Oh Mon Dieu! C’est Poulet à la Provençale!

I made chicken Provençal for dinner tonight and it was a smash hit! If I hadn’t stuffed myself on the actual dinner, I’d have licked the baking dish clean, too! Oh sweet baby jesus! This is the best chicken I’ve ever tasted! How the hell have I gone my whole life not knowing this beautiful melody of flavors on my palette?!

Chicken5

Let me start out by saying how easy this is to make, and I really mean that! The hardest part of making it is the basting. It’s simple and bursting with flavor. I served it over a bed of plain polenta, with chunks of baguette on the side to mop up the sauce with.

Chicken2

I don’t normally enjoy dark meat chicken, but I just don’t think this dish would be the same with breasts. The dark meat works so well and it doesn’t come out feeling overly greasy and yucky, even though this dish is heavy on the oil, because the skin gets crispy.

Chicken4

The next time I make this, I want to try it with Cornish game hens. I bet this would work fantastically with them! I think splitting them down the back and laying them flat in the pan would keep them from drying out on one side while staying soggy on the other. Don’t be surprised if you see me post an update with Cornish game hens used in this recipe.

Chicken1

There is one thing I’d like to make note of about this recipe: Don’t be afraid to use extra of ANYTHING (except the flour.) If it doesn’t look right, add more. If your liquid has evaporated off halfway through the roasting time, add more. Consider any amounts listed in this recipe as mere guidelines. It’s better to err on the side of more rather than less. Trust me!

Ingredients:
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper
AT LEAST 2 Tbsp herbes de Provence
olive oil
vermouth
one head of garlic
2-3 medium to large shallots
1 preserved lemon
1 fresh lemon
4-6 chicken leg quarters

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 425F.
2) Pat your chicken pieces dry if they seem wet. Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour and pat/brush off any excess. You want your chicken lightly coated with it. Too much flour will leave you with a raw flour taste at the end.
3) Peel all the cloves from your head of garlic. You can chop the larger cloves in half if you’d like.
4) Quarter your shallots and your preserved lemon.
5) Drizzle olive oil in your oversized baking dish or large roasting pan and tilt it around until the oil has completely covered the bottom of the dish. Try to use a pan or dish that is deep. If you can’t, a baking sheet (with raised sides) will work, but please note that the lower the sides of your dish are, the more liquid will evaporate.
6) Place your chicken pieces skin side down in your baking dish, leaving room between them. Do not crowd the chicken, or your skin will not get crispy. Place your lemon slices around the chicken on the outside edge of the dish, and tuck your cloves of garlic and shallots around, between, and slightly under your chicken pieces.
7) Season your chicken liberally with herbes de Provence.
8) Gently pour the vermouth along the edge of the dish, so as to not rinse the herbs off the top of your chicken. You want to put enough vermouth in that you have about a half-inch to an inch of vermouth.
9) Bake for 1 hour total, basting every 15 minutes, and flipping the chicken pieces at the 30 minute mark. When you flip the chicken, you’ll want to add more herbes de Provence to the top of the chicken.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over your chicken pieces and serve the chicken over a bed of polenta with chunks of baguette to sop up the sauce with.

Advertisements

Fuck the Democratic Party!

I’ve had about all I can take of corrupt party politics drowning out the voice of millions of people in favor of corporate greed and warhawks. I’m done toeing the line and bowing my head to a party that doesn’t give one flying red fuck about me or anyone like me, and merely pays us lip service while sucking billionaire cock for campaign contributions. I’m over the Democratic Party. They can go to hell!

I haven’t decided exactly when I will do it, but I plan to change my party affiliation to No Party Preference. I keep seeing people on Facebook saying to stay until the DNC in Philadelphia in July, but I fail to see how my name on their membership roles will make more of a difference than my name being missing after so many years of it being taken for granted. So, I’m still going back and forth over whether to wait or whether to do it now.

