Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is It Raining With You?

Here comes the rain again,
Raining in my head like a tragedy,
Tearing me apart like a new emotion.


It's going to be Peach Jam.

After a morning touring what may be our next food adventure, the skies opened and it started to pour. What better time to stay at home and get cozy in the kitchen?

As is my usual predicament, I seem to always have fresh food in the house on the verge of going bad. I have all the good intentions in the world to process the products right away but my plans always go awry - maybe it's a problem that I'm never home and only come home late at night to crash out.

There's a pile of peaches from Reid's Orchards sitting in the corner by the vac pot brewer that need my attention. The gaskets on my vacuum sealer broke last week so I'm without a sealer until the parts arrive. Lame. So much for freezing, time to make more jam.

Jam is starting to get pretty easy. I'm without that magic box of pectin that Maria used so it's back to the old fashioned way of adding sugar, heating, stirring and reducing for a couple of hours. Filled a two quart container - not bad for a rainy Saturday.

Filipino Southern Chicken Mashup

Now, time for some lunch. I've been thinking about pairing a Filipino-style preparation for fried chicken with a Southern method that I know. It's been on my mind for several months now and I might as well give it a go.

First, marinade the chicken (free range from Springfield Farm) in a mixture of lemon juice and patis (fish sauce). Of course, I'm presuming you've learned to cut up a whole chicken yourself, saving you the additional expense of purchasing pre-cut chicken.

Once the chicken has been coated with the liquid, spread on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for half and hour to chill and dry out the skin. The drier the skin, the crisper it will be in the fryer. After a half hour (or so), dredge the chicken in flour and shallow fry in a cast iron skillet until the skin turns golden brown in 375F canola oil. I've got a convection oven, so I've also set up a baking sheet with rack to finish the chicken.

In first are the thighs and legs since they'll take the longest to cook (about 25 minutes), then the white meat and I'm working them in batches. Once the skins have turned golden, they go into the oven until done. I do the wings last because in ten minutes, they're done.

The chicken is crisp, juicy and moist. The lingering flavor of the fish sauce and lemon is there, but it's just a whisper. To my tastes, the flavor mixed with the crispy floured skin is kinda weird. Odd. Different. I'm not sure if I like it. It's a true mishmash of Filipino and Southern styles and I just don't know. Maybe I need to eat more to be sure.

There's still more to test. I wonder if a longer marinade will make for better flavor. Those that tried it, liked it. I just don't know if I really liked the combination. Yet.

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