Sunday, November 17, 2013

Playing Chicken During the Tornados - Kitchen Adventures

Before the storms hit, I had to make a dash to the local grocery for two things I'd forgotten.  I spent the weekend in Indy due to a work commitment but Partner in Grime drove on over, arrived safely and tinkering away on something when I got back at the crash pad. . He looked at my purchases, lemon juice and foil, raised an eyebrow and said "so, making batteries for supper?"

Most of you have seen at least the lower front of his shirt over a dinner table. For those of you that haven't met him, Partner in Grime is my partner in grime, but also that fellow I share a last name with (trying to look all serious for me,and yes, he has blue eyes)
No batteries for dinner!  I was going to try and make supper out of just what was on hand (emergency rations not counting).   I had a few chicken breasts.  There was also some odds and end bits of frozen veggies, some leftover chicken stock,and the usual herbs, oils and vinegars.

Plus, with the tornado sirens going off about every 40 minutes, I needed something that could get interrupted with no ill effect. 

Champagne Balsamic Chicken - It's not the most photogenic dish in the world, but it was really good.  I made it with a champagne balsamic vinegar I picked up at Artisano's  last week and hadn't tried yet. For those that don't live in Indiana, they ship, and if you order something get a 1 or 2 ounce sample of the applewood smoked salt, ghost pepper salt (hot!) and espresso sugar.

It was pretty simple, cooked on the stovetop in my favorite red French Oven (you can use any big, sturdy pot.

In the pot mix: 

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup champagne balsamic viniger (or any good quality balsamic)
3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons chicken stock (or canned broth)
3 generous teaspoons of jarred minced garlic
2 dashes of sea salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 heaping teaspoon mixed dried herbs (I used a mixture of chives, basil, tarragon, chervil and a tiny bit of dill, but just tarragon or basil would work).
a couple grinds from the pepper mill

Add 3-4 skinless chicken breasts and bring to and maintain, a low boil.  Cook for 15 minutes, flip chicken pieces over then reduce heat slightly and cook at a gentle simmer until internal temp is 165 F. on a meat thermometer, (around 30-40 minutes for the pieces I had), keeping lid OFF so that the liquid is reduced to better caramlize the chicken pieces, still leaving enough for you to drizzle on other things. 

When the chicken is about 160 degrees F., remove the bay leaf, lower the heat slighty and put some bread in the oven.  What's good?   Popovers, always good on a cold, blustery day.
The popovers were 1/4 of the cost of packaged frozen rolls and much tastier. Between  gust fronts they went in, as those are a little more temperamental cooking wise, but they were worth it, tall, buttery custard like texture inside, flaky layers on the outside.
Dinner was easy and good, the chicken staying really moist and the garlicy champagne balsamic sauce, absolutely wonderful drizzled over the sweet potatoes (there was also broccoli). Even better, we didn't have to hunker down in the closet when the sirens went off, watching the radar and seeing the cells with rotation potential going north and south of here (the Range has a basement, but unfortunately, the crashpad is typical of most quick development construction, made out of packing peanuts, alpaca fur and chewing gum, covered in drywall, with the granite countertop in the bathroom there as a distraction)

I hope all of you out there are safe, warm and happy and if you're going to play chicken, do it in the kitchen, not with the weather.


  1. Glad to see your OK. I hope Barkley is too.

  2. LOL. Almost didn't recognize him without the hat.

    Been wondering about all of you back there - stay safe from the nasty weather!

  3. That looks like some good eats, vinegar is often overlooked but a very good addition to many meals. Can't eat beets without it for sure.
    No bad weather here just thick clouds.

  4. That storm looked nasty, but wow this looks good. If your other half doesn't weigh another 15 pounds in a year than I'll wonder.

    And I'll bet that it's been 5 years since I've made popovers. Hmmm ... maybe a rib roast for Christmas with Yorkshire pudding ...

  5. The bad stuff passed to the north and south of my place while I was sleeping between activations of the weather radio. (Bad sinus infection didn't let me sleep last night so I was trying to sleep in)

  6. Glad to hear you are ok (as are the rest of my friends back east, so far as I know). Nice to put a face to the man who won your heart.

    Bravo Sir, Bravo, we mere mortals bow unto the dust.

  7. Great food as usual,one conplaint for
    you though,you have now published a
    photo of your other half but we dont
    have a full true photo of you lots of
    part snaps an eye here a back view of
    your head but no full true photo of
    you,so how about it.

  8. Thank you Rob - The last of the weather was through by dark. There are a few limbs down and the remaining leaves as well, but that was the extent of it.

    naturegirl - over the many years I've had a residence in Indiana, there are very defined tracks of where the weather comes through, it's pretty interesting to watch.

    Sunnybrook Farm - I did some roasted root vegetables drizzled with a cinnamon pear balsamic as they finished in the oven a while back. Incredibly good. But a good quality vinegar I think is key.

    Keads - we will. Thanks!

    Borepatch - He's managed not to gain any, but home cooking is broken up by bouts overseas where the only place to eat may be the pub I refer to as "The Grease and Weasel". Easy to not eat as much there.

    HatTrick - glad you are OK. I was sort of watching your area on the map and hoping all was well.

    warhawkeishere - well, thank you. I'll pass that on to him :-)

    Ajdshootist - sorry, no full picture until I retire, or plan on quitting blogging in the immediate future. Professional and personal life need to be kept separate until then.

  9. Glad to see you are O K and didn't play funnel chicken.

  10. I do not knwo how you can cook in bad weather! :) I'm too busy multi-tasking the fire radio, the scanner at at least two different radar images. Dinner in a storm is the ubiquitous cold can o' pasta.

    Glad to hear you both are safe.

  11. Glad y'all survived the storms yesterday. I remember hiding in the closet, Monkeys strapped into carseats with kid bike helmets on heads. Wow, I hated that! I sure am glad we have the storm shelter these days!

  12. Glad you are good. I start getting nervous when the wind gets up to 10 mph...

  13. john bord - thanks.

    BePrepared - the weather patterns here are pretty predictable. The lines always split up near a certain area with severe going north and severe going south, and this little narrow bannana belt in the middle of it that just gets rain and wind.That's where I live. So there wasn't much else to do but listen to the wind and cook supper. Theh Range itself was closer to the fray but sustained no damage.

    Monkeywrangler - I've been in the closet with a motorcycle helmet on before. It's not the best way to spend an evening.

    ProudHillbilly - most wind I've seen here was gusts to 62, upnorth they can get some "hand of God" winds that pull fully mature trees out by the root bundles.

  14. It's probably like that everywhere, reoccurring patterns that the weather follows. Out in the west it's usually running along the tops of mountain ranges or gathers on one side or the other. One place I lived at, it always rained across the street and never on our side LOL.

    It's really cool and also helps predict if something will hit or float right on by.


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