10-15-2011, 10:08 AM
PART ONE: I am afraid of new things. And today has a new thing in it.
Gay Panda joined a meat CSA. While you think this is lovely, I fixate on the macabre: I pick up my meats on a street named Donner. If you are familiar with the history of the fated Donner party, then I have no need to say more. If you are not, Wikipedia is always 100% reliable as a source of information. The paper-wrapped packages in the cooler may be labeled CHICKEN or RIB EYE, but maybe they truly contain PRUDENCE R. SMITH or HARRY PHILIPS IV. It is Donner Street. Sicker things have happened in this world, and Gay Panda needs to stop reading so much true crime.
This was my first week and I am now the owner of a whole chicken carcass. I have no idea what one does with it, as my experience with cooking is limited. When something is new and overwhelming, I tend to avoid it until it goes away. But this would make my kitchen smell as the meat rots, so I turn to Plan B: breaking down the process of cooking a chicken into small, manageable steps. The first thing that comes to mind is naming my chicken to make it more friendly and personable, and on my side rather than against me in this grand new adventure.
Peep is too coy. Dinner is too predictable. Lady Henrietta Peckington is funny but snooty. If I call it Avian Flu or Chickenpox, I’ll never eat it. Naming it after someone in the Donner party would be twisted. I visit a website of old Puritan baby names. Fly-fornication? I adore this one. Much-mercy? I hope that this cooking experience shows me mercy, but naming it that invites a karmic bitch slap. And then, for no reason at all, I find that I am thinking of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that my chicken is named Jean-Cluck Picard.
Fantastic. I loved that character. We’re off to a good start, Jean-Cluck. Now I must figure out what to do with you. I have two options: my copy of The Joy of Cooking, or the Internet. I go with Google since my cookbook is near the last Cadbury Egg, and I worry that I might be tempted. Typing in ‘how to roast a chicken’, I find almost eight million results. Damn. Adding in ‘roast’ and I take it down to about two million. The first site informs me that cooking time will be determined by how much Jean-Cluck weighs. There is no answer on his packaging.
He’s too big for my little food scale, so I’m going to have to weigh him on the same scale that Bare Gay Panda stands on every morning looking Rubenesque. I set him down on my Tanita Ironman. Jean-Cluck is 4.2 pounds, and I am disappointed that the scale won’t give me his fat, water, and muscle percents, or even his BMR and metabolic age. I need a Tanita Ironchicken scale!
So he will be in the oven for about an hour and forty minutes. That wasn’t so hard. But I can’t just chuck Jean-Cluck inside. Don’t I have to do something to him first? Ah. The site says that I have to give him a bath. How disturbingly intimate; perhaps naming the chicken wasn’t such a good idea. A cold water bath, to be exact, in order to kill his bacteria. Gay Panda has a minute of OCD. Okay, two minutes. Then I will have to dry him with towels.
But what comes after that? Do I go for a plain salt-and-pepper? Or do I get fancy with a sprinkle of thyme? Is there a French way to do this, in order to pay homage to Jean-Cluck Picard and Gay Panda’s shared origins? I think I may have to. But this is getting ahead of myself, and when I get ahead, I get overwhelmed and do nothing. So for now, the bath and toweling of a naked Jean-Cluck Picard, and the next step will have to wait.
Last edited by Gay Panda; 10-15-2011 at 02:13 PM.
10-15-2011, 11:53 AM
Garlic or garlic powder is good. You can also tuck garlic cloves between the skin and meat.
Beer-can chicken is pretty terrific, easy, and can be done with wine or any fluid (and a can-sized glass jar if you don't have a beer handy). Turns out terrifically juicy.
"If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman
beachrat's new primal journal
10-15-2011, 01:25 PM
I am finally caught up on all the Panda musings and I have enjoyed them.
As for Cluck Picard..I roast them often...I place under the chook a few carrots(cut in half to make them stable,lengthwise)as well as a few leeks if you happen to have them..inside I put an onion cut into segments,I also throw in a few cloves of garlic,half an organic lemon and a bunch of fresh thyme..sea salt and cracked pepper...throw in a few bits of butter..on the outside I put a few bits of butter tucked into the wings and some more salt and pepper.Very good lemon and thyme roasted chicken.
Remember to keep the carcass for soup
10-15-2011, 01:27 PM
PART TWO: In order to bathe Jean-Cluck, first I have to wash all the dishes that I’ve been avoiding since yesterday. So he sits patiently in the fridge while I make the kitchen presentable for his debut, and Primal Coach Kitty stalks back and forth on the prowl for Benign Poltergeist before it can mess anything up. So far today, Benign Poltergeist has been fairly quiescent, but then again, I haven’t seen my cell phone in two hours and my gray sweatshirt has evanesced.
