Thursday Night Smackdown: GOD DAMN IT

Step one: Cut a hole in the box.


I’m sorry, but I had to get that out of the way. I burned the HOLY HELL out of my right middle finger pulling a burning hot pan out of a 425 degree oven. THROUGH THE GODDAMN POTHOLDER. Not only am I right-handed, but that’s my prime birding finger, y’all. So you’ll have to excuse a shorter-than-usual post and some sub-par photos. I’m working one handed here, and it’s not because I’m doing anything fun with the other one.

Still, I managed to power through and produce saffron chicken with spring onions, snap peas and pea shoots and parmesan pudding, from Susan Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques. You heard that right: cheese pudding. It was almost good enough to make me forget the throbbing pain in my finger. Almost.

Step Two: Put your junk in that box.

Before you can get to the cheese pudding, you have to prep the chicken. Thyme, parsley, lemon zest and olive oil infused with ground saffron.  Toss into a plastic bag. The saffron stains the chicken a gorgeous marigold as soon as it hits the skin.  Try not to pierce a hole in the bag because you accidentally bought bone-in chicken.
Note for chefs: It’s a lot easier to dice the herbs if you don’t have a giant fucking blister on your right middle finger.

The roux is shrouded in mystery.

The pudding starts with a light roux – equal parts butter and flour cooked together – so you know it’s going to be good. To this you add a mix of milk and heavy cream, so you know it’s going to be really good. Unlike my finger, which sucks big time.

Screw those happy California cows – I only buy cheese from angry, jilted cows.

Before the white sauce comes to a boil and thickens fully, some egg is whisked in, followed by the cheese. Suzanne has you whisk the egg directly into the hot sauce but I didn’t trust myself, so I tempered the egg a bit first by whisking in about half a cup of the sauce. I also added a little black pepper and nutmeg to the sauce. It wasn’t in the recipe, but I assumed it was implicit.  Cream sauces and nutmeg just go together, like Laurel and Hardy, or Rachael Ray and abnormally high-waisted, tight-fitting denim.

I only wish the pain of my enormous throbbing blister could be half as implicit as the nutmeg.

In any case, the pudding went into the oven in a water bath for about an hour. During which I hid downstairs because there was a condo association meeting going on upstairs and I don’t like hearing about how decrepit my apartment is.*

*Very decrepit.  But at least it’s my decrepit hovel. 

Cheese pudding. I rest my case.

I’d been planning to scatter some additional shredded parm on the pudding for the last few minutes of baking to get a nice crust on top but the pudding had self-crusted in the oven, much in the same way that my fingertip probably will in a few days.


Chicken in a pan, prior to said pan trying to kill me.


Vegetables in a pan, after said pan’s vicious and unprovoked assault on my fingertip. Notice that the pan does not appear repentant in any way. Fucking snide-ass All Clad.

The chicken exits stage left, and the onion, snap peas and pea shoots enter, along with some more fresh thyme and saffron butter. I left some of the chicken fat in the pan too. For extra flavor, NOT because I couldn’t lift the pan to pour it out. The veg stays in the pan just long enough to become crisp tender and bright green.


So close…to the end of the post…left hand…so tired.

This dish isn’t a blow-you-away dish, but it’s solid. I might brine the chicken breasts next time for some extra juiciness, but the herb and saffron rub is flavorful and the colors are fun and fresh; the saffron-stained chicken skin was gorgeous, and I got Brian to give me his chicken skin out of pity. The veg tasted green – they tasted like Spring feels. They were a great counterpoint to the silky, cheesy pudding, which was lighter than I’d thought it would be. Much like my scorched finger is far, far more painful than I’d thought.

DONE! Entirely one-handed. I rule the frigging school.

0 thoughts on “Thursday Night Smackdown: GOD DAMN IT

  1. Ouch! Sorry about your finger. I know that hurts like hell. I burned my finger a few months ago when some fucking bacon grease jumped out of the frying pan and attacked me. I got a 3rd degree burn from it! I still have a scar. People don’t realize what a dangerous sport cooking is! :(

    I love the cheese pudding. That would go over big around here. I’d probably swap out the breasts for boneless thighs, but I bet they’d be great!

  2. Looks damn good. Sorry about the burn. For some reason, it pisses me off more to get burned through a potholder, rather than just doing something stupid.

  3. I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I am now hooked. Every post of yours is f’ing hilarious.

    So sorry to hear your right middle finger is injured. Although I think that if you use it while it is deformed and burned, it might send a stronger message. :)

  4. Big hug on that finger thing. Chicken looks tasty. Cheese pudding looks brilliant. Back to the lactose (and just about everything else) intolerant hubby problem. Why is it the man will swallow a lactaid for ice cream or pudding or a slice of pizza, but branch out with creative cheese dishes and he accuses me of trying to kill him?

    You might have fun showing people you don’t like the blister on your finger.

  5. i’m an ace at skipping meetings. i’ve come up with some pretty daggone clever excuses over the years. plus, i’m slippery like an eel, and when stealth-mode takes over, i can’t be caught.

    i really hate meetings.

  6. susan: bacon grease is a killer! the pudding was really good, and really easy. and thighs would be nice, just make sure they’re not skinned. the skin really makes this.

    pixie: i do it ALL for you! why won’t you love me?! {sob}

    linda: i’ve got leftovers, but i don’t know how we’ll they’ll ship.

    JBS: it would be great with crumbled bacon or chives (or both), but anything heavier than that would sink to the bottom. even the bacon would have to be pretty finely crumbled.

    add-ons like that would also be really good as a topping – mix them with some buttered toasted breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on halfway through cooking, when the custard is set but before the crust forms.

    syd: me too! the potholder and i are not on speaking terms.

    roop: welcome! i’m glad you like it here. you’re totally right about the finger. i’m a little scared to take the bandage off right now, so i don’t yet have a sense of exactly how threatening it will be.

    rachel: i’ve had it up to here with your husband and his poor widdle tummy. we’re talking about CHEESE PUDDING, goddamit!

    a.grace: i’m not 100% what you’re talking about, but i know you’re lying. everyone loves a good meeting.

  7. This post makes me want to mash “Yummy yummy yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy” with “Dick in a box.” That would make your finger feel better. (That and cheese pudding and a quart of whiskey.)

  8. jodi: oh, yes.

    judy: i know! there is NO WAY for it not to be good. th leftovers were great too!

    claudia: thanks and bite me.

    katie: therapy schmerapy. i think the farberware needs to take the all clad out behind the woodshed and teach it a thing or two about how to treat a lady.

    peter (and claudia, again): that would make my finger feel better. also, get a room, you two.

    forkful: no, because one day went i’m running for president, someone will find the picture of my bulbous fingertip on the internet and use it to sear my campaign. you can’t take those kinds of chances in this day and age.

    erica: my finger appreciates the sympathy!

  9. Damn, that cheese pudding looks good. And “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” is actually a cookbook I own. Score. I will definitely give this one a try. Thanks for struggling through to pull this off!

  10. Pingback: thursday night smackdown » Smackhead, Revisited: You can’t rush reverse osmosis

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