Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Roast Chicken with Wasabi Sauce

Tonight I'll start off by saying do not make my wasabi sauce. In fact, I'll just not include the recipe to ensure you don't. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good and my chicken is fantastic without it. In that light, let's make a roast chicken.

NOTE: This recipe requires six to seven hours of preparation.

1 4 1/2 pound chicken
11 cups of water
1/2 cup of coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
peel from 1 lemon
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
2 cups chicken broth

Bring the water, salt, lemon juice, lemon peel, bay leaf, and thyme to a boil in a large pot. Boil a few minutes and remove from heat. Cool the brine in a refrigerator (or on your winter windowsill as I did).

While the brine is cooling, wash your whole chicken. If it has giblets, set them aside for some other recipe. Once washed, place in the brine and soak for six hours.

Drain the chicken form the brine...

...and pat dry. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the sides of a dutch oven in olive oil (yes, that's my new Le Creuset dutch oven), and then place the chicken inside.

Place cover on the oven and roast chicken for 20 minutes, then add 1 cup of chicken broth. Roast another 20 minutes, then add the second cup of chicken broth. Roast another 20 minutes, then remove cover. Roast an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I made a nice romaine, leek, radish, jalapeno, and parsley salad with balsamic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. 

The chicken came out very juicy and tasty with enough juice for gravy. 

This was my final product, but as I said the wasabi sauce wasn't so good. Enjoy your roast chicken all week as sandwich, stew, or tostada (as I will)!

Your soundtrack for this entry: Black Sabbath - Neon Knights.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jeremy Fails Dinner: The Pan

What went largely (entirely) unreported in my recent tuna recipe was another episode of Jeremy Fails Dinner. I didn't quite fail the dinner part, obviously, but I certainly failed the not-being-a-dumbass part of dinner.

I fear I may have ruined my favourite calphalon frying pan. You know the part of the recipe where I was supposed to boil the potatoes? Well, the pan with the water in it to boil was on the back burner and the pan I'd used earlier in the recipe was on the front burner. So, naturally I turned the front burner on and left for 15 minutes.

After that period I returned to a smoking, black pan and, while I've used some urn cleaner to get a lot of gunk off, I'm still left with the encrustulation you see before you.

Pro-tip: Remove cookware you don't plan to use again from the stove whenever possible and check which burner you've turned on. Or, y'know, don't leave a heated pot unattended.

Your soundtrack for this entry:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Basic Marinara

It has been weeks and weeks since I've seen Ali from yumveggieburger.com. Between hoity toity film shoots and holiday travel she's been too busy for us plebians (just kidding Ali!). You should read her year-end recap of the best and worst veggie burgers in New York City.

I thought I wouldn't see her before the new year, but turns out she had a free Thursday evening and so did I. What I also had were some remainders of onions, fresh parsley, romano cheese, and a hankering for pasta. So Ali got invited over for a vegetarian-friendly pasta dinner.

This was all made from scratch and on-the-fly. The ingredients list included below is slightly different than what we actually used, but I've only made modifications to it in the interest of better flavour (mostly just less onion). I don't claim this is a true marinara, but it sounds better than only saying tomato sauce!

Ingredients for the basic marinara:
5 vine-ripe tomatoes (peeled, juiced and diced)
1/2 white onion (diced)
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (sliced)
1/2 cup fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
1 small can of tomato paste
2 - 3 tbsp of olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Having an extra pair of hands around to take photos results in the entry beginning with a picture of me drinking in an apron.

I'm also more able to show off proper knife technique. 

And of course you get plenty of shots of tomatoes ready to blanch. 

While I was waiting for the water to come to a boil I prepared our salad. It's very basic and incredibly tasty. Simply thin-slice a head of romaine, quarter 5 - 10 radishes, and do the same for a lime. Ring the salad with the lime pieces and keep in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

I served this with olive oil and white wine vinegar on the side. I may occasionally make a dressing for salad and present it on this blog, but I prefer some type of vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper on the side.

Blanching the maters. 

After peeling the tomatoes I took out the stem with my paring knife. I then juiced these. You can read about how to do that in my entry on the thon à la provençal. We didn't get pictures of the following part, but put the tomatoes and onions in a food processor and puree until mostly smooth.

This time around I sliced the garlic because I was lazy, though I still think you should probably do a nice mince on it. Either way it added the proper flavour. In that light, slice the garlic, then pre-heat your sauce pan over medium high heat. Add two to three tablespoons of olive oil and let it heat up until it shimmers. Then add the garlic and let it cook until a golden brown. 

Once your garlic is ready, add the tomato and onion mixture. 

Add fresh ground pepper (about a teaspoon). 

Stir in about a tablespoon of salt. 

Let the mixture cook over medium high heat for about ten minutes, then add the can of tomato paste. This will give it the rich, red colour you're looking for in a pasta sauce. Pink sauces bother me...

Give this another ten minutes to simmer, then add the fresh parsley and cook for another five minutes or so. You could probably just serve now, but then you wouldn't be following my recipe. I'd know about it and it would make me sad.

While the sauce was cooking I had a pot of water roiling. I merely like to have it ready to go when the sauce is perfect. For this I used a linguini rigati, which is a ridged version of linguini. The texture adds a good mouth feel as some would say (or texture as I would call it). 

While I was at it I showed off my new Doctor Who-inspired scarf knitted for me by the Thrifty Sifter. She has a new blog entry out on a wonderful cranberry and pear pie she baked for Ali's last pie party. I highly-recommend baking this pie as both times the Thrifty Sifter made these for me I almost asked her to elope. (I'm only kind of kidding (seriously).)

And here's the final product with some Pellegrino and a toasted loaf of whole wheat crusty bread Ali brought over from her neck of Astoria. We had wine while cooking, though not with dinner, in this case a roero arneis from the Bordone winery. 

Ali tries her second bite and heartily approves. 

Salad's almost gone!

Our wonderful bread. Hopefully Ali will chime in and remind us what bakery this came from. 

Your soundtrack for this entry: Music for a While - Paul Desmond