Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grease Redemption

As part of the admissions process for HC's Shakespeare conservatory this summer, HC had to pull off an intense audition at Julliard in NYC. Given that the sum total of my Julliard experience consists of watching Save the Last Dance four times my sophomore year of high school, I was completely ready to help her prep. Just in case though, we brought in a professional. He is a good friend of the family and a talented actor.

Last night, in celebration of HC's successful audition (followed by successful coursework in England), we invited Mr. Actor and his wife over for dinner.

It was a culinary disaster.

I mean, people had fun. There was wine. But in my mind, food is the party and this party was kinda...gross.

One problem was that I tried to go too seasonal and healthy. I know what you're thinking. There's no such thing as "too" seasonal or "too" healthy. WRONG. I made pesto with basil from my garden. I made baba ganoush with eggplant from a local farm and parsley also from my garden. I made a creamy sauce packed full of pureed fresh vegetables generously portioned it over whole wheat pasta. All the propaganda I've soaked in from The Omnivore's Delimma and Top Chef has told me "the ingredients speak for themeselves!"

Well. Ingredients may just speak for themselves with grace and tact when they're being translated by Alice Waters, but mine were a bit mouthy. They were speaking alright, but it was all garlic to me.

Tonight, I sought redemption. I needed something that could reestablish my kitchen zen, center my inner cook and rectify last night's measly meal. I needed something YUMMY.

So, I busted out the Christmas gift that has been haunting me for going on eight months now. Its box has been sitting in my pantry since December, adding a little danger to paltry pantry lineup of dustbunnies, an unusued fondue pot and a cantankerous ice cream maker. Every time my eyes skimmed over the label "CoolTouch Deep Fryer" a little shiver ran up my spine.

I carefully unpacked the box. It had a lithe, brushed chrome exterior with a shapely ergonomic handle and voluptuous time and temp indicator. The circular glass viewing window is reminiscent of a boudoir keyhole, or the business end of a telescope focused on Venus. The insides gleamed with the unadulterated promise of hot, bubbling grease.

I heated the oil. The trimmed chicken was piled carelessly in a red bowl nearby and I waited eagerly for the green "ready" light to turn on. Then, six by six, I fried those wings. Tenderly, I covered them in a chipotle barbecue sauce. Lovingly, I eased them onto a plate.

Eyes closed, I took a bite.


So good.

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