Finally, the kitchen is ready. My CSA has made their meat packaging panda-proof, and so I spend a great deal of time picking the knot of the bag around my friend. Then juice leaks all over me as Jean-Cluck Picard slides out, a slippery, unwieldy character, in my hands. He splashes about in the sink as I rub his skin fighting my OCD, and I try not to look into the open maw beneath his drumsticks. If there is a package of giblets in there, I’m hoping that they fall out on their own. I give him a good shake to encourage this to happen, but only a lonely little red glob falls into the sink.
With relief, I dump him into the roasting pan and decontaminate myself. Then I pat him dry with paper towels and decontaminate myself again. Now it is time to find a recipe. This is the part that I dread. The Panda Parents were not culinary artists, and far too many evenings ended up in fights at the dinner table for refusing to partake of my father’s Tuna Noodle Surprise. There are many things that one does not do with tuna fish, mayonnaise, sour cream, kidney beans, noodles, and Parmesan, and putting them all together at once is one of them. It was a most noxious creation, and there was always enough to last for three days. It was the fanciest recipe on the Panda Family menu, and otherwise we ate a lot of Hamburger Helper, hot dogs, canned soups, and powdered mashed potatoes.
Instead of letting myself endlessly dither on two million results, I’ll make this easy and pick the first halfway-decent looking recipe that I find. Here we go: poulet roti. It doesn’t look too complicated, I have most of the ingredients, and my two years of high school French even allow me to translate exactly one of the words contained in poulet roti.
I skip trussing since all I have is hairy old green garden twine that lives in my junk drawer, and I won’t eat something that has come into contact with an object from my junk drawer. Is this OCD or normal? I vote normal. If you disagree, then I will mail you my hairy old green garden twine, and YOU can get all SM on your own Jean-Cluck Picard with it. Then I begin to worry that I will roast him with his giblets still inside, so I get my flashlight, tilt him up, and illuminate his empty inner cavity. The light shines out the far end of his gastrointestinal tract, and I think of how they used to be connected, and nearly lose my nerve entirely.
10-15-2011, 02:11 PM
PART THREE: Oh, Jean-Cluck, it feels so indecent to see you this way. Yet I can’t go back to my almost-vegetarianism, I can’t ignore you in my fridge until you turn to dust, and so I must soldier forward. But from now on, Gay Panda is not going to take a flashlight to chicken cavities. If giblets get roasted inside, so be it.
I make herb butter minus rosemary, and using basil that I notice too late expired three years ago. Jamming gobs of it under the skin of the breast with a chopstick and my finger, I end up buttering myself a lot better than I do Jean-Cluck Picard. Perhaps tonight someone will snuggle up to me and sniff deeply, and whisper that I smell just like expired basil flakes. A panda can dream. I massage Jean-Cluck with salt, pepper, and butter, pour half a cup of white wine over him, ignore all directions about sticking things inside the cavern, chuck him in the oven, and watch Supernatural.
So how did he turn out? Ducklings, Gay Panda roasted the chicken captain of the starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D, and most of my fears were for naught. He was supple. He was moist. He needed a little more flavor, but Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s character developed slowly into greater richness over the seven seasons of the show, and perhaps his chicken counterparts in my kitchen will do the same. I am waiting patiently for the telltale twinges of food poisoning to set in, but I still have a few more hours to call this experience a success before the cooties catch up with me. In anticipation of my inevitable poisoning, I wish you fabulous weekends, and will drag myself back to write a new post hopefully by Monday.
10-15-2011, 02:34 PM
To help you with chicken-phobia, I have a recipe that could help you. You need a crockpot for this and a large one. Take your entire bird, rinse it off in cold water, pat dry. Place some pats of seasoned butter between the skin and the meat of the bird and also a bit in the carcass. Stuff it with as much garlic as you like. I usually put in 30-40 cloves. Top the skin with some paprika so it looks as if you roasted it. Let it cook on low for 8-10 hours and you will have a moist, succulent bird that will be to die for.
You had me at Picard.
10-15-2011, 02:51 PM
I am taking everyone's advice and using garlic cloves next time! I think those will give Jean-Cluck Picard: The Reincarnation a flavorful kick. Hopefully my Donner Party CSA will send another chicken soon for further experimentation.
10-15-2011, 04:17 PM
Hooray for the culinary adventures of Panda!
There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton
The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!
10-15-2011, 10:00 PM
Looking forward to Gay Panda making Donner (party) kebabs!
10-15-2011, 10:50 PM
That would not only be nutritious but delicious!
Originally Posted by phreebie