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Attempted Raspberry Reduction

Ever since our honeymoon in CA, I’ve been dreaming of a dessert I had there.  It was the most delicious dessert I have ever had.  Period.  The restaurant named it “like water for chocolate”.  To give you an idea of how much I loved it… we returned to the restaurant the next night just to have the dessert again.  THAT’S how good it was.  I even took a picture so that I could remember it forever.

Last week, the raspberries were on sale at Harris Teeter.  I picked up 4 little boxes so that I could attempt a raspberry reduction for the first time.  I used Emeril’s recipe because it seemed simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up.

I could tell as soon as I strained it that something was just not right.  The reduction came out a bit too watery, but it was still yummy so I didn’t care.  I think I may not have added enough raspberries?  I know what you’re thinking:  Did Rocio make that perfect looking angel food cake?  The answer is a resounding “NOPE!”  I cheated and bought a splenda made cake at Teeter.

I think I’ll try this recipe one more time before I go looking for another one.  I just really want to recreate the magic from that dessert.  I’ll let you know how it comes out next time!

Balsamic Chicken

Dear Vegetarian Viewers: Be warned… there are some graphic chicken photos within this post!

When it comes to chicken, a boneless chicken breast is my cut of choice.  It’s easy to cook and requires minimal prep work.  You know what doesn’t require minimal prep work?  Chicken drums.  That’s why I’ve never made them!!  Also… call me lazy if you will… but I don’t like eating them either.  You know why?  Because it takes too much work.  I don’t eat chicken drums with my hands, and it’s too much work for too little of a reward.

It now occurs to me that I have never shared this sentiment with my husband.  I suppose I thought that since I had never made them, it would be obvious that I didn’t enjoy them.  What is it that they say about “assuming?”  Oh yeah… they say that not explicitly telling your husband about your preference leads to him picking up a HUGE pack of drums because they’re on sale.

*sigh

Now came the issue of what to do with these things…  Enter trusty Food Network with a potential recipe!  I didn’t have rosemary sprigs or fresh flat leaf parsley on hand, so I figured I would substitute with dry spices.  (Right… like I know what I’m doing substituting stuff… *rolls eyes.)

Now comes the gross part:  Prepping the drums.

I only knew to do this because I had some vague recollection of watching my mom go through this process.  I also seem to remember her making this look easy.  She’d swiftly grab, pull, rip, and trim.  My process was not so swift.  This was the longest part of the prep (sans the marinating time)!  Blah.  It was enough to make me want to stop and not cook.  Just in case you don’t know, here is what it looks like before, and what it’s supposed to look like after:

After you’re done reminding yourself that you are handling a carcass (appetizing, no?), throw the drums in a ziplock bag.  Add the marinade to the plastic bag.

TIP:  This is one of those things you learn ONCE.  Only once…  When marinating something like this in a plastic bag, please do yourself a favor and place it in a pyrex before you stick it in the fridge.  Coming back to a leaked plastic bag in your fridge S.U.C.K.S.!

The recipe says to let the drums marinate for two hours.  I prepped the chicken in the morning and left it all day.  Come super time, I preheated the oven and arranged the drums on a baking sheet.  During the 35 minutes they were cooking in the oven, I heated the marinade, made some Near East rice pilaf, and reheated some squash and chickpeas.

Dinner was served.

Before I tell you what I thought, please remember I’m biased against chicken drums.  It might be good to know that Ian really enjoyed the chicken.

As for me?  I wasn’t super impressed.  The chicken was moist and well marinated, but I couldn’t help but think that it could be better.  If I try this recipe again, I’m going to change two things to see if it improves the dish:

1)  I’m going to use chicken breasts!

2)  I’m going to try it with fresh herbs.

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