Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nobdy likes to prep chicken

Very much including yours truly. However, to alleviate this inevitable conundrum, I (well, actually my Dad!), went to great lengths to develop this mess-free/touch-free method to save you from touching another slimy piece of raw chicken again.

At our house, we prefer to buy a week's worth of dinners at one time. When we get home from the store, it's time to prep for the week. Yes, this is a lot of work up front, but you have to think long term: you're done until next weekend!

First, place a chopping mat (I prefer thin plastic... the kind that is color coded per food type) on your counter, and unwrap the chicken (or pork, or beef, whatever!), right there on the mat. Make sure to keep the mat fully covered by the butcher paper.

Next, remove the chicken from the plastic bag by simply dumping it onto the butcher paper. Try to keep the bag kind of neat and unwrinkled because you'll want to use it in a minute.

Then (if you are right-handed), use tongs in your left hand to handle the chicken (see, touch-free!), and a knife in your right to trim off any fat.

After you trim the fat, place that plastic I told you to save right on top of the chicken. Because you've kept it neat by carefully pouring the chicken out, you won't touch any chicken mess as you place it over the chicken. This will be your shield as you tenderize the chicken (to make it all nice and leveled so it cooks evenly).

Once you've tenderized the meat, use the tongs to remove the plastic and place your chicken on a warm skillet, and cook about 4ish minutes a side until golden. If you are not cooking today, this is when you'd want to place the chicken in airtight plastic, and a sealed Pyrex and freeze. You can also freeze after cooking, if you prefer.

Now for the clean-up: simply fold your butcher paper up around all the fat trimmings and plastic bag, and throw away in one clean bundle. If done correctly, you will have avoided touching the chicken at all, and hopefully your chopping mat is spotless. Even still, I always recommend a thorough washing of your hands and work space with warm water and soap after handling poultry. You just never know!

So here's what I made to accompany this chicken meal:

I'll show you how to make the delish sauteed onions deglazed in white wine soon! If only you could smell via pictures :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Talavera Tutelage

I cannot even think of where to begin, and I hate to be one of those constantly-apologizing-for-lack-of-recent-post bloggers, but...that apologies.

I've been here on the Farm in Pittsburg,

and here on the beach in Cabo,

and here in the West Valley of El Paso (well, actually this is technically in New Mexico),

having a ball, yes, and taking many many photos to share on LAW (I'm not certain I love the acronym...sounds a little...serious), but finding myself without much time to sit down and hammer out some new reads.

So, without further ado, let's talk Talavera.

You might be familiar with the authentic Mexican pottery traditionally (and officially) from the town of Puebla. If not, I think I might be about to introduce you to some of the most fun, cheerful and beautiful tableware I've seen (I feel I've seen a lot, but that could be naive).

My Talavera affair first began when I was a child, visiting my mother's family in El Paso. My mother and grandmother both also love the plates, so I think it was basically in my genes.

In San Jose del Cabo, we came across the famous Necri store, an authentic Talavera dealer:

Inside, I was like a kid in a candy store (insert dreamy music here):

Finally, after literally three trips back to the store (I take FOREVER to shop... I am terribly afraid of buyer's remorse), I decided on this pretty little creamer and covered sugar and two matching mugs:

and I couldn't be more thrilled with the decision! I decided the blue and white was a good jumping off point for beginning my new collection. I'd eventually like to add the service tray, more mugs, and, well, the entire 12-person setting plus service pieces, to be honest :) Heck, it's dishwasher safe! Though I'm still afraid to test that out... :)

The real truth is, I love a good blue and white china pattern. Since I started off with a traditional all-white pattern for our everyday, now I'm free and easy to mix and match as I please. It was inevitable that I'd grow my collection quickly.

For any brides who love the stuff, NECRI has online registry! They'll even ship for free in handy custom crates :)


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