Hi everyone. A recent post about aging chicken legs in the fridge inspired me to discuss soon-to-spoil- ingredients.
An intimidating issue for new cooks or non-cooks is grocery items sitting in the fridge, bought with the best of intentions, but on the verge of spoiling. The cook (or soon- to- be cook) cannot think of what to prepare because the idea of preparing a fantastic dish is daunting. Maybe we feel we just don’t have enough time. Maybe we are not in the mood for chicken right now but will be tomorrow. Time is running out for the chicken legs!
Let’s simplify! Not every dish needs to be extravagant and beautifully garnished. Some of us may need to stop and wonder why we feel a need to put expectations on ourselves to make every meal a masterpiece of culinary art. Are you someone who needs to have everything done perfectly the first time or you lose faith in the person you thought you were? Maybe we have never thought of food or cooking in these terms. Cooking is a skill that needs to be learned and honed like anything else, not a piece of female genetics. This misguided idea of cooking coming naturally may be affecting your ability or desire to cook.
Simple food can be easy to prepare and taste delicious. Once we get comfortable making a repertoire of all these simple dishes, we will gain the confidence to explore more interesting and involved dishes. For now, get through dinner and try to think of making easy dinners as the practice for the fancy stuff that you may or may not want to prepare at a later time.
In response to the post about chicken legs, you should promptly throw them in the freezer if you are concerned you won’t use them immediately and then plan a dish for them next week when you will have more time to think about a tasty dish. Ahhhh, the pressure is off and you have not wasted time shopping or wasted $$$ by buying those chicken legs that almost went bad! If you need or want to use them immediately, I would suggest washing them, drying them with a paper towel, rubbing olive oil on them and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Put them in a baking dish or cast iron skillet in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30- 40 minutes or so, depending on your oven. Cut into the deepest section with a knife to see if they are done. The beauty of thighs and legs are that they are fatty dark meat which are much harder to dry out if overcooked, unlike white meat breasts. I like to line every pan with parchment paper so as not to have a nasty cleanup but that is your choice.
We will be talking about delicious and easy sauces and marinades to jazz up easy recipes at a later date so stay tuned! Good luck, my friends…..