Saturday, May 14, 2011

Orange You Glad ...

Every now and again, I seem to go through color themes with my food. Today, it's orange: carrots, orange rind / juice - and a casserole that came out mildly orange, to boot - and dried mango. No bananas.

This morning, I prepared the chicken for the slow cooker and also did some preparation for the other two meals. It was harder to get the broiler chicken apart than I had anticipated, and I knew that leaving it bone-in would contribute to the flavor, so I didn't want to pull it apart too much. I was also honestly afraid of injuring myself by breaking the bones. The chicken's, not mine.

Hmm. Reminded my knife needs sharpening. Back in a minute!

I love sharpening knives. It makes me feel competent and maniacal. And since I've last done this, I've cut candy bars, dried mango and a mayonnaise bottle (sigh), so it definitely needed doing.

I was concerned I had too much chicken - the liquid didn't fully cover it - but decided not to mess with it and headed out to my rehearsal. Came home to an awesome smell from the slow cooker. Everything had melded perfectly ... but forbidden by the laws of slow cooking to touch it until I was ready to remove it, I started about the carrot casserole instead.

I don't know how much carrot I lost through attrition: I kept having to switch bowls, and each time, I either left a bit in the bowl or eat some of it or both. Just the carrots alone are very sweet, and then sugar goes in ... this one baked for a long time, longer than advertised, until I was sure of its doneness and a scary, puffy dome had formed just northeast of the middle.

Final verdict (carrot casserole): This was very good and very easy. It's not cloying, though you can definitely taste the sweetness. The texture is silky. Thumbs up.

Still not sure if I'm doing something wrong with scones, if there was something particularly off about Nigella's recipe (see last week), or if stickiness is just the nature of them. The mango scones weren't nearly as sticky as their predecessors, but I still ended up with abomidable snow-hands mixing them. Decided to be cutesy and use the heart-shaped cookie cutters.

Also forgot until after I had the oven fully heated (from 325F for the casserole to 400F for the scones) that I needed to brush milk on the top. Curses!

While waiting for the chicken to finish and the scones to go in, I finished up the cranberry chicken, using a fork to pull the chicken off the bone. I promptly, accidentally turned off the timer for the casserole while trying to microwave the butter, but it only had about half a minute anyhow. Brown sugar went in (an optional ingredient), because I can always do with more sweet.

Final verdict (chicken): These are very homey, comforting flavors - for my version, both the cranberry and the orange are distinct. Easy as anything.

Final verdict (scones): For scones, these are fairly dense, but not unpleasantly so, and the dried mango adds a sneak of sweetness. It's not even necessarily recognizable as mango, just a surprise texture and some fruitiness.


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