Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken 371º ~ Our Favorite Roast Chicken


Chicken 371º