Thursday, April 16, 2009

Going Mostly Green

Bar Man is not the neatest cook in the world, as the Mysterious Chinese Woman has remarked on many an occasion.

The Pea Soup Aftermath

Oh well, that mess could wait until after breakfast. I felt like a bit of a change from the usual oatmeal so I just thawed out some spinach and threw it into my little frying pan with some olive oil, chopped up garlic, a bit of cheese, and an egg.

A Lazy Man's Omelet In The Making

Then I scrambled the whole mess together.

A Scrambled Mess

When it was done I just threw it onto a plate and had my mostly green breakfast.

Far Too Healthy

I finished the meal off with a grapefruit to ward of scurvy. I have to be careful now that I am not drinking any margaritas this month. They are my usual ounce, well, more like six ounces, of prevention.

Oh, and I did clean up the kitchen.

Lunch was a no-brainer, I just stuck one of those containers of pea soup into the trusty microwave and when it was steaming plopped it into a bowl.

A Green Steaming Plop

I had a chicken leg and thigh thawing in the refrigerator for my dinner so I had to figure out what I wanted to do with it.

So Much Potential

I decided to skin it, for a change. Usually I prefer to cook my chicken with the skin on because I think it enhances the flavor. I am not sure why I decided to remove it this time.

Naked As A Jay Bird

Garlic and ginger are always a good combination for chicken, particularly when I am working with a very limited spice palate.

Minced By Hand

I needed it more than minced though so I stuck it into a spice grinder with some olive oil and gave it a whirl. Then I put it into a mortar with some salt and pepper and had at it for awhile.

Alchemy, Pure And Simple

Next I spread the paste all over the bird and then wrapped it up in plastic wrap to let it fester for awhile.

A Leg And Thigh Spread

Festering Away

I wasn't going to let the chicken skin just go to waste, though. I plopped it into my trusty frying pan and then put it on a low heat until the fat started to melt.

Nothing Goes To Waste

Then I turned up the heat and crisped it up.

Eat Your Heart Out, Mr. Lector

For the pasta sauce I just chopped up some onion and garlic and sauteed it in the melted chicken fat until the translucency set in.

A Standard Shot

I threw the onions and garlic into half a can of crushed tomatoes and let it simmer while I threw the chicken into the frying pan. The sauce was a little on the thick side so I added two small ladles of pork stock. Then I made the pasta and when it was all over and done with I had my Italian dinner, minus the red wine that I would usually have. Oh, and I crumbled up the fried chicken skin and sprinkled it over the top of the pasta in lieu of Parmesan cheese. Not quite the same, but it was tasty.

I Wish I Had A Bottle Of Red

Giving up alcohol hasn't been hard, but there are times like tonight when I miss it as an accompaniment to my meal. I also miss popping into Pete's for a brew or two, but, we all have to make sacrifices for our art. I wonder if that guy on CNN who blogged about eating on a food stamp budget gave up drinking. I don't think he ever really said.

I had another couple of bones to throw into my bone bag and plenty of pasta left over to do something with tomorrow.

Lots Of Left Over Pasta

If I was going to continue on this regimen I would definitely have to start building up my spice inventory. The pasta without any oregano or other herbs is a bit on the bland side. It is kind of a tease to know that I actually have all kinds of spices in my kitchen, but can't use them because I didn't buy them on this budget. I usually go through at least one jar of chili garlic sauce a month and a fair amount of soy sauce as well. Plus I brought home a couple of big jars of chipotles in adobe sauce from Mexico, and they have been calling to me. The chicken I cooked tonight wasn't too bad, although a bit bland. In the future I will leave the skin on the bird where it belongs.