Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Where does the time go?

One of the things that is a real problem for us is how little time we seem to have to do things.
I do realize that a lot of time is wasted in activities that don't pan out as something useful but then there is all the time spent on chores.

I am so thankful for the labor saving inventions of the last couple of centuries. The dish washer is my second most favorite time saving invention: In college we didn't have a dishwasher and it often take up to 30 minutes to wash and dry the dishes after a meal. We cooked a little fancier then most of the other married students but we all spent a lot of time on that chore. Now just load an entire days worth of dishes in the dishwasher and its done in an hour and a half.

My most favorite is the clothes washer and dryer. After watching 1900 House where washing clothes was an activity that went from Friday night (start the clothes soaking), most of Saturday (get a big tub of water hot and agitate for a long time and then wring out and line dry), Sunday the clothes would dry and Monday morning would be ironing. Now we can wash and dry a load of clothes in about 2 hours, without the need to iron most of them.

One area we are spending a lot of time on is cooking. My wife and I love to cook it is a hobby to us, really. We are not all that wild about leftovers though. But instead we make freezer portions for some of our dishes. If we make our great Spicy Oven Fried Chicken we make a big batch of it and eat two of the portions and the rest go in the freezer for when we want more, we can also tear them apart for things like Pesto Chicken Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad. It isn't all that different from getting one of the frozen entrees from the supermarket.

SPICY OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN

Marinade
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced

12 chicken pieces (breasts, thighs and drumsticks) with skin and bones

Coating
1 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

Whisk buttermilk, oil, hot pepper sauce, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend well. Add onion, then chicken and turn to coat. Cover; chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day, turning chicken occasionally.

Place racks on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Whisk breadcrumbs, cheese, flour, thyme, paprika, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in large baking dish to blend. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Add chicken to breadcrumb mixture and turn to coat completely. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on racks on baking sheets. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Drizzle butter over chicken. Bake until crisp, golden and cooked through, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Variation: Spicy Grilled Chicken: Instead of coating the chicken cook it on the grill for a smoky flavor.

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