Roasting a chicken is an activity/meal that ranks right at the top of my list as a relaxing task and an incredibly satisfying & comforting meal. Add to that a good variety of root vegetables, and it is one big baking pan of goodness.
My thing with sharing recipes with all of you is by no means to show what a great cook I am. I am just a home cook who loves to cook. I came to cooking later in life, as the first 15 years of being with Mister Sive, he did almost all of the cooking. We will celebrate our 25th anniversary this January. Easy math. It has been a busy 10 years of cooking. I just love sharing recipes with all of you. I try to be a fairly organized & methodical cook so there are things I have made time and again that I really want to share with you. Roasting a chicken is one of those things. You get the basics down, and then variations happen after. One of you faithful readers, Wendy, recently asked me about roasting a chicken. I wrote a post shortly after I started this blog, so I think it might be time for another variation. Here we go.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I try and use a 4 to 5 pound chicken. Rinse chicken and dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper both the inside the bird and the outside. Cut a garlic in half, as well as a lemon. Insert all of this into the cavity. Next chop up several onions, as well as your favorite type of small potatoes. I like Yukon Gold on most occasions. Peel carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga–really whatever variation of root veg you like or can find. Cut into pieces a similar size to the potatoes you just cut up, so they cook at somewhat the same pace. Put all of the above in a roasting pan, mix all together with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Liberally rub olive oil on the chicken and liberally season with salt & pepper too.
Roast in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes, occasionally mixing around things so the bottom layer does not burn. Test the chicken so temp reads 160. If it is not quite there, roast a tad longer. Once the meat has reached that temperature, take the chicken out of the pan, place on a plate or platter and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes. Turn off oven, but keep the pan of goodies still in to keep things warm. Once the chicken has rested, arrange all the root vegetables and potatoes on the platter with the chicken. You are ready for a comforting feast.
Like many of you, I have been glued to the news and am so saddened by all that has been brought on by this latest storm. We have now heard from all of our family & friends who live there, so it is relieving to know they are all fine, but many of the stories of what folks are going through is heartbreaking. But we humans are a resilient lot. I woke to a lovely e-mail from my new friend Elizabeth (who I met in New York last May at the Blogfest on Design) and the subject line was, Resilient in Rye. She and her family live in the lovely New York town of Rye. She wrote of their many blessings and how grateful they are that all is fine. But I also know from all the news how tough it was for them and all the work that will go into the clean-up and rebuilding of things. Natural disasters make all of us really examine things, and makes us so grateful for the ones we love and the things we still have. I find questioning what is important in life part of this process. Times like these make us all so grateful for what we have and any good fortune–Mother Nature is very complex.
As the clean-up and rebuilding begins, they will all still need our good thoughts and continued prayers. I am a big fan of the American Red Cross. Check out all the amazing work they have been doing, and if so inclined donate to www.redcross.org
At a time like this, soup can be so comforting. We made stock the other week-end out at our place on Vashon Island. Here is our quick & easy stock recipe.
Since we frequent the organic farm stands all through the Summer, we collect every bit of produce that we don’t use in a recipe. We add all the onion tops & skins, spiny greens, carrot tops, herbs–to a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer. We add to the bag all through the season, many times creating several bags. I also roast many chickens for Sunday night suppers, so we create other bags for all the carcasses and add those to the freezer. Come Autumn, the freezer is brimming with produce and chickens, just ready to be made into stock. Add all to a large stock pot. Cover with water. Add a small handful of peppercorns. Boil all. Then turn down the heat to very low but you are still seeing bubbles coming up. Cover and let cook for several hours. Once done, skim the top layer of foam and any fat that has collected on top. Take out all the solids. Strain your beautimous golden stock. Fill containers. We use plastic soup containers we get from our local Thai restaurant. Put in freezer and enjoy all Winter long when you want to make soup or add to recipes when it calls for chicken stock. Your chicken stock. The stock you made yourself. Smile at how cool you are that you have stock sitting in the freezer.
When we are a guest at the home of one of our dearest friends, I love to cook a meal for them as part of the ‘thank you’ for the stay. It can be a respite for the friend who is the host. In our case last week, Devin was driving up late after work, so a home cooked meal just seemed like a great way to kick-off the visit.
Along with cooking the meal, I also love to set the table. I know, how surprising. I get antsy when I am away for the shops and not moving stuff around. If the host is up for it, it is a fun way for them to see a different version of how they might usually set the table.
My only challenge was we were only making one stop for the day, and that was at a smaller country grocery store, so I knew the selection would be limited. I knew I wanted to roast a simple chicken with a variety of potatoes (yams, white, sweet) as well as roasted carrots. This would all go great with the kale & purple cabbage salad I wrote a post about the other day. The small market had all the above. Check. The main meal portion was set.
I searched high and low for hazelnuts for the salad. No luck on finding any already shelled, but they did have a bag of whole hazelnuts in the shells. They would also be great in a few bowls on the table, as well as the salad. A quick look in the fruit section produced these amazingly sweet looking Seckel pears. These would be perfect scattered around. As I round the corner to the petite flower section, I spotted a lone single bunch of white tulips. It was my lucky day.
