Food Friday- Chicken Fat Edition

My friend Alan Divak loves chicken fat. I kept thinking about him as I made tonight’s diner.  I made a mess of caramelized onions today. I used fat from last week’s chicken to cook the onions.

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Making caramelized onions isn’t difficult. It just takes lots of time.  I cooked down 5 lbs. of onions  from a pot –full to a little mass of deliciousness.

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All you need to add to the onions is some pepper, and salt. I like to add some booze. I have bee guilty of adding whatever is closest at hand , including lesser grades of single malt.  Today I used the dregs of inexpensive spiced run and some arak. I also added balsamic vinegar and  cider vinegar, to keep things a bit liquid and to prevent burning.

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A Kosher barbeque restaurant I have been to adds so much sugar to their caramelized onions that it tastes like you are eating stringy strawberry jam. If you cook the onions slowly the natural sugars in the onions will be released.

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You can see both how the onions darken and how their volume gets really reduced.

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I am serving some of the onions on their own. Some went into this.

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A vaguely Middle Eastern stewed eggplant that you see here about half way cooked. The eggplant tastes best if is cooked to complete floppiness.

The protein for tonight is jerked chicken wings.  I used a jarred spice mixture. I hope that it tastes good.

Our guests tonight include my cousin and his fiancée. I decided to make heart shaped meringues  to mark the occasion. I piped the hearts but didn’t use a tip on the pastry bag.

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I’m not quite sure why they came out so brown, but thought that a drizzle of chocolate would improve things.

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I have discovered that if I bake meringues I can fake a loaf cake out of the egg yolks.  I had a bunch of lines in the fridge. The juice of two of them are flavoring the cake.

The cake is entirely improvised but based on my years being my mother’s baking assistant. I baked the cake in a loaf pan and will slice it once it has cooled.

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I always feel vaguely transgressive when I just wing a cake. All those generations of cookbooks yell at me in a chorus telling me that it can’t be done…except that it can. I faked a cake.

I also went to the supermarket today and took these photos on the way.  It has been so cold lately that today felt almost balmy ( it’s in the mid 30’s). 

This bird’s nest is near Amsterdam Avenue.

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You can see the leaf buds swelling on the branches.

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Eventually, it will be spring.

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