the drowned chicken experiment (no, it isn’t a metal band)

i made chicken breasts this week.  i made mahimahi steaks.  i made fruit sauces, i made cream sauces, i made sauces out of vegetables and oils and cheese and all manner of ingredients.  but you know, i still didn’t feel challenged.  i feel like almost any person can at least imagine the ingredients of a sauce that would function as a topping for meat.  so i got to thinking, what about sauces which aren’t meant as a topping?

aren’t there sauces which are meant for more than just drizzling on top of a cut of meat or fish?  how about the sauces which are meant to drown the food you plan to eat?  i honestly couldn’t think of that many until i widened my perspective a little.  when i really considered it, i realized that most sauces served on chicken wings could be categorized as “drowning sauces.”

but honestly, chicken wings aren’t exactly the epitome of gourmet food.  buffalo wing sauce, hot sauce, honey mustard sauce, barbeque sauce, bleu cheese sauce, and ranch aren’t even close the category of food that i plan to cook in my kitchen (ever).

so instead, i resolved to buy two whole chicken thighs, chop them into bite-sized morsels, cook them with a little bit of salt and pepper in a frying pan over high heat, and drown them in three homemade sauces i deemed worthy.

spicy dark chocolate mole, hawaiian-style teriyaki, and five-spice chicken gravy.

feast your eyeballs.

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pmk: what is the point?

have you ever seen iron chef?  i love iron chef.  they get the best chefs from all walks of life and gather them together in a huge “kitchen stadium,” play dramatic music, and have culinary showdowns using ritzy ingredients.  shaved black truflle, foie gras, filet mignon, aged cheeses, squab, shark fin and all kinds of other beautiful delicacies make their way into the cooking.

i like to watch the hour long episode (cheering all the while for the chef i want to win) on the edge of my seat, biting my nails during the judging portion.  when they pass the verdict, i invariably boo or affirm the judges decision in a very vocal manner.  and then i get up and go back to my normal life.

it is at about this point in time that i realize i don’t live in kitchen stadium.  i live in a tiny apartment with one room.  my kitchen has an electric stove with two burners and a temperature control that consists of four buttons (labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively).  i don’t have any shaved black truffle or foie gras or filet mignon.  i have eggs, pasta, chicken, bread, onions, and garlic on hand.

and that is what the poor man’s kitchen is all about.

i don’t have the financial means to make foods commonly recognized as “delicacies,” so i make my own.  i use produce from my friend’s farms when i can, and go fishing on occasion, but other than that i buy all of my groceries at the local grocery store.  the point of this blog is show you that, with nothing more than common foods, a little bit of time, and your own imagination, you can live a life chock-full of filling, beautiful, and delicious food.

and you can share that life with others, which is what it is really all about.  have friends over, drink a little wine or a few beers, and cook up a storm.  the camaraderie and hard work will make the food taste better than you ever could have imagined.

chicken, dressed to the nines.

if you hadn’t already guessed, it is sauce week in the poor man’s kitchen.  which means yesterday, i went out and bought myself a few cheap plastic sauce bottles and committed myself to making at least nine sauces this week.  but i can’t go about just drinking sauces out of the bottle, now can i?  i mean, i suppose i could, but i’m not so sure i would want to.

so instead, by taking mister mcgee’s lesson to heart, my plan is to make three meals this week which each highlight three sauces.  the goal of each of these meals is to take three pieces of a single food, prepared in exactly the same way, and by applying a different sauce to each, create three distinct and independently delicious flavors.

last night, chicken breasts were my sauce vectors.

i purchased three chicken breasts, butterflied them, cooked them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then subjected them to my first three sauces of the week.  and i even had two insane canadians over to my house to share in the bounty.

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