the city chicken

Frozen Fiasco
05 14 2009, 6:33 pm
Filed under: current events, food, recommendations

CongAgra foods makes Banquet PotPies. We always had some in the freezer when I grew up. Well they were tainted with salmonella not so long ago making many people sick. CongAgra tried and tried to figure out just what ingredient it was that was at risk of killing their customers but dagnabit, they just couldn’t find the culprit.  That isn’t surprising considering the fact that they don’t even know who supplies most of their ingredients or if those suppliers actually check the foods for contaminants!  ConAgra’s solution? To put your health into your own hands (where it ought to be) and tell you to check several spots in your potpie with a food thermometer and check the internal temperature for a reading of 165 degrees.

I have a better idea. Literally take your health into your own hands and tell ConAgra where they can put their potpies.

I would like to give a product shoutout to Amy’s Kitchen – the maker of wonderful foods including MANY frozen entrees and pizzas which are healthy, organic, sometimes vegan (but not always), and tasty. I haven’t had any Amy’s product that I wished I hadn’t bought and I am in love with their Roasted Vegetable Pizza. The products are sold at most major retailers – no need to go to an expensive health food chain and they appeared on the Food Network at one point with a look into their factories – clean, beautiful, safe, and sanitary in appearance.

While I can’t deny that owning a food thermometer is not a bad idea and I won’t suggest that no Amy’s product could ever be contaminated by some food borne pathogen, I will suggest that it is probably safer (and will make you feel good) to purchase products from a company that really seems to care and at the very least knows who supplies their ingredients!


Oh, bonus: I see that Amy’s now features diet plans on their website – a regular plan, gluten-free plan, vegan plan, and others for those of you with illness or allergies. You could most certainly lose weight eating their products which are very filling, nutritious, and not full of empty calories. I think I might just give that a go!


Spiral slicing madness
04 22 2009, 10:07 pm
Filed under: food, fun stuff, vintage, vintage recipes

By now you all know how much I enjoy odd, bizarre, and ridiculous vintage items. One item I was particularly proud of owning was my Popeil Spiral Slicer.

The box is certainly great fun, but it did not compare to the pathetic little tool that was inside:

It you are uncertain of what that is, let me help you out. It is a screw. Yes, a plain old screw attached to something that looks like the end of a broken tool with a semi-sharp filed edge on one side.

The object is to stick the screw into the top of your vegetable or fruit, sit the vegetable upright, stick your finger in the finger hole, and begin to circle around and around your food item until you have spiral sliced through the entire thing.

I was convinced it was a joke and had ZERO intention of using this thing. Even now I wonder if it was really smart to stick this thing into something I intended to place in my mouth. It looks like something that you should find in a tool box, not in a kitchen for crying out loud!

Either way, last night for some dumb reason I decided to destroy one of my little zucchini that needed to be eaten up. At least destruction was what I expected to happen.

Instead, this is what I ended up with:

Yea, a beautifully spiral sliced zucchini.

Even cooked it all still stayed pretty much together and wrapped around my fork just like pasta. If I had thrown marinara on it, it would have sufficed as a carbohydrate sub.

Instead, I tossed the “zucchinasta” in olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper and ate it right up.

Who knew.

However, I am still quite skeptical about the idea that little tool could go through a hard carrot, beet, or pineapple like the box suggests . . . but I might be inclined to find out for myself.

A nice 4th and a busy weekend ahead.
07 5 2008, 10:47 am
Filed under: food, movies, outings

The 4th was really nice this year. Brian came over and we made city chicken as part of my Ultimate City Chicken Showdown. This batch was Crisco vs. margarine. The verdict? Tie!

We had our lunch and then headed out to the theatre to see Hancock. My take on the movie: it could have been a LOT better. With all of the great “super hero” movies that have recently come out (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and very shortly Batman), this one fell short. Will Smith did a great job in an unusual role for him and the first half of the movie is really good. Then it got . . . odd. Fortunately the movie ended before it went overboard. I just think they could have taken this movie in a zillion different (and better) directions. All around I say it is worth watching… on DVD.

After the movie Brian and I headed downtown for the fireworks. They were fabulous! Shot off of one of the tallest buildings in the city, there aren’t many “bad” locations to be. We happened to find a great spot, take a walk, and then head back to the car for the actual fireworks. We really enjoyed them.

When I got home at 11, I wasn’t tired. I have been cleaning and organizing for quite a while now and last night the TV show “Clean House” came on. Brian had told me earlier in the day not to be a packrat – this pissed me off into action. I decided last night I have too much stuff for my place. So I bagged/boxed up a ton of things. Some for sale, some for donation, some for the dumpster. I certainly didn’t need to get rid of it all, but its nice to have more storage space. For the most part it is impossible to tell I got rid of anything unless you know what my desk and closets looked like… nonetheless, I am impressed with myself.

Today I have to write a motion and get it finished. Tomorrow – homework. Monday – trial. *phew*


City chicken – the showdown!
06 19 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: chickens, food, Uncategorized


The Ultimate City Chicken Showdown has begun! July 4th I prepared a traditional version of the recipe and split the batch into two. Half browned in margarine and half browned in crisco. The verdict: no difference!!! Both my boyfriend and I tried both and could not tell the difference – a day later I tried some again and was unable to detect any difference at all.

The next showdown? I will try a marinade recipe submitted by a reader and I plan to play around with the meats at some point in the future as well. Stay tuned!!

