Aaand we’re back…

And not a moment too soon, either.  Because friends, we’re just a few short days away from Thanksgiving!!

This year, Joe and I decided that I should make all the things that we dream and talk about eating, but generally eschew throughout the year because we don’t want to gain 50 pounds overnight.  For us, that means spinach and artichoke dip (ingredients include: two or three kinds of cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and tortilla chips as a dipping vessel), mac and cheese (whole milk, three kinds of cheese, bacon, butter, fried breadcrumbs) and fried chicken (do I really need to explain?).  I’m also making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which will probably use up another two sticks of butter.  But um, don’t worry, oatmeal lowers your cholesterol, so that’ll prevent us from having an immediate heart attack.

In recent days, there’s been a household debate about which fried chicken recipe I’m going to go with.  Years ago, Joe and I saw an episode of Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello in which Mike takes some friends to an outdoor concert, and thoughtfully brings them fried chicken to nosh on whilst they’re serenaded.  His recipe calls for soaking chicken pieces overnight in balsamic vinegar and rosemary, then dunking them in buttermilk and coating them with a breading mixture comprised of ground arborio rice and semolina.  Joe was intrigued.  He would bathe in balsamic vinegar if he could.  And he’s been talking about that recipe ever since.

I was all for it until I heard tell of Thomas Keller’s lemony fried chicken being served up at Ad Hoc.  I haven’t been able to make it up to the Yountville restaurant for a fried chicken Monday yet, but the recipe ran in Food & Wine and I was all over it.  I mean, the man calls for the chicken to be brined!  It’s genius!  Such dedication to the timeless art of fried chicken!

I casually mentioned the lemony fried chicken to Joe yesterday, and you would’ve thought I’d suggested that we go to Denny’s for Thanksgiving dinner and spend the rest of the weekend watching Jane Austen movies.  “I hate lemon!” he declared, turning his back on me to dismiss the recipe suggestion all together.

“You don’t hate lemon,” I said, “Nobody HATES lemon.”

“Well, I hate it with chicken.”  Right.

“But this is TK’s recipe!  You know it’s gonna be good.  Michael Chiarello’s recipe got bad reviews online.”  I told him this, secretly knowing that the reviews were poor only because his arborio rice and semolina crust concoction was supposedly too crunchy and kind of gross.  I had already planned on ditching that part of the recipe anyway.

Joe swung around in his desk chair and looked at me.  Our eyes met.  He didn’t have to say anything.  He’s been looking forward to that balsamic fried chicken for like, three years, and who am I to stand in the way of a man and his destiny?

“Fine,” I told him, “We’ll do the balsamic chicken without that stupid arborio crust.”

Never does a woman feel so loved as when she tells her man she’s making him HIS fried chicken.

I bought some flax seed meal today at Whole Foods as well.  I’m mixing a little into the cookies.  My guess is we’re gonna need the extra fiber by the end of this thing.

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