Saturday, December 19, 2009

On Wool Socks And Making-Do

To anyone who might have thought that hand-knit wool socks were somewhat pointless, I give you:

Shoveling The Driveway, 2009


(Um, yeah. That's what it looked like when we opened the garage door...)

Steven managed to cut a sidewalk-sized swath in the snow before I came out to help, and I grabbed the rake (Why do we not own two snow shovels?) and helped get a car-sized lane dug through about 2/3 of the driveway.


And then we gave up and started taking pictures of the massive snowdrifts. I need to illustrate the ridiculousness of this snow for you by giving you something to compare it to. So here's what it looked like LAST time it snowed. This was maybe 3 inches of snow.


And here's what it looked like tonight:


See how we used to have steps in front of our door? Yeah, they're buried under 19 inches of snow. The fire hydrant was buried, too, but Steven dug it out, just in case there was an emergency or something.


In case you aren't convinced yet, here's a car parked on the street. (At least, I think there's a car under there.)


This is about as far as we got with shoveling the driveway. Although my wool-sock-adorned feet were nice and toasty, the snow was up to our knees, so the rest of me was starting to get a bit chilled.


And I learned something else tonight. You can't just shovel 19 inches of snow in one scoop. You've got to shovel the same spot in 6-inch layers, so it takes three scoops to shovel one tiny spot.

Needless to say, we were hungry and tired by the time we gave up on the driveway. Normally when a snow hits, we have ZERO food in our house, and we have to make-do eating cereal all day because I never manage to get to the grocery before we get snowed in.

But lately I've been trying to keep our freezer and pantry well-stocked with the basics (for such a time as this), and as it turns out, my stock-the-pantry plan worked! I had some chicken thighs and frozen snap peas in the freezer, and a box of rice pilaf in the pantry. The result? A surprisingly good impromptu meal for a snow day.


And as a result of this meal, I have now discovered an incredibly delicious and fast way to cook chicken, which I will now share with you.


Honey-Mustard Chicken (adapted from Mark Bittman's Deviled Chicken Thighs)

(This recipe was originally supposed to be spicy. The ingredients included cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce. We, however, are not really spicy-food people. So instead of the hot stuff, I added about 1/3 cup of pure honey. This was a really delicious twist, if I do say so myself, and I am normally quite skeptical of my "flourishes" with recipes.)

8 chicken thighs or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks, about 2 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup minced shallot or onion
1/3 cup of pure honey, or to taste (Keep adding honey and tasting until the spiciness of the dijon doesn't make you wince.)

1. Preheat the broiler to its maximum and set the rack about 4 inches from the heat. Season the chicken on both sides and place it in a pan, skin side up. Broil, watching carefully, until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the mustard, onion, and honey. (I put the ingredients in my blender to chop the onion more finely.)

3. When the chicken has browned, remove it from the oven and turn it. Spread just a teaspoon or so of the mustard mixture on the underside of the chicken and broil for about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and spread the remaining mixture on the skin side. Broil until the mustard begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

4. If your chicken is not done at this point, turn off the broiler and turn your oven to 350 degrees, and let the chicken bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear.

DELICIOUS and so cheap! I love that I was able to whip this up using just the random staples we had on hand. I feel so ... resourceful!

(Ask me how I feel about being snowed in after a few more days of this. I might not be quite so chipper...)


Jeevan said...

That dish looks amazing. Will have to try it myself..

laura said...

hey stranger!!? Your cooking and house look amazing!