wizards, ben franklin, and raw food week.

it’s imagination time.

let’s say a guy with a beard and a sweet hat shows up on your doorstep and politely informs you that he is a wizard.  as skeptical as you are of his claims, you probably do something nice somewhere in the story (like give him an ice-cold glass of lemonade or massage his feet or something) and he tells you that in return he will magically place you into any socioeconomic class you like.  i think most people, including myself, would swallow their guilt and go with “filthy stinking rich.”  and poof, just like that, happily ever after.  foie gras, black truffles, the finest aged cheeses, filet mignon, and black caviar every day until you happily die of gout.

and now, back to the real world.

do you have a socioeconomic wizard on your doorstep?  yeah, i didn’t think so.  it’s okay, i don’t either.  and while disney’s alladin, the tale of king midas, and many other non-fictional stories verified by hard, factual evidence lead us to believe that magic is the fastest road to riches, some trail-blazing individuals believe saving money is a far more effective solution.  at least that is what benjamin franklin thought.  and he was kind of like a wizard, only in real life.

so in the spirit of super long esoteric introductions (and saving money), i have decided this week to abstain from using my stove.

while the cheapest option would be to not eat food at all, dying of malnutrition is not in the best interest of my blog.  so instead, i will do all my cooking this week without the use of heat.

no stove, no toaster oven, no hot water.  in other words, raw foods or no foods.  will i be severely limited in my ability to prepare delicious food?  you bet your bottom dollar i will.  will i be hard-pressed to find any way at all to eat meat?  you know it.  will i give up and have a steak in less than 24 hours?  there is a distinct possibility.  but you know what, challenges make us stronger.

raw food mode: engage.

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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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and then countless recipes sprang out of the woodwork.

i’ve been posting and cooking, and cooking and posting, and drinking coffee, and then cooking and posting some more.  occasionally, i even sleep.

but that archiving stuff, i’ve been neglecting that.

and so, in one fell swoop, i’ve decided to upload a boatload of recipes that have been skulking menacingly on the hard drive of my computer.

give them a quick once over if you have time, and should you feel the need, try cooking them once or twice and tell me what you think.  constructive criticism only makes us better, and i could certainly do with a little improvement.

mahimahi, pan-seared and swimmingly sauced.

sauce week continues uninterrupted.

sauces 4, 5, and 6 called for a slight change of pace.  sauces 1 through 3 were given the honor of adorning chicken breasts, and i think that may have been a little too easy for me.  so tonight i decided that only my favorite fish would do.  mahimahi, referred to by the japanese as shiira, has a super fresh white meatiness that is second to none.  moreover, it is notoriously tough to cook well.  the whiteness of its meat carries a downside; when cooked too much, it becomes heinously dry and nearly inedible.

i decided to challenge myself.  for the past few days i had been thinking about which sauces would be able to transform such an already magnificent fish into a masterpiece.  i decided on a garlic cream sauce, a shiso pesto, and a spicy mango sauce with mint.  i think everything went swimmingly.

feast your eyeballs.

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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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