After satiating my lust for the rich joys of Chinese black chicken, I decided to actually be sensible for once in my life. Being sensible falls solely on one’s point of view. There in lies the beauty of being sensible. It is only regulated by your own system of justification. It is completely sensible for ScottyRockYourBody to live in the Abacos and be forced to wrangle food from the ocean because he is broke and it is illegal for him to work there. Why does he insist on living a “sensible” lifestyle where he must tie a twine around his hand and pray a fish engulfs the lure he has set forth? Love, that’s why. To drop all for love could possibly be the most sensible thing that I have ever been witness to.
Well, I love not being broke. So my next recipe took into account what was fresh and inexpensive. It serves as a great Hors D’oeuvres for some friends or a bedtime snack to share with who you are in love with. Unfortunately, you will need the slightest bit of income for this dish. Since it can’t be wrangled from the sea. How unromantic!
Crostini with peaches, salumi, home-made ricotta and balsamic syrup Serves 2 in bed or 10 as an hors d’oeuvres for celebrating a military promotion
For the Ricotta:
½ gal whole milk
2 lemons juiced
1T white vinegar
1T fresh chopped rosemary
1T extra virgin olive oil For the balsamic syrup:
12oz bottle of balsamic vinegar
2T dark brown sugar
1 loaf crusty sliced bread
A few local peaches
High quality salumi such as Armandino Batali in Seattle
To make the ricotta, place the milk in a pot and adjust your flame to medium heat. Raise the temperature of the milk to 170 degrees. Pour in the lemon juice and vinegar with a pinch of salt and stir for a brief second to just let it know that you haven’t abandoned its needs. Let the milk sit for a few minutes as the curds and the whey separate. Gently ladle all the curds into a cheese cloth lined colander and place that over a bowl to drip. Put it in your refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight to continue to drain a bit more. Remove the ricotta from the cheese cloth hammock and stir in the rosemary and olive oil. Taste the cheese and add some more salt as needed.
For the balsamic syrup, place the 2 ingredients into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the vinegar by half. The bubbles will turn large and thick. Set into a jar until needed.
To assemble the Crostini, pour a generous amount of olive oil into a skillet and heat it on medium high until it starts to smoke. Place a few of the slices of bread into the skillet and brown on both sides. Keep repeating until all the bread is gone. Maybe drink a little wine to keep your constitution happy while you preform the mundane act of repetition. Pile all the crostini onto a plate and set aside. Peel, core and slice the peaches. Set them aside and lick your fingers confirming your sexuality. Slice your salumi as paper thin as possible and dress your arugula with some olive oil and salt. There is nothing sadder than a dry green that longs for a kiss of olive oil. Lather the ricotta onto the crostini, lay a peach slice or two, a salumi slice or two, some loved on arugula and a drizzle of the balsamic syrup. Repeat as much as you like or at least until you get bored b
Sense and Sensibility. Some days I am filled with one and some days I am filled with both. Some times I’m just filled with IT. But it is in the times of downtrodden depression that I seem to have the magical ability to conjure up neither. All of our recipes and journeys up to this point have been filled with luxury. But in a sly sort of way, our luxurious meals have still has been fairly economical. The Breast of Lamb recipe literally cost me $12 and it fed 4 people comfortably. The Rooter to The Tooter is luxury for the intelligent. Of coarse every so often we must throw caution to the wind and really splurge. What’s the first thing one does when he has been asked not to return to his job? Buy $25 worth of Chinese black chicken to make rillettes that serves one, of coarse.
Probably some where below in the comments section our beloved ScottyRockYourBody will make a concise case as to why my behavior actually shows me to have plenty of Sense and Sensibility. His point will be great and from the outside looking in, make an enormous amount of sense. Just bear in mind, for he does not live in reality. He lives in the Abacos.
As I sit here and take in the luxury of the rillettes on my tongue while my 2 pups, Rooter and Tooter nap in my lap. My gorgeous fiancé searching through the cellar for something special, I really do feel a hell of a lot better about the rising sun tomorrow and whichever new adventure it will hold.
Black Chicken Rillettes with Quail Egg Salad Serves one with a spirit that can’t be broken and talent that can’t be denied
2 whole Chinese black chickens
Chinese five spice
1 can(15oz) of quail eggs
2T green onion chopped
T dill pickle relish
2T sweet pickle relish
2t fresh ginger minced
Take the whole birds and cut them into their respective pieces. Cut off the neck, then the legs and split the breasts. Place all the pieces into a pot and add the lard. Mark your flame to medium heat and after the lard has melted make sure all the pieces of chicken or fully submerged. What a wonderful fantasy those 2 chickens are living. As the fat starts to jiggle like my belly when I walk, turn down the heat to low. If the fat starts to jiggle like my belly when I dance, then the music is too loud and must be turned down. We are poaching not frying. Let the birds poach for 2 hours. Turn off the heat and let the black chickens cool in the fat.
Remove the birds from their fantasy of fat and pick all the meat and skin from the bones. The skin is fairly thin and so I see no reason not to invite it to the party too. Take 2/3rds of your chicken and shred it in a food processor until it is fine and smooth. Take the other 1/3 of your chicken and shred it by hand. Mix the 2 together and add some of the poaching lard until a smooth spreadable paste consistency is achieved. Add the salt just until it tastes slightly more salty than you want and the Chinese five spice to taste slightly more spiced than you want. The subsequent chilling will compensate your palate later on. Place the mixture into a crock and top with a layer of poaching fat. The fat will seal the rillettes from the oxygen and the bacteria that follows it. Chill the rillettes crock until the time comes.
Make the egg salad by rough chopping the quail eggs and mixing in a bowl with the green onion, relish, ginger and mayonnaise. A pinch of salt wouldn’t hurt.
The chosen vessel for consumption is the crostini. I like the “chewiness” of frying as opposed to baking for this recipe. Cut some ½ inch thick slices of crusty artisan bread and get a ¼ cup of olive oil hot in a pan. Fry the bread on both sides until nice and brown and pile them up for later.
Gather your puppies and put them on your lap. Arrange the rillettes, bread and egg salad on the arm of your lazy boy. Give your gorgeous fiancé some pathetic look that will make her go fetch a bottle of wine. Can anything really be that bad?
“Hard work is for people who have no talent.” George Carlin