Monday, August 30, 2010

Graduate School

My how time keeps flying by. You'll have to forgive me for not posting a real post in some time now. It seems a real post may not happen in the near future, for I have just started graduate school (again).

Last time graduate school was related to the topic of food. This time graduate school is not specifically targeted to food but if I get my way it eventually will be. Kinda like this blog post...

What I'm hinting at is that there are readings to do. And papers to WRITE. And I'm here to tell ya this woman can only write so much :). I fear that school—and the return of the prime time television season—will hinder my allocation of time for blogging. Instead, I offer excuses and ideas for the future.

But first, a quick digression to my employer and school's official mascot, Tommy Trojan. His statue is located on campus and looks like this:

During the big enemy, I mean, rivalry game of USC vs. UCLA each year, Tommy gets covered up with garbage bags and tape while couches are set up on all sides so young students can watch guard. This is so the UCLA students don't ravage Tommy. Last year we (when I say we, I mean a USC student I am not associated with) spray-painted the Bruin Bear statue across town with red paint. It was a big deal. Thankfully, there was no revenge taken on Tommy. He still looks like this.

What is cool is when Tommy is at a football game, he magically comes to life! And he looks something like this:

I love when Tommy stabs the field ceremoniously before kick-off. It's one of the most exciting times of the game! Missing this part of the game because you're waiting in line for a turkey dog really stinks. Last year Tommy had a goatee, which I thought worked, yet Tommy himself posted an online poll for students to vote whether or not he was misrepresenting USC tradition by having a goatee. I voted "keep it!" however the majority voted "shave it!" And he did.

Now there are other Tommy's in Los Angeles, specifically this one (see I told you we'd eventually get around to food again):

The original Tommy chili burger is aMAZing. The fries are great too! When you're in Los Angeles, don't be fooled by any Tommy's restaurant that doesn't look like this. Because there are MANY imitations and you have been warned!

See, it's not as if there aren't things to talk about in the days and months before another real blog post occurs! Here are some ideas for future posts:

1. "The new mysteries of soy milk!"
You know, this would be about my recent discovery of soy milk and the differences of the brands and flavors and what about almond milk... Eh, that sounds dull, yeah?

What about...
2. "Why I still love McDonald's!"
A true story, and one that I've been longing to tell, about how working at McD's as a teen influenced my love of food and friends (and Chicken McNuggets).

There is also this one I've been meaning to write for at least four years:
3. "Danish Danish"
This one would be about the time I once read how incredibly different Denmark's real Danish pastries are from what we call Danish pastries here in the states. The reading of the article spurred on a pilgrimage to Copenhagen in 2005 and life hasn't been the same since. It's as if you lived your whole life without Santa Claus, then one day as an adult you found out there is a Santa Claus! (Does that analogy work at all?)

And there's so much more! But for now my hands are tied and tired from typing a public relations paper due tonight and from the words I've written here (don't say I never did anything for you).

Until we eat again,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken Scarpiello Recipe Redux!

It's here! Per my last post, the fabulous reworked Carmine's chicken scarpiello recipe has arrived. My sister, D, had to do some serious detective-like reworks to get the recipe just so. Why? Because some important steps and ingredients were left out of the cookbook version, and now with the mystery solved we can all sleep again at night.

Chicken Scarpariello
(from the Kitchen of Michael Ronis, with D's moderations)

Servings: 4-6
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: 30-60 min

1 3-4 lb. fryer chicken, cut into 12 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, each breast cut into thirds)
3 large lemons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 large heads of garlic
2 teaspoons fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Splash white wine
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
1 cup of chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked linguine and/or a loaf of thickly sliced Italian rustic bread

Begin by washing and patting dry the 12 pieces of chicken. Place the chicken pieces into a large bowl that will both hold it and allow for mixing. Chop half of the herbs and mix with the chicken. Cut two of the lemons in half, squeeze out all of the juice, and throw the squeezed lemons in with the chicken and herbs. Add olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic cloves and mix well.

Cover at least 24 hours although 48 hours will make it even better. Between two and three times a day, unwrap the chicken and toss thoroughly; return plastic wrap to cover.

Take a 12" saute pan and add the vegetable oil. While the oil is heating up over medium heat, take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off as much of the herbs and liquid as possible. These herbs will burn during cooking. Reserve the garlic cloves for later. When the oil is just about smoking, add each piece of chicken slowly, sliding them into the oil and cooking all of the pieces of chicken at one time. Squeeze the remaining lemon’s juice and reserve for later.

Make sure to use a pan large enough so that the chicken can sit in the oil without overlapping another piece. Do not turn the chicken over until it is very brown and crusty; this can take at least 10 minutes to 12 minutes. Once the chicken is very brown and crusty, turn the pieces over and continue cooking the other side until once again, all sides are all very brown and crusty. While the chicken is browning, throw at least eight cloves of the marinated garlic with the chicken into the oil, cooking them until they are brown and tender. Take out the garlic pieces and reserve. Remove the chicken pieces and place onto a bake-proof dish. Once the chicken is very brown and crusty, place into an oven and either continue cooking or keep warm on a low heat. With the saute pan that was used for browning the chicken, empty the oil or discard. Toss in one tablespoon of butter and slowly cook the chopped shallots.

Next, add the roasted browned whole garlic cloves, previously reserved, and add the remaining chopped herbs; lightly saute for one minute over low heat. Add a splash of white wine and cook for 30 seconds over high heat. Add the chicken stock and reduce until the liquid becomes dark and the taste is strong. At this point, on low heat, add the remaining butter, lemon salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon according your palate.

Place the chicken onto a platter one piece at a time and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Recommend serving over linguine along with Italian rustic bread for dunking up the sauce.

Voila! I hope you try this corrected recipe, because this version of chicken scarpiello is one of the best chicken dishes out there! Thanks Carmine's and D.

Until we eat again,