Archive for January, 2014


Lemon Rosemary roast chicken

Sometimes finding the right roast chicken recipe can be kind of like the search for Nessie or the Chupacabra. You want to believe it’s out there, you want to find it, but your intellect tells you it can’t be real. Your heart has been broken over chicken before and you just don’t know whether you should believe.

You can believe. Eventually you will hit the right one. The one that is perfect for you. This one is perfect for me, and by extension the people in my house, because I do all the cooking and they sort of are at my mercy.  That is how I roll.

 

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Nessie? No…it’s really a seal…but it works for me.

So, here is my roast chicken recipe. It’s a bit loose because your cooking time will vary based on  the size of your chicken, the awesomeness of your oven and what veggies you may want.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken for roasting.  You buy whatever brand you want….I am not a brand despot. I usually get between a 6-8 lb chicken because, leftovers.
  • Lemons – about 3 or 4 depending on how big your chicken is. You’re going to stuff that chicken with them.
  • Rosemary. Fresh is best.
  • Butter, salted (I dislike when they don’t tell you whether it should be salted or unsalted. Assume salted when they don’t because they should tell you and salted butter is delightful. Assume nothing with me though. I will tell you).
  • 3-5 lbs potatoes. Whatever you like. It’s chicken, not a mathematical formula
  • Package of celery hearts. You can skip if you hate celery. You can use parsnips or something else. Or nothing else.
  • Carrots. This, I eyeball. However many you like.
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth…JUST IN CASE. I like to hedge my gravy bets.
  • Roasting Pan. Ok, while this is not mandatory, my chicken in a roasting pan turned out so much better than it ever has in one of those throwaways. The right tools…blah blah.

What do I do?

You cook it. I kid.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Now, I cook my chicken at 350, 15 minutes per pound. You cook yours however makes you happy. I also had a chicken the last time with one of those things that pops when it’s ready and it popped exactly when I thought it should, so I win chicken manufacturer!

Here’s what you do to prepare your chicken. Cut up your lemons and chop up your Rosemary, first thing. Then cut up your butter into slices. Rosemary is to taste but about 2 tablespoons maybe. Wash your chicken obviously and don’t forget to pull out the bag of chicken innards.  Dry your chicken pretty well and then place it in the pan.  Salt, pepper to taste. Now, I place a couple of pats of butter in the pan, under the chicken, completely up to you. If you are making gravy from the drippings, it smooths out your gravy nicely.  Next, take the pats of butter and put 3-4 more pats up under the skin of the chicken, under the breast. It’s good, trust me. You will need to work this a bit, but I have faith in you. If you have butter left, put it in the cavity of the bird. I only used about 1/2 a stick but you could be Paula Deen about your butter, I have no idea.  Next, stuff the cavity of your bird with the lemons, holding two wedges out.  Take your olive oil, about a tablespoon and drizzle it over the chicken. Next, rub the oil in…all over your chicken. It makes for a crispy delightful skin. YOU WILL THANK ME.  Lastly, take 2/3 of the rosemary and sprinkle over your chicken.

Now, wash the hell out of your hands and your knife and then ready your veggies. Cut up the potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips into chunks, all around the same size. Place them in the pan around the chicken. Salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil, remainder of rosemary, lemon and you can place the lemon in the pan with the veggies too.

By now, your oven should have dinged to let you know it’s ready. Cover your chicken with either a roasting pan lid or tin foil and then cook it for about an hour or so. This is going to depend on how big your chicken is. I made an 8 pounder the other night. In an hour, you should have juices galore, so baste away. Get ALL of the surface area. Put back into oven, uncovered. It’s not going to get brown and crispy and lovely like you want it to if you don’t uncover it. Unless you are magic.

I let it go another 30-40 minutes and baste again. If it is getting too dark but is not ready, cover again.  The internal temperature for chicken should be 165 degrees (or if the little thingie pops out but I check the temp regardless).  When it’s ready, I let it rest on a cutting board (I use a plastic one, not wooden) and then scoop veggies in a bowl. I then, pour the drippings into a saucepan, using a strainer to catch anything that is not a dripping. Heat on low and then I use Wondra to thicken it up into gravy, using a little at a time. Salt, pepper and when it’s where you want it, done.  Side note: my mom always used Wondra so it’s what I use. If you have another gravy making technique or you just want to use drippings as is, fine. They will be lemoy and buttery.

