WARNING: This blog is likely to offend anyone who is French and/or who actually knows how to cook. If this describes you, please stop reading now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How Do You Roast a 7lb Chicken in 30 Minutes or Less? Spatchcooked Chicken!

You know that horrible, overwhelmed feeling you get when you arrive home from work at 7:00 PM, the kids are hungry, and the only thing in the fridge is a 7 lb chicken? That’s the feeling I had last week. But I quickly came up with the perfect solution, thanks to Martha Stewart – Spatchcooked Chicken! 
Believe it or not, you can roast an entire chicken in 30 minutes (well, not exactly the entire chicken – you have to remove the back.)

Here’s how.

Oven at 500 degrees. Start with one whole roaster chicken. Remove the giblets or anything that’s inside it, wash it thoroughly, and turn it over so the back is facing up. Using sharp kitchen scissors, remove the back by cutting up the length of the chicken on each side of the backbone, from the tail of the chicken to the neck. Sorry I did not get a picture of this but it’s roughly akin to removing the back from the duck in this Yes, You Too Can Make Your Own Duck Confit recipe.

Open the chicken up by its back and place it back side down in a roasting pan. Press it down into the pan so it flattens out. Then pull the thighs forward so they lie down flat in the pan. The chicken should be as flat as possible. Rub it all over with  olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Now for the accoutrement… I used roasted potatoes, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Cut 4-5 potatoes into 6 wedges each and toss in a bowl with 1 large wedged onion, 4-5 smashed garlic cloves, and roughly 10 whole cherry tomatoes. Coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I sprinkled in some chopped fresh sage and rosemary from my garden. Tuck the potato mix into the pan around the chicken and pop in the oven.

I was not a believer, but its true – the chicken was beautifully roasted with nice crispy brown skin in about 30 minutes! The potato/tomato/onion mixture mingled nicely with the pan juices. It was absolutely delicious!
I also served with green beans roasted in the oven with slivered almonds, olive oil and salt.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not for Hannukah or Kwanza Potato Pancakes

I was making potato pancakes out of the leftover Once a Year Mashed Potatoes and my six year old daughter Lucy asked me if they were for  Hannukah or Kwanza. These are just plain old potato pancakes lacking any holiday significance, but I have a new mission to get recipes for Hannukah and Kwanza potato pancakes - I will let you know.

Take the leftover mashed potatoes, throw in a handful of chopped parseley, chives, or dill (whatever you have on hand). The form them into thick, round patties and fry them in hot oil - about 8 - 10 minutes each side. The goal is to get a nice crust on each side. Be careful when flipping them over or your crust will stick to the pan.

Serve the potato pancakes shredded cheddar and green salad. A perfect lunch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Once a Year Mashed Potatoes

I never make mashed (white) potatoes because Phil prefers sweet potatotes or yams (better for you, lower carbs). But once a year they are called for.

Start with about 10 large white potatoes (Idaho are most readily available in this area). Although Yukon Golds are by far the best tasting potato in my opinion, they are a bit too yellow for the look I was going for.

Peel them, wash them, chop into four pieces, cover with water, and boil in a large pot for about 20 minutes, until they are very soft when poked with a fork. Drain them and mash them with a potato masher ricer. Then start the fattening up!

Pour in some chicken stock, two cups of heavy cream, and package of cream cheese, or equivalent amount of crème fraiche – completely stir up, and salt to taste – add some white pepper if you have it. This is now ready to serve, although they may taste better the next day, so feel free to make in advance.

To serve, sprinkle with the duck cracklings from More Delicious Than You Can Imagine Rendered Duck Fat.
This recipe will serve about 15 people, or leave you lots of leftovers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Too Lazy To Go To Chinatown Duck Noodle Soup

Remember the Yes, You Too Can Make Duck Confit? Turns out those two excellent young ducklings just keep paying dividends. I kept all the scraps from cutting up the ducks (backs, necks, etc) and made stock with them - simmer for an hour or two with a few carrots, celery, an onion, a couple of garlic cloves and bay leaves. Then strain, pull any meat off the bones, discard everything else, and presto – duck soup! Boil some ramen noodles from an Asian market and boom – you have something that begins to approximate Hong Kong style duck noodle soup! All without having to put everyone in the car and drive to Chinatown, look for parking for 45 minutes, then wait in line for 1.5 hours!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ordering Off The "I Forgot To Eat Lunch" Menu

Oops, its 3:00 PM on a Thursday and I forgot to eat lunch! I had breakfast #1 at 6:00 AM and breakfast #2 at 10:00 AM, then got busy and completely forgot to get lunch. Now the cafeteria is closed and I am too busy to drive anywhere. My coworkers have already eaten their lunches. So I have to eat from the "I Forgot To Eat Lunch" menu.

$2 in quarters
1 vending machine

1. Buy a bag of Doritos.
2. Buy a Snickers bar.
3. Eat them both.
4. Feel terrible for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finally... The Soy Sauce Taste Off Results Are In!

My 80-year-old father decided to settle the soy sauce debate once and for all. What soy sauce debate, you ask? The debate about which brand of soy sauce is the best, of course.

He buys his soy sauce in concentrated form in one gallon containers from an Asian market. Then the concentrated soy sauce is diluted 2:1 with water so you get the normal consistency. As you can imagine, this produces a tremendous quantity of soy sauce - enough to last a year or more. He is making quite a commitment to whatever brand of soy sauce he buys - it has to be the best!

Therefore, he bought several brands in smaller quantities, and over a year or so, visited all seven of his kids in different cities around the US to allow each of us a chance to vote. Hands down, YAMASA brand won. Less salty and much smoother than other brands. Now I, too, have a year's supply!

STANDARD DISCLOSURE: I am sure there are significant variations in soy sauces depending on the style, country of origin, how they are brewed, etc., which I am totally ignoring here.  I like Yamasa with everything!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over Curly Endive

Wow, that was fast. Only three days after falling in love with “I Love It When That Happens Escarole”, it has been displaced in my affections by sautéed Curly Endive. Curly Endive is that curly bitter stuff that you’re never quite sure whether it’s a lettuce or greens. Sometimes you find it with the iceberg and red leaf lettuces and sometimes you find it with the kale and dandelion greens in the grocery store. Don’t confuse it with Belgian Endive – those crunchy white spears.

 I don’t really like curly endive in salads because it is hard to chew. So last night I did a quick sauté in some really good olive oil. It was absolutely delicious!

How to Make Curly Endive
Just wash and spin the endive, roughly chop, and sauté in olive oil until just wilted. Salt to taste. I used some red volcanic salt that I got in Hawaii, which gave it a warm and nutty flavor.

Kids loved it.

Got any good recipes for escarole or endive? Let me know - thanks!