September 30, 2011

Porn Chicken

PETA's offended by the NY Times' sexy chicken. Founder and president Ingrid Newkirk told the Atlantic Wire: "It's necrophilia. It's not amusing. It's just ghastly and sickly."
Necrophilia? Really? It's a chicken.

Chicken’s Attraction Is Truly Skin Deep
Published: September 27, 2011

THERE are white-meat people and there are dark-meat people; there are those who swear by the drumstick, thigh or breast.
And then there are skin people. They are the ones who cannot help themselves around roast or fried chicken, ripping off the crispiest bits of skin before the bird makes it to the table.
Nate Gutierrez, the chef and owner of Nate’s Taco Truck and Nate’s Taco Truck Stop in Richmond, Va., could not stop snacking on the skin left over from his roast chickens. So about six months ago, he decided to make the skin crisp on the flattop and offer it in a taco. The chicken-skin tacos sell out whenever they are on the menu.

And if you're so inclined, here's a recipe for the chicken skin tacos, which sounds deliciously gross.

Chicken Skin Tacos

Adapted from Nate Gutierrez, Nate’s Taco Truck, Richmond, Va.
Time: 45 minutes for boneless breasts, 60 minutes for bone-in breasts
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch coarsely ground black pepper
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch granulated garlic
1 pinch onion powder
1 pinch dried oregano
2 skin-on chicken breasts (these can either be bone-in or boned)

Corn or flour tortillas.

Shredded Colby Jack cheese, salsa, sour cream, shredded romaine, chopped cilantro, chopped white onion and lime wedges for serving.
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices. Rub the chicken breasts with the mixture. Roast until cooked through (160 degrees at the center) and the skin on the breast is crisp, about 30 minutes for boneless breasts, 45 minutes for bone-in. Remove from oven and cool. Pull browned skin from the chicken and cut into half-inch strips. Shred the meat, discarding any bones.
2. Warm a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Crisp the skin in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Fill tortillas with shredded chicken. If desired, top the chicken with shredded Colby Jack cheese, salsa, sour cream, and shredded romaine or with chopped cilantro and chopped white onion. Garnish with chicken skins, and serve with lime wedges.
Yield: 2 servings (2 to 4 tacos).

September 26, 2011

Movie Review: Moneyball

Moneyball has everything: appealing characters you care about and root for, a story that draws you in, great acting/directing, humor, inspiration...need I go on? It's based on a true story about Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the GM of the Oakland A's, building a winning team with the lowest budget in baseball, based on on-base statistics and signing underrated players at low (read: reasonable) salaries. It's a great concept that should be part of sports in general, instead of paying exorbitant salaries and creating greed and inflated egos. Oops, sorry, I'll get down off my soapbox now.
Anyway, who doesn't love rooting for the underdog? Well, underdogs abound in this story.
This is Brad Pitt's finest performance in years - understated and real. And there's no better actor than Jonah Hill, an unlikely movie star with a face that tells his story before he's spoken a word. Nice play between the two of them.
I can't imagine anyone not loving this film. But I've been wrong before.
Go see it and let me know!
Five out of five stars for Moneyball.

September 17, 2011

Movie Review: Higher Ground

Whew, boring movie. Vera Farmiga has a great face that shows lots of emotion, and she's wonderful. And does an admirable job of directing. Unfortunately the script doesn't allow us to get close enough to these characters to really care about them.
Farmiga plays Corrine, who feels pressure to accept Jesus as a young girl and to claim she's been saved, but she never feels it. Not as a child
and not later when her husband finds god. She tries. She spouts the platitudes, recites the party line, but it's not in her heart. Faith eludes her.
She and her bible-thumping husband raise three children in this cult-like atmosphere, and Corrine's lack of acceptance and lack of faith sounds like a great conflict for a riveting story. Too bad it's not. The story moves excruciatingly slow and is so boring that I considered walking out. I didn't. Should have. Cuz nothing really happens. She has a big confessional moment at the end which is sort of touching but not enough to salvage the film.
One and a half stars out of five for Higher Ground. Take a pass.

September 15, 2011

Grown-up Mac 'n Cheese

4 to 6 servings

1 pound fettuccine or linguini
2 cups grated Asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
2 (8-ounce) containers creme fraiche
1 cup grated Parmesan
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
In a large bowl combine 2 cups Asiago cheese, creme fraiche, Parmesan, thyme, salt, pepper, cooked pasta, and pasta cooking liquid. Gently toss until all the ingredients are combined and the pasta is coated.
Place the pasta in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes and then...pig out. This is delicious!