You can probably already guess that I do not plan to vote for Her Royal Bitchiness in November. Call me sexist all you want, but I call it as I see it and she’s a lying, cheating, conniving bitch. I haven’t spent the past year preaching the virtues of being true to oneself to my ten-year old son only to bow my head and compromise my convictions just to vote for a woman I believe embodies everything that is wrong with America and the Democratic Party. What would that tell my child, if I were verbally telling him to do one thing and then my actions spoke the opposite? I want him to know that even when the consequences for doing the right thing are painful, you stick to your guns and do it anyway. Only chickenshit cowards cave to peer pressure to compromise their moral integrity for someone who does not deserve it. One thing you can’t call me is a coward.

I am more than slightly pissed at our President. Of course, that’s nothing new. I’ve been upset at him a lot, lately. This man who preached a lot of the same things Bernie did on the campaign trail was willing to put elderly people’s Social Security up to be cut all  to appease the Republicans. This man who preached “radical” leftist ideas in 2008 nominated a conservative Supreme Court justice in an effort to assuage the Far Right. Now, this same man has compromised his integrity once again to place his support behind the most corrupt presidential candidate in American history. I have absolutely zero respect for him, anymore. I only have one thing to say to him: “Fuck you, Mr. President.” Actually, I’d probably have to revise that: “Respectfully, Mr. President, FUCK YOU!”

Well…

I took an unannounced hiatus for a couple of weeks. I spent some time volunteering for my main man, Bernie Sanders, and the rest of the time I spent royally fucking myself up. I finally dragged my ass to the doctor today over it, and came home with a laundry list of things I can’t do for X weeks. I also have a pretty little ace bandage wrapped around my rag-doll right ankle.

It comes as no surprise to me, but my doctor kindly informed me today that my ankle is loose and floppy. I already knew that, but she didn’t seem to like that too much. She wants me braced for gawd-knows-how-long, but I’ll compromise and brace it until my inversion sprain heals. I’m actually fairly used to my loose joints. As a kid, I went through a period where every step I took my legs would pop. Somehow, I managed to get this sprain while walking to my bedroom to go to bed one night. I guess I put my foot down wrong as I was walking and it rolled slightly, and I felt a small pop inside. It did occur to me that I probably had sprained my ankle just then, but since it wasn’t painful and bothering me at the time, I kind of filed that into the back of my brain in the folder labeled, “Shit I might want to remember later, so I had better not forget.” The next morning it started to bother me, though, and ever since then, anytime I do a lot of walking or standing on my feet for a good length of time, it really starts to hurt.

I also managed to get bursitis in my knee while cleaning out my fridge a few days ago. Don’t ask me how that happened, but I guess it has something to do with kneeling for long periods and/or crawling on my knees. So, I have orders not to get down on my knees for three weeks to give my bursa time to heal. I honestly don’t know how that happened, but I can say that compared to most people, I have always been very uncomfortable kneeling. My doctor also mentioned that my kneecap isn’t located in the right spot on my knee, which leaves my bursa slightly more exposed, so that could explain my extreme discomfort during kneeling activities. Either way, I won’t be getting down on the floor for a few weeks.

A few weeks ago, my hubby and I went to a Bernie Sanders rally in Irvine. It was amazing! We met some really cool people and we got to hear the most honest man in American politics speak to us. We arrived at 11 so we could get a spot in line close to the front, and we ended up waiting until almost 3 in that line to get into the arena. The wait was worth it, though.

13221143_10153505701771135_3159827211754771245_o

This crazy guy was there for the longest time, but eventually packed up and left. I guess he was some sort of street preacher, there to warn us of our sins or some bullshit like that, but the most he got out of anyone was a laugh or whispers about how insane he is. For a while, he was walking up and down our line, but the security eventually put him behind these plastic barriers. I guess even they were sick of him harassing people.

