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Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh Nature, you so crazy

Not much shocks me anymore, so I was duly impressed by nature when I rocked into my local Whole Foods and saw these bad boys:


What the actual fuck? I've never heard of them before either. They’re pretty spidery and creepy up close, but they smell wonderful. They’re basically a lemon with no juice. I did some research and this is what I found:

"Buddha's hand is a fruit of the citron variety that has a thick peel and only a small amount of acidic flesh (if any), is juiceless and sometimes seedless. Buddha's hand fruit is very fragrant and is used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and personal items, such as clothing. The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples."

I did buy one, not because I wanted to eat it particularly, but because I thought it would make an outstanding prop that me and the girls could have hours of lowbrow fun with. And when you’re right, you’re right. For your viewing pleasure, a photo essay starring Carri Ann:

What can you do with a Buddha Hand? Anything! Everything! You have to ask??!! It’s so many things!

It’s a beauty pageant crown!


It’s the star on top of your Christmas Tree!


It’s an fashionable oversize ring!


A deformed hand!


Puke!


A dish scrubber!


White girl dreads!


A potted plant for the office!


A jewelry holder!


A genital wart!


A comb!


A royal family fascinator!


And it’s not just what, but who!!!!!!!!!!

Carmen Miranda!


Bart Simpson’s Hair!


A giant undersea creature that eats boats!


A googly-eyed octopus!


An undersea anemone!


WHEW! Right?

Alas, I wanted this to go on forever, but we had to get back to work, and also, just like a regular lemon, mine is going bad. What am I going to do with it? I’m drying it. It’s going to be used as rind in one of my many holiday baking experiments. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's up, chicken butt

Why? CHICKEN THIGH.

I call people chicken a lot, it's a term of endearment, but rarely received that way. I think a former boyfriend and I used to call each other chicken, but I'll be damned if I can remember which one. And Stella only likes chicken-flavoured food, so I call her The Chicken Cat. There's a lot of chicken going on in my house.

But as I've mentioned before, I don't like eating chicken. It's taste is sorta meh to me. But I've come around to the idea that the problem is not chicken itself, but how it's been prepared. Most chicken dishes are designed to void the bird of as much flavour as possible. I say no more! I say DOWN WITH BLAND CHICKEN! I can feel y'all are SO with me.

On the heels of the tumeric incident, and because my friend Robin brought me back some gorgeous dark yellow tumeric from India, I thought I would try this delicious looking thing:

Djej Besla - Chicken and Onion Tagine but totally not made in a Tagine (because what kind of asshole has a Tagine)
chicken pieces, breasts, thighs, drumsticks, about 4
3-4 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped roughly
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads
2 yellow onions, cut into wedges
1/2 onion, sliced crossways, seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped, pitted green olives
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice for serving

Make a spice paste by using the flat side of a knife to chop and mash the garlic cloves. Place in a mortar and pestle and grind together with 1 tsp sea salt. Transfer to a bowl and add in cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Stir in 3 tbsp oil and add chicken pieces, toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.

Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven or tagine (if you're an asshole) over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in batches if necessary, remove from heat.


Add saffron and onion to pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes.


Return chicken to pot along with lemon slices and 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.


Remove from heat and scatter olives and cilantro over chicken and serve on rice.

Hell to the Yum:


Stella knows her chicken because she would not shut the fuck up yowling around the stove and turning around and around in circles until I gave her some. She doesn't give a shit about spices, she ate her chicken in great hunks while purring the entire time. It's the little things, even for cats.

Is even better the next day, so refrigerate overnight and reheat for an even tastier dinner. Winner winner, chicken dinner.