Time to get the shirt monogrammed. Freshly pressed or what!
Many years ago, to maintain my razor-sharp weekday appearance and to keep the dry-cleaning bills to a minimum, I invested in a trouser press. The device keeps a nice sharp crease on the suit pants and I only need to think about dry-cleaning when my lunch spills out of it’s glass. To set up a bit of contrast and to keep a good self-image during the working week, I sloth my way around in old jeans or tracksuits at the weekend.
One of the time-of-times in a sad superstitious old man’s life is approaching. My youngest is preparing to emigrate. She has finished the formal part of her education and wants to spread her wings. This is not a lucky time for me. So I suspect that it’s appropriate that number thirteen in this series is a meal that she has begged me to cook as one of her departure treats. It’s my take on seafood-free Pad Thai or ‘Dad Thai’ to take it for my own. The ingredients are all in the photo above. For superstition’s sake, there are fourteen.
This is one of the easiest oriental dish I have ever cooked. The only difficulty is in carving the chicken. The oriental style of bird slicing involves chopping through flesh and bone. This requires a fair deal of heavy-handed work. This is best for authenticity but, those weak-willed amongst you can carve it in a western fashion. On the positive side of things, this will feed five to six people and they will all want you to cook it again and again. I have never tasted it cold. If you prepare it right, neither will you.
My blog has got incredibly popular of late. This is a good thing, right? Sadly, no. Very wrong. It’s not my regular visitors and friends at all points in the free and not so free world that have me exercised. It’s those hard-hearted, vexatious, spotty people who spend their time spamming my virtual home here on WordPress. I checked today and have 475 spam comments in the darned efficient spam catcher used by WP. That means that of the time I spend here on the Internet, more of it is spent clearing out the dross and less is spent on the stuff you are here to see.
I was tempted to dedicate this post to Frank Sinatra, he of the “I did it my way”. But given everything I have heard and read about the man, I think we should say that he was a good singer and leave it (and all reference to the little man with the oversized ego) right here.
Over the years and decades, I have eaten Kung Po Chicken dozens of times. It is (as is “My Way”) a standard. There should be only one true recipe for Kung Po. But, you have guessed it, there are as many ways of cooking it as there are Chins in the Peking phone book.
America is a great place. There are 49 states and one independent country (Texas). We Europeans often sneer at the gastronomic endeavours of “them over there”. I don’t really subscribe to the “They all eat nothing but burgers and tacos” school of thought. However, of the 49 states, the one with that has some culinary questions to answer is Kentucky. I have done my research. Kentucky has more elk, deer and wild turkeys than you could shake a bottle of bourbon at. But, they are not famed for cooking any of them. Those good old bluegrass lovin’ Louisville folk are famed for sending buckets, yes buckets, of spiced, fried chicken to all points of the globe.
It looks just like any ordinary chicken casserole, does it not? But this casserole has an added ingredient that makes it extremely chickeney. In fact, it’s fair to say this is the most chickeney chicken casserole since the first chicken escaped from the egg. And, yes, the egg came first.
This post could have almost as easily been titled “Prelude to a divorce”. You need to understand that the Wife is a lady of habit. One of the fulcrums around which she runs her life is her mugs of tea. Not tea-bag tea. Proper leaf tea. I have even been swayed over to enjoying a mug or three at 06:30 most mornings. So when I suggested that I might use a couple of tablespoons of our regular tea leafs to cook a chicken, I got a pretty frosty reaction.
I have seen lots of recipes for Chicken Paprika. Mine is unique (as you might expect). It’s uniqueness doesn’t come from any particular skill I have in the kitchen. It comes from having thoughtful friends and family. Thoughtful friend, Richard McGary sent us a box of chilis earlier in the year. While Richard was cogitating his selection, eldest daughter was busy in Budapest drinking low-priced beer and negotiating strings of paprika chilis for my delight. So in honour of both Richard and eldest daughter, I give you my take on Chicken Paprika.
Those of you who don’t know me so well would not know that we are a reasonably far-flung family. My sister and her family live in Norway and my youngest brother (the baby, ahhh.) and his family reside in Tanzania. As you could imagine, there is high excitement in our household when youngest brother and family and eldest sister come to visit. It’s not often we have such an international get together. Part of this excitement manifests itself in my cooking for them and us. We try to do it nice and casual and allow the meal act as an excuse for enjoying each other’s company. However, I do like to experiment where I can.