13235678_10153506392276135_3624239335190911529_o

I know the picture quality isn’t the best, but even though we were seated close to the front, I still had to zoom in, in order to get a good picture of Bernie while he was speaking to us. If you had the opportunity to go to one of his rallies but you didn’t, you really missed out on a huge experience. Besides hearing Bernie speak, you get to meet so many other, different people who think just like you do, you get to hear other inspiring speakers, like Nina Turner or Cenk Uygur, and you leave with priceless memories that can never be topped by any other experience. Even though I felt like I was about to die by the end of the rally because I was in so much pain, I don’t regret going for a split second.

Chicken Lazone! Mama Mia!

FullSizeRender

This stuff is so damn good! I’ve made it a few times, and my husband literally licks his plate clean every single time I do! He can’t get enough of it! He will eat himself sick if I don’t stop him. You’re going to love it too, once you make it.

Ingredients:
Approximately 2 lbs chicken breast tenders, or breasts cut into strips
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup butter, divided
3 cups real, heavy cream (36% fat or higher)
1 box spaghetti

Directions:
1) Start a pot of salted water on the stove for your pasta.
2) Mix all your spices in a pie plate. Save 1 teaspoon of this mixture for later.
IMG_3736IMG_3737
3) Coat half of your chicken strips in the spice mixture. I like to push the spices to one side of the plate, and stack the spice-coated chicken strips on the other.IMG_37394) Check your pot of water. It’s probably either close to boiling or is boiling by now. Add your pasta and stir it well.
5) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. When the skillet is hot, add dollop of butter (around a tablespoon, or so,) and make sure it coats the bottom of the skillet.
6) Lay out the chicken in the buttered skillet and let it pan-fry for 3-4 minutes.
IMG_37437) Flip the chicken pieces and add another tablespoon of butter, if necessary.
IMG_37448) After about 4 minutes on the second side, remove the chicken pieces to a plate and keep warm. Repeat this process with the second half of your chicken strips.
9) When you’ve pan-fried all of your chicken, melt another tablespoon of butter in your skillet, and add your reserved spice mixture. With a wire whisk, combine the spices well with the butter and cook for about 30 seconds.
IMG_37458) Add the cream to your skillet and whisk it well to incorporate the spices and pan scrapings into the cream.
IMG_37469) Bring your cream to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook until the cream is thickened. This should happen around the time your spaghetti is finished.
10) When your spaghetti is al dente, drain it, return it to the put, and stir in 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Make sure your pasta is well coated with butter, and cover with a lid. Check your cream. When it is thick, it’s ready.
11) Serve the chicken over a bed of spaghetti, drenched in the cream sauce.

Enjoy! This is so delicious!

Crêpes Galore!

I have made so many crêpes this past week that I’m honestly surprised I’m not sick of them yet! Since getting my handy-dandy crêpe skillet at Aldi, I’ve made cheese and fruit crêpes four different ways – with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries – I’ve made nutella and fruit crêpes with both bananas and strawberries, and I’ve made chicken florentine crêpes. I have fallen in love with crêpes.

IMG_3721

I found an easy, fool-hardy recipe for crêpes that is so insane in its simplicity that I wonder why it took me so long to attempt them. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by crêpes because I always thought they were some crazy-hard food to master making, but the opposite is true. While you can mess it up, if you know how to cook at all, you should be able to do a fairly decent job on your first try. Really! If you’ve been scared of crêpes, don’t be.

So, this recipe is made in your blender and you’ll need a good few hours to let it rest, but that’s it. I like to mix my crêpe batter up before bed and then leave it in the fridge until morning.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
6 Tbsp melted butter
2 cups flour
Room temperature butter to coat skillet

Directions:
Place all ingredients in your blender and pulse, scraping the sides of your blender pitcher as necessary to remove residual flour. Let rest at least 4 hours or overnight, the longer the better.

When you’re ready to make your crêpes, heat a good unscratched non-stick skillet or crêpe skillet over medium-high heat and brush with a little butter using a silicone spatula. Pick your skillet up and tilt it. Pour your batter into the middle of the skillet slowly, tilting it around until a light layer has coated the entire bottom surface.

