Hello again, intrepid readers. It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode of Cook’s Couch. I was going to do one last night, but tonight is actually the better option. Last night I broke down and made some home-fried potatoes while watching Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood, two of my three favorite old-school Disney movies (the third being Alice in Wonderland.)
Tonight is a little more interesting overall, though a bitch of a headache put me under for the first third of the night’s festivities. Tonight’s meal is exceptionally simple. A chicken casserole, more fried potatoes, and creamed corn.
Unlike the other episodes of Cook’s Couch to date, I did not fly solo this time around. And not just because my head was killing me. The headache didn’t reach “need to vomit to survive” until after everything had already been started. Someone else prepped the potatoes and onions, someone else handled the casserole (I have verified their recipe and process for accuracy) and the creamed corn (because I don’t fucking eat that shit.)
The chicken casserole is super easy. You just need:
1 pack Chicken breast (cut it if you want, you don’t have to)
1 or 2 onions (I like Peruvian yellows, they have a sweet taste)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Can Cream of Mushroom soup,
1 Box of stuffing (we used Stove Top turkey stuffing)
Half a stick of butter
Put the chicken in a glass baking dish with the onions and garlic. Cover with the cream of mushroom soup, cut the butter up and put it on top, and then cover it all with the stuffing. Cover with foil and cook at 450 degrees for about a half an hour. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or so.
The potatoes are equally simple, though they require more or less constant supervision. There are two ways to prepare this dish: the right way and the Grice way.
The right way requires baking the potatoes first, giving them time to cool, then cutting them up and pan frying them. The Grice ain’t got time for that shit. Cut the potatoes up, along with about two onions. I usually use about 6 or 7, and I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, but Russet potatoes work just fine.
My way takes longer (they’ll cook for about as long as the casserole is baking) and will require you to keep stirring them more or less constantly. Potato starch will stick to the bottom of your pan, there’s not much help for that, but if you keep them stirring constantly, you can minimize some of this. I recommend that you not use non-stick cookware.
Heat the pot or pan on medium heat, add the garlic and onions first and cook until the onions start to sweat and turn clear. Then add your potatoes and seasoning and cook until the potatoes are soft. Stir frequently. Some starch will stick to the bottom of your pan, but you want to keep stirring the potatoes to keep them from burning and actually sticking.
The seasoning profile is actually more complex than the process or the rest of the recipe. Using what I found around the kitchen:
A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
A little hot sauce
A few dashes Tony Chachere’s (the cajun seasoning that real cajuns use, brah.)
Season to taste. I like my food to tingle some. I like spicy food, but I prefer heat and pepper flavor to be an accent, not a focal point.
Creamed corn…I don’t eat that shit. The people in the house that DO eat it used frozen creamed corn, a full stick of butter, and some red and black pepper.
Tonight’s entertainment is an impromptu Mel Brooks marathon brought to you (in part) by Netflix.
After watching A Haunted House and finding it funny but not particularly memorable, I laid down (this was about when the headache hit) and turned on Spaceballs. When I don’t feel well, I tend to go for familiar comedy. And when Spaceballs was done, Netflix suggested High Anxiety, which is one of the more esoteric Brooks films that I enjoy. I was hoping the Brooksfest would continue without having to resort to DVDs or the internet, but alas there aren’t many of them up on Instant Watch right now. Thankfully I have a DVD copy of Robin Hood: Men in Tights around here so I can keep the party going, and I swear there’s a copy of Dracula: Dead and Loving It somewhere around here too.
I love Mel Brooks for the same reason that I love Weird Al. I don’t like to provide comparisons in the form of “X is the Y equivalent of Z” but in this case I feel their respective bodies of work are comparable simply because they are independently masters of spoof and parody.
High Anxiety was a little cinematic gem which I became aware of because of my father. This is the same man who rented Monty Python and the Holy Grail for me when I was a kid, and described Clockwork Orange and The Wall in more or less great detail. I can thank my dad for a lot of my film and music knowledge, to be honest. For those of you who have never seen it, High Anxiety is a style parody of Alfred Hitchcock films. A Doctor from Harvard becomes the head of a psychiatric institute and discovers some sinister workings. Hilarity and madness ensue. It also features a blonde Madeline Kahn with long hair, which is not something I’m used to seeing. Madeline Kahn is a favorite of mine from that film generation, and I was sad that she had died before Psych did their hundredth episode (an homage to Clue.)
So sit back, relax, and try not to choke on your food. Because you’re in for a hell of a lot of funny with this one.