- Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 -- 9pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Dining Companion: Matty
- Recipe Rating: B
After my summer of seafood the Fish and Shellfish section of The Book is no longer the one I am the most behind on. Now it is the Poultry section (especially strange because I like poultry a lot...). So, Matty and I are starting to make an effort to eat more birds, and this was the first step towards that goal. This recipe was very simple. I marinated chicken drumsticks and thighs in a mixture of cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper for several hours. I then baked the chicken with the marinade in a hot oven until cooked through and then finished it under the broiler. Finally, the pan juices were boiled to form a quick sauce. The result was decent, but not amazing. The highlight of this dish was definitely the crispy chicken skin. The Book is all about leaving the skin on your chicken, which is fine with me, but often The Book calls for the skin to be left on during a moist-heat cooking method. The result: soggy chicken skin. Not delicious. This recipe got it right though. The three minutes that the chicken spent under the broiler crisped up the skin into something very, very tasty. The meat itself, though, was nothing impressive. The marinade didn't penetrate the meat too much, so it just tasted like plain baked chicken. That certainly doesn't taste bad, but it defeats the point of marinading. The sauce made from the marinade was flavorful, but so thin that it didn't stick to anything. It ran right off the meat. It would have been much better had it been reduced, or thickened with cornstarch, to a good sauce consistency. This chicken was pretty unobjectionable, but it certainly isn't something I would make again. I am told that this recipe has little in common with most traditional Philippine recipes for chicken adobo (which are apparently made on the stove top rather than baked), so I would definitely be interested in giving a more traditional recipe a try.
Here is the recipe.
And just like that, summer is over. It's a funny thing that for the last 23 years my life has revolved around the academic calendar. When I say, "Next year," I inevitably mean next September, and I often have to remind myself that most people my age have jobs with responsibilities in the summer. That is not to say that academics don't do research in the summer -- we certainly do. But we generally have few actual commitments (we often do not teach for a four month stretch in the summer), and can wander about the country and the world as we see fit. One of the beauties of math research is that it is highly mobile. I can take my paper, pencil, and laptop with me anywhere I go. So the summer is a very different time than the academic year -- even if you spend the whole summer in your office in the math department where you are employed, the summer has a genuinely different feel to it.
That is one of the many things I love about my job. Being on an academic schedule is fantastic. Aside from the freedom of summer, every semester brings new and unique challenges. You start over with a new set of students and classes twice a year. And every fall is graced with that magical first-day-of-school feeling that most people remember from childhood, but rarely get a chance to relive. I love that excitement. Classes started today on campus, and as I walked to my office this morning I was surrounded by undergraduates, many of them looking nervous and/or lost. I helped one freshman find the math building (lucky for me that is what she was looking for, since it is about the only building on campus I can identify!). Seeing those excited students on the first day of school reminded me what a privilege my job is -- I really enjoy being part of the educational system, and although I get frustrated by things like cheating, I do really enjoy students. My courses start tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to meeting the students I will teach this term!