January Free Thing Recap

I did two free events in LA in January, and both were pretty neat.  The first was a free pipe organ concert by Hector Olivera.  Unlike many other musical concerts, for a pipe organ concert you have to go to where the pipe organ is, and seeing as pipe organs are generally in churches in the choir loft and the pews face the opposite direction, there was that awkwardness of sitting facing away from the performer.  The first half was just stuff on the pipe organ and it was super cool.  For the second half, he performed on his symphonic touring organ, which is the kind that has synthesizers for all the other instruments in the symphony.  While technically impressive to watch him hammer out all the instrument parts himself, unfortunately symphonic organs just don’t sound very good.  It’s like listening to a midi keyboard.  Nevertheless, the performance was good, and free, and they had homemade baked goods as refreshments, score!

The second event was a workshop given by graffiti artist, Galo “MAKE ONE” Canote.  It’s part of  a program by the Craft and Folk Art Museum called “Folk Art Everywhere,” which has various workshops held in different cultural centers all throughout LA.  He gave us a lecture about his work and LA street culture, then had a workshop on very basic lettering, showing us the most basic way to deform letters without losing their inherent structure, and we all practiced lettering our names with markers on papers.  Basically it was “How to make a locker sign.” It was cool, though, and I learned some things for sure.  As a bonus, everyone who came was given free passes for the Craft and Folk Art Museum. 

February Free Events that look promising:

  • Nature photography workshop at Franklin Canyon
  • Astronomy walk at the observatory
  • Staged reading of Sophocles’ Ajax

We’ll see what other events pop up

Poached Chicken and Stuffed Turnip


This is a weird recipe.  I was trying to mod an existing Poule au Pot recipe based on the ingredients I already had, which were chicken parts instead of a whole chicken (and different veggies and no pasta).  I wanted stuffing, though, so I looked for something else I could mount it in, and happened to have a turnip, so there you go.

For the Stuffing, mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 cup or so of breadcrumbs.  I didn’t measure exactly, just grated a leftover third of stale baguette I happened to have
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Gather together in cheesecloth:

  • 1 whole shallot with 2 cloves shoved into the sides
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few stems of fresh parsley
  • 1 rib celery, cut into chunks


  • 1 large turnip

cut off the root end and the top (keep the top).  Cut out the center of the turnip and set aside for later.  I sort of worked my way around the turnip with a knife, cut an x cross-ways, then used a spoon to dig out chunks.  I repeated this until I had an empty turnip casing.

Fill the turnip with stuffing, put the lid back on and tie around the turnip with kitchen twine to keep it shut.

Season with salt and pepper:

  • 1 chicken thigh and leg
  • 1 chicken wing

Add the chicken, cheesecloth bundle, and turnip to a large saucepan or pot and fill with water until the chicken is just covered.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then uncover and simmer 10-15 minutes, skimming the fat, reducing the broth.

(this is where I messed up somewhat.  I was trying to figure out the difference in poaching time between chicken parts and a whole bird, and I think I ended up simmering for too long or at too high a temperature, because the chicken was kind of mild.  I may have leeched out the flavor like you do when you make stock.  More experiments needed)

Add to the pot:

  • 1 leek, halved and cut into 4 inch pieces
  • The turnip innards from before

Add water if needed to keep the chicken covered and continue simmering until the veggies are tender and the chicken is done (165 degree F internal temp).

Remove chicken and turnip and strain vegetables.  Take the lid off the turnip and serve everything together.