Returning to the fold…I joined French Fridays with Dorie back in October 2010, right at the beginning. I cooked and baked along with everyone consistently for several months…and then I tapered off…and, eventually, stopped. Not on purpose, not for any reason that I can remember. I just had lots of other demands on my brain, I think, and something had to go.
But I missed it, I missed the fun of cooking “together” with a whole bunch of other people…and I missed the food. So not too long ago I decided I needed to get back into the routine. I may only participate once a month, but that’s okay. As long as I participate. Besides, it’s nice to have someone else decide what’s for dinner now and then!
And to kick off my return, I made this week’s selection, M. Jacques Armagnac Chicken.
Way back in May, as a combination Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, and any other gift-receiving holiday you can think of, I got a pressure canner. And I’ve been waiting to use it. I knew that the first thing I wanted to can was homemade stock. I make a lot of stock, chicken especially, and I’d wanted the pressure canner especially so I could put the stock in jars and give us more room in the freezer.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, the pressure canner made its canning debut….
We’ve never grown it before, so I had no idea what to look for in terms of the actual ripening fruit. But here’s what it looks like. Pretty interesting, no?
Ohhhh, I totally forgot what day of the week it was. The snow days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks keep throwing me off track, at least mentally, and yesterday I kept thinking it was Sunday, because everyone was home, and so this morning I had no idea WHAT day it was, and plus I was up at 4:29 am to play with fire and pig meat and then make cheese, and then at some point today it suddenly hit me:
FRENCH FRIDAYS WITH DORIE DAY!
CHICKEN B’STILLA DAY!
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was when I took a look at this recipe. Really. Actually, “happy” doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s happy plus…familiarity. Like seeing an old, very dear friend.
The smell of a roasting chicken says “home” to me. The aroma is cozy and comforting and evocative of childhood…Sunday afternoons…cool Autumn days…dark, early evenings…cribbage games in the living room, and – a real treat – glasses of ginger ale mixed with orange juice for my sister and me.
We didn’t move – ever – when I was a child. Our house was also my father’s place of business, so we were pretty well tied to that spot. But once I was in college and then on my own, I lived in a variety of places in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and again in Rhode Island.
And whenever I’ve moved, I’ve had to roast a chicken soon after moving in. I need to. It’s my way, I think, of blessing the place. Of saying “this is my home.” Instead of burning sage or incense, or popping open a bottle of champagne, I roast a chicken.
From Better Homes and Garden’s Wok Cuisine, Oriental to American, page 103.
Yes, Better Homes and Gardens. Oh, don’t laugh at me. There are a lot of good recipes, and the layout and photos are really nice, too. So be nice.
Bill wanted to make something the kids would like, since they’re not always up for spicy stuff. This sounded very kid-friendly and yummy, so that’s what he went with.
A few weeks ago my brother-in-law (my sister's husband), Jacques, wrote the following on his Facebook status:
"Who the heck deep fries liver? No, but seriously, who does that? Really now. Apalled."
My sister said "Not me"
And I wrote "I would! Deep fried chicken livers? Sounds tempting."
And Jacques said "Figures, what else could be expected from a barefoot kitchen witch."
And with those words, the gauntlet was thrown down.
Here's another one from March that I didn't post then…
I made (and wrote about) pita bread, and to accompany the bread, I made this chicken dish.
I had a bunch of nice, big chicken thighs, which I'd rinsed and patted dry with paper towels, you know, like you're supposed to when messing around with chicken.
I planned to bake them in the oven somehow, and since I was already taking pictures of the pita bread in progress, I figured I'd get all fancy with the chicken, too.
No, it's not jewelry or coins or highlights in my hair.
No, it's not the sun, which is finally out after days and days of "should we be building an ark?" weather.