it on high for three hours, but low for five would work just as well. A fun tip: I made rice as a side and mashed up the garlic cloves with the rice. I think the recipe would also taste good with bell peppers, but A won’t eat those, so someone else will have to let me know.

A place for a fuzzy puppy

I realize I’ve yet to mention my dog, Jasmine, on here. Well, she’s the cutest. I started letting her sleep in my bed a couple months after I got her, way back in ’05, and it really calmed her down immensely. Just spending those eight hours next to me, even without interaction, made up for the hours away from her while I was at work.

Since A moved in, sometimes it gets a little crowded (she only weighs 10 pounds, but like her mom, she likes to position herself in the middle of the bed and lie diagonally). So she jumps down and stretches on the floor. Then she wants to come back up, but she forgets that she can jump. She cries. I pick her up.

This is all a very long intro to talk about making a bed for her. If I put it right next to the bed, she might just sleep there all night (or once A gets into bed a few hours after I do). She had one at one point that she quite liked—it was velour and had a raised edge, which hid chew toys in.

Replicating the material is easy, but since my sewing skills are limited, I’m not sure how to put the edge on it. I’d also like to find some way to affix a T-shirt of mine, so the whole business smells like me. I’m thinking the easiest think to do is take a a flat fleece bed I bought for $3 some months pack, glue some pillow form around the edge, and make a new cover for the whole thing. Then I can attach a strap to hold the shirt in place so that Beatrice the Beautiful Psycho Cat doesn’t pull it out, shred it and scatter it around the apartment.

If any of you have any ideas/sewing tips for how to do this, they’re much appreciated. If not, I’ll proceed as planned and let y’all know how it goes.

Fiber

I’ve had an advance copy of The Full Plate Diet on my desk for a few weeks now (along with what appears to be the coolest origami book ever made), and it has some interesting parts—mainly a food rating section in the back that shows which prepared foods are ok and which to stay away from. But here’s the thing: The whole point of the book is to tell you fiber is good. That’s the new thing, fiber.

Don’t get me wrong, fiber is good stuff. My grandma used to extol its virtues every chance she got (in my head, I still hear the word in her New York accent, “foibuh”). But isn’t that common sense? Do we really need books and diet plans and a whole industry built around the fact that fiber is good for you? At least Dr. Atkins had a novel (ok, nutso) approach to dieting.

I’m ranting, I know. But I wish that some of those resources that are going toward promoting fiber would be redirected to making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable and readily available. Maybe they could subsidize farmers markets, brand them and stuff. Just something for all you diet-industrial complex honchos who are reading this to think about. You know, food for thought (hardy har).

I have a hoffice

I finally turned my teensy second bedroom into a home office. There wasn’t much to do really—the desk, bookshelves and filing cabinet were already in there. But now I have it nicely organized. It’s probably one of the lowest-tech offices on the planet, with only a printer, ready for my laptop to be plugged into it. I’m really only posting about it for two reasons.

1. Don’t you love getting organized before school starts? Not that I’m going back to school (although A is), but something about late August, and seeing all the Staples commercial just makes me want to crack open a brand new notebook. Or, you know, get my home office ready for use.

2. I’m currently using a stool in there. I’m scanning Craigslist for chairs, but does anyone in BK have one they’re looking to get rid of? Have any good tips for constructing a chair out of suitcases, a laundry rack and lots of clothes (the supplies I have lying around in there)?

Cooler than a fan, man

Yesterday, A’s grandmother brought over a car-ful of groceries (thanks again Nanny!), including two honeydews and a cantelope, in addition to apples, oranges and grapes. Seriously, it’s amazing. Now, A doesn’t like melon, because, you know, boys are silly, so I’m on my own with more melon than I can shake a stick at. But don’t worry, readers, I came up with a plan:

I cut the honeydew into ice cube-size cubes, and then, you guessed it, froze it! It’s delightful in seltzer or vodka tonic. I’ve yet to try it in plain water, because it will probably disintegrate a bit more, but I suspect it will be just as delicious. Unfortunately, A does eat grapes, so I can’t freeze many of those, but that’s also tasty. (Disclaimer: I saw that in another magazine recently, but I guess it’s not that novel an idea.)

Quinoa vs. Barley

When my roommate moved out, she left behind some barley. I haven’t cooked with the stuff much, but it seemed easy enough, and I made a tasty salad of barley, broccoli, olives, tomatoes, balsamic and feta. I was very excited to bring it to work for the week until, out of nowhere, I felt slightly sheepish that it wasn’t quinoa.

Do I lose foody stripes for eating barley? I actually prefer the texture of barley, but is it secretly really bad for you? What am I missing?

In search of validation, I took to the internet to compare the nutritional value of the two grains. (Ok, quinoa’s a berry. Is that why everyone loves it?) Anyway, here are the findings, for one-cup cooked serving size:

Barley
Calories: 192
Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 4 g
Calcium: 2% recommended daily value
Iron: 12% rdv

Quinoa
Calories: 222
Fat: 4 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 8 g
Calcium: 3% rdv
Iron: 15% rdv

So, you see, quinoa’s way ahead in both protein and fat. So you know what I’m going to do? Go home and make a barley burger. I’m going to mix in some canellini beans (protein!), bread crumbs and an egg (more protein!), and I bet it will taste better than anyone’s quinoa burger.

Scarves

The other day, I cut the bottom tier off a long, flowy skirt (I’m 5’1″, it was necessary). And I had a brilliant idea: Use the cut-off part as one of those, I think they’re called infinity scarves, you know,  because it never ends. It was like 100 degrees at the time, so I’m pretty impressed with myself that I had the foresight to think about fall accessories.

Now all I need is a really light, floaty summer scarf. I have a top in mind that I don’t wear much. The nice thing about having a ridiculously large wardrobe is that it allows me to play a little. It also gives me a chance to pack stuff away and go shopping in my own clothes a month later. More to come on that.

Genius!

I made lasagna last night, because I’m a big fan of anything that will last a few days and get deliciouser as time passes. I happened to look at the lasagna recipe on the noodle box, and it said to beat the ricotta with an egg! It made it so much creamier. Let’s face it, no one likes crumbly ricotta. I also added a hefty dash of garlic salt and some rosemary, and it turned out to be my best lasagna ever. Is this whole egg thing something everyone knows about except me?

Hello world!

In this, the first entry of the second blog I’ve attempted, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to sea salt brownies. I know I didn’t invent them, but they’re so simple and delicious, and the “sea salt” part tends to impress them. Here’s what ya do:

Buy a box of brownie mix.
Follow directions, up until pouring them into the pan.
Once they’re poured, sprinkle sea salt. Don’t be shy. You’ll need more than you think, and the coarser the better.

If you really want to go the extra mile, use a large pan to make them thin, bake them for an extra minute or two and make ice cream sandwiches. Coconut’s my favorite.