Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One can low sodium chicken broth
One handful of Italian flat leaf parsley
Two cups brown rice
One cup shredded cheese
Two soft boiled eggs
Two hard boiled eggs
Earlier this week I casually leaned against the door to my boss’s office and heard myself say, “Actually the history of American Cheese is pretty interesting.” before I saw a moment of panic light in his eyes. I quickly stopped the conversation so as not to get fired. He’s politely interested in my cheesemaking, but not THAT interested. No one wants to hear me talk about American Cheese at length. So - American Cheese you guys. I’m going to talk about it at length.
So what does one do with a pound and a half of homemade Ricotta. It’s a bland and boring cheese, so in addition to the basil, I add about a quarter cup of finely minced sundried tomatoes and grind some fresh black pepper over it. Another pinch of salt won’t hurt either. Then I turn my attention to peppers.
Prosciutto, Ricotta, come on pretty mama,
Montasio, Formmagio, baby why don’t we go…
There’s a whole Kokomo spoof involving Italian cheeses and meats just waiting to be written, but my inner Weird Al is not cooperating today. I’m back in it guys - cheesemaking that is. I have a confession to make though - that Camembert I worked SO hard on? Tasted like Pine Sol. Or how I imagine Pine Sol to taste. I cracked one open over Thanksgiving and it tasted like Camembert! "You are a rock star." I thought to myself. There was a slight ammoniac smell and taste to it, but that’s normal with mold-ripened cheeses, and I thought a couple hours of airing would fix it. The second came with me to a Christmas party, and probably would have taken the paint off a car had I tested it. The verdict: Overripe. Since they were a variety of odd sizes, and since I didn’t know exactly what the fresh hell I was doing, I couldn’t accurately judge the ripening times and let them go far too long. But I will try again. I think I just have to work my way up.
Here’s a fun fact: There are probably as many websites making fun of Pinterest as there are pins on Pinterest. Pinterest Fail, Pinterest You Are Drunk, Pintester, etc. I joined Pinterest so I could post stuff from this blog, but I don’t really need another life-suck, so I mostly keep my addictive personality off that particular website. But Valentine’s Day is a week away, and this “recipe” looked easy and cute, and I’m in a silly mood. And how hard can it be? (Which should be the Pinterest motto, but maybe printed on a wine bottle label or something. Pin-ot Noir? I’m low on puns today too. I just imagine after a couple hours browsing that site and seeing what other people are doing with their lives, be it good or bad, anyone could sure use a drink.
I know my way around a chicken breast - believe me if you make as many hundreds of pounds of chicken salad as I do, you know where every scrap of meat is hidden. But thighs remain a scarlet mystery to me. Even eating them is difficult - there are bones in odd places, cartilage and fat where there oughtn’t be, and it’s pretty much like biting into a stack of kites. That’s why I’m so baffled by Cooks Illustrated’s insistence on using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for every recipe where a normal person would use breasts. They insist they’re cheaper, more flavorful, and basically pouring out of every butcher counter in the country. Yankees. (Shakes head sadly.) Of course you can never find boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Three grocery trips and nothing. I despair briefly, then eventually find them at Walmart.
Remember yesterday I said I love barbacoa?
Four hours passed. Four and a half actually, since the longer the better with slow cooking. They call it slow cooking for a reason. They do not call it fast cooking. (Zing!)
The Dutch oven now looks like this:
I love barbacoa - I love the name, I love the (previously blogged about) pork, and I love the London restaurant of the same name. So when browsing around the Serious Eats website I saw a recipe called “Better Than Chipotle’s Beef Barbacoa”, I hastened to Chipotle to taste for myself. I’d only ever eaten at Chipotle once, and to be honest it went through me like a chimney sweep. Chim-chimeree indeed. My husband has had similar experiences at Qdoba, so fast-casual Mexican-ish dining hasn’t been on our radar for quite some time. But last weekend some beeper went off in the heads of every human in my hometown, signaling them that they must go out to eat. Trying and failing (three times!) to get a table anywhere with a wait time of less than an hour, we ended up spending a romantic evening at the campus Chipotle. (Or a romantic 20 minutes. They are quite fast.)