Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What an Offal Day (Part 1-Chicken Hearts)

Chicken hearts and piggy feet, oh my!

Once again I skipped breakfast, just nabbed a bite of Munchkin's yogurt and fruit (no worries, its full-fat, Greek style, no sugar stuff). By midmorning I was starting to get hungry. I'd been craving a combination of sweet and salty so I sliced up a honeydew and wrapped a slice with prosciutto. Mmmmmmmmm-piggy goodness!

And yes, pregnant women should not eat deli meats due to the chances of listeria. I only ate one (which was more than enough), and if you see me eating other deli meat (such as the pastrami a few days ago) it has been reheated in the microwave first. No worries folks.

While Munchkin turned the den into a poorly organized Toys R' Us store I pulled out the chicken hearts I'd defrosted and seasoned yesterday with salt, garlic, and pepper. Chicken hearts are a tasty organ meat that is cheap and easy to cook. They are high in protein and a good source of niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12, folate, iron and zinc. They are most often used in soups and gravies to add flavor but they are very tasty on their own, even if they don't look very appetizing.

For today's experiment I trimmed off the fatty bits, wrapped the hearts in bacon, and baked. I wanted something crunchy and meaty to add to salads and that would make easy finger foods for the up-coming BBQ season. Plus Munchkin loves eating things speared with a toothpick. Fancy food is always tastier!

The verdict? They taste like bacon wrapped cocktail dogs. Honest! They have the same slightly chewy texture and rich, oily, taste. Munchkin inhaled six and kept asking for more. I bet these would make AWESOME faux pigs in a blanket for those who don't eat pork, and no worrying about salt, nitrates, or nitrites (not that I do, for various reasons that I'll explain in later post, but for those who do). They finally cooled enough that I could store them in the fridge, else Munchkin might have eaten the entire batch.

For lunch I pulled out a chicken breast I baked Monday (seasoned with garlic, salt, and red pepper), topped it with slices of Gruyere and the last slice of fresh pineapple, then baked it in the oven till the chicken was hot, the cheese had melted, and the pineapple had a slight browning to it (about 30 minutes at 350 degrees). For my plate I added a side salad while Munchkin had mashed yams and buttered peas.

Leftovers and already cooked proteins folks...its the only way to go.

While Munchkin napped I stared at my toy-covered front room and tried to find the energy to put everything away. Didn't find it. Instead I sat down and tried to ignore the herd of plastic ponies beside me while I nibbled on a dark chocolate with sea salt and almond square. Umm...two squares. I then forced myself off the couch and began putting toys away. I took the opportunity to weed out stuff that was broken or that she hadn't played with in months. Then I moved the couch....oy vey! There's a whole 'nother toy box back here! So that's where all the Little People have been hiding.

When I finally got done the den looked so neat and clean. I threw the rugs into the washer and celebrated by sagging back on the couch. I love when my house is clean. I hate housework but when everything is in its place it makes me feel good for some reason. Of course, about that time Munchkin woke up and had such a blast finding all her "new" toys that soon they were scattered everywhere. Oh well, such is life with toddler.

By suppertime I still wasn't hungry so I just warmed up leftovers for Munchkin. I really should have sat down and eaten something. By the time Munchkin was scrubbed, storied, and in bed I caught myself rifling the cupboards-not exactly hungry for anything specific but with a rumbly belly. I ended up grazing on fruit and coconut butter before finally mixing together a bowl of frozen cherries and full-fat yogurt.

*sigh* You know what sounds good? A big bowl of Manola's Chicken Red Curry, super spicy, with some jasmine rice alongside it. Its actually fairly healthy-coconut milk, spices, chicken, veggies. Even the rice isn't that bad (according to Sisson). The problem lies in that I'd eat the entire order (probably enough for 2-3 people) in one sitting. I guess its a good thing we live so far out that no one delivers cause I'd have them on the phone right this second. Instead I have New Scandinavian Cooking and Andreas is showing me how to make Norwegian carpaccio.

Almost the same thing.


Bacon Wrapped Chicken Hearts

1 pound of chicken hearts
1/4 pound (more or less) of bacon
Preferred seasonings (I used salt, garlic and pepper but use any combo that you like. I bet these would be awesome with chili powder) or your favorite marinade.

1. Season chicken hearts and allow to marinate 1 to 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Cover baking tray with foil and arrange baking rack.

4. Remove fatty bits from chicken hearts.

5. Slice bacon into 2 inch long squares-or about as long as your chicken hearts are.

6. Wrap bacon square around chicken heart, securing with a toothpick.

7. Place bacon wrapped heart on baking tray.

8. Bake about 30 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.


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