Sunday, June 19, 2005

Laisser Les Bon Temps Rouler

Once again, I will be breaking format to report personal goings-on. (Ok, maybe there isn't too much of a format any more, nowadays). Last night I was fortunate enough to go to La Selva Beach, south of Santa Cruz, where the redoubtable and lovely Danielle Rinderknecht was hosting a Summer Soul-stice at her residence. A fine time was had by all, and it was especially a pleasure to renew my culinary partnership with noted carnivore Lucy Goodnough to season some small animals for the grill, ably manned by Lee H. Lightfoot (judging by the hours he put in slaving over the hot metal, I guess that the "H" stands for Hephaestus). However, the point of this post is not to emphasize my glamorous lifestyle, but to offer some handy-dandy cooking tips for my readership.

Folks, summer is barbecue time, and those of you who are less than fully alive to this essential truth had better shape up or just pledge allegiance to Osama right now, because there is no middle ground on this issue. I am committed to making this the summer of fire and meat, and in view of this I will share a series of recipes. This week, we're having Chicken Legs Zevon, a tribute to my favorite bard of headless machine gunners and werewolves with a taste for Chinese.

Chicken Legs Zevon:
(Note that measurements will be in the Cajun standard format. This is easier than it sounds - just use enough to cover your meat).

- A bunch of chicken legs (I can eat at least five myself, when prepared this way).
- A shitload of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.
- Paprika
- a tol'able amount of Cayenne Pepper
- Thyme
- Maple syrup
- Olive oil
- 1 ice-cold beer (medium to dark, but no weak sauce)
- Ketchup
- Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- Red wine vinegar
- Garlic

Begin by mixing equal parts maple syrup and olive oil. Yes, it sounds weird - just trust me. Lightly baste the chicken legs with this mixture. The oil will burn off; the syrup will seep into the skin for a pleasing sweetness.

Take the shitload of Tony's, and add paprika til it's a shade or two darker. Add cayenne to taste - you don't want to cater to the wimps (not that you know any, but, all the same, you have nothing to prove. It will be spicy enough. Then, add thyme to taste - I do it until the spice mixture aquires a faint greenish tint.

Rub the spice mixture thoroughly over the chicken legs until they are well caked with the stuff. Grill them until the skin is crispy and blistered, almost blackened.

While chicken is grilling, make a sauce of 2 parts ketchup to 1 part Lea & Perrin's. Add vinegar and garlic to taste. Heat over medium. At this point, you should be sweating in anticipation. Crack open an ice cold beer, and toss a few splashes into the sauce before refreshing yourself. Let the sauce come to a simmer, and remove from heat after ten minutes, stirring to prevent skin from forming. At this point, you can either baste the legs in the sauce before they're done cooking, or let folks do their own when you take them off.

Note: In a rush to experience the magic, your guests will shove the still-smoking legs into their mouths before it's quite safe. Keep plenty of ice-cold beer on hand as an extinguisher.

Next time: The secrets of Carne Asada.


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