Ok, then…

Why did I start a blog? I dunno…somethin’ to do. It’s been suggested to me about 54545464546847651 times and I figured why the hell not. Apparently some people find my life interesting, or at least what I do interesting. Ha! Fools!

I’m a soapmaker by trade and I suppose I’ve got my own little suburban homestead going on here. I aspire to live in the Boonies one day. I HATE the suburbs. HATE. I’m not terribly fond of yuppies, and everyone around here seems pretty Yup-ped. Where else in this world is what color your mail box is of any importance? When astro turf looking lawns are desirable to native plants? The neighborhood doesn’t like me, or my little house here, cause basically I don’t “keep up with what is expected of suburban living.” No way. Not like I do that on purpose. I’ve never found environment damaging wildlife killing candy coated beige mailbox wielding electricity sucking yards to be of any importance at all. Give me coneflowers and dandelions (hmmm, invasive weed that’s very tasty in salads) over freakin Mums and Chem Lawn any day. Cause really? F&*k that noise.

I make everything. Cook all the time. And I love me some crafts. I’m part crafter, part artist (ok mostly in my head but still), part homemaker, part rock n roll queen, part redneck and completely insane. Yup, think that about covers it. I do in fact wear cowboy hats with bondage pants and listen to Ministry and Trace Adkins in the same five minutes. I vote Democrat (though I’m a Jeffersonian) but I wield a gun. One of my best friends is a vegan, and I like to bow hunt. I also love knitting and canning my own food…and getting tattoos and writing crappy poetry. Ree Drummond is my idol. No, I’m not stable (it’s ok to think it, I know you were).

So, I suppose I’ll see how this thing pans out.

Today was a typical Sunday I guess. I had a million and half things running through my manic brain to do. I got nearly none of them done, of course. I wanted to make candles and tarts for gifts today, make pasta (thank you Kitchen Aid pasta maker), make some more Christmas cookies (since yesterday I made 50 of them and there are now 5 thank-you-very-much-2-very-large-live-in-males), do all my laundry and clean my entire house. Yeah. I ended up going to Whole Foods, making dinner, and doing some laundry. And hopefully knitting later. Hopefully.

I freakin’ love Whole Foods! How could you not? Completely overpriced joint with a mix of yuppies and hippies that sells food you SHOULD be eating anyway but it’s 800 dollars a pound and probably cheaper to produce than mass food. See: Grass Fed Beef. Since when is grain fed beef cheaper than grass fed. I mean, really? WTF! Cows are MEANT to eat grass, not grain. Ok, grass fed vs grain fed is another post entirely. If I don’t stop here, I’ll go on and on.

Unfortunately, Whole Foods is the only place around here that sells what I actually LIKE to eat save the co ops in the area. And the co ops don’t sell everything I need. Farmers markets are awesome, but suburban ones are sneaky. They’ll sell you bulk fruit they bought from Costco if you don’t watch out. But there are some awesome farmers markets that last only until Halloween then close up shop til June. So, what’s a girl to do?

I bought a bunch of organic produce, pastured chicken and some grass fed milk and egg nog. Now, I’m lactose intolerant and cannot generally stomach milk at all. However, I found RAW milk I can tolerate ok in moderation. Regular store bought milk I’ll puke up in about 5 minutes if not get a serious stomach ache. The grass fed stuff I buy at Whole Foods is only vat pasteurized. Basically that means that it isn’t heated to six million degrees before they bottle it, effectively leaving IN the taste, cream, fat (which is good for you, but don’t get me started on that right now either), and vitamins. The regular store bought stuff is basically toxic milk flavored water. I still prefer raw milk, but the vat grass fed stuff will do.

What I DID find was grass fed egg nog. Oh. My. God. Talk about a milk-gasm. Seriously. Go right now and buy it. Now. It’s ridiculous.

So I drank some of that before dinner. I did NOT add bourbon (but I should have). It was mighty tasty.

Hmmmm Grass Fed Egg Nog

So dinner was gonna be blackened chicken, loaded baked potatoes (not for me, diabetic, so sweet potato for me), Cranberry Pecan Corn Muffins (thank you pioneer woman), salad and for my dessert a honeycrisp apple. Hmmmm, honeycrisp apples. These little buggers last about 400 years in the fridge and are still as crisp and juicy as ever. I bought two today but had one left from September and it was awesome. I only ate half cause, well, stupid diabetes but man it was good! I don’t know how they make that variety but I wager that, like fire, Prometheus brought it to the humans. That’s only my theory though.

HoneyCrisp Apple

Ok, so the chicken. First, you gotta get yourself some serious broth going.

Chicken Bouillon

I buy HUGE containers of this stuff. It’s powdered and I use it in damn near everything. Yay for sodium! For this chicken, I make a super strong broth with it that’s gonna act kind of like a quick brine. Makes the chicken super juicy but more importantly it also gives the INSIDE of the chicken flavor. I hate it when the outside is all tasty and seasoned and awesome and the inside is just plain. I hate that!

