Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

for the small appetite

April 29, 2012

I’ve been collecting little bits of papers, restaurant bills, recipe reminders and other culinary snippets for more than a year now, but was never quite ready to make the plunge. Things are settling, though:

After a fulfilled Postdoc in Southampton, I’ve changed scenery again,

moving away from here:

back to here:

(to be fair, the pictures were taken at different times of the year. But note that the first picture is black-and-white, while the second one is in full color)

I’m now in the last phase of writing up my research, which slowly lifts the lid off other plans that have been hissing and steaming in the background: the time has come to remember all the things yummy I encountered in the past two years. Or not so yummy…

Out of chronology, merely because it’s highest on my pile, I will return to the old military city of Kristianstad (where for reasons unknown all the restaurants that I have reviewed earlier have now vanished).

So there I was again on a Saturday evening, trying to find a place to eat in a city that is in the midst of constructing new government quarters. Half the town center, or more precise, the entire rådhuskvarteret, except its facades (because the renaissance character of the city must be underlined, says the City’s chief architectural designer), has been torn down. In its stead there is now a pit of great squareness, deepness and blackness.

After a slight detour around the abyss (why does all this remind me of the Lord of the Rings?), our company located the promising bistro Aptit (Appetite) in the venerable Kronhuset on the main square of the city. On entering, one is greeted by a friendly and competent waitress and invited to white tables with a decent setup of glasses, well lighted, and without too much musical interference. To sit there and converse is in fact possible.

My company of three orders various kinds of fish, and I choose the breast of corn-fed chicken. The southern province of Skåne has some excellent chicken farms and I am curious.

What I get is a nicely looking arrangement of chicken, Madeira sauce, quartered, deep-fried potato and some veggies. I should however mention the size of the portion, which consists of about half a side of a medium-sized chicken breast, with its skin, a tablespoon and-a-half of brown sauce, the equivalent of one and a half medium-large potato and about half a cup of greenery (at the point of writing I see that they offer a grilled corncob instead. Logical, in April…). Some random comparisons: a regular fish and chips over the counter at Bitterne triangle in Southampton is about three times as much in volume and a fifth of the price of my chicken (and almost inedible, it must be said). In American terms (whether we like it or not), we’re talking here about an appetizer-sized portion at its smallest; in Germany, it would be an item from the children’s menu. A large organic chicken from the store for two thirds of the price of my portion contains easily eight times the meat I’m having on my plate, plus wings, bones for soup and scraps for Rillettes. Swedish gastronomy, in short, is most of all about economy.

My company being jolly about the nice atmosphere and happy with their fish, I decide to make a friendly face and to chew thoroughly. It is a helpful trick. (more…)


3 quick chicken roast tactics

January 23, 2010

Saturday. I’m writing music, using my pencil. I’m copying extensive cues from one part of a concerto for two keyboard instruments by J.S. Bach into photo copies of the second part, in preparation of a rehearsal on Monday, where I will be the only keyboardist present, and where I will have to fill the gaps left by the absent other soloist.

This act of severe retro-geekiness – writing Bach with a pencil – costs a lot of time; time I cannot spend on cooking (one may wonder where I get the time to write this blog entry). In anticipation of all this, I bought a whole organic fresh chicken (these things are possible in Southampton. I’m still amazed). Preparing a Chicken roast goes fast, and you don’t have to stand and chop and stir all the time. But even here, most of the talk is about how to fill the gaps, or rather, the chickeny hollows. (more…)

three-tastes party chicken

April 13, 2008

A great way to entertain a bunch of standing, balcony-invading, chatting, newly arriving and otherwise not organizable guests is to place a baking tray full of chicken bits in some strategic location close to the drinks. In order to avoid big or unwieldy pieces I don’t do it the cheap way this time, which would be chopping up a few whole chickens. Robin likes chicken wings; I find that they often have too much crunch in relationship to the meaty part. I buy a lot of chicken drumsticks.

I preheat the oven to medium high, 360-370 F (180-190 C). I pour an appropriate amount of salt over all the parts and mix them by hand. I press some garlic over two thirds of the chicken bits and mix again (I do wash my hands before and after). Then I make three heaps, two with garlic and one without. (more…)

ithaca brunch sausage

March 6, 2008

Ithaca, NY. One grey October Sunday morning in 1999, I was shockingly out of supplies for breakfast. After an hour or so of mental dry-spinning – a consequence of my yawny hungry-ness – I fetched my coat and went down the hill to see where I’d find some food. First I meandered through the whole downtown without much success. When I finally entered the DeWitt mall, the cafe was just about to open, and completely empty.

