Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In which mysterious dental woes may affect diet! (Also, a leftover-chicken-meat idea.) (Also, this isn't a food-only blog! Books, baby!)


I was trying to find the least appetizing picture of mashed potatoes on the internet, so as to better communicate the possibility of my need to eat them, and only them, in the near future. Turns out, the worst you can find is a slightly awkward picture of mashed potatoes (see above) because they look and taste good almost no matter what. But the reason I wanted this photographic representation of squishy, unappetizing foods is that I went to the dentist complaining about a shooting pain in one tooth when I chew; the doctor drilled and filled and said that if that doesn't make it better, he'll have to try something else. Well, long story short, it still hurts, which means I may be due for some exotic dental work in the near future.

Worry not- in anticipation of this, I did two very responsible things. 1. Located the oxycodone-based painkillers in the medicine cabinet (so much cheaper than filling a prescription, and more effective than wuss-strength Rite-Aid brand acetaminophen! Plus, if I don't develop an addiction, I get to rub it in Rush Limbaugh's face) aaaand 2. I bought a cheap ice pop mold! Yay! So stay tuned for some potentially colorful stay-cool summer recipes that call for 2 cups yogurt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup diced strawberries and 800mg Percocet.*
Hopefully, the dental thing will work out quickly, though. I'd really love to be able to chew on both sides of my mouth again soon. Until then, there are lots of delicious, tooth-friendly things I can make (and blog about). Gee, I hope you like eggplant. In every form imaginable.

Enough griping, though. I promised a leftover-chicken-meat idea, and here it is. Bear with the shaky sales pitch, please. I was channeling my inner Sham-Wow Guy...

CHIKIN: You know when you make too much chicken, and you thought leftovers were a good idea, but by the third day you'd rather chew drywall? Or when you buy a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, compliment yourself on your savvy dinner solution, and then end up confronted by the half-eaten carcass every time you open the fridge? Here's what we do, and it's not bad at all: 

1. Pull chicken off the bones, if there are any, and mince it with a knife, or pulse it in a food processor
2. Dice up an onion (depending on how much chicken there is, you want about 1/4 amount of onion per amount of chicken, depending on how much you like onion) and saute in a frying pan in a generous amount of oil until golden brown.
3. Throw in the minced chicken and give it a good stir, to mix the onions and let it absorb all the tasty onion-y oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as you see fit
4. Toss with some kind of short pasta. I like tri-color rotini because it traps the meat in its folds and looks pretty.
Behold! Cheap, easy and very delicious comfort food. I made some today and threw a little shredded cheddar into it. I suppose I could have put the meat into puff pastry, or fried it in wonton wrappers and made something a little more impressive, but there'll always be leftover chicken to experiment with, so what's the hurry?

The nice thing about visiting the dentist, though, is the rummaging I got to do at the Salvation Army store not far from his office. I've recently taken a liking to Housing Works thrift stores, but this SA location is the only thrift store near me. ANYWAY- the thing about Housing Works is that, probably because of its locations in Manhattan, it gets raided by the hip, and all the good stuff goes fast. This Salvation Army store is in a working-class/immigrant neighborhood, and  is inconveniently open during normal working hours, so most people go for the clothing and housewares, and a lot of the books and CD's probably sit on the shelves for a long time before anyone who would be interested spots them.***  Anyone with a face full of Novacaine and a sense of adventure, that is. AND- it was "family day" so most items were half off. Hurray!
So here's what I bought, and will review:

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Nifffenegger (although it never bodes well when fairly recent books end up in a thrift store... which makes me wonder why the shelves weren't filled with more copies of Twilight), Fiction Writer's Handbook (preface by Norman Mailer, Epilogue by J.D. Salinger, and I may even read the stuff in the middle), Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff (because the cover looked appealing, although this book-choosing strategy has lead to a fair amount of disappointment), Cervantes' Don Quixote, Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeny's Humor Category (intro by Dave Eggers), Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel, The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci, and, finally, a copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, which, as it turns out, will be a duplicate at my house, because my brother already owns a copy. oops. At least it only cost me 49 cents. OMG, I know!

"See Deez"- The Rentals, two CDs- "Seven More Minutes" and "Return of The Rentals" (I listened to the latter and remembered that, actually, I don't like The Rentals that much. I think I grabbed the CDs out of sheer surprise of seeing them) Reel Big Fish's "Keep your reciept"(- just listened to that, too. I liked it, and was sad to see that it's only a 5-track sampler.) Gin Blossom's "New misterable experience" (yes, it's the one with "hey jealousy" on it. I like that kind of thing, okay?), and finally, my coup de grace, Stroke 9's "Nasty Little Thoughts" which I had uploaded on my old computer, before it died, and I'm very happy to have replaced it. So maybe my taste in music is sometimes questionable. At least I didn't buy the Smashmouth CD out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia, right?
Anyway, that's my to-do list for the summer. Read all of those books. Write a little about it. Find gainful employment

(My camera battery died and I asked my brother to take some "food porn pictures" for my blog. He did, though not in the way I had in mind. He says we have different definitions of "food porn".)

* directions: combine all ingredients in blender, add more sugar if desired, pour into ice pop molds, freeze & enjoy.**
**Don't really do this. I didn't try this recipe out, and I suspect in needs lemon juice.
***That's not to say that the working class and immigrants don't read, it's just that here, you're not cheek and jowl with 60 year old men in tweed jackets with liberal arts degrees in obscure fields of historical and literary study, who have time to read and money to buy full-price books, let alone the discounted ones. See: Upper West Side used bookstores. But if I've offended not one but two social strata, whoopty-doo to me.


  1. I like the mincing of the meat idea. Great way to sneak in protein.

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