Leftover Pie (with a Side of Ramblings)
Yes, friends, it has come to this. Anapestic, the man who cultivates the acquaintance of people with long noses just so that when he's finished looking down his own nose at people who use cake mixes, he can then look down his friends' noses at the same people, is cooking with leftovers. (You didn't think I had made an actual pie, with pastry and everything, and had leftovers of it, did you? As if I have time for that, and as if there's ever any pie left over in the anapestic household. Puh-leeeeze.)
But it gets worse. I wasn't even using my own leftovers! Last weekend, we had our Saturday lunch brought into the office from one of the local chicken rotisserie places. It was a very good meal, if you leave aside the pea and corn and carrot medley, which really was a waste of the color green. There were chicken quarters and chicken pieces, red-skinned mashed potatoes, pretty good bread, macaroni and cheese, and, well, I forget what else, but there was something else. My brain is a little bit fried (where "little bit fried" means my mental processes resemble those of someone who took a ride in the electric chair, which no one remembered to turn off until the next morning) right now, but you probably figured that out from the fact that I'm posting about leftovers.
Anyway, my office mate is in charge of food ordering this year, and he ordered, as he usually does, far too much food, but chicken keeps very well, and many people think that it gets better upon refrigeration, so people were eating it again for Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch and Monday lunch. But still there was more chicken! So I decided to take a bunch home, with the intention of making chicken salad. I also took some of the mashed potatoes, since they were almost gone by that point, anyway.
It's kind of a stretch to call this cooking: both the chicken and the mashed potatoes were very well seasoned, so I didn't have to do much more than assemble, but the result was very good, and it was pretty much the only kitchen activity I had all week, and, well, this is what people who were left too long in the electric chair blog about. Apparently.
Leftover rotisserie chicken, about four quarters
Leftover mashed potatoes, about three cups
Milk, about 1/2 cup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If your chicken and potatoes have been in the refrigerator for a while, you will probably want to start by putting them in the microwave, separately, for three to four minutes, each, on defrost. This will help them cook faster since they won't have to come all the way from a cold state in the oven.
While the potatoes are in the microwave, tear the chicken off the bones and put it in a pie plate. When the potatoes are done, put the chicken in the microwave and put the potatoes in a bowl. Mix in the eggs and the milk. Please, please, please don't get rid of all the lumps. Adjust the milk so that you can more or less spread the potato mixture. If you want to add something else (maybe some chopped herbs or whatever), this would be a good place to do that.
When the chicken is done in the microwave, take it out and spread the potato mixture over the chicken. Grate cheese (whatever kind you like; I used Manchego) over the top to the level of cheesiness that you prefer.
Bake for about twenty-five minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned. The cheese should be melted.
I didn't have any leftovers of this, by the way.
On a personal note, I would like to add that I don't think I have ever had a more grueling busy season than the one that is just now ending. I am, however, pretty much under control now, having spent most of the day explaining to various people why they owe so much in taxes. One of the accountants in the office finally got tired of this line of questioning, and after a particularly difficult client had grilled her for a quarter hour about his taxes, she finally told him that he should complain to his congressman and not to her.
Anyway, I am now looking forward to a short day tomorrow (it's not clear how any time in the office on a Saturday can be a short day, but whatever) and then to a flurry of cooking activity for Easter. L., my younger daughter, currently has some sort of palate-spreading device in her palate (good place for it, I reckon), and she is not allowed to have any candy, so I believe that I will be in search of cookie cutters in the shape of eggs and/or bunnies to make some brownies and cookies for her Easter basket. I have not seen the girls at all this week, A. having gone off with her mother to Oregon or perhaps Washington to visit a college early in the week. Then they all went somewhere else for the rest of the week. The girls and I will be dying eggs tomorrow evening, however, and then we'll all go to church on Sunday and I'll make Easter dinner for the three of us. It will probably be something simple. At this point, they would just like to spend some time with me.
I promise that the next post will be about real food and will not include the sort of maudlin reflections that extremely fatigued accountants are too quick to indulge in. I also promise to have the sense to be embarrassed about the current post when I've have some sleep, but I probably won't edit it or take it down. It's a good thing to be reminded of just how miserable things can get during busy season (and how whiny I can get; egad). Otherwise, in a few months, I'll be thinking, "Oh, it wasn't that bad. I can do that again. I only charged eighty hours in my worst week, and that means I was only at the office for ninety hours that week, and, really, people in forced-labor prison camps work longer hours than I do. Why complain?"
The other night, I opened a fortune cookie, and it told me that "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation," and I have been most extremely discontented for the past couple of months. That may very well change in the near future, but I have been thinking that I need to make a professional change or to have some better inducement (not that the impending college costs aren't plenty) to make so much work worthwhile. More and more I feel that I want to work towards the life of Candide (after all of the really awful part that makes up most of the book, mind you) and cultivate my gardens. So, if any of you happens to stumble across a farm in the middle of, say, south central Pennsylvania (or some other remote place in a fairly reliably blue state where there is a reliably long growing season but which is not too hot when you factor in the probable continuation of global warming), and that farm is perhaps somewhat dilapidated and therefore relatively inexpensive, and that farm has a decent amount of land (the house can be small) where I can put in a small orchard and a small vineyard, and a nice vegetable garden, and maybe a henhouse, then I'd think it awfully nice of you if you'd let me know about that place so I could start thinking about buying it. I figure that I'm at least fifteen (and more likely twenty) years away from retirement, but it takes time for an orchard and a vineyard to grow.