With what I found at the grocer, I was now ready to pull from his cupboards and set the table. Creamy plates would be perfect. I found a hurricane urn with a giant candle sitting in a closet, that Dev uses in the Summer outside. This would be fab in the middle of the table. 3 pretty blue-ish glassbaby glasses would work beautifully, as well as a few clear glass votive holders to light up the table. I found 3 ceramic cups that would be the vases for the tulips. We had given Devin a bunch of shells on another visit after we had stayed out at the Wells cabin in Southold–these would be fun scattered in groupings. Simple glassware, a napkin, and we were all set for a cozy meal at his beautiful round terrazzo table. It was an evening filled with many good stories, yummy wine, and much laughter.
I first had a version of this salad when Pam and I were having dinner with her daughter and new hubby at Henry’s on the Upper West Side. They knew the chef well, so they were able to coax the recipe out of him, and were so kind and shared it with me. I have since made it several times, and it is a very tasty and super healthy salad. I roasted a chicken last evening for a late dinner with our host Devin–he drove in after work from the city–and the kale & purple cabbage salad was perfect along with it.
Here we go.
Cut kale into bit sized pieces, being sure to remove the tough rib down the middle. Cut purple cabbage into bit sized pieces, making sure to leave out the tough core. Mix the kale and cabbage in a bowl, using more kale than cabbage. Set aside.
The vinaigrette for this uses maple syrup which really cuts the bitterness of the kale. Use the best maple syrup you can find. In a separate bowl juice 1 lemon. Add one tablespoon of maple syrup. Then whisk in a fourth of a cup of extra virgin olive oil along with a pinch of salt.
Toast hazelnuts for a quick bit on the stove top in a small pan to warm them and help release their natural oils. Add a quarter of a cup of them to the greens. Next add a half of a cup of dried cranberries. Then add a half of a cup of finely grated Parmesan. Mix all together.
Now add the vinaigrette to the mixture and mix again. Done. Once plated, add a little sprinkling of more Parmesan to each. Enjoy!
Our plans were postponed for a day after an early wake up yesterday to meet our architect and visit our property in the Hudson River Valley. We are off in just a bit. Photos tomorrow, I promise.
Snow at our place on the island is a rarity, so when it does happen, we are as happy as a clam all bundled up by the fire watching the snow flakes accumulate.
It is just magical to see the trees across the water dusted in white. It was a day of reading, napping and cooking. I made our traditional Sunday eve roasted chicken, followed by freshly made rugelach by TPS, and more reading by the fire.
I caught up on my Vanity Fair issues, which I always love. A fun little side note which tickled me. My First Avenue Watson Kennedy shop was abuzz with Vanity Fair staff over the New Year’s week-end. One of the contributing editors was getting married on New Year’s Eve (how incredibly romantic & sweet) in Seattle. Many VF folk bought wedding gifts, as well as oodles of jewelry to wear to the events. We even sold a monkey handled pitcher–I wonder if that will find its way to a certain Monkey Bar…
A restful snow day to all if that is what is happening in your part of the world!
It is funny how certain foods from certain places just stick in your memory. The last few days in Seattle have been cold and rainy, and a warm bowl of polenta with Parmesan from Zuni Cafe in San Francisco keeps popping into my mind. The large bowl of polenta topped with large pieces of fresh cracked black pepper is one of the most comforting & satisfying things I have ever eaten. Plus, I love the simplicity of it. If you don’t know Zuni, please let me introduce you. It is located on Market Street, a quick taxi ride from the city center. I know that taxi cab ride well. I have been going to San Francisco each year for buying trips for at least the last 15 years. There has never been a time I have been in San Francisco that I have not had a meal at Zuni. It is a non pretentious, incredibly comfortable place to sit and watch the world stroll by. I have never had a single item that did not knock my socks off. Everything is simply prepared, but prepared incredibly well. I have had pork chops there that were close to a religious experience. The roast chicken for two is always worth the wait.
Some people take photos of landmark sights when they visit places–I take photos of the amazing things I have eaten. Looking at this overflowing plate of shoestring potatoes just makes me happy. Many times I eat there solo, as I am ending my trip, and am then heading to the airport. TPS and I have celebrated special occasions there. If I love a place, I keep going back. Zuni is just that kind of place. www.zunicafe.com
On my days away from work, I like nothing better than to have a good sleep in, and spend the better part of the day on the deck reading, listening to the sound of the water and watch boats go by. It is such a great time to let the mind wander, reflect, plan, and just let mind & body recharge.
Cooking an elaborate meal on this type of relaxing day is not in the cards. I like to roast a simple chicken alongside all the other things that will make up the main meal for the day. It involves one roasting pan, a bit of chopping, and soon the glorious smells will start filling the house as everything roasts away.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I try and use a 4 to 5 pound chicken. Rinse chicken and dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper both the inside the bird and the outside. Cut a garlic in half, as well as a lemon and a lime. Insert all of this into the cavity. Next chop up several onions, more lemons and limes, as well as your favorite type of small potatoes. Peel several medium sized carrots. Put all of the above in a roasting pan, mix all together with olive oil and a break apart a few sprigs of rosemary. Set the chicken on top.
Liberally rub the chicken with olive oil. Salt and pepper all the contents of the pan, including the chicken again. You really want the chicken well seasoned, so I like to do it before and after I lather it with olive oil. Roast in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes, occasionally mixing around things so the bottom layer does not burn. Test the chicken so temp reads 160. If it is not quite there, roast a tad longer. Once the meat has reached that temperature, take the chicken out of the pan, place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes. Turn off oven, but keep the pan of goodies still in to keep things warm. Once the chicken has rested, you are all set to have a seriously yummy meal.