Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

A Fantastic Chicken Dinner

Yep I said it…it was a FANTASTIC chicken dinner!  Now I have to admit it wasn’t perfect but it was darn good.  I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I have to admit something before sharing last night’s recipes.  This sounds silly I know but, I have recipe ADD.  I am usually not happy following just one recipe, and thus I mix and match recipes to come up with the right combination of ingredients.  Because of this some measurements are approximates, I tend to go by sight and smell when cooking.  I will do my best, I promise, to be as accurate as possible!

Now on to the good stuff….

The menu:

Garlic Lemon Roasted Chicken (recipe follows)

Quinoa and Corn Salad (recipe follows)

Homemade French Bread

and for cocktail hour….Watermelon Mojitos

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

  • 1 5lb whole chicken (fresh or thawed), rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 lemons
  • 9 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 26 oz chicken stock or broth

Let chicken and butter stand out for about 30 minutes to reach room temperature.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove giblets and anything else that might be in the body cavity of the chicken.  Rinse and towel dry chicken.   Sprinkle salt and pepper inside and outside of chicken; don’t be stingy!

Next slice onion, 1 lemon and the cloves of garlic.  Place onion, lemon and all but 2 cloves of garlic on the bottom of your pan making a bed for your chicken to sit on.  Place chicken in pan.  Half remaining lemon and place inside of chicken along with 2 cloves of garlic.

Coat chicken liberally with the softened butter.  This step  can get a bit sloppy, but isn’t it fun to make a mess??  Make sure you coat the WHOLE chicken including getting under the skin (my mom hates this part!).  If needed, salt and pepper chicken again. Pour about half of stock into bottom of pan.

Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1 hour.  Check chicken occasionally during roasting, if needed you can add chicken stock if it seems to be getting dry.  Remove foil and continue to roast for 30 minutes more or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 180 in the breast and 190 in the thigh.

Let chicken rest on a plate for 10 – 15 minutes.  Meanwhile pour pan juices, minus the lemon slices, into a small sauce pan.  Make sure you get all of the good meaty brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.  The more “stuff” you get out of the pan the better your sauce will taste!   Using either a fat separator or a spoon, skim off the fat.  Simmer juices about 15 minutes, taste.  If too salty add more stock, if bland add salt and pepper to taste.

When serving you can choose to pour a bit of sauce over chicken or serve on the side in a gravy boat or dish.

Quinoa and Corn Salad

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 4 Cups cooked)
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil in a small saucepan and stir in the quinoa and some salt. Return to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add corn, red pepper, onion.  Cover and continue to simmer on low until onion is tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, oil, and salt to taste; pour over quinoa. Cover and simmer on low until heated through.

Add scallions and cilantro. Stir thoroughly.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking School: Roast Chicken

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will. ~Vernon Howard

I am walking through this dinner as if I had something to learn….because I do.  I am going back to school and learning what makes a chicken tick.

Chicken and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love to make it but it hates to turn out.  Either it is a bit too dry or a bit too bland. In culinary school roasting a chicken was the classic and most basic way to introduce us to this popular protein.  I didn’t have a problem then, chicken and I were friends.

But….

Things have gone down hill since….until tonight.  I have had enough and am fighting back!  I am cracking open my old textbook and reintroducing myself to chicken.

“Hi chicken this is Kristie and this is going to be a fantastic friendship!!!”

Wish me luck!

Playing catch up

Someone needs to send me to time out. Why? Well isn’t it obvious, I have totally neglected my duties as a blogger!

There is a simple explanation really…no really! It is a one word explanation….work. Two weeks of hectic running around and late nights. But that has come to an end (finally) and to celebrate I am going to cook and reintroduce myself to my equally neglected garden.

New adventures are a comin’!

“Honey, I killed the basil…..again”

They say the first step is to admit…Hi my name is Kristie and I have killed my basil plants not once but twice.  With the warmer temperatures and late sunsets comes the reccurring temptation to start an herb garden.  The first time this temptation showed itself, it was innocent enough.  I was meeting friends and was early (as usual!), so I decided to stop by my most favorite place in the world…the grocery store.  This time it was Whole Foods and outside sat the most beautiful basil plants.  I felt as though a light came down from heaven and put that plant in a wonderful warm spotlight for me to purchase.  Not knowing what I was getting into I snatched it up and whisked it away!  I proudly displayed my first basil plant in my apartment and named it the very original “Basil” (pronounced Bah-sil, the oh-so-proper English way!)   He was my little pet plant and I loved it sooooo!  Each day I would check the soil and would sit it outside on the balcony to sun bathe.  Then it happened….the worst turn of events….a happy but evil family of spider-mites had moved in and settled on my (why mine) little basil!   That spelled the end of Basil.  I mourned.

By the next spring I was struck again with the temptation to grow basil yet again; how easily I forget.  This time I bought a small package of small basil plants, 3 opportunities to get this right.  Again I babied my little girls (I have an odd habit of personifying plants)….and lo-and-behold they flourished.   I was a proud mama.  So happy was I that I decided to get my girls out of their stuffy little pots and into something befitting such beauties.  A shiny new pot was ready for the transplant and housed them brilliantly.  The excitement soon ended…soon came the horrific cry… “Honey, I killed the basil…again!”  I was a two time murderer and this time I was scarred.  For a couple of years I was too scared to try again.

Then came this spring…the warm weather, the late sunsets and the urge to plant basil.  Knowing my past I was hesitant but as soon as a saw that small display outside my most favorite place in the world, yep the grocery store, I was overwhelmed with 12 year-old giddiness and scooped up that basil plant and brought it home like a proud mom.  So what is the point of this little visit to my basil murdering past?  I am making this one of many summer projects…to SUCCESSFULLY have a healthy herb garden….but there is one catch…

Ok….the catch is….I need help!  I am  going to frequent the gardening section of the internet, bookstores and home improvement stores in hopes to soak up advice, but I will need more (you now know my horrid history) and I want green-thumbed readers to offer practical knowledge as well.  When do I transplant, what type of soil, sun or no sun (that is the question)???  HELP ME!  My plant, Basil III, has a sibling Oregano.  And I don’t want to fail again.   Throughout this herb gardening journey I will be keeping everyone informed of the progress, or tragedy, of this journey.  Of course there will be pictures, I AM a proud mama after all!

First hurdle to jump…do I keep my herbs as potted plants or plant outside?

Wish me luck….K

Basil III

Oregano