Go Figure

The other night I made Morrocan Chicken. A new recipe from the back of Family Circle that made my mouth water. I had all the ingredients on hand except the chicken thighs, which is great because it simplifies the grocery ordeal and makes me feel like I really can go for interest and joy food-wise when I only need one item AND that one item happens to be something they have in Ukraine.

So I found chicken thighs at the store. The recipe called for skinless thighs, which, alas, were not to be found, but I was so riveted on Moroccan Chicken that I bought them with skins (after doing sign-language with the meat lady to make sure I was buying the right body part of chicken - cuts of meat here are, um, different, sometimes).

I'm not a fan of raw poultry. I can handle a boneless, skinless breast well enough, but I always feel the need to sanitize everything in the kitchen after handling anything foul and I'm paranoid about serving up a barnyard bird that is not as thoroughly cooked as it should be. (David is in charge of the Turkey for Thanksgiving, by the way. And he does it perfectly every time. One of the many reasons I love the man.)

So, cooking chicken, though I now do it frequently, is an experience frought with some level of anxiety every single time. Not to mention some psychological unpleasantness: It's taken me a long time to be OK with handling a whole bird (or boney parts thereof) and not thinking about the tendons and gizzards and neck-breaking and general floppiness of a squishy-stiff body that is roughly the weight of a small infant.

But the thought of cooking up something new and delicious spurs me on and I can do anything for the delight I envision at the dinner table. (Which David demonstrates regularly. Another reason I love the man.) Anyway, the skin came off these thighs easily enough, once I got past the fact that there were still minute feathers in the skin and the bones jiggled side to side in the flesh.

All the while I was feeling very adventurous and domestic-goddess-ish and, more than anything, still salivating over the Moroccan Chicken that was to be.

It's a slow cooker recipe that smelled fabulous once it started cooking and it roasted beautifully and was lovely to look at when I put it on the serving plate and dished it up for the family over rice. I totally recommend cinnamon, salt and curry powder as a seasoning on chicken.

I personally liked the smell of it better than the actual, although it was quite good. Henry ate it decently, especially the carrots. But Calvin, who lately has been eating enough for a small army at each sitting, stirred it around his plate and refused to try it and then did but wouldn't have more after the initial taste. David loved it and said the recipe was a keeper, but I felt like it was a bust. No one had seconds. No one seemed as delighted as I had been over the mere idea of Moroccan chicken.

I pantomimed chicken body parts, was (good-naturedly, but nonetheless) mocked by the crew of a Ukrainian meat counter, and handled feathery thighs for this? Sigh. Sometimes my efforts at meal-time ecstasy don't seem to pay.

But this morning, my reign as culinary queen resumed after I popped a tube of cinnamon rolls in the oven and glazed them with the enclosed Cinnabon icing. I served one to each of the boys on a paper towel at breakfast.

Henry: "These are soooo good!"
Calvin: "The best ones you've ever made! You know how to make some really great things, Mom."
Henry: "Yeah, the only thing she doesn't really make very good is juice. We never have any good juice."

I just want to say that I've never made real-life cinnamon rolls (much to my chagrin) OR juice. But at least I know for sure that in general, I make some good things, and that the Moroccan Chicken tops something, right?


Liz said...

yum. that sounds so good. Please to post the recipe? I don't get Family Circle except when my husband's grandma is done with them.

(ps - maybe juice is too sweet for Henry's discriminating taste buds?)

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

My eldest called her momma to ask about cooking a turkey. Across the room I could hear my daughter exclaim over the phone,"You want me to put my hand where?"
I would have loved to see the chicken charades.

MotherT said...

I would have loved to see the pantomime! I just can't imagine the grocery shopping routine that you have to go through. :)

Aimee said...

I pull little feathers off my eggs every time I use them. It used to freak me out, but now I think they're cute.

Linda said...

You crack me up. And I remember those whole chickens in Ukraine... I didn't want to touch them either!

Let me know if you ever want a really easy cinnamon roll recipe that will have the little men (and the big one) in your life coming back for thirds!!!

By the way - I love seeing Ukraine through your eyes again. One of these days we'll have to get together for a face to face... perhaps when you return...