Cafe DeWitt lies right across the world-famous Moosewood restaurant. (more…)

tahini chicken – tahini fish

February 21, 2008

Chicken fillets normally turn out best when prepared like I have described elsewhere: you separate the small and the big muscles of one fillet, and you slice the big one into two (or in big specimens several) horizontal layers. A really sharp knife is a Must in this operation, or you will get sloppy fillet bits and minced fingertips. The problem is now that in order to turn these fillets-of-fillets into something edible, you actually have to stand there, watch them, turn them in time, stop the cooking in time, and let the house elf or kitchen troll do everything else in the meantime.

I tried to solve this by creating an oven dish, which was inspired by ground lamb in sesame sauce, as served in a restaurant in Abu Gosh west of Jerusalem. (more…)

chicken thigh fillets again

January 29, 2008

And as an elaboration of an earlier post about chicken thigh fillets,

I am adding a shockingly crossover variant:

At least several hours ahead of cooking, I take around six or seven chicken thigh fillets, cut off any excess of fat and cut them into small bits. These are now immersed in a mixture of lemon juice and plain Japanese soy sauce, covered and stored in the refrigerator.

Also ahead of time, I soak three cups of green lentils.

When cooking proper is to begin, I slowly sauté a cup of finely chopped celeriac in two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. After five minutes, I add half a cup of chopped onion to the mix, even later a chopped clove of garlic. Before anything starts to brown, I add the lentils, water to cover, one chopped tomato, a bay leaf, freshly ground black pepper, salt, a teaspoon of dried oregano and a pinch of dried thyme. This is stirred and adjusted to a pleasant bubble.

Now the chicken bits are drained, patted dry, carefully dusted with flour and quickly browned in vegetable oil. The browned bits are directly dumped into the lentils. The cooking residue, dissolved in a dash of white wine, is added as well. Then the stew is cooked until both chicken and lentils are done. A few tablespoons of lemon juice enter at the very last. The result should be creamy and yummy.

I came to this horrifying mix of cooking traditions because, from Dutch Vegetarian days long gone, I knew that lentils and soy sauce go together really well. Having started down the path of natural taste-enhancing ingredients (such as soy sauce) I just assembled more of them: celeriac is, if treated friendly, a fantastic ingredient to almost anything (except vanilla ice cream); tomato is a well-known natural taste enhancer; I do not need to mention wine, butter, onion and garlic.

chicken thigh fillets with tomatos

January 15, 2008

About ten years ago, if I’m not mistaken, the skinless chicken thigh fillet made its glorious entry into the Swedish food stores. Everyone knows how they are almost indestructible through inexpert cooking, and that they provide quick help when all ideas seem to have stopped from coming. Heat some oil, rub chicken thigh fillets in curry paste, fry – done. The downside is that the results almost never really bring you to the point where you can say “hey, that’s really something else!” (more…)

brick’n chicken

November 27, 2007

Fillets of chicken are easy to prepare well. The small muscle is about half as thick as the big muscle, so when I, after dividing the two, slice the latter horizontally in two, I get three flat bits of fillet that will cook evenly. One can dust them with flour or not, one can cook them in butter or olive oil (or goose fat, hmmm), one can make a sauce with the cooking residue and white wine, or lemon juice or whatnot else, and spice it with anything from chipotle to fresh sage and back. Easy and quick – I’d guess quicker than the average time needed to warm up a frozen meal.

The only specialty feature is that fillet of chicken is à-la-minute food. Stop cooking when its done, not earlier (because this is bad for your health) and not later (every second equals an increase of one degree on the concrete scale).

Chicken fillet is low-calorie food and hence a recurring item in lunch restaurants. In lunch restaurants, many people come to choose from a small variety of items. Lunch restaurants typically cook the fillets whole, that is, the entire big bit of muscle, until very well done. Then the bits are piled up, waiting to be heated when needed, or kept warm in stainless steel containers. Chicken à la minute becomes brick à la hour. Yum.