Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Necessity Being the Mother...a fried chicken fantasy

Our stovetop died a couple weeks ago. One night during dinner, it made a quiet little whoomph, like something bursting into flame, or maybe a baby mortar round. I checked, but nothing was burning, all seemed to be okay.

The next day, when I turned on one of the burners, it hummed at me, and the humming grew louder and louder. Then I started hearing crackling sounds. Turned off the burner and backed away. I gave it a day and tried again. Same thing. Clearly we needed a new stovetop.

Do you have any idea how many choices there are in stovetops??? What I yearned for was one with a grill included, but they all require a downdraft, and we have a drawer under the stovetop. So, without spening a few thou for new cabinets, that wasn't going to happen. What I also really, really want is a gas stovetop, but that's not going to happen either. We live in the country, and the supplied services consist of PG&E and telephone. We have well water and septic systems. If we want gas, we have to buy a huge tank and get pipes laid to bring it to the house, and, of course, have the gas delivered. Sigh.

And, do you know, I just can't get myself to make a decision. Because I really want that grill included. So, while I am angsting about not being able to have what I want without remodeling the whole kitchen, I've been trying to think of reasonable ways to cook without using a burner. There's the microwave, but you can't fry chicken in a microwave, or do a stir fry, or boil pasta. I'm a little slow off the mark, because it wasn't until a few days ago that I thought about the oven.

Oh, I broiled a steak one night, but what I really wanted was some nice crispy chicken. Not deep fried, but sauteed until it was crispy on the outside and done in the middle. Then, brainstorm! None of that pathetic "spray a cookie sheet with pam etc." for me. I took my great big chicken fryer, about 14" across, put in some of that lovely chicken fat I have in the freezer, cranked the oven up to 400, and gave it a few.

When it was good and hot, I seasoned the chicken pieces and put them skin side up into the now sizzling fat - they'd crisp up from the oven heat and would keep the underlying meat from getting dried out. Ooh, listen to the lovely hiss as they settle in. :G:

I reduced the heat to 375 F, and, after about half an hour, I checked. They were gorgeous, crispy on both sides and done just right. Mm-mm-mmm. ;+) I hadn't realized how much I was missing a piece of cooked meat until then. I feel so clever, although it's not all that amazing a concept, but it amazed me.


At 2:49 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Hey! Cool.
Aw. Nuts. That just made my stomach growl.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger farmgirl said...


P.S. I do not envy you. I detest having to make big kitchen decisions--like three new ranges in two years. Ack!

P.P.S. NEVER buy a Maytag.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Thanks for stopping by, you guys.

I can go for ridiculously long periods of time before making a decision on something like that. I'm getting close to the breaking point though - no way to cook pasta without that stovetop.

I may continue to "fry" my chicken this way even after I have the stovetop. It's so much less time consuming. Just set the timer and eliminate the standing around. ;+)

At 10:52 AM, Blogger drbiggles said...

Bitchen idea on the fryer, I ain't even done that.

I just purchased a used hugeass propane, self-standing, two burner stove. The burners are at least 60,000 btu's, that's hot. See, this way I can fry my chicken or whatever OUTSIDE. Clean up? A hose. AHAHAHHHA, neat.

Yeah, stay away from Maytag, Amana and Whirlpool. Do a search on Meathenge for Amana and you'll see why. Lousy products and even worse repair response time. Broken fridge? 3 weeks. How long did it last? 3.5 years from new. Grrrr.

In any case, have fun searching for your new rig.


At 12:17 AM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hey, Dr. B!

I do have one of those big gas grills with the extra burner on one side. Thing leaks grease like a %&#(#^&%, though. I'm trying to figure out what to put under it to keep this deck clean. Didn't realize it at the last place until it was time to move, then, whoopsie.

Since I'm not getting what I really want, I'll probably just get the cheapest thing that fits when I finally break down and do it. With the gorgeous weather we're having, I should really be cooking outside, anyway.

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous aardvarknav said...

Just going through all your posts and read about the problem with the outdoor grill leaving grease stains on the deck. There are grill pads available (Google search lists many). They are made of flexible fibrous concrete. A cheaper way is to go to someplace like Home Depot and get a piece of concrete backerboard that is laid under ceramic tile.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Thanks, aardvarknav, that sounds like a good idea. Much easier than trying to get grease out of wood. ;+)


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