By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for red wine with meat, white wine with fish, blindfolds with chicken!
Some of you have suffered through my tales of cooking woe. I'd like to say I have improved just like I would like to say Vanna White is grooming a replacement, but we know that isn't true. She's still there and I'm still turning chicken purple. I'll explain.
I recently visited my friend, Wanda Argersinger (Land of Confusion blog). She is a good cook so I watched carefully as she prepared a chicken dish. It didn't look too hard; chicken, simple batter, wine, mushrooms, spices, beef bouillon, I could do that. I would do that, just as soon as I got back home.
Most of my culinary disasters seem to occur when I try to substitute or take short cuts. This time I would do just as Wanda did. Well, except I couldn't find the same Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper so I found a red wine with some kind of kangaroo on it. And I didn't have an iron skillet so I used my super heavy aluminum one. Oh, and I didn't remember exactly the order of ingredients so I dumped everything in at once. I did buy a meat hammer and I beat the stuffing out of those chicken breasts just like Wanda. When they hit the skillet, those chicken breasts were as flat as mine were as a teenager.
My first hint that something was going south, and I don't mean the Yankees, was when my chicken turned purple. When Wanda added wine to her dish, her breasts did not turn purple, the chicken breasts not Wanda's although they may have. She was wearing clothes so it was hard to tell and I was intent on her cooking methods. My mushrooms remained perfectly tan, not brown, and did not even slightly curl like her mushrooms. The dish was tasty but I'm telling you, purple chicken is a definite appetite depressant so everybody ate with their eyes shut.
For my next attempt at Wanda's dish, I found the right Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper while I was at Wal-Mart between trips down the great elbow smashing slides at Great Wolf Park in Grapevine. I bought several bottles and hoped I didn't get stopped by the authorities. Once back at home I invested in a cast iron skillet. Wanda also e-mailed me the correct sequence of ingredients. Got it! Right? Wrong.
Back to the kitchen, more breast pounding, batter slathering, and a hotter skillet. This time I managed to get the chicken to turn mostly brown with just a tinge of purple after the wine was added. The mushrooms still did not turn brown but I did manage to turn the beef broth into gravy, sort of. Wanda didn't mention it, but I think there must be a precise ratio of flour, water, and beef broth to make gravy that is not the consistency of wall paper paste. Just sitting on the table, it looked like gray purple tinted dog barf. Again, a tasty dish that, eaten with blindfolds on, was delicious.
This evening I decided to give it one more try. The newly opened wine bottle was on the counter and only half gone. The beatings began in earnest. The children came running into the kitchen at the sound of my pounding. "Hey, Mama's cooking again," said the ten-teen. "Can we help?" "Sure," I replied as she hurried off to get the fire extinguisher. "Great," said the ever helpful six-year-old, "I'll get the blindfolds!"
The radio began playing a golden oldie "It was a one-eyed; one horned, flying purple people eater, pigeon toed, under-clothed frying purple chicken beater." At least I think that's what I heard. Only a smidgeon of wine made it to the skillet, so I'm not sure.