Ok, then you wanna boil your chicken in it until it’s just about cooked through. I DO NOT cook it til it’s falling off the bone. That’s stupid cause it’ll fall apart in the pan too. So once you’ve got enough water in the pot to cover your chicken (I use chicken legs cause dark meat rules), add about twice the amount of bouillon than it calls for on the package for the amount of water in the pot. For example if it’s 1 TB for each cup, add 2. Trust me on this.

I then boiled the chicken for about 40 minutes or so. It turns that awesome (though slightly unnatural) super yellow color from the broth. That’s ok. We want that. It’ll start smelling like chicken soup. Once that’s done, remove the chicken from the broth.

Then you take some lard, and I mean LARD, not “manteca” green and white tub BS. Full on LARD. Again, I won’t get started on how lard is WAY better for you than canola oil or how Crisco isn’t even a food (I use it in recipes, yes, but it’s still not good for you), but trust me..LARD. I generally can ONLY get lard here at a butchers (the ONE butcher that’s within 50 miles of me thank you suburban living, ugh) or Mexican markets. Check the label. Generally “store bought” lard contains hydrogenated oils. You do NOT want this. You want pig fat. Plain and simple. Rendered pig fat. And it’s not white. It’s tannish beige. And it has a distinct odor (it should NOT smell rancid). If you HAVE to use shortening cause you can’t find it I understand. But I still recommend pig fat.

Ok, so add some lard to your pan. I use cast iron (DUH). Not too much. You don’t want the chicken actually deep frying, but a nice shallow slick surface for it. If you use too much the chicken won’t blacken. Heat that on low til it’s nice and hot.

Lard. Real. Actual. Lard.

Once you’ve got that going you want the coating for your chicken. No bread crumbs, only seasonings. You can use whatever you want really. The idea is that you are literally burning the seasonings onto the chicken. And man it’s good! I use a strange mixtures of garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, dried green pepper seasoning, blackening seasoning (hunting stores have good ones), and southwestern seasoning. Dashes of cayenne won’t hurt either. Depends on how much your taste buds can take. Put your seasonings in a bowl, something big enough you can shake a couple of pieces of chicken in. Put a piece of chicken in and shake the hell out of it. Well, if the bowl doesn’t have a lid don’t shake it. Cause. You’ll make a huge mess. Toss it instead. Derp.

The chicken won’t be coated the way it is with bread crumbs because you are relying on just the moisture of the chicken itself and perhaps some of the broth to act as adhesive. That’s ok. If you were to totally coat it like breading it would be WAY too spicy. It’s supposed to be lightly coated with the seasoning, and generally more sticks to the fatty parts of the skin and that’s a good thing.

Then you wanna fry it in your pan of lard. Resist the urge to turn it. You want the lard to get sucked up a bit and the pan to get a little dry. The chicken might stick a little and that’s ok, but it should be nice and blackened without being “burnt” so to speak. Since the chicken is already mostly cooked through and you’ve the heat on low, 10-15 minutes per side should do the trick just fine.

They’ll look something like that when you are done. and they will be mighty tasty. I served mine with a salad of organic baby greens, green onions, white onions, tomato and white radish from our garden (it was still alive, just gotten a little sweet from the cold.) And ranch dressing cause, once again, DUH.

Blurry Salad...the best kind.

It’s a good meal that’s really well received but isn’t a total pain in the ass. I also made Pioneer Woman’s Cranberry Pecan Corn muffins, which came out AWESOME (from my little taste anyway…I reiterate, stupid Diabetes. Doesn’t tolerate grain carbs very well…), but stuck like HELL to the pan. I greased it to high heaven too, but it still stuck. Thank God I live with men. They have no problem digging a big ole finger into the pan and just scooping it out and eating it. Gross, but true. Hey! I ain’t eatin’ it (I totally would if I could though, soooo good!), so if they wanna go all cave man, more power to them!

All this while of course Mr. B is running up the stairs complaining how cold he is and shivering. But he doesn’t have a fever, or so my ever-so-womanly-hand-to-the-forehead-check hasn’t detected any. There’s something disturbing about a 6’8 300 pound man being cold and huddling up like a little girl. It has dropped temperature here and I think it’s getting into everyone’s bones. But not even the Texan has complained, so perhaps my built in motherly fever gauge is broken and I need to break out the digital therm. Admittedly, I’ll feel a bit ashamed if it registers a temperature. My hand to forehead has never failed me.

And now it’s 10:30 and I might as well do another couple loads of laundry while I’m getting my knitting done. Christmas knitting is making my hands sore and I love it! I’m knitting’s bitch. Ahhh knitting, she’s a cruel, soft, squishy, fibrous, awesome mistress. And I’m all hers tonight.

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