When the sides of your crepe start pulling away from the edge of the skillet and the top surface of the crêpe has turned from glossy to matte, it’s time to flip it. Work your silicone spatula under your crêpe gently until you have it half-way under the crêpe. Flip. Let the crêpe cook on this side for only 10-15 seconds and then slide it off onto a plate.

Repeat until you’ve used all your crêpe batter. This should make around 10 crêpes. If you have a non-stick skillet, you shouldn’t need anymore butter, but if you are using a stainless steel skillet, you’ll want to add a little more butter between crêpes.

Fill your crêpes with whatever filling you’d like and enjoy!

If you have leftover crêpes, you can slip parchment paper between them and then place them in a gallon freezer bag and freeze or refrigerate them. To reheat, simply pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. For a refrigerated crêpe, I only needed 15 seconds in my 900 watt microwave to get it steamy-hot again.

I’m in Love With… Aldi!

When I found out we were getting an Aldi store locally, I have to tell you that I was very excited about it. I kept checking for grand opening dates. I must have done this about two dozen times over the past six months. I knew where it was located and I had seen the construction going on, so I was ecstatic when they finally announced their grand opening. I didn’t bother going the first day, because I get really bitchy in crowded stores, but I went the next morning and was there when the store opened. I haven’t been anywhere else since.

The prices at Aldi are insanely good, and the food rivals anything you’d buy at Albertson’s or Vons. Why pay out the nose for the same food, when you can get it way cheaper at Aldi? Food prices in SoCal are high enough as it is, and sometimes I think the prices at the chain grocery stores is borderline price gouging. Why the hell does a jar of spaghetti sauce cost upwards of $5? And why does a bottle of coffee creamer cost almost $5 at Albertson’s when Target sells the exact same brand and flavors for $3 and change? It’s practically highway robbery.

IMG_3697-1

Not only are the prices very nice at Aldi, but they also sell items I either have a very difficult time finding elsewhere or that I have never seen in a store before. I picked up a beautiful crepe skillet yesterday for $7.99 at our local Aldi. I have my eye on their two-burner skillet for $12.99, as well. I’ve been wanting one of those for a long time, too. As far as food, the only other place I have found pizzelles is at Costco, and they only had the vanilla flavor there. Aldi had both the vanilla pizzelles and the anise ones, and they didn’t cost me a fortune. My husband is crazy about anise pizzelles and biscotti. I don’t think that’s a very popular flavor in the States, but it’s fairly common in Europe.

IMG_3696-1

I’ve fallen in love with the brioche that Aldi sells. I bought a loaf of their plain brioche to make French toast with for breakfast yesterday morning. I’ll be honest. I think I wasted perfectly good brioche. We couldn’t tell the difference between the brioche French toast and my normal French toast made with regular sandwich bread. Brioche has a beautiful fluffy consistency and a sweet, buttery flavor, and I think my egg batter overpowered all of it. However, my husband didn’t mind taking care of the rest of the loaf I hadn’t used.

IMG_3695

I’ve read reviews online regarding the new Aldi’s that are opening in the SoCal area. A lot of people don’t seem to understand the concept of the store. It kind of floors me that people would pitch a bitch fit over putting a quarter into the cart, when you get your quarter back when you put it away. I haven’t lost a quarter yet, and frankly, I really like the idea. I don’t have to worry about finding carts resting against my vehicle when I’m finished shopping or having to get out to move carts out of spaces just to park. If you put a quarter into your cart, you’re going to put it back so you can get your quarter back. I wish more grocery stores would take up this idea.

