Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roasted Chicken

With my method of roasting a chicken I want one thing. Simplicity. When coming up with my method I had one main constraint being that I could only use one "flavor boosting effect." So I
could choose to season, brine, stuff, or marinate but in no combination of either method. After I tried every way separately I decided that brining was the best. Seasoning and marinating require money because of spices and such, whereas brining only uses salt water and sugar. (This makes it more accessible too, becasue everyone has those three ingredients in their kitchen.) Stuffing is also a money factor but I think its greatest downfall was the time factor, it just really isn't that simple to make time wise. I have to say though, everyone has their own way to do this, each with their benefits and trade offs and no way to do it is wrong if you yourself like the end product. This is what I have settled on for mine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein changed my life

Can a life be effectively reduced to just a few memories, or is it the "small things" that defines a person? Is life a series of important moments separated by the gelatinous monotony of everyday life? To be quite honest I don't really care to answer such esoteric questions. However, if this were true, what moments would you say defined your life? I know I have a few that come to mind immediately and I am sure you do as well. So, what are some of these typical memories? Some events are obvious and easy to pick out. Holidays and celebrations, the loss of a loved one, and the encounters with those close to you are some just to name a few. But these memories are typically experienced by everyone, so what memories really, truly, make a person unique? Again, I am not here to philosophize life, nor answer said question. Let’s just assume this is true; a person's unique experiences and memories are what set them apart from the rest of the world.

So, now I ask again what experiences in your life would you say define you and set you apart from the rest of the crowd? Really, sit there and think about it.

Now imagine you told someone those memories you thought of. How well would they know you? I know that if I told a stranger about my most pivotal memories and experiences they would certainly have a very good idea of who I was and where I am coming from. But enough of the bullshit, let’s get down to the food.

So why did I decide to write some philosophical, hypothetical hogwash about memories and boiling a man down into his constituent parts? Well, I thought to myself today, where was the "tipping point" in my culinary life where everything began to snowball? After sifting through memories of Kraft Mac n' Cheese, Hot Dogs, Pizza and my dad's "Salmon Almondine" I recalled the first time I had Chicken Lo Mein. You see I was a relatively picky eater when I was young as I suppose most people are at that age and I preferred to eat what I knew. My family members can attest to this to this day. For years as a child I would always order a Bacon Burger, quite literally every time we went out to eat. I don't honestly recall why I did this. I figure I liked other foods a lot, but I knew what was coming to the table when I got the Bacon Burger. It was a no-risk decision. I was going to like what I ordered.

So why did Chicken Lo Mein change my life? Simple. I didn't know Chicken Lo Mein like I knew the Bacon Burger, and when I took a few bites of the noodles tossed with chicken and vegetables, I was forever changed. I realized that if I put in a little risk by trying something new I could get an enormous benefit in return. Eventually I would become obsessed with what I thought was "Chinese Food." I was so obsessed in fact that I wanted to eat it every night. Being the adventurous fourteen year old that I was, I decided I could make those dishes at home for myself; seeing as my mother wouldn't. "I mean it only takes them 10 minutes to make my General Tso's, so it shouldn’t be too hard," I thought to myself. I came to find out that it was hard. (In fact I will admit that I still have not perfected my General Tso's Chicken recipe.)

Nine years later I am still cooking, still eating, still pushing the envelope with food. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my life in the way of food. It is also meant to be a resource to people who are interested in preparing the food that I believe is worth cooking. Lastly, this blog is about the people I share my food with and the times we share together. I could have all best food in the world at my fingers tips, but if I had no one to share it with the caviar would seem bland, the chicken, dry.

The name of this blog comes from a century-old blue serving platter that comes from my mother’s family. We still use it today. For years my mom would sit down to a table with everyone's dinner on this blue plate, where the food would be quickly claimed by each person until the blue plate laid empty and each individual's plate full of sustenance. I intend to embody the spirit of this tradition by always keeping in mind that this is how it should be done. If you make something, you must share it and share it well. Good food can't be selfish.

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