Thursday, June 7, 2012

comfort food (or food to listen to appetite for destruction to)

i hope you like fried chicken and guns n' roses. read on.

There are entries in our culinary lexicon, like foodie and comfort food that make me want to punch a baby penguin*. Foodie (cringe)? Really, you like food huh? Cool. I'm really big into breathing air. That's my thing: air. A need isn't a hobby. That's just being lazy (also not a hobby). And comfort food? Comfortable how? Comfortable like farting in front of your significant other? Comfortable like wade boggs settling in for a cross country flight? I don't need my food adjectives to evoke belucosity or the ballplayers of my youth tying one on**. Nevermind that comfort food is actually the gateway to discomfort (who doesn't overdo it?), it just sounds weird to me. Like calling food "fun". Why would you need to eat fun? You don't go to a picture show because you're hungry. And your stomach doesn't go "look, I'm really empty here and everything, but could you play that shake your ass song by Mystikal? I'm just looking for a good time." Dumb.

Whatever. That said, comfort food totally rules.

Yes, the term is a little twee***. It's also evocative & I get it. I'm thinking warm, filling, not-too-challenging to the palate stuff. Kids' stuff. Stuff that takes you back. Like Appetite for Destruction or whatever album you grew up on. Yes indeed, Appetite is the comfort food of sounds (honorable mention) & not a certain later GnR offering.****

In fact, where are you Weird Al? Appetite lays the perfect framework for a concept food parody album (appetite for consumption?):

maybe it's just the knife, but i'm comforted
Welcome to the Jungle-- Welcome to My Mouth Hole

Out to Get Me-- Out to Get Beef

Mr Brownstone-- Mr Brown..fuck...uhhh... pone… I don't know. Work in progress.

Think About You--Think About Food

Rocket Queen-- Refried Bean
(here's a haaaaam/and you're a refried bean/ooooh yeeeaaah…)

This stuff practically writes itself. Anyway, here's some food so comfortable you'll swear there's a Barcalounger in your mouth.

Notes: this is a bit of a rerun, as I already covered fried chicken. Ignore the old recipe. This is far far superior & I will always do it this way from now on. The combination of the buttermilk marinade & spiking the flour mixture with a bit of corn starch (thank you korean fried chicken for giving me that idea) gives the chicken a perfect, crispy, slightly crunchy crust. Plus pan frying in the cast iron is simple. Lastly, I had steamed broccoli and mac 'n' cheese with this. I can't do MnC better than the stuff from the box, so no recipe there. And the broccoli... steam it for 10 minutes. chop it up. end of recipe.

Pan fried chicken
(so comforting I ate it all. It's the equivalent of 10 chicken wings)

5 chicken wings (not the "wing" and drumette, the full-on wingage)*****
1 cup flour
1/4 cup corn starch
Oil for frying

for marinade:
1/2 pint buttermilk
seasoning (I used cumin, paprika, garlic powder)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce or to taste

mix together the marinade ingredients. pour marinade in a freezer bag with the chicken and toss to coat the chicken. refrigerate several hours.

stare vacuously at the ground.

mix the corn starch and flour in a bowl. take the chicken pieces out of the marinade, shaking excess off, & drop them in the bowl. toss to coat.

let the chicken stay out until it gets kind of a gluey sticky exterior. this is the buttermilk bonding with the flour & starch & is what's going to give you that great crust.

pour oil about half way up in a cast iron skillet & heat it to about medium, maybe a little less. do it slowly. If you get cast iron too hot, you'll have smoking oil and a pan that wants to stay too hot.

fry the pieces for about 20 minutes, flipping and rotating once, midway through. they should be brown and basically cooked through.

turn the heat to med-hi. fry 3-5 more minutes, flipping the pieces. This is just to get them super crispy. they'll look browner after being out of the oil a few minutes, so don't overdo it.

drain on paper towels, dust with salt, let the pieces rest a few minutes & enjoy.

 *not really. I usually think seafaring birds are bullshit (Because they are. What are you doing? Ever heard "it's for the birds"? They're not talking about swimming.), but come on…. look at these little bastards! I might even smuggle one home from a a zoo, only to realize later that raising a penguin is harder, less sitcom-ish than I thought & then abandon it in a field where it will be free.
**but I do like wade boggs getting hammered memes. also, Boggsy is purported to have eaten fried chicken before every game. No wonder he's in the Hall of Fame!
***kinda like the term "twee". I had to do the right thing and punch myself in the stomach after I wrote that.
****it's sure as fuck not Chinese Democracy. You took it too far Axl, especially when you ate Van Morrison and took to wearing his skin as a raincoat.
*****keeping the wing whole allows you to have sort of a chicken wing kebab. The chicken's wing provides the familiar drumette & "wing" you get with buffalo wings. This simply keeps it in tact, plus the wing tip acts as a little fried handle.


  1. I'm not sure... but are the instructions correct? It says "fry the pieces for about 20 minutes" and then another 3-4 minutes.... I'm not an expert at frying things, but isn't 20 mins a long time?

    1. It's only a long time if you want raw chicken (not recommended)*. Alton Brown agrees with me:

      *deep frying wouldn't take quite as long because the pieces would be completely submerged, but that's not what this is. Similarly, chicken strips, milanesa & anything else boneless would cook quicker. But again, different beast.