Thursday, February 8, 2007

Raising Prairie Chickens

The subject tonight is focused on unusual food combinations. You will notice I did not say "weird" or "strange" or even "yukky" because we know one man's animal guts are another man's menudo.

A quick dip into Google territory yielded commentary on lots of interesting culinary marriages. Apparently it is not unusual to dip french fries into ice cream or milk shakes. I'm trying to imagine that but, really, around here, either ranch dressing or tartar sauce is the dip of choice.

One fellow swore a combination of vodka and raw eggs is not only a guaranteed health boost, it has anti-cold and flu properties. He didn't mention proportions or details such as mixing and presentation but I'm reminded of a particular concoction that enjoyed a certain popularity for awhile in a bar where I worked. It was called a Prairie Chicken. You pour a shot of whiskey in a rocks glass and crack a raw egg into it. It looked like a big yellow eye staring out at you. The drinker would toss it back and gulp it down in one swell foop, then pretend he already felt like he could whup his weight in wild cats. It was a macho thang, you understand. We went through a lot of eggs indulging the testosterone crowd.

One gal mentioned mixing orange marmalade with barbecue sauce for putting on scrambled eggs or dipping chicken strips. I'm going to try that for a glaze on something or other. One gets a similar effect by buying the sweet chili sauce sold in the ethnic section of the grocery store. Good on any meat, either for glaze or dipping.

Actually, this country is just beginning to discover what other cultures have known forever -- sweet and savory or sweet and hot go very well together. Throw some pitted and chopped cherries or plums in a pork stew and you'll know nirvana. Chunks of apple in chili is sublime, as is chunky applesauce mixed with spicy barbecue sauce. And all those old Aztecs and Mayans and Incans knew chili peppers and chocolate were fare for the gods.

Mage, you mentioned peas, cheese and pickle salad. More details, please. What kind of cheese? Pickles? Dressing? My friend, Eddi, has a superb salad she makes with peas, grated carrots, peanuts and Miracle Whip. She stresses the latter because it has more tang than the mayo. And there's a wonderful salad I learned from the Japanese community. You use cooked Pearl rice (it's short grain and holds its shape without being sticky) mixed with plenty of green peas and tossed with a combination of vinegar, sugar and water. Play with the proportions until you get a pleasing sweet-sour flavor.

Producing the Kinsey Milhone sandwich (peanut butter and pickles) on yesterday's Oatmeal bread worked out so well I've had three of 'em. That is my new favorite, as opposed to my old favorite -- a sandwich made with peanut butter spread on buttered toast, then stacked with cooked bacon and sliced tomatoes. Peanut butter, I find, goes with an amazing number of different foods. I once impulsively mixed some in with mashed potatoes and, to everyone's surprise (including mine), it was right tasty. And I'm thinking about now, the next time I bake a sweet potato, I'm going to mash it flat with a fork and slather on the butter and salt and pepper as I always do -- then I'm going to plop a big glob of peanut butter down on it. Yeah. That sounds bodacious.

Might even serve it with a Prairie Chicken.

That was a yoke, people. A yoke.


5 comments:

Stephanie said...

I'll eat almost anything (except ham - ewwww), but I'm not feeling the Kinsey Milhone sandwich. Oh well, different strokes for different folk!

bb said...

I shall try that on the next sweet potato I have. But I'll skip the Praire Chicken. :-)

Mage said...

Basically, cheese of your choice....I don't know if it was the much reviled Velveda, but we use cheddar, canned peas, and chopped sweet pickles to taste mixed with some mayo to hold it all together. It really tastes quite good, surprisingly.

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