Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Of Chicken and Frozen Eggs

So this weekend I took a trip to New York City as I return with a recipe and a story.

NYC was great, as it normally is, because the city is fun to explore and perfect for walking. Plus, as I was staying in my friend's apartment, we got the chance to cook together. We did have some difficulties, however, as her stove top/range is unlabeled, and it took us a rather long time to realize that the dials were set counterclockwise instead of the normal clockwise direction. This meant that turning right was the highest setting and turning left was the lowest. Very odd. Of course, once we figured this our, we figured the oven would work the same way (there is no temperature setting for the oven), but it actually works clockwise. All very counter-intuitive.

Anyhow, back to the food:

We went out in the afternoon and bought some chicken and then cooked that for dinner along with carrots and pasta. The chicken recipe is what I will share with you now. It's actually fairly easy and adjustable, so play with it as you see fit.

We bought a small package of chicken with only two drumsticks and thighs, but we used a large amount of marinade because the liquid was actually fantastic for dressing the pasta.

Because I hadn't thought about sharing this "recipe" (more like marinade) with you, the pictures are not great, so I apologize.

We marinaded the chicken in roughly 1 cup of milk and 2 tsp of lemon juice (we used the kind that comes in that plastic squeeze bottle shaped like a lemon). As usual, I eyeballed everything. Then, we added about 1 tsp of dried oregano, ½ tsp garlic powder, 1 ½ tsp salt (we used kosher salt, but I'm sure table salt will work fine), and 1 tsp ground black pepper. We let the chicken sit in this marinade in a tupperware container for about 20 minutes at room temperature. The marinade almost completely covered the chicken. This is what you want. It helps if you move the chicken around occasionally. We also pierced the meat/skin with a fork to help the flavor really get into the meat.

The flavors would probably meld and deepen more if you let the chicken marinate for longer, but I wouldn't leave it in the marinade for any longer than 1 hour really, since we're talking about a marinade that involves acid and protein at room temperature.

Our attempts at browning the chicken in butter and olive oil did not really succeed because so much liquid came out of the chicken (the marinade), but with some patience and a little bit of time in the oven, the chicken eventually cooked all the way through. I would probably recommend that if you want to try this, you should shake the chicken out a bit or put it on a rack to allow the liquid to drip down before browning it. After the chicken has browned on both sides, add about half of the marinade liquid and allow the chicken to cook through. This may require both stove time and oven time, depend on what cut of chicken you use.

After the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pan, and use the cooking liquid to dress the pasta. The end result was incredibly fragrant. The lemon and oregano melded together beautifully, and the the chicken was great. Served with a side of carrots and a nice cider, it was a lovely fall (well, technically, end-of-summer) meal. I'm sorry I don't have more pictures.

But I do have the story I promised you:

Upon my return from New York City, I open my fridge to find some food, and decided that a sunny side up egg sounded lovely. But when I took out my carton of eggs, three of the eggs had long jagged looking cracks running all the way down their sides. I was horrified. What happened??? I always check my eggs for cracks before putting them in the fridge.

What was even more odd was that despite the long, jagged cracks, none of the eggs had leaked. I picked up an egg. It was ice cold. Had my refrigerator somehow frozen my eggs? I checked the fridge and yes, I had left it on the coldest setting, and yes, my milk was frozen. Lovely.

Of course, I'm not one to let food go to waste, so I had to check to see if the eggs were salvageable. I carefully tapped the shell against the counter and peeled an egg. It was surprisingly easy. Easier even than peeling a hard boiled egg. And after all the shell was peeled off, I found myself with an oddly beautifully little gem:

Sunny side up eggs were definitely out of the question, and I didn't know if letting the other eggs defrost slowly in the fridge was a good idea--especially considering the size of the cracks in some of them (remember: water expands when it freezes), so I decided that some nice scrambled eggs were in order. I peeled all of the eggs and after beating them up a little bit with my fork, I added them to a hot skillet, with a pat of butter.

The eggs cooked up a little oddly, especially since different parts defrosted at different times, but after taking the scrambled eggs off the stove, I took a deep breath and put a forkful in my mouth. It tasted just fine. With a little salt and pepper, you couldn't even tell that the egg had previously been frozen!

So now you know that frozen eggs can indeed be eaten with no awful side effects, because I have lived to tell the tale. And that's the story of chicken and frozen eggs.

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