Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Great Feast Inspired by Chris Adrian's The Great Night

The kids are out of school for summer, which means there will be no more rushing to get them out the door in the mornings.  There will be hot, lazy days by the pool and reading lots of books.  To celebrate the season, I made a Great Feast inspired by Chris Adrian’s book, The Great Night.  So get out your grill, and crack open a beer and Adrian’s book.  You’ll be feeling the midsummer magic in no time.
Sweet and "Sorrow" Chicken on bed of "Soy"-lent Greens

Molly’s Sweet and "Sorrow" Chicken
"She hadn’t meant or wanted to enjoy that unexpected feast, but she had, and it made her feel big in her soul, how she could delight in the texture of a crispy bit of chicken skin at the same time that she mourned her lost boyfriend and her lost mind, and she didn’t have to choose between delight and despair: she could experience them both to their fullest simultaneously."
Bird on the barbie

Whole fryer hen (giblets removed)
Fruit punch soda (12 ounces)
Small can of tomato sauce
¼ tsp oregano
1 clove of minced garlic
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced rings
1 onion, thinly sliced rings
2 T cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar

  1. Lay hen breast-side down on cutting board and cut along the back bone.  Turn over and press bird flat.  Put hen in a 13 x 9 baking dish. 
  2. To make marinade: Combine punch, tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic in bowl.  Pour over chicken in baking dish.  Refrigerate and stir every hour to make sure it is well-soaked.  Marinate for at least four hours.
  3. Make sweet and sour sauce: In a bowl, dissolve brown sugar in cider.  Add peppers and onions and stir.  Put in refrigerator with marinating chicken.
  4. Fire up the grill.  Put hen in grill basket and grill on indirect heat for 30 to 45 minutes.  Brush leftover marinade on the bird every fifteen minutes during grilling.
  5. Just before chicken is done, heat up the pepper and onion mixture until warm. 
  6. Place chicken on platter, and pour heated vegetable mixture over the bird.  Allow the sauce to soak in for a few minutes before serving.
Serves 4

Huff’s “Soy”-lent Greens (It’s not people. I promise.)

"Putting on the musical was Huff’s idea.  He had seen the movie years ago and almost entirely forgot it…He lay unmoving and watched Charlton Heston have his dystopian near-future adventure, and when he proclaimed Soylent Green was people, Huff knew what he had to do…He considered the implications of what he had seen and suddenly conceived of the project by which he would bring down the coalition between the Mayor’s office and whatever latter-day Soylent corporation was helping him turn people into food."
Stir-fry the leafy greens and stem slices

Large bundle of bok choy (or curly kale)
1 T canola oil
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsps soy sauce (can use up to 1 T if you like a more intense flavor)

  1. Slice leaves from bok choy stems and put aside.  Thinly slice the white stems.  Thoroughly wash leaves and stems.
  2. Heat canola oil on high heat in a non-stick frying pan.  Once it is hot, add bok choy stems and stirfry for 40 seconds to a minute (until they begin to soften).
  3. Add sliced leaves and continue stir-frying for about 30 seconds until they have wilted.
  4. Add sesame oil and soy sauce immediately; remove from heat and serve.
Serves 4

Beverage Recommendations:

Weeping Radish IPA (This is a beer brewed in North Carolina. IPA’s are good with Asian flavored food):

In a scene from The Great Night, a fairy named Radish is being destroyed by Puck, who is disguised as a woman with whom Will had his first sexual affair:
“Radish was my name,” the woman said, more calmy.  “You cannot help me.  If you are not my death, you should run away.  If you are not my death, he’ll not treat you kindly.”
“I’m going to get you to a hospital,” Will said, though he couldn’t imagine what hospital would be able to care for her, given her unusual size…He looked up and saw a naked woman in the tree…pissing on him.  He wiped stinging urine from his eyes and shouted, “What are you doing?”
“What I do,” the lady said, and climbed down the tree, head first like a lizard.  She leaped on the table, took the tiny lady in her hands, and tore her in half.  “I am your host,” she said to Will, as blood sprayed around his eyes and his head and against his open lips.  It tasted quite strongly of rosemary.

If you can’t get your hands on Weeping Radish, Bell’s Oberon Ale is another suggestion.

"Oberon had still not returned, and when she [Titania] sent Radish to fetch him she said only, “He’s still weeping.  See?”  And she held a thimble up, brimming with tears."

In case you were wondering, none of this is really fairy food.  You won’t be obliged to stay in the fairy realm for indulging in these tasty morsels.  Bon Appetit!

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