I also don’t understand the obsession my fellow Americans seem to have with name brand foods. Maybe this is because I was raised eating generic almost-everything. To be honest, I don’t think I can name a single food my mother refused to buy the generic of, in favor of the brand name. I do have a few, though. I won’t buy cheap box mac and cheese. I’ll spend more to either get Annie’s or the Kraft creamy version. I also won’t buy generic chips. I grew up eating Sam’s Choice knock-off Doritos and Cheetos, and I can’t stand the nasty flavors they have. But, that’s pretty much the extent of it. So, when people complain that Aldi has almost no name brand products, I can’t understand why they’d WANT to pay more just for the name, when the food is the same. This is especially true of Aldi’s breakfast cereal. They are literally General Mills cereals sold under the Aldi store label. There is absolutely zero difference between the cereal in a General Mills box and the cereal in an Aldi box. None.

So, if you find an Aldi near you, you should really take the time to at least go in and browse. You may be most shocked by their egg prices. In fact, they just may have to call paramedics because their price for eggs has given you such a shock!

Movie Review: San Andreas

Last night, we wanted to do a pizza and movie night, and I had seen San Andreas advertised on HBO, so I thought, “Why not?” Let me just get this out of the way at the beginning… Why not? Well, because it sucks, that’s why!

SAN ANDREAS Still

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Rock. He’s just never appealed to me that much. The only thing he has going for him is his massive biceps. He’s just a shitty actor. That’s my opinion. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a movie where he did a stellar job acting. He’s just a better visual prop than anything else.

The very first thing I had beef with in the movie was the unrealistic choice of actors to portray his family. Since he is clearly a mixed-race guy, his children should reflect that, right? The woman they chose to play his wife in this movie was also clearly mixed, so WHY IN THE SEVEN BLAZING HELLS was the girl chosen to play his daughter oh so very white?! I’m not trying to throw the race card out there. It’s just that when you see a guy with obviously African-American features and a woman with clearly some Hispanic and some African features, wouldn’t you assume a child they produced would have genetic features that represent both of their biologies? It irritated me that it didn’t mesh.

The stunts The Rock pulled in the helicopter at the beginning of the film, when they were rescuing that girl out of her car dangling on the side of the cliff also weren’t anywhere near realistic. As a person with a family member who pilots helicopters on rescue missions, I can say with absolute certainty that A) the helicopter can’t do that, and B) the pilot wouldn’t attempt that. It’s both dangerous and impossible at the same time, not to mention that hovering a helicopter above a vehicle dangling on the side of a sheer cliff is the perfect way to knock that vehicle loose and kill the person they’re attempting to rescue. It wouldn’t be done like that.

Los Angeles might sit in a seismically active area, but I’m pretty sure even a 9 or 10 magnitude earthquake would not topple our skyscrapers the way the movie portrayed. Heavily damage them yes, but topple them, no. In fact, I could be wrong here, but I believe every high-rise in Downtown Los Angeles has been retrofitted to withstand strong earthquakes, so while they may crack and crumble a bit, they will still be standing when the earthquake is over. I’m sure the same can also be said for San Francisco.

As to the tsunami portrayed in the movie, that shit is so fucking laughable. First off, let’s talk about that large cargo ship. I don’t know how widely known this fact is, but those containers on cargo ships aren’t just stacked on top of each other. They’re also bolted to the deck of the ship. They’re not just going to tumble off the deck like loose Legos. Secondly, how the hell do you steer a boat on a dime at full throttle when you’re going pretty much vertical? I’d love if someone could answer that for me. Thirdly, I highly doubt a tsunami triggered by an earthquake on the San Andreas fault would be high enough in San Francisco to place a cruise liner in Downtown San Francisco. Lastly, it would be damn near impossible to drive a boat through debris-strewn water like they portrayed The Rock doing without completely destroying both the boat and the engine on the back.

Honestly, I wanted so badly to like this movie and I sat down expecting to do just that, but it became clear pretty early into it that I was going to be nitpicking it for it’s laughably awful and impossible scenes. I’m sorry guys, but this movie was horrible! I’m glad I watched it for free with my HBO Now subscription, because renting/buying it would have been a very bad decision. It’s not worth the money they put into producing this very bad piece of shit film.

