Sunday, October 18, 2015

Injuries in the Kitchen

Spicy Baked Chicken Legs
I haven’t hurt myself lately in the kitchen, but I still have a cooking scar on my right hand.  It came from boiling blueberry juice that overflowed the pie pan when I was taking it out of the oven.  That’s when I learned to bake a fruit pie on a cookie sheet.

The skin on my knuckles finally healed after I removed some of it while grating mozzarella cheese.  Now I pay more attention to what I’m doing.

I scalded myself only slightly while draining spaghetti.  Since then I’ve used potholders in both hands and made sure the sink was completely empty so there was no chance of splash-back.

Nothing can be as bad, though, as what happened to Bart when he was on kitchen duty at his college co-op.  Students cooked for each other, and his job on one particular day was baking trays of chicken in the co-op’s industrial strength gas oven.  He turned on the gas, put in the trays and went off to study.  About 10 minutes later he returned to check on the chicken’s progress and noticed that the oven was still cold.  “Hmm,” he thought.  “I forgot to light the gas.” 

This was in the old days before gas ovens lit automatically.  He got some matches, struck one and opened the oven door.  A huge ball of flame roared out and burned off his eyebrows.  No wonder he prefers electric ovens.

Here’s a chicken recipe that could have been like the one he was trying to cook.
Spicy Baked Chicken Legs – serves 4  
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil 
1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices 
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced 
8 chicken legs 
Bunch of kale (cut into large pieces) or fresh spinach 
Combine the oil, garlic, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.  Add the potatoes, red pepper slices and chicken legs and mix thoroughly.  Set aside for 15 minutes.  
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the chicken mixture and any marinade left in the bottom of the bowl to a roasting pan or sheet pan.  Bake for about 45 minutes, turning everything about halfway through.  When you turn the chicken, add the kale or spinach and mix.   When the timer rings, test the chicken to make sure it’s not pink in the middle.  If it is, bake another 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
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