//end update//

 Thanks to reader comments, I have compiled a large list of thoughts, ideas, and recipes regarding city chicken. I’ve been craving some recently and after reading a particularly unusual city chicken recipe, I got a great idea – a city chicken showdown! I’m thinking of trying out a number of different recipes in order to find both the best traditional version as well as the best, updated recipe for the 21st century.

Some people have specific cuts of meat they like to use, some people are die hard “scrap” users. Some marinade their skewers. Some people make gravy, others find the idea of gravy actually offensive! And then there is the ultimate fight – what to fry those babies in; butter, margarine, Crisco, olive oil?


Brian’s Birthday and some fondant
03 16 2008, 6:07 am
Filed under: birthday, food, fun stuff, recipes

Brian’s birthday was yesterday and I decided to give him a bit of a themed birthday. Nintendo themed! lol. It was a lot of fun. I made him a card and a “1 up” cake. I thought the “1 up” idea was great for a birthday – if you don’t know anything about Super Mario Brothers, when you get a “1 up” you get an extra life.

This cake took a bit of research – I’ve never made or used fondant before but it was fun learning how to work with it and I will definitely do it again. I used a marshmallow fondant recipe from this website. The cake was a yellow cake with a layer of cherry preserves in between. Chocolate buttercream frosting covered the whole cake and then the fondant. Here are pictures 🙂

A form for cutting the cakes.


The cut cake halves.


Layered and frosted.


The final product. (The eyes are Raisinets).


Brian liked his cake and it tasted pretty good too! The fondant was super sweet but I expected that. We had cake with Brian’s father and his father’s girlfriend after we all had gone out to dinner downtown. Brian and I came back to my place and watched TV for a bit… well, he napped lol. He had to work at 6am this morning. It was a nice day.

I can’t wait for the next birthday now so I can play with another cake!! haha.

a traditional polish Christmas?
12 21 2007, 9:50 pm
Filed under: food, fun stuff, holidays

Every family has holiday traditions. You might hate them or love them, but you have them nonetheless. My mother’s family gets together every year. This might not sound like a big deal. It is when you have 15 children.

Yes, my mom was #12 of 15 kids. By this time, they have to rent a hall to accommodate all of the children, their children, and now their children’s children as well + all of the significant others and random friends and buddies that pop in. I can honestly say, no, I don’t know the names of all of my first cousins and I really can’t tell you much about my second cousins but I am proud of the fact that I can pretty much look at any of them and place them as being a descendant of one of my Aunt’s and or Uncles.

My father’s family is Polish. You would think this would mean I had a lot of traditional polish foods at Christmas but I don’t recall eating any more polish food during the holidays than we did at any other time of the year. I get the feeling though that I wrongly assume some foods are American in origin when in reality they are Polish or are a Polish take on a traditional American meal.

Anyhow, I came across this little version of the 12 Days of Christmas a couple years ago and I adore it. I am sharing it with you now and I’m sure if you spend any time with me, you’ll hear me talk about some of these dishes at least once.

The 8 Polish Days of Christmas 

The first Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, A boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The second Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Two steamed pierogies:

What’s a pierogy? It’s dough, wrapped around meat And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The third Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party Three simmered gwumpkies:

 What’s a gwupmky? It’s cabbage, wrapped around meat. Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The fourth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Four baked paprikas:

 What’s a paprika? It’s a bell pepper, stuffed with meat. Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The fifth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Five smoked kielbasas:

 What’s a kielbasa? It’s pretty much just meat.Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The sixth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Six fried chruschikis:

 Let me guess, something from the meat family? Actually, it a delightful pastry with a thin, flaky crust! Ooh, mmmm! Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The seventh Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Seven pitted prunes But I don’t like prunes! Trust me. With this food, you’ll need ’em, son. Six fried chruschikis Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

The eight Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Eight poppy seed cakes Poppies! Poppies! Oh, I’m so sleepy! There’s no place like home!Seven pitted prunes Six fried chruschikis Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.

Hammer time
12 13 2007, 11:58 am
Filed under: daily grind, food

Well, the sadness has subsided a little… or maybe I am just starting to panic again about finals haha. No, I am really feeling better. Shortly after writing that blog last night, Brian offered to come back over (we had gone to dinner earlier), and instead I headed over to his place for the night. It was nice to have the distraction and it did help.

Speaking of dinner last night, it was fabulous! We went to a place downtown called Barcelona’s (spelling?). It is a tapas restaurant, a lot like Sangria’s if you are familiar with Royal Oak. Tapas are basically different types of Spanish appetizers. The entire table typically orders a bunch and they are passed around and shared amongst everyone.

We started with a variety of Spanish olives – they were fabulous – they tasted like they had just come out of the brine barrels in Eastern Market. We then had a variety of sausage and mussels in spicy marinara sauce. The next course was essentially a steak kabob which was very nicely cooked, but it was the horseradish aioli that it was plated upon that stole the show! I was seriously prepared to lift the plate and guzzle that sauce down haha. The last course was rich goat cheese and fresh marinara served with garlic bread. We decided to have dessert as well – bread pudding served with a wonderful caramel sauce. The dessert ended up being painful – not because we were too stuffed but because Brian fried his poor finger on the pan it was served in! 😦

On top of all of that great food, we drank sangria the whole time. By the time we left, I was feeling quite flushed.

Well today is the same ole studying… I am just glad Brian was able to make me feel so much better last night an I can get back to work feeling much happier.