Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Whites

Dear Mouse,

"Our snow was not only shaken from whitewash buckets down the sky; it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely white-ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunderstorm of white, torn Christmas cards." - Dylan Thomas

I love Saturday mornings!! There is (are?) 15 inches- !! - of snow on the ground outside, I just finished listening to Ira Glass interview a 14-year old Glenn Beck disciple talking about how snow proves that global warming is "propaganda", but I'm still in a good mood. Friday was my last day at the day job I've held since 2004 and panic has not yet set in, I leave town Thursday for a two-month gig, and I'm wearing really comfortable socks. Today's plan: to read the Times in my pajamas, Netflix old episodes of BlackAdder (current obsession), and cook.

Let's never become these guys.

I just spent a month preparing for new head shots by (mostly) eliminating White (pasta, bread, potatoes) from my diet. Possibly because of this, I'm going to share with you two really good "white" recipes which ironically don't contain much flour at all. They are substantial, comforting, beautiful, easy, delicious, and a good idea when you are home this snowy season.

This is worth it for the magic moment where you're whisking a pot of hot liquid on the stove and going, "This isn't working, it's never going to turn into - PUDDING! OH MY GOD I made PUDDING!" It thickens, suddenly, and there you have it. It could Not be easier. I went for the vanilla-extract version rather than the bean-scraping, but I bet that would be excellent. Next time I would also totally go with her suggestion to add some rum. I have this bottle of The Kraken crying out to be used in such a simple, homey, not-too-sweet and incredibly filling dessert (which this is).

Mr. Poet's White Chicken Chili (based on Epicurious recipe)

Unlike the Ina Garten recipe of the same name, this chili really is White. It starts with a roux (flour and butter), and involves white chicken, white beans, and grated jack cheese, ending up with an incredible, creamy, wintry stew flecked with green chiles and flavorful heat despite its bland appearance. Mr. Poet's version used canned beans (and I bet you could also probably use canned chiles and still rock it out). An additional note from the chef himself reads "My only major change was to cook everything in the same dutch oven. Next time I'd brown the chicken in small batches ... and cook the peppers with the onions. Good to pair with corn bread, arugula salad, and 100 proof whiskey."

So there you have it. I'm heading back to my couch.

The Boo


Anonymous said...

Boo - forgive for being conservative, but could you give us the recipe for the Chili - the whole menu sounds divine.

The Boo said...

hi jane! glad you asked, as Mr. Poet did make some adjustments that I think are good ones. Some (canned beans) make it easier, some (greek yogurt instead of sour cream) make it healthier. He writes:

Here's my mods on the Epicurious Recipe.

* 2 cans of white beans. drained and washed
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup chicken broth
* 2 cups half-and-half
* 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
* 4 fresh jalapenos. Cleaned and diced
* 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds),
cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
* 1/2 cup Fage Greek Yogurt

2 tbls of oil in a dutch oven, brown chicken till cooked. put to side.
(note, I put too much in at one time and basically boiled the second
batch of chicken. next time I'll do chicken in smaller batches and
salt and pepper first.)

Next 1 large onion, diced small, into the oven with 2tbs of butter.
cook till soft, remove and put with chicken.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour.
Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually
add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a
boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened.
Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add
beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over
moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir Fage into chili.

Thanks for reading!