The old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach is a true one, and it applies to women also. Except men look at it as the comfort of a home cooked meal, and the consistency of always knowing what to expect. This does apply also to women, except the meaning changes. While they love a well cooked meal also, they look at the effort involved. A women's role in life is very hard, being the mother's of child and the ones usually responsibile for the upkeep and organization of the home. It is increasingly more difficult these days, as most women have to provide that role and work full time to help support the family. Picosa, with her 4AM start time, is not afraid of working hard, but could use more help and support during the day. Panadero, in his plan to win her heart, has started finding little ways to help her out.
After a long day at the factory, Panadero would rush home, exchanging a flurry of texts to Picosa, expressing love and often sending a picture as he always wanted her to have him in thought. The exhaustion of the day didn't matter to Panadero, as his knife sliced through many different vegetables, preparing all the components of the meal. Every little detail of the meal gets scrutinized, the leafs of parsley bright and fragrant, blackened pieces of potato removed from the whole, dried onion skin peeled away to the fresh layers. He wanted to impress her, and figured a Spain style beef stew was the choice. A long two and half hour simmer, occupied by more texts to Picosa about what the future may hold for the both of them. The stew takes a long time, as the meat needs to soften slowly, as do the souls of Panadero and Picosa. The damage of past relationships have built walls around their hearts, and Panadero was slowly trying to chip her wall down. Finished with white rice on the side and plaintain, Panadero packed the meal for Picosa, hoping she can taste the love he has for her through his cooking. He figured it was a start to something great.
Picosa saw Panadero the next morning in the walk in refrigerator, as he summoned her to come inside. She was wide eyed as he presented the meal to her, and Panadero could almost see a little break in her defenses. Picosa wanted to kiss and hug him with great passion, but the work environment halted her actions from such an amorous display of affection. The smile on her face and look of love in her eyes was all Panadero needed to see, he knew she was starting to fall for him even more…….
She Always Makes A Grand Entrance!
” SOURDough!!!!!!!! I want some candddyyyy! shrieked Little Miss Mari as she bolted through the door, a bundle of nervous energy looking for a sugar fix.
“Sorry little darling, I don't have any candy. Would you like a croissant instead?”
Little Miss Mari gave me a dirty look, and walked away. Apparently sweetened buttery bread doesn't belong in her dietary pyramid yet. She had broken the daydream I was having, as I tend to let my mind wander, my hands on auto-pilot as I go through most of the day. My boredom from the night before led me to watch three spanish language soap operas in a row, and turned my own daydream into a spanish soap opera. Anything is a pleasant distraction from the factory these days. The production of bread has gone up 25%, making for a longer day and a more stressful environment. Boy Wonder aka Slim aka “The Greatest Baker That Ever Lived” is moving on to a higher profile bakery, unaware that play time is now over. He will understand what it truly means to be a professional or be shown the door out. And as the weather has gotten warmer, the rate of people calling out each day has gone up. Who knew that alcohol related illnesses was a viable excuse? But enough bitching. My daydream made me realize it was time for something new, as that beef stew has been made way too often lately, enough to appear in a dream.
This Southern style baked chicken is one that I've had my eye on before, but I had forgotten about it in my stack of cooking magazines. It is really easy to prepare, and the hour long bake time in the oven makes for a soft, tender chicken swimming in a sea of green peppers and onions. Sides are optional, but it did pair nicely with a Mexican rice I had seen in the magazine. After the meal was finished, I packed my lunch for tomorrow and paused thinking about the two characters I had dreamt of, Picosa and Panadero. Then I remembered to pack some candy for the real character, Little Miss Mari. Only sweets can temper her fury, and keep her mind in a dream state. SOURDough understands this, he loves to dream too….
Baked Chicken with Peppers
Excerpt from Saveur Magazine May 2011
8 whole chicken legs
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika, to taste
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 large green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2″-thick strips
2 large yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick slices
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
Heat oven to 400°. Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken, skin side down, and cook until skin is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large roasting pan, skin side up, and set aside.
Return pan to heat and add garlic, peppers, and onions; cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock; scrape browned bits off bottom of pan and mix.