Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

Roasted Chicken

So. This is the second time in my whole life I’ve ever roasted a chicken. I love it. It might just be one of my favorite things– juicy, delicious, and a lot of food. The first time I roasted a chicken, I had to trust a recipe, instinct, and the slice test for doneness, because I didn’t yet have a meat thermometer. This time, though, I was wiser, older (by a few months), and more prepared; I purchased a meat thermometer. Um. But then. I roasted the chicken, and about two-thirds through the cooking, we have this:

Eek

I melted the thermometer!! I was wrong when I thought it was the kind that could hang out with the chicken while it cooked. The packaging was in the wrong when it didn’t tell me that. Can I still use the limited warranty??? I assigned the meat thermometer a task it was born to fulfill.

Oh, sad. My new toy is broken. And the result— delicious, roasted chicken. I was able to use the tried and true method of cooking it a really long time then checking for any and all pinkness when slicing and dicing.

I always feel like a surgeon when I’m slicing a whole bird– be it a turkey or chicken, and this, my friends, makes roasting a chicken an even more thrilling endeavor.

Chicken in a Roast Pan

Roasted Chicken

4 pound whole young chicken
3/4 large onion, quartered
sprigs of cilantro
1 lemon
2 large cloves of garlic
butter
Jane’s Mixed-Up Salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove and discard insides and neck from chicken. Rinse with cold water. Pat dry.

Set onto rack of roasting pan. Insert onion, cilantro, and garlic into cavity. Juice the lemon into the cavity then place the rinds in as well. Pat butter on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with Jane’s Mixed Up Salt.

Every fifteen or so minutes reapply butter to the chicken. Cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until (reliable) thermometer reads 180 degrees F. Let stand 10 minutes for chicken to reabsorb juices.

The next night I had chicken, green beans, and spinach artichoke dip, which I believe you might know a bit about already.

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August 29, 2010

Oh, My, Artichoke Spinach Dip

I follow several food blogs, which I’ll talk about throughout our experience; I’m sure. With tonight’s recipe, I drew inspiration from a food blog that I read from time to time, but I usually find myself thinking, “Now, that is far too fancy,” or “When would I ever go out and buy those ingredients?” Concerns such as these should be rarely headed (unless a recipe creator informs you that you MUST find a certain brand of chocolate or you HAVE TO, upon certain death, use a particular pan). But Heidi Swanson, the author of almost two cookbooks (the second is being published now) and of her own website, 101cookbooks.com, doesn’t ever mandate. She guides you into a world of delicious and beautiful foods that are really, really interesting. If you do read her website, I hope you’re inspired, too.

These ingredients are not too far off from what I typically keep on hand. I just needed to buy a couple of things to complete the ingredient list, and, wow, it was well worth it. I got warm, creamy, delicious, rich, comforting, but-not-too-heavy dip that goes well with flat bread and tortilla chips. (Since these are the only two we tested, I can confirm that they work and are delicious. I am sure this dip would remain delicious in a myriad of applications– naan, pizza, baguette, frittata, spoon.)

Oh, My Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 (14-ounce) can artichokes, drained
4 ounces silken tofu (which equates to about a quarter of most tofu packages)
3 large cloves of garlic
2/3 c Greek yogurt
1/3 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and dried
1/2 t sea salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
more parmesan for sprinkling

Preheat the oven for 350°F. Puree artichokes, tofu, and garlic in food processor.

In a quart baking dish, whisk yogurt, cheese, spinach, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add pureed mixture. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350°F or until the cheese has just started to turn golden, then turn the oven up to broil and bake an additional 10 or so minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

August 28, 2010

Guacamole

I’m toying the idea of a cake: Lemon Poppyseed with an accent of Raspberry or Something Jam or Preserves or Jelly. That will have to wait for another day. Today, I have guacamole!!

It’s really simple, but I didn’t realize how much I love it until I made it myself. I usually keep mine chunky, because I feel like it highlights all of the really good ingredients put into it.

Chunky

Guacamole

1 (or 2) avocados
1/3 (or 1/2) red onion, chopped
1/2 (or 1) T lemon juice
1 (or 2) small, from-the-vine tomatoes
1 (or 2) t ground cumin
optional: jalepeño, small and chopped very finely, seeds removed for less heat

Chop onion and tomatoes. Split avocado, remove seed, cut the avocado while still in the skin, and scoop out chunks with a spoon. Add lemon juice, cumin, and chopped jalepeño, (if you’re using jalepeño).

Mix together, squishing some of the avocado chunks, if you’d like. Enjoy.

The parenthetical amounts will serve about four hungry people armed with tortilla chips while the lesser amount is good for about two.

Scooped

August 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries

I love oatmeal and chocolate chips. That combo screams to be eaten and enjoyed and loved. So. There.

My roommates don’t love oatmeal as much as I do, so whenever I make these, I always feel like it’s an extra-special treat for me. The roommates are good and stalwart, and still help me eat them. (Thank you, guys.)

Cookie Love

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries

1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c cranberries*

Beat together the butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Add oats, flours, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.

Bake at 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) for 10 – 12 minutes.

*Or blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries as pictured

August 25, 2010

Gazpacho

It’s summer time. Everybody needs a gazpacho recipe; I believe.

I didn’t know I needed gazpacho in my life until this summer, then, bam, delicious. It was as though someone handed me a spoon and said, “Why, yes, you CAN eat salsa from a spoon. Oh, but did I mention this is even more delectable than house salsa??”

Ah, gazpacho.

There are many ways to adjust this recipe, and the one I’m sharing with you isn’t exactly the one I used for the photos, but it’s a good one. I like recipes that adjust to what you have on hand or what you’re craving, and I encourage you to add or take away amounts (and some ingredients, but the more, the better) as you please.

Onions

Gazpacho

inspired by The Grit Restaurant Cookbook

1 sm or 1/2 large red onion, finely minced
6 large ripe tomatoes seeded and finely chopped
1 scant t minced fresh garlic
1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely
1/4 medium jalapeno chile, finely chopped
2 c spring or filtered water
1 (12 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 small or 1/2 large seedless cucumber, finely shredded
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
3 T cider vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t hotsauce, or more to taste
2 T chopped fresh basil or 2 t dried
2 T chopped fresh parsley or 2 t dried
2 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
3 pieces bread (country white, baguette, or whatever is on hand)
1/4 t cumin powder
1/4 t chipotle powder

Place 1/2 of prepared onion, 1/2 of prepared fresh tomato, garlic, green pepper, and chile in a food processor and puree until liquified, adding water if necessary. Add bread toward the end and pulse until the bread is incorporated into mixture. Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large, non-metal bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve very cold in chilled bowls.