The Archie Leach

Tonight I am making Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Carrots and Yukon Gold Potatoes from the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Or something like it; my oven is not nearly big enough to deal with the six servings of this recipe. So I am kind of winging it the way I often do when I am into my third sidecar. I’ve been drinking a lot of sidecars these days, but they still seem to affect me the same. But tonight I think I have done something different with the sidecar.

According to Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide, a side car is made as follows:

Juice 1/4 Lemon
1/2 oz. Tripple Sec
1 oz. Brandy

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.

I disagree. To begin with, the glass must be rimmed with sugar to make the drink taste right and most bartenders know this. Rimming a glass is not as easy as you think it might be. If you are like me, you have always rimmed a glass by placing sugar (or salt) on a plate and putting the top of the glass down on it. This has several problems. First, the sugar attaches to the outside and the inside of the glass (which you don’t want). Second, the sugar clumps up and he get lots of sugar some places and none others. About.com—which is rarely a good source of information—has an excellent, illustrated article on this subject that I highly recommend you read—especially if you make a lot of sidecars or margaritas.

Apart from learning how to rim a glass properly (it sounds absolutely pornographic, doesn’t it?), I believe I have developed the worlds best sidecar, which I am calling an Archie Leach (or “Cary Grant” if you must) because of his film I Was a Male War Bride. Here it is:

1/2 part lemon juice
1/2 part orange juice
1 part Tripple Sec
2 parts Congnac

Yes, you could just use brandy, but as Lance says in Pulp Fiction, “But when you shot it, you will know where that extra money went.” Congnac is worth the extra cost—always. Try this recipe; it is quite good.

Bang Bang’s Chicken

Jill Dupleix presents a dish she calls Bang Bang Chicken—a name I like because of the character Bang Bang in film The Brothers Bloom. I made it for the second time last night, because William came over and when I was out at the grocery store, I couldn’t think of anything else to make; this is perhaps because the first time I made it, it was so good. You can find the full video recipe on Dupleix’s DVD Good Cooking: The New Basics. Here I will just give you mom’s take on the recipe.

There are two parts: the salad and the sauce. They are both really easy.

Salad

Poach a couple of chicken breasts with some ginger, salt, chopped green onions in enough water to cover the chicken. Be careful here; if you just cover the chick, the water will evaporate and the top of the chicken will not cook (which is okay, just don’t use it). How long? I don’t know; until the chicken looks cooked; don’t over-cook it (whatever the hell that means). Set them aside and let the chicken sit in the pan with everything else while you do the rest of the cooking.

Julienne cut an English Cucumber, carrot, and celery stock. Why an English Cucumber instead of a regular one? It has fewer seeds and so is less bitter. Put all these cut vegetables together. By the way, I did all my chopping with a Santoku knife I just bought—I haven’t had a chance to use it enough to talk about it intelligently. Add to these vegetables (well, cucumber is a fruit, right?) some copped green onions, and a little bit of toasted sesame oil (yum), rice wine vinegar, and some sesame seeds—roasted if you like. Finally, remove the chicken from the water; shred the chicken into this bowl and toss that baby.

Sauce

In a mixing bowl, put in generous amounts of toasted sesame oil (yum, again), sweet chili sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Add even more peanut butter, soy sauce, and sugar. Finally, add a diced hot pepper to your taste; I used about a half a Jalapeño—I don’t care for food that is too hot. If you can get a red pepper, it adds a nice bit of color.

Mix this (what I admit sounds like an odd assortment of ingredients) until it is pretty smooth. Then pour it onto the vegetables (and fruits) and toss well. This is delicious and makes two servings (although at 125 lbs. I can eat it all myself; It’s that good).