Cheesy!

A couple weeks ago, on April 11, we celebrated National Fondue Day in our house. I bought a fondue pot this winter and have been making use of it regularly, but I’d mostly stuck with traditional Swiss fondues. I had gotten a recipe from my husband’s aunt for fondue and it has taken me several tries to tweak it to get it to where we like it. I finally accomplished that, so since April 11 was National Fondue Day, I decided to try an American twist on the classic Swiss dish. I have to say that this was the most insane fondue even my husband has ever had.

CheddarFondue

This is Bourbon Bacon Cheddar Fondue. It’s delicious! It’s creamy and gooey and cheddary and bacony and scrumptious! If you don’t have a fondue pot, I suggest you get one ASAP! You’ll want one after you’ve tried this recipe. This fondue can be made using a double boiler and then kept warm in a hot miniature crock pot, but you really should use a fondue pot so you get it bubbling like it’s supposed to.

Ingredients
2¾ cups (11 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove, halved
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (light beer recommended)
4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
4 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons chopped scallions

Directions
1. Toss the cheese with the flour in a bowl or gallon ziploc bag.
2. Rub the inside surface of your fondue pot with both halves of the garlic clove, covering the entire inner surface. You may smash the clove and leave it in your fondue pot to mix with your fondue or remove it when you are finished. Personally, I recommend leaving it in. Place your fondue pot on your stove and turn the burner on high and let heat for 30 seconds.
3. Pour the beer into the fondue pot and reduce the heat to medium. With a fork or small wire whisk, stir in the horseradish, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
4. Add half of the cheese mixture; cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add the remaining cheese a small amount at a time, stirring constantly in a circular motion after each addition until the cheese is melted.
5. Pour the bourbon slowly around the edge of the bowl. Pull the cheese mixture away from the edge of the bowl; cook for about 30 seconds or until the alcohol cooks off. Stir the bourbon into the cheese. Fold in the bacon and pepper.
6. Remove your fondue pot from the stove and place over a lit fondue burner. Make sure the heat from the burner is just hot enough to keep the fondue bubbling. Garnish with scallions.
For dippers, I chose to cut up pretzel buns and homemade French bread, and we also used bacon skewers, as you can see in the photo. The pretzel buns were the perfect complement to this amazing fondue! If you’ve ever had Ruby Tuesday’s beer cheese and pretzel bites, this is like that entree’s spicier, bacon-laced cousin. It’s definitely worth seeking out a few pretzel buns to use with this dish.
[Also, I should note here that I actually used half extra-sharp cheddar cheese and half Gruyere-Cheddar Melange cheese (a combination cheese I found at Trader Joe’s.) You don’t need to do this, but we loved it because it came out more creamy than it would have with just cheddar.]

The Queen B is BAAAAACK!

I think my personal life has finally calmed down enough that I can focus on posting here regularly, again. I’ve thought about my blog often, but life has been super-freakin-hectic for the past few months.

The California Presidential Primaries are coming up in a little over a month, and I’m SO excited to finally get to vote for someone I truly believe in, rather than just picking someone based on them being the lesser of two evils. I’m checking my mail everyday, waiting for my mail-in ballot to come. I cannot wait to fill in the bubble for Bernie Sanders! I am stoked to get to vote for such a revolutionary figure! His platform is everything I’ve been wanting in a presidential candidate for years.

We got an Aldi store near us FINALLY! I am loving it. We found this amazing pastry tucked away on the bottom shelf in the bread aisle, near the ciabattas and baguettes. It’s like eating a chunk of heaven! If you have an Aldi near you, I recommend picking up one of these. 13086686_10153458919271135_7230289607223294228_o

The weather has been beautiful and mild here. I’m enjoying our cool spring. I love this time of year because my windows are wide open day and night and my apartment stays comfortable and cool. We’ve had enough rain that I think our summer will be much easier on our firefighters, or at least that is my hope.