30 July, 2011

I'm late today because I was cooking.

With it being the peak of the busy season here at the hostel, I'm not afforded many opportunities to record or even practice at a volume I can really sink my teeth into, so recording was off the table today... but I did plenty of cooking.
First of all, I woke at the crack of later-than-what-I-like and set about fixing some breakfast. Scrambled eggs with onions and bells. This used up the last of my bell pepper, which sent me to the grocery store to fetch more. I opted for the Uptown Rainbow as it was 1230CDT by the time I was ready to leave and the Aldi, cheap though it may be, is a fucking nuthouse anytime past ten in the morning. That and Rainbow has a wider selection of produce.
Tonight's dinner was going to be modeled after Nigella Lawson's chicken cacciatore recipe, so I needed to pick up chicken, bacon, and green onions.
After I got back to the house, I practiced for a while on some stuff that Tiger Gang Tony and I have been working on until I lost patience and decided to listen to some Lovage. Couldn't tell you why. For some reason, I went to YouTube and brought up "Sex (I'm a...)". To my surprise (and probably nobody else's), it turns out that it's a cover of a Berlin (the people who brought you "Metro" and "Take a Breath Away") song.
Then I went and listened to "Metro" and figured out how to play that before going to the liquor store. I then gave Tiger Gang Tony a ring to see about practice but he's out in Haskins or wherever at some folk festival, so practice is off this weekend.
So, with that settled, it was time for my vittles.
Nigella's recipe calls for starting some bacon and onion going in garlic oil. Me? I don't have any garlic oil so I crushed and minced two cloves and and threw them in some regular ass olive oil. Nigella also cuts her bacon with scissors. I tried that shit. Shit didn't work. So now I have to get out a serrated blade and fight some greazy, fatty, slippery meat into chunks (they weren't coming off in bits, homie) while my garlic started to get a little browner than what I like. The green onions were easy, though.
The chicken was easier to chunk than the bacon but it was still pretty slimy (it is raw flesh, after all). I left the chunks fairly large because I like my chicken like I like my women: thick and white and raised on a farm.
That's right.
I said it.
Now, Nigella uses bay leaves and rosemary and uses sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. I don't play that shit. I used the last of my fresh oregano and some fresh thyme. Thyme, I find, anyway, does an excellent job of cutting the acidity as well as presenting a distinctive flavor to the tomato sauce. I then threw in some sea salt and black pepper and then some celery seed as I had forgotten to in the beginning.
Yeah, Nigella uses celery salt. I don't. I have salt. I have celery seed. I've got this.
This isn't a step, I just like this picture. Fuck you.
Nigella's recipe calls for cannellini beans. I don't know where the fuck I'm supposed to find cannellini beans so I looked up substitutions and found that I can use navies or great northerns. Having neither of those, I hopped on my bike and headed over to the bodega to see my man Ghandi about some navies. He had great northerns. Boom. Taken care of.
I like this picture, too.
This is the finished product. Looks good enough to go in a cookbook despite being taken with a camera phone. Click to enlarge.
Now, my mother always served chicken cacciatore on spaghetti pasta and some recipes I've read (Nigella even nods to it) call for potatoes for your starch / carb / whatever content. Nigella uses beans so as to not fuck around with taters. It was a little weird eating chicken cacciatore for the first time without pasta but, I gotta tell you, I didn't miss it. I just had to use a bowl. That was the only difference.
How did it taste? I was pleased with the taste and the cacciatore sauce (much lighter and thinner than a marinara) was perfect for a hot dinner on a hot day. I think I'll try using taters next time.

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