Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Mr. Hawthorne was watching Sunny Anderson on Food Network the other day and saw her making Bacon and Sage Potato Pancakes. We both agreed that they looked and sounded pretty good, so I printed out the recipe and held on to it until this morning, when he actually made the pancakes. (Note: I'm not holding on to the recipe anymore.) When I came back in from picking the sage, Mr. Hawthorne, being uncharacteristically cooperative, had thoughtfully created his mise en place for me to photograph, even though he can't remember the name or pronounce it. And he always bitches about it when I say, "Wait, wait, wait, lemme take a picture!" I guess I've finally worn him down. I'm good at that. Now, Sunny Anderson is not one of my favorite Food Network people. (I can't call them chefs. I refuse to call them stars. I could settle for "annoying personalities." Yeah, that works for me.) And Sunny Anderson is like a black Rachael Ray. While she's cooking/prepping/whatever, she starts telling one of those annoying, grating, and stupid stories that the suits at Food Network encourage them to do - something that has utterly nothing to do with what they're doing and just serves as filler to take up dead air time. Filler does not work in a crab cakes. And it certainly doesn't work in cooking shows. We don't want to hear your cutesy, boring-ass, contrived meanderings. I'm watching a cooking show. I'd like to learn about cooking. I don't want to hear about your Brother Bubba. I don't want to hear about your Gramma Dicey or your Gramma Lorraine. I don't want to hear about your Uncle Bill and whatever Aunt it was that cried over flowers.
(ETA: It was Aunt PEGGY!) I don't want to hear about the time you were at whatever island in the Caribbean at your friend's parents' house and passed out in your plate at dinner. Oh wait, Sandy. I do want to hear about that. But, you get my drift. But Food Network ain't gonna deliver. No way. No how. Plus, Sunny has started making words up like Rachael does. I forget the actual word, but she was doing a Mexican based meal and she combined two words stupidly (something like tacosagna, I think) for her combo, then harped upon the cuteness of her "word," telling us the origins, and "Get it? Get it?" Yeah, we get it, Sunny. Now get off my TV.
But Kermit (Bob Tuschman) and Medusa (Suzy Fogelson) like this crap. Apparently, they think it's cutting edge entertainment. It is not. Back to breakfast.
Mr. Hawthorne was happily preparing Sunny's potato pancakes this morning, carefully adhering to the printed-out recipe, when he pointed out to me, "Did you know the difficulty level of this dish is intermediate?" Check out the recipe and see for yourself. Intermediate?!!??? You grate, you mix, you fry. Sounds damn simple to me. But then, if you're Sunny, simple things might not appear so simple at times.
Well, actually, no.
I like this shot of ME,
shooting the picture
and being reflected in the knife.
Mr. Hawthorne chops up the bacon.
Mr. Hawthorne used a cast iron skillet, heated his oil, and I added in some extra sage leaves because I happen to like fried sage leaves.
Then the potato patties went in. Remember, never crowd your pan when frying. Crowding will lower the temperature of the oil and whatever you're frying will not brown nicely.
I was really excited about these. Now for the all-important taste test. The fried sage is herby and quite tasty. The potato pancake sucked. I never thought I'd say this, but the bacon really detracted from the pancake. You'd be better served by just frying up the bacon and serving it on the side. And the pancake was not good. Too much filler. Not enough crunch. Mr. Hawthorne was disappointed. I was too. Then he said something that made us both feel a little better: "Tomorrow morning, I'll make my potato pancakes." Ah ... Tomorrow is another day. And it looks like it'll get off to a wonderful start.
Ever since I posted about Arnold's Sandwich Thins
and my using them for hamburger buns,
I've gotten a lot of comments about them.
Some of you have had a hard time finding them,
so just to let you know,
the first ones I saw were at WalMart.
Later I found them at Harris Teeter.
My FoodLion does not carry them,
although Mama Hawthorne says
her FoodLion in Danville, Va., does.
Out of the 5 chicken quarters Mr. Hawthorne grilled, we had 1 leftover and I decided to make a chicken salad with it.
I chopped one stalk of celery, including the leaves, and one green onion.
Add in the celery and onion and a glop of mayonnaise. A glop is about 4-5 tablespoons. And mix well.
Here's the Hawthornes' dinner Thursday night. Grilled barbecued chicken, broccoli, and cornbread muffins.
The butchers hide a lot of the fat underneath the chicken. They could very easily chop this off, but I imagine they like having the customers pay premium prices for fat. I do not like this.
Mr. Hawthorne, I do believe you've done this before. One of the most important kitchen tools is a good pair of scissors. We like the kind of scissors that have the removable blades so you can wash raw meat off of them easier. And do not use your kitchen scissors to cut cardboard.
Mr. Hawthorne always leaves a little bit of fat on so he can get the flare ups on the grill which gives you that flame-kissed flavor.
Out of 4.87 pounds of chicken, we ended up with 1 pound 7.3 ounces of fat. This is not acceptable to me.
Next, the ingredients for my barbecue sauce: (And these measurements are not etched in stone. They are to my taste, which is impeccable, of course. But you can add more or less of whatever.) 1 cup cider vinegar 1/3 cup molasses 1/3 cup dark corn syrup 1/2 cup ketchup 1/2 cup brown sugar 4 TB Lea & Perrins 4 TB Dijon mustard 2 TB sweet hot mustard 4 cloves garlic 1-2 tsp Mr. Stubb's Hickory Liquid Smoke (Go easy on this stuff. Add just a little bit at a time and taste.) Red pepper flakes, to taste. I use about a tablespoon.
Mr. Hawthorne put the chicken quarters on the grill, turning every so often, cooking for about 25 minutes.
Butter makes everything better. These were quite good (as in they were all gone that night save for 1 muffin) but I'm going to tweak this recipe a bit flavor-wise. Then I'll give you the recipe measurements.
Chicken is done. And here's my plate: Grilled chicken with a bit of extra barbecue sauce, tender, moist, and juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Crispy-tender steamed broccoli with lemon juice and butter. And a cornbread muffin with butter and a drizzling of barbecue sauce. Simple, easy, and dare I say it ... delicious.