What is it about roast chicken? For me it’s something that’s so close to the bone or what ever you want to call the essence of your being— so close, in fact that I’ve been hesitant to write about it, and even now I’m not sure I’m up to the task. I love a good roast and I keep up a steady practice. I’ll produce up to fifty birds, a couple more in a good year; yet, in my darker moments I fear I don’t have the tools, the language, if you will, to articulate the importance of eating one: I am not versed in the art of con-lit—and even if I were, I’m not sure I could adequately share why I feel compelled to eat a chicken a week.
Of the two most joyful meals to cook over an open fire, choosing one over the other is always the same gut wrenching dilemma. For if you favor one, the other will surely stew in a fit of jealousy and next time you cook it, be prepared — for revenge is sweet and chooses its moment to strike, whether in confab with local weather systems like winds from nowhere, a sudden shower, or mysteriously misplaced kindling — or the coincidental malfunction of a refrigerator door left unhinged and dangling overnight, and now what sarcastically seeps out is the ring of skank from questionable clams within. For there is a lot in life that we mortals will never understand. After all, it’s a thin line. Although one thing I have learned over the years for sure: do not fuck with the kitchen gods.
Whether the job site is your back patio, a roof top, a local park or anywhere in the great outdoors, you go through the same rigmarole: should I choose chicken or should I use fish? If you go with chicken, you’re making Arroz con Pollo. If you use fish, you’re making Paella. Continue reading “Arroz con Pollo”
When Greens Cafe opened in the mid eighties, one of our signature dishes was grilled chicken breasts with tomatillo sauce. We made the sauce by chopping onions, tomatillos and cilantro, which we blitzed with cumin, salt and chicken stock. It was good and tasty, but, I later realized, a little one-dimensional.
Years later, while traveling in the Yucatán, Ionah and I had a memorable Sunday lunch in Mérida, in a grand but crumbling old colonial hotel, with toucans and giant palms in the dining room, which was a kind of exotic bird house open to the sky. I kept my hat on and she wore a colorful scarf. Continue reading “Pipian Verde”
Make your own Corn Tortillas
Ever make homemade corn tortillas? It’s really simple. A pair of hands, a plastic bag, a cast iron skillet, a bowl and a knife is all the equipment you’ll need.
You’ll also need masa harina. That’s ground corn treated with lime, (calcium hydroxide). Regular corn meal won’t work. It doesn’t have the elasticity needed for dough formation. And you’ll need water and a pinch of salt. That’s it! Continue reading “Corn Tortillas”