Eat and enjoy!

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First of all, apologies for being away from the blogosphere so long. Life happens when you are busy making other plans. But I’ve missed writing and I’ve missed doing a fair bit of cooking so this year, I am going to do both. Lock up your pots and pans! Along the way, we’ll talk about our, well my favorite food shows. Or the ones that have really seen better days (Next Foodnetwork Star, I am looking directly at you). But two of my goals for the year were to cook and write more. Two things I sorely miss. Another goal involves Tom Hiddleston and I am keeping that one to myself.

So, over the past several months my weight loss has become a bit more of a weight gain. I know why, it’s all good now. But more importantly, I wasn’t eating well. And I was feeling gross and sluggish. It’s bad when you don’t even enjoy what you’re eating. Don’t get me wrong, I had some lovely meals and some great cocktails and some good times. But day to day, things had to change.

But it’s me, so change is a bit slow to come. I can channel Diane Keaton in…well, a lot of her movies,,very easily. But guys, it’s the journey, not the destination. There’s no end goal here except for feeling good and strong and healthy. And enjoying what I eat. And that thing with Hiddleston. But I digress.

Today, I tried this recipe: Yummy goodness

Someone posted it, I believe, to Facebook and I knew I wanted to try it. I don’t run. Unless someone is chasing me to eat me for dinner. But I can pretend and eat like one!

A couple of differences though; I thought I had kale. Nope. I did have collard greens though. So, I used those. And I didn’t use lemon. I only bought 3 and I need them for another recipe. I didn’t miss it. I also skipped the hot sauce. Didn’t miss that either.

Have you tried quinoa? You should. It’s a grain that is a species of goosefoot and it looks super weird when it’s cooked. I’ve tried red quinoa and I prefer the white. You’re going to look at it and think “why is there an alien in my lot?” It’d little germ pops out when it’s cooked (hey you! Mind out of gutter please!) but it’s how you know it’s done.

The collards. You need to clean them and remove the stems. I soak them in warm water and rinse.

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The collards waiting for me to do my thing!

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This was my thing. Roll ’em up the long way and cut into ribbons, the not long way. Then I sautéed them with in olive oil and garlic. So good you will slap your mama. But don’t. She gave birth to you, that would be super uncalled for. Don’t overcook them. You sauté until they wilt but are still really green. Let me say this; there is NOTHING worse than an overlooked vegetable. It should be a punishable crime. I feel very strongly about this.

So, you’ve cooked your quinoa and collards (or kale). What now? Fry an egg. No, that’s not code for anything. You need to fry an egg. You also need to cube up a 1/2 an avocado. If you use a whole one, I won’t tell. I did that. You don’t tell either. Before the egg goes on:

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Now an egg is a personal thing. Some people like them fried a little more (hi,mom!) some a bit less. Like me. I don’t judge. If you want to make it over medium, I won’t tell. This is between you and your egg.

And…voila!

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I build it thusly, quinoa, collards, avocado, egg. If you want a little hot sauce hit others don’t, a little shake over the egg would be good, no? Yes! My fella ate it and if it’s not coated in cheese or is a Cheeto, he is not on board. He liked it.

Super good. Good for you. Decent protein. I ate this and then cleaned all of the floors. And then took a nap. Naps are awesome. Don’t judge me.

Now lest you think I am going to go all healthy on you…this is what I just ate for an early dinner!

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Stove top Mac and cheese from Alton Brown. He’s not a favorite but this a delight.
Stove top Mac and cheese

So very cheesy. I may be having a second bowl. You’ll never really know.

Anyway, it’s all about balance in life. Sometimes the tightrope gets a little tough to walk. If that happens, take a break. Have a snack. Call me, we’ll go for a snack and a cocktail.