Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tonight's dinner is brought to you by butter.

Generally as a rule I don't cook or bake with butter.  Not sure why exactly. I know it is an institution of sorts, but I never have.

Perhaps it all boils down to how you grew up and what you got a taste for.  My mum used to use those square of imperial margarine ( I have never really noticed before, but doesn't the spelling of this look weird?  Shouldn't it be margerine?).

Over Christmas, I was attempting to do some last minute baking.  I polled my friends on Facebook for fast easy recipes.  They delivered, giving me tons of ideas.   Shortbread made with butter was on the list, so I went out and bought some butter.  However, one of the posts was from a friend who has an at home baking business.  She makes and sells dainties.  Sold.

So that brings us to this past weekend, when I realized I had this block (is that how you refer to it?) of butter still sitting in my freezer.  I pulled out my Betty Crocker cookbook that I got at my bridal shower.  At the time, it seemed like an ok gift, but you know what?  Given all of the things I got for my bridal shower, the things that I still have are an ironing board, pots and pans, a rubbermaid mop bucket, some ridiculously pretentious china fruit bowls that look like miniature Holy Grails and that recipe book.  It has very 1950s vibe to it in that it shows how to properly set a table and what bowls dishes should be served in.  I keep meaning to look for the chapter on what drink to have on ice when your husband comes home from work, but I just haven't had time.

With my butter in hand, I  decided to make oven baked fried chicken.  This time I was very careful to close the freezer after last weeks debacle.  I set the chicken out on the counter to thaw.  We generally buy our chicken in one of those bulk boxes rather than the fresh packs in the meat section.  I am starting to change my mind about that.  Fresh chicken (even if you freeze it) doesn't reduce into a poultry swamp when you defrost it.  The box chicken does.  God forbid you defrost it in the microwave as you will be covered in a tidal wave of gooey chicken run off when you take it out.  I think it must be because they pump up the chicken with water to make it look bigger and weigh more. One-Seeded Drupes!

** This is an inside joke between my friend Tara and I. A one seeded drupe is another way to say Coconut.  One day (and I have can't recall how this came up) we decided that a one-seeded drupe sounded like an Edwardian insult and fell in love with it.  Regardless of what you call it, it's pretty shady.


The oven friend chicken is pretty easy, melt some butter in a casserole dish, bread your chicken (add spices to the breading to taste) set in butter and bake.  If you are a culinary rock star and remember to flip the chicken half way through cooking, even better.

I also made a pear/apple crisp which the boys loved, but I must have skipped a step somewhere along the line (which is kind of remarkable since apple crisp is super easy to make). Instead of the top crumble coming out crispy and delicious, it was closer to oatmeal that had been left on the counter too long.  In my opinion not even a scoop of vanilla ice cream could save it, which goes to show my boys eat anything.  I am not a huge fan of apple crisp even when it's done well.  I think it's the boiled carrots of desserts.

You would have thought that given all of the above,  I would have gone through that brick of butter but no, I only used half!  So I suppose I will circle back to its original purpose and make some shortbread.  That is of course my oven cooperates.  I have a two door oven.  Instead of having a drawer for pots and pans, it has a small oven on top (for pizzas, casseroles etc) and a larger convection oven on the bottom for turkeys and bigger things.  We have found that the top oven get the most use.  It's a good thing really because it takes a lot less time to preheat.  Trouble is lately, it has taken to burning the bottom of things, but leaving the tops uncooked.  I tried to make baking powder biscuits for breakfast the other day.  When I took them out of the oven, the insides of the biscuits were raw dough, but the bottoms were black.  Mind you that's a pretty good metaphor for how I feel about mornings anyways, so maybe it's appropriate.


I have really started to notice that I am knocking it out of the park cooking wise recently.

Thankfully no one in my house has complained, so that's good.  Mental note to make less crunchy chicken curry rice dinners, dried oatmeal desserts and burnt dough breakfasts and turn out something more palatable.

Bon Appetite!




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