I have been working on a big menu project for school at the FCI and it’s due next week. My theme? Eating in Your Underwear, of course.
A few days ago I had a day off from work and spent most of it cooped up in my apartment, cooking, researching and writing in hopes of wrapping up this assignment. I made a dish that my dad will prepare on the occasional Sunday; it is comforting and feels like, well, home. Chicken in Riesling is simple, unassuming and the type of dish I crave.
Perfect with a pair of undies and jelly jar filled with wine.
You’ll find the recipe here.
One of the most comforting foods I’ve ever known is cinnamon toast. Growing up, my dad was the one to make my breakfast. Often it consisted of a Breakfast Hot Pocket, or a Toaster Strudel, but on a good day, my dad would make cinnamon toast. Last week, in an effort to ease my pre-midterm nerves, I whipped up a few slices:
My parents had made me a loaf of homemade white bread, which I toasted and then topped it with a generous smear of butter and a good sprinkling of sugar and pumpkin pie spice (though, as the name suggests, cinnamon is the more traditional route).
There was little in my fridge to write home about, except for the makings of a mire poix–carrots, celery and onion. Oh, and in the freezer: chicken drumsticks that have been patiently awaiting my attention. Since I had nothing to do all day, I committed to making chicken soup.
After defrosting the legs, I browned them real good in the pot on all sides. Removed the legs, browned the veggies well, filled the pot with water, and added aromatics (garlic, parsley stems, peppercorns, etc.).
Simmered the stock and skimmed skimmed skimmed all the foamy crud that collected on the surface. About 20 minutes later, I removed the legs, pulled the meat off the bone and reserved for later; replaced the bones in the pot. After a couple of hours, I strained the whole bit.
Next, I transferred the stock to a clean pot, boiled thinly sliced carrots and celery, and, once cooked through, added the chicken meat.
I then seasoned the soup with salt, garnished with parsley, and cozied up on the couch with a steamy hot bowl. It was worth all the effort.
It’s a thing I crave so badly once the seasons change, I suspect my body is deficient in it during the warmer months. I’m talking about beef short ribs.
Short ribs beg to be braised, and you should take heed. Make a day out of it: Open a couple of bottles of wine and spend the day indoors, getting a little buzzed, watching silly movies, and smelling beef as it conquers the kitchen. If company allows, take off the pants and snuggle under a fuzzy blanket while the meat renders slowly in the oven.
This is what you’ll get, if you take the time:
And the rewards are paramount.
It’s not much of a secret, really. It’s just that few are committed enough to use the quantity of butter, salt and heavy cream that truly decadent mashed potatoes require.
(This photo was taken in hindsight, after the taters had cooled in the fridge. They taste better than they appear.)
Do this to starchy potatoes: peel, dice, put in pot, cover with cold water, boil, cook till tender, drain, mash. Now here’s the important part: add tons of butter, heavy cream and salt. Do it little by little, each time pushing the limits of fat and sodium. Just when you’re on the brink of insanity, that’s when you stop. The point is to taste buttery, creamy, salty potatoes, but not taste just heavy cream, butter and salt. The three elements should meld together to your tastes for indulgent mashed potatoes that rival any decent restaurant.
Here you have a blank canvas. For this potato side, I added freshly ground black pepper and squeezed in a whole head of roasted garlic. Feel free to do the same. And, as always, feel free to remove your pantaloons for this ultra-comfortable comfort food.