20 October 2007

I should stick to books

Or....How I am so not a food blogger:

A few weeks ago I received one of those silly chain letter type emails. Normally I don't bother to open them and hit the delete button quickly. But, the one I received was from a family member who never sends this kind of thing and I was tricked by the subject line into opening the email. It intrigues me though: send a recipe to two people, send the email to 10 more. You are suppose to receive 3 dozen recipes. I still haven't responded, although I feel that I should. I don't think I know 10 people that I'd like to send this to who would bother to respond. 1/2 of those I would have sent to received the same email as I did; what's the point of sending it to someone who doesn't cook?

But, I thought I'd take pictures of the recipe that I would share. Might as well turn this into a post, I thought, and take some photos. But, I realized why I can't do this all the time. Taking interesting pictures of food that looks appetizing -- even edible -- is difficult:

My favorite chicken recipe
Chicken Tomatillos
Mexican Oregano Chicken

1. Chicken: 1 cut-up chicken. But, I prefer thighs (6) or leg quarters (3). Salt, pepper, brown in small amount of olive oil.

It's difficult to get an attractive looking photo of raw chicken.

2. Remove chicken when browned. Brown the other ingredients: 1 good sized onion, some garlic, 2 - 3 chopped chipoltole peppers in adobo sauce.

Use as much garlic as you like. I throw in a few spoons from the chopped up stuff in a jar. My spouse would go to the effort to find the garlic gadget to smash up the cloves. My imprecise measurements for this and all recipes drives him batty. What's important for the taste of this dish is the garlic, onion and the adobe sauce; add as much as you like. Season to taste, as the chefs say on TV.

3. Physalis ixocarpa Tomatillos. About 1 pound. Peel the husks, quarter & add to the pot to brown. Add just a little amount of chicken stock to the pot to be able to scrape the fond on the bottom of the pan. Deglazing the pan adds so much to this dish!

I like the color contrast between the tomatillos and the yellow cutting board. I've never seen any, but some tomatillos can be purple.

4. Red Wine -- one glass.

For the cook, not for the pot! Everyone knows that red wine doesn't go with chicken. Actually, a full-bodied red pairs well with this dish because of the spicy sweetness of it. But I'm not a sommelier either. Maybe I'll try that in a different post.

5. When the onions, garlic, tomatillos and chipotole have browned, add 2 teaspoons (minimum) of oregano, 5 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1.5 - 2 cups of chicken stock to the pot. Add the chicken back into the pot and reduce heat to simmer.

I made a mistake last time I cooked this. I used 2T instead of 2t for the oregano. The additional oregano only made the dish taste better. Substituting epazote for the oregano can also give this dish an interesting (and more authentic Mexican) taste.

I use Splenda brown sugar blend. It's just as yummy as real sugar. The brown sugar is as key an ingredient as the adobe. The combination of sweet and spicy is what makes this great! Omit the sugar and you'll have a disappointingly boring dish.

Don't forget to add the chicken! Without it this recipe would be called Tomatillos!

6. Not much action to show when next step is simmer for 45 minutes.

But I like the look of the red glow on the cooktop and the pan. I love this LeCreuset pan.

7. Serve over rice.

I think this looks unappetizing in the photos. But trust me: this dish is delicious.

8. I like this photo because I like the way the sunlight hits the cooktop and highlights the tiles. It has nothing to do with the recipe.

The tiles were handpainted by the former owner of this house, based on pictures in a book of the wildflowers that grow in the woods.

If you're interested in participating in the recipe exchange, email me your email address. Maybe I'll get enough people to send it to that I can actually participate.


pmousse said...

I think that food photography is a real art. You did fine. The recipe sounds great... but I have no doubt I could mess it up. :)

Cam said...

PMOUSSE -- I forgot to write that if I ever created a cookbook, I'd probably have to title it something like The LazyAss Cookbook. I'm not a great cook and am too busy during the week to try to be a better one. Anything that I make is easy. This receipe is almost foolproof. Example: adding 3x the amount of oregano didn't make a difference. Neither did the time I pulled the wrong spice bottle from the cabinet and poured in thyme instead. I could only extract some of it -- almost unnoticable!

Anne said...

Cam! This is so funny--I got this email, too, from my sister, but somehow the instructions were truncated so that I'll never get any recipes back.

Anyway, since it WAS my sister, who never plagues me with this stuff, I did it.

I'll send you *my* lazy chicken recipe if you like...

(And we have the same blue pot--it's great, isn't it?)

Cam said...

Anne, I'd love your lazy chicken recipe. Thanks.

I coveted this pot so much that I was willing to carry it home on an airplane when I found the size I wanted, not thinking that it'd be worthwhile to order on line and have it shipped. As you know, it isn't exactly lightweight! I'm trying not to acquire more stuff when I have perfectly useable items already, but boy would I love to have just about every LeCreuset pot made -- in blue, of course.

LK said...

I'm so impressed you can cook and take pictures at the same time!

Many thanks!

(un)relaxeddad said...

Skip straight to step 4. And repeat. And I do love the pictures. We've got a pair of gigantically heavy green-enamelled iron frying pans of that brand, one smaller for individual omelettes and the other big enough to take on practically anything...

Emily Barton said...

I'm all over that LazyAss Cookbook. When's it going to be published? The dish sounds like one right up my alley, so I'll have to try it. Meanwhile, I'm extraordinarily jealous of your cooktop, tiles, and that teapot with oh-so-much personalitly.