Cooking without water

I’ve done it before. Not on some camping trip, or insane outdoor adventure. But right in the middle of Baltimore City at my former employer, the lovely Yabba Pot. The building’s owner comes in one day a little after lunch and announces he’s shutting off the water to fix a plumbing issue. He’s acting like he’s doing us this big huge favor because the plumbing issue he is fixing is because of one of the Yabba Pot’s toilets (fascinating that people who eat a lot of fiber use the restroom A LOT).

So I say, well we can’t really stay open if there is no running water………and the upstairs girl goes but we stayed open yesterday when he did this. I raise my eyebrow, the owner continues to stand there impatiently twitching, and the upstairs girl just blinks and smiles. Well whatever I mutter and ask if I can at least fill up a few pitchers of water downstairs — just to have some water on hand. Oh but I can’t because the water main has already been shut off and he was really just coming in to let us know.

With no clear answer as to when the water is going to be turned back on I retreat to the kitchen unsure of what to do. At this point, the ServSafe alarm bells are ringing in my head. I can’t even wash my hands, how the hell could that be sanitary??? Granted there is no meat in this place, what happens if I need to scratch my ass??? (Note — I do not frequently scratch my ass in the middle of the day in the middle of working in the kitchen, but you seriously never know.) This is how foodbourne illnesses are spread! So I wandered around, doing some prep work for the dinner shift and clearing out fridges. But honestly ugh. Just ugh.

Needless to say, I am currently in the same position at my house. Having some plumbing issues in the basement and since it is ridiculously early on a Saturday morning, I’ve had no luck getting in touch with my plumber. The conversation went like this:

Plumber’s Wife (?): Who is this?
Me: Oh, I’m sorry for calling so early.
PW: It’s 5 AM.
Me: I know, but one of the pipe’s in my basement is leaking and there’s this big…
PW: It’s 5 AM and Richard doesn’t have this phone (clearly)
Me: Again…I’m sorry for calling so early but is…..
PW: Goodbye.

Hmm…I guess the rest of the world isn’t up yet? So pond in my basement aside, decided to do just what I did at the Yabba Pot and get some prep work around my own kitchen out of the way. I’m cooking a big Sunday lunch tomorrow and one of the dishes I’m making is this fabulous apple-cider brined roasted chicken.

Apple-Cider Brine

Ingredients:

  • 1/6 cup sugar
  • 1/6 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 3-4 lb chicken

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan bring apple cider to a simmer (not to a boil).
  2. The measurements are kind of funky because I converted it from a turkey recipe. But what I do at this step is fill up a 1/3 measuring cup half full with sugar and then fill the rest of it up with salt. Add this mixture along with the other spices to the apple cider and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Place a large oven bag into a mixing bowl and place the chicken in so that the cavity is facing up. Start pouring the brine straight into the cavity of the chicken (so that the inside of the bird tastes yummy too!). Pour the rest around the outside. Tie up the bag and place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Brine works best if left to marinate for 24 hours.
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