|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Jun. 28, 2013 - 3:06 p.m.
I'm sitting here right now and my heart is racing and my knees are swollen and my kidneys hurt really bad and I'm seeing everything through kind of a red, misty haze and I'm so thirsty my tongue is cleaving to the roof of my mouth and some 10 year old kid is playing the triangle non-stop in my left ear and I'm peeing dark orange clots and I swear my skin has lost all its pigment and I can see my nervous, circulatory and lymph systems and there are like 57 deer throwing themselves against my back door trying to break in and lick me and my hair hurts.
I really, really like chicken. Chicken to me is like...is like...well, no analogy really comes close. Like a 7 year old alter boy with Down syndrome to a priest, maybe? A 7 year old alter boy with Down syndrome who's being raised with 15 other kids by a meth addict single foster mom who wouldn't notice if he was gone for a year, let along a few hours after Sunday service? No...still not quite....
Chicken is the food Willy Wonka would have invented if the velociraptors hadn't beaten him to it. You can boil it, you can fry it, you can roast it, broast it, broil, grill, saute, braise, poach, smoke, steam, poÍler, mince, twist, dry, curl, and braid it, and it still tastes fucking GREAT. You can even eat it raw. I've made chicken ice cream. I swear to god, chicken ice cream. If you're patient, you can cut the leg off a live chicken and in 3 or 4 days it will grow a new one back for a never ending supply of chicken legs. Any sauce tastes good with it, any wine pairs with it.
On top of that, chicken is about the cheapest protein you can buy. Cheaper than veggies even. Chickens regularly go on sale around here for well under a dollar a pound, and one 3-dollar chicken can be turned into literally half a dozen dishes. If you're a starving college kid (or radio announcer), take five fucking minutes and learn how to cut up a chicken. It's cheaper than the dried ramen noodle packs you've been gagging on every night for a year, and - believe it or not - almost as quick to prepare. A handfull of rice, a pot, some semi-potable water, and bang: chicken with rice and semi-potable water. 12-cents, tops. Add salt if you're a stickler for "flavor". You're welcome.
She really, really doesn't like chicken.
She'll eat it, but not often. And when she does it has to be boneless skinless breasts, or as chicken salad. My chicken ice cream? Not happening. She's a beefy midwestern girl (although for some reason she hates when I call her that).
But she's gone to a friend's house today and chicken thighs were on sale for 69-cents a pound at ShopRite in Warwick this week! I picked up a 4-pound family pack on my way home from work Wednesday, and I cooked them off about 2 hours ago.
I'm about to die.
See, I love food science. I love food science almost as much as I love chicken. I love playing around with different ways to thicken up thin things, and thin out thick things, and make unexpected colors and shapes and flavors appear in unexpected things (like, er, that chicken ice cream, which, yeah, honestly, was kinda pukey). So when I cook it sometimes involves test tubes and petri dishes and centrifuges and stuff. Or at least a hot lab assistant/corgi. But anyway: Science.
One thing I picked up from Science is that pouring salt onto raw beef can pretty much elevate your beef from "beef" to "BEEF!". But you gotta let the salt sit on the beef for a while. It does this magic thing where the beef soaks it in, then spits it out, then soaks it in again. THEN you cook it. When you do, the inside is all salted and seasoned and you're now a god to your wife and corgi. As you should be. Some recipes advise you to salt soak for an hour, others several days. I've only gone a few hours at the most though - mostly because I have no impulse control when it comes to steak.
So on Wednesday when I carted home that family pack of thighs, I thought 'I bet chicken tissue isn't much different than cow tissue when it comes to soaking up, spitting out, and soaking back salt. I think I'll give it a shot'. I took the dozen or so pieces of chicken and tossed them into a gallon ziplock baggie with about a half gallon of salt and some spices, pushed the excess air out, and let it sit in the bottom of my fridge til I got home this afternoon.
Around 1 o'clock I unburied them, rinsed them off, placed them on a rack over a half sheet and popped the whole thing in a 425 oven. About forty minutes later they were done.
I've gotta say, soaking chicken thighs in salt draws out a lot of moisture. The meat was very, very dense and concentrated.
I've also gotta say, "Hellllllllllllllllp!"
Holy crap on a cracker are these thing salty! It's like eating meat colored salt, but saltier. I don't know what the hell the science is behind this one, but it's Evil Science.
Of course, that didn't stop me from eating it. Or a second one, just to make sure.
When I was sure, I thought 'I've gotta fix this.' So I doused one in sweet Kansas City bbq sauce. Nope. It tasted like a red salt loaf. Then I tried Thai sweet chili sauce. Same thing, but orange. Then I thought, 'How 'bout as a sandwich? Bread always cuts down on saltiness, right?' I might as well have just poured a box of salt straight into my mouth. Then I boned one out and tossed it in a wok with hoisin sauce, a mountain of grated ginger, brown sugar, and all the leftover rice in the house. Same thing.
Finally I hit on something that worked. A bit. I took the remaining thighs and simmered them in water for five minutes. Then I drained the pot, refilled it, and did it again. And again. And again. If you've ever made bacalao, you know the routine.
It worked! Either that or I burned off all my salt receptors and it wasn't registering anymore. Whatever, I'll take it. I ate three more thighs, prepared three different different ways, and indeed they were much more tolerable after being boiled to the point where everything including much of the bone had dissolved away.
So all in all I ate 8 chicken thighs, 4 slices of bread, at least 2 cups of rice, maybe a half a pound of pasta, 2 russet potatoes, and I'm guessing probably a solid cup and a half of Diamon Crystal's finest. For lunch. Which may be why my heart is racing and my knees are swollen and my kidneys hurt really bad and I'm seeing everything through kind of a red, misty haze and I'm so thirsty my tongue is cleaving to the roof of my mouth and some 10 year old kid is playing the triangle non-stop in my left ear and I'm peeing dark orange clots and I swear my skin has lost all its pigment and I can see my nervous, circulatory and lymph systems and there are like 57 deer throwing themselves against my back door trying to break in and lick me and my hair hurts.
And I still have to make dinner for NewWifey(tm) when she gets back from her friend's! I hope my vision returns by then so I can cook up some beef....