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13 September 2005 @ 07:20 pm

1. Am back in DC after a few days in FL. Got the truck down there and unloaded. Arranged for painting, and picked colors. Went to church and reconnected with a bunch of people. Went to a wedding shower, and made new friends (and business contacts!) and found out the area we're going to be living in is a big liberal enclave. Woo! I can't wait to get down there and do some political work.

Also bought furniture-- started with an antique china cabinet (1920s replica of an 1860s piece) and matched stuff to that. We're ending up with mostly mahogany furniture, but not stuffy mahogany. Casual mahogany, which is not as casual as oak or pine, but more casual than walnut. Actual wood, though. Not particleboard. *snif* I'm a grownup.

2. Mom noticed my hair shedding, and connected it with the lack of thyroid hormone. I stopped taking synthroid when I ran out and never got around to getting back to the dr. Shmeh. That also explains my constant tiredness. So the fact that I slept all day today is not my fault. And it explains why, after sleeping all day, I'm still tired.

3. Cross your fingers-- I'm told that in Orlando, at any rate, rather than hiring librarians to research, they give it to some lawyers who are dedicated to research. If that is true, I'd be doing mostly what I did in DC, only I'd be paid better. God, I hope that's true.

4. maudgonne is going to start cooking, which I approve of. I used to eat out all the time and spent way too much money. Then I learned to cook. Now I love it. So for Maud, here are two of my favorite customizable recipes.

Chicken breast (or thighs, or whatever)

Take 1-2 tablespoons of oil or butter. (I like butter. It freaks other people out, but I like it.) Do not use fake butter spread. That stuff is an abomination. If you really can't bear to use butter, olive oil is good for your heart and has antioxidants and stuff. Also, it tastes good and was not created in a lab. Okay. So heat the butter or oil in a skillet, at around 7 on a 1-10 scale. While you're heating it, prepare the chicken.

How to prepare the chicken

Grab a handful of flour and put it on a plate. Exact measurements don't really matter, but if you need them, say 1/2 cup. Add some salt and pepper (say 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper) and mix it into the flour. If you want other seasonings, add them. Experiment-- use whatever you want. Just about anything works with chicken. I <3 cinnamon. :) Anyway, roll the chicken in the flour mixture.

You can also do this without flour. Just sprinkle salt, pepper, seasonings, whatever, directly on the chicken.

Back to the pan

The oil or butter should be sputtering in the pan now. Lay the chicken in it. Let it brown on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then turn it over and brown it on the other side.

Deglaze the pan. That means pour in some sort of acidic liquid-- wine, vinegar, liquor-- anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup. That gets the brown bits stuck to the bottom unstuck and adds to the yumminess. It'll boil up almost immediately. That's okay. Add a cup of chicken broth.

Chicken broth

You can use chicken broth in a can, or chicken broth that you've made (although if you know how to do that, you aren't reading this recipe), or crumble a cube of chicken bouillon in a cup of water and stir it. I use the bouillon.

Back to the pan

Okay, so you add the chicken broth. That will stop the boiling. Give it a couple minutes, and let it boil again. Once it boils, turn the heat down to about 3. Now you can relax for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out and put it on a plate. It's ready to eat.


Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it barely covers the bottom of the pan. Pour it over the chicken.

Add a tablespoon or two of flour or cornstarch to the liquid. Whisk it in. Try and break up the lumps, though you won't get them all. Boil it until it thickens. Pour it over the chicken.

Add a quarter cup of milk or cream to the liquid. Boil it until it thickens (not too long, or it'll curdle, and ew.) Pour it over the chicken.

After the chicken is browned, you can remove it to a plate and cook up some vegetables in the pan. Onions, mushrooms, garlic... those are my favorites, but you can do others. For onions and/or mushrooms, chop them up and cook them (you may need to add extra oil, but that's okay) for 5 minutes. Stir them every so often so they don't burn. For garlic, chop it up and cook it for 1 minute. Garlic browns quickly, and that makes it bitter. After cooking the veggies, put the chicken back in the pan and keep going with the recipe.

Okay, that took a long time. I'll do another one later. I'm hungry. :)
High-velocity pie of death: minimenixieq on September 13th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
i already told you about this on the phone, but for posterity's sake...
a similar, equally tasty (albeit dryer) recipe, which i got from "the new basics", i b'lieve:

chicken positano

i generally do this with either thin deboned breasts, or "cutlets" (i have yet to figure out the difference, unless it's just the chicken tits cut to smaller sizes). as with the above, exact amounts don't matter; just eyeball it according to how much chicken you're cooking.

put some cornmeal, salt & pepper, and whatever other seasonings you want (i'm fond of ginger & paprika, myself, and maybe a pinch of cayenne) in a bowl. in a second bowl, crack two eggs (or one if you're only doing one or two small pieces of chicken) and add 1 tbsp water.

dredge the chicken in the cornmeal mixture, then in the egg, then in the cornmeal again, until it's nicely coated. while you're doing this, have some olive oil heating in a skillet. toss the chicken in and sautee it for about 5 minutes a side (until cooked through, obviously, so timing will vary according to thickness -- this is why thin fillets are better, or you can pound 'em flat).

in the original recipe, there's an added bit about some sort of arugula salad with balsamic or maybe red wine vinegar to go on top, but i'm not big on arugula, so i never bothered with that.

in other news, fingers crossed! and yay on the furniture. you are, indeed, a grownup now. >;)