I bought a large package of chicken legs and thighs yesterday. Last night, I was dividing it into serving sizes for mon mari to have while I'm gone.
I had the rapt attention of both puppies, their eyes following my every move.
It brought back memories of another chicken and another dog.
And an enterprising cat.
Life with pets is always interesting and anyone who thinks that man is dog's best friend is sadly mistaken.
Cat is dog's best friend.
In another life, we had a very wily, black cat and a very large, gentle Saint Bernard.
First, the scene: I and mon mari are in the kitchen. I'm washing pieces of chicken for dinner.
At this point in our lives, we had a rather small kitchen so, as I wash the chicken I'm laying it on paper toweling in whatever little free spaces I can find on the counter top.
I'm being attentively watched by the cat and dog…that is their job after all: to watch me prepare food in the off chance that something would fall on the floor and their services would be required for clean-up.
They're both very diligent workers.
Second, the set-up: The cat, after thoroughly analyzing the situation, meanders over to give me a leg rub and a look of feline adoration.
He then slowly and ever so nonchalantly stretches, his front paws inching their way up the front of the cabinets.
Third, the action: One long claw pops out of the front paw and hooks a chicken leg (that I had foolishly left too close to the edge).
The cat drops back to all fours, preparing to dash off with his prize but instead, accidentally, flips the chicken leg into a high arc through the air.
The dog's eyes light up – this cat is, indeed, a true friend!
She opens her mouth for the catch just as mon mari lunges for it.
Both dog and mon mari make contact with the chicken leg at the same time. Mon mari screams (dog’s jaws are powerful!).
Our poor, frightened, little 150 lb. dog immediately opens her mouth releasing both mon mari’s finger and the chicken leg.
What, you may ask, am I doing during all this?
What else – I'm collapsed on the floor, laughing hysterically and telling mon mari that he should know better than to put his hand between a dog’s mouth and an incoming chicken leg!
Finally, the result: Mon mari is minus the fleshy pad on one finger.
The dog, knowing she did something wrong (but not a clue what) has curled into the corner in the classic ‘See what a good dog I am’ pose.
I am getting the stink eye for ‘not helping’ (Stick my fingers into the fray? I think not!) and for ‘inappropriate laughter’ (It’s NOT funny!).
The cat, of course, is nowhere to be found…..
And neither is the chicken leg.
This is not a chicken dish
This is an egg dish.
A lot of cuisines pair eggs with tomatoes and spice.
This spicy onion, green pepper and tomato is based on a Basque dish but we ate it often in Andorra, which has more of a Catalan influence. With the addition of eggs (optional in Basque country) the dish is reminiscent of the Mexican Huevos Rancheros, but without the tortilla.
For breakfast or a light lunch serve with 2 eggs.
1 medium onion
1 rib celery
3 cloves garlic
1 small – medium green bell pepper
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs red wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs olive oil plus 1 tsp
hot sauce as desired
The Pipérade: Chop onion and celery; mince garlic; roughly chop green pepper. Drain tomatoes, discarding juice or reserving for another use. Roughly chop tomatoes.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a medium skillet. Add chili powder and sauté 1 minute. Add onion and celery; sauté 5 minutes. Add pepper and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes longer. Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar and Worcestershire, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tomatoes turn into thick sauce, about 10 minutes.
The eggs: In a separate skillet (I have one just big enough for 1 egg – cute!) heat 1 tsp olive oil. When hot, add eggs and fry, trying to keep a nice shape, just until the whites are set; they're meant to be 'sunny-side up'.
The finish: Divide onion/pepper mix between two flattish soup plates. Put an egg on top of each, add salt, pepper, and serve; hot sauce on the side.