Thursday, February 12, 2009


I suppose a bit of introduction may be in order.

I am currently an unemployed...well, I generally do office work, although I'm schooled in luthiery. (Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, class of Fall, 2003, and haven't done diddly with it since then.) I'm a mother, a very amateur cook, (although I love cooking, most of the time,) a terrible housekeeper, a reader, a very slow knitter, and an opinionated bitch. I'm also intensely liberal. I play RPGs, although mostly, these days, it's a version called mushing, or MUshing. (More about that in another paragraph.) I love to read, watch movies, I'm a sci-fi/fantasy geek, and I can't write fiction to save my life, but I can write essays, which is mostly what blogs are.

My favorite blogs are the ones that talk about people's lives, although I tend to read ones that are skewed towards cooking, or knitting, and mostly cooking, at that. For years, my favorite tv channel was the Food Network, although I'm skewing towards the DIY Network, these days. (I miss the shows that were genuinely informative, that had chefs who became personalities, as opposed to the ones who start off as personalities. Except for Alton Brown, who has always been my personal favorite.)

As for what to expect from this blog, it's going to be a little of this, a little of that...a whole LOT of that. (Oh, in case anyone gets the reference, yes, I'm also a fan of musicals. If you didn't, it's Ben Vereen in Pippin.)

Now, introduction's over, feel free to introduce yourself, as well. In the meantime, I shall offer a recipe, just as an opening gift. It's a take-off on some of the very best stuffing that I ever had in a piece of poultry, from a dear friend's grandmother. The stuffing was mashed potatoes with fried onions, but it was more the apotheosis of mashed potatoes with fried onions, because the juices from the chicken or turkey lifted the potatoes into a realm that they hadn't known before. The friend's grandmother did this with margarine, for reasons of being kosher. I do it with butter, because I'm trayf and I hate margarine. I made this version because I was living with someone who rarely ate at home, and I couldn't see cooking an entire bird when I only like white meat, but I was longing for the stuffing. Luckily, this turned out to be so good that I've had people tell me they dream of it. I even converted my fiance from an onion-hater to a fried-onion-lover with this dish. (The first time I made it for him, I told him that he had to try it, but that if he hated it, I was ok with it. It was the first time I was actually sorry that he loved something I made: it meant I had to share.)

Potato Gunk

Preheat your oven to 400.

Take about five pounds, more or less, of Yukon Gold potatoes. Peel them, chop them, boil them until tender. While you're doing this, finely dice 1 to 2 large onions. (I find that you can't go wrong with too many onions in this dish.) Slowly caramelize your onions in butter, in a frying pan, and cut up 1 to 2 pounds of raw chicken into bits. Sprinkle celery salt over the chicken and set it aside until the onions are done frying.

When the onions are lovely and soft and not-burnt-but-browned, put them in a bowl. Saute the chicken in the same pan that the onions fried in, until browned on both sides. Pour in a little chicken stock, and simmer until your potatoes are ready for mashing. Drain the chicken.

When the potatoes are ready, drain them, return them to the pot, and mash them with butter, salt, pepper and milk or cream. Once they're mostly mashed, crack in a raw egg and stir that in, very thoroughly.

Now, take your pans: they can be a deep casserole, or loaf pans, or whatever you choose, as long as it's deep. Spoon in a layer of mashed potatoes, making sure to cover the entire bottom, and make it a layer that's at least a third of the way up the pan. Put in a layer of chicken bits. Cover the chicken bits with the fried onions. Cover that with potatoes, the rest of the way up the pan, trying not to dislodge either onions or chicken. Bake all of this until the sides and top are crusty and brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve in spoonfuls.

I find that I love the leftovers cold, when I'm lucky enough to have them, and that the potatoes set up nicely enough to be served in slices, if it's cold, first.

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