Monday, February 18, 2013

Your highfalutin lifestyle

I'm a nerd about words - was an English major in college, love me some Boggle, etc., etc. Every once in a while, I come across a word that I like so much, it gets stuck in my head for days. (That's weird, right?) I've had periods of svelte and kerfuffle rolling around in there, and a long, unrelenting phase with bamboozled. Last week, a new one crossed my path - highfalutin.

I had a need to write this word in an email (as in, "Yes, I have already spent my paycheck trying to keep up with your highfalutin lifestyle") - and had to look it up on to figure out the spelling (I was looking for "high faluting" - isn't that how you would spell it?). And there it was, in all its glory -

highfalutin: pretentious, fancy

It's one word when it seems like two; there's no 'g' at the end where there should be. It's pretentious and fancy. I love it.

And, serendipitously, that word came to me just before a series of highfalutin things came my way this weekend - a 50mm camera lens (check it out!), a brand new vacuum (hey, hey!), a dramatically drapey ivy plant (tres chic), and this utterly fancy dish - Chicken with Apple Cider Glace:

I'll tell you right away - the fancy name is just a ruse. There is nothing more to this dish than chicken browned with a toasty blend of spices, and an apple cider and onion sauce that has simmered away to a softened, lightly sweet glace. (Glace, pronounce "gloss," it turns out, is just a highfalutin term for a reduction of stock - I had to look that one up, too). I could eat the sauce in little succulent spoonfuls from the pan if I had to, but it's even nicer poured into a puddle around the chicken to mingle with the spices, and anything else on the plate.

This recipe is such a keeper - simple and light enough for a weeknight, but elegant enough for a dinner party. For a fancy plate, I like to place the chicken on a small handful of mixed greens (arugula or baby spinach, for instance) for a pop of color, with a scoop of mashed potatoes on the side. The sauce can, and should, go over everything, of course. 

Chicken with Apple Cider Glace
Adapted from Kitchen Window

For the chicken:
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher (or other coarse) salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pat the chicken dry. Stir together cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper; coat both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture (for 6 chicken thighs, I used almost the entire spice blend).

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. When hot, carefully set the chicken in, skin side down, and cook until nicely browned - about 3-4 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook the other side, 3-4 minutes. Move chicken to a baking dish and bake in oven until cooked through - the time will depend on the size of your chicken thighs; mine were smallish and took about 20 minutes.

For the Apple Cider Glace:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups apple cider (I've used a nice local cider as well as Simply Apple juice - both worked great)
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic and jalapeño pepper until just translucent. Add the bay leaf and saute a minute more.

Add the cider, chicken stock, vinegar and honey. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and keep at a decent boil until reduced to about two cups, about 15 minutes. It will be slightly thickened, but still mostly liquidy. 

Serve sauce over chicken, and anything else that graces your plate (especially, mashed potatoes; a handful of spinach or other greens under the chicken is also nice).


  1. I loved this. Fellow English major here and a lot of your intro sounds like stuff that rattles around in my brain. Glad I saw your url on Joy the Baker's blog tips.

  2. I've recently been working with "highfalutin" as well and had to check spellings. For some reason it sounds better than "bourgeois" when I'm trying to describe my fancy gym or someone else's freshly washed car.

    (Mine has only recently been cleaned because someone vomited on it. I was not in it. It was parked on the street in a nice city neighborhood where my friends and I were having brunch.)

    1. Ahh! That is hilarious (I can laugh at your misfortune, right? :) ) I hope you have a more pleasant reason to use "highfalutin" soon. Thanks for coming by!

  3. Ah! I'm a word nerd too, and I totally get words stuck in my head sometimes, and have often wondered if others experience the same phenomenon! Favorites include susurration, crepuscular, and nebulous. Oh, also, mellifluous, which often pops into my head when I'm looking for nebulous, and vicissitudes. I guess I have a thing for words with strong rhythm. Also, this dish looks yum! I just found your blog through your comment on The Yellow House. Good luck with the ever-evolving process of creating a small corner of the internet...I'm right there with ya, sister. :)

    1. THANKS for making me feel less alone here! Good luck with your blogging, too - looks great from where I sit!