The Storm Trooper vs. Leilani Hana Ai Ali Alooie

Alright. Let’s take a brief vacation from my vacation to check in on what’s happening in my kitchen. Honestly, since returning from Europe I have hardly been in the kitchen at all. So I decided to change all that this week. Since this past Sunday I have cooked almost every meal I have consumed (except for Uncle Dougertons' birthday dinner at Lukshon last night (amazing!)).

I’m not sure exactly what has kept me from the kitchen. I have been decidedly distracted. A lot has been going on since my return. I guess shifts in work things and car stuff mostly. Actually, almost all of it has been car stuff.

I’ve known my busted-ass Jeep, the Storm Trooper, was at the end of its days for some time. It’s been falling apart piece by piece, day by day. It had become almost comical. I would even drive around for thirty minutes, looking for street parking, to avoid the disgusted expressions of the valets at restaurants.

And then, about a month and a half ago, on my way up the hill headed home, it happened. The Storm Trooper basically caught on fire. With my hands white knuckled, gripping the steering wheel, and my teeth grinding down to nubs, I just made it home. I parked it on the street, rather than my driveway, as I knew that was its last voyage. I might as well get it positioned to be towed away, forever.

R.I.P. Storm Trooper. You were very good to me.

I rented a car while I shopped for what was to become, my new, sweet ride. It didn’t take long. I knew what I wanted, for the most part. In fact it was the first car I looked at in person. It seemed perfect. I bought it. Straight up. Cash money.

Meet my guide, Leilani Hana Ai Ali Alooie.

The first thing I did as I drove away from the girl that sold it to me was put Leilani Hana Ai Ali Alooie on the dashboard. Maggie brought her back from Hawaii months ago and I had been waiting, excitedly, to put her in her permanent spot – at the helm of my new car. The second thing that I noticed as I drove away was the thermometer all the way up to the H. I panicked and pulled over immediately.

Note she also sold me the car with 1/4 tank of gas.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of all that has occurred in this department of the new car over the past month and a half, but it has been a nightmare. Even the boys at the dealership can’t figure it out. Hell, no one can figure it out.

For now, it seems fine, but I am nervous driving my new car. I have some animosity towards my new car. At least Leilani Hana Ai Ali Alooie makes me happy.

And so, since this all came on the heels of an expensive vacation and this has been tremendously expensive as well, I have retreated to the kitchen. I made an incredible sweet corn and chorizo chowder garnished with a crumble of goat cheese and a fried cilantro leaf (let me know if you want the recipe), and grilled swordfish steaks topped with a lima-bean-and-herb butter. But the most exciting thing, surprisingly, was a chicken dish. Michael Motorcycle not only cleaned his plate (making him closer to the Mayorship of The Clean Plate Club), but told me it maybe was the best dish I had prepared for him to date. I don’t think Maggie ate any, but her boyfriend housed a portion and was impressed. Most importantly, I loved it. And it was astonishingly easy! The chicken was served alongside a watermelon, feta, heirloom tomato, red onion, dandelion greens salad and blanched white asparagus with a drizzle of truffle oil and champagne vinegar, topped with celery leaves. Maggie did go bananas for the asparagus, actually.

Sweet Corn and Chorizo Chowder

I think it has been smart to return to the kitchen. I feel more in control of my time and money. I will re-address the new car stuff next week. It pretty much seems stable if I don’t turn on the air conditioning. Or go up steep hills. Which is fun as I reside in sunny Southern California, it's July. And I live on a big hill.

 Chicken Breasts with Anchovy-Basil Pan Sauce
(Recipe from Food & Wine magazine August, 2011)

Serves 4


4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 large anchovy fillets, minced
1/4 teaspoon chopped chile de arbol
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup slivered basil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter 

Preheat the oven to 400°. Season the chicken breasts with salt and black pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until they are richly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes, until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to warmed plates.
Set the skillet over moderately high heat and add the red onion; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the minced anchovies and chile de arbol. Add the white wine and boil for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 cup of water and boil until the liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Swirl in the butter and season the pan sauce with salt and pepper.
Pour the anchovy-basil pan sauce over the roasted chicken breasts, spooning the red onion all around, and serve right away.

1 comment:

  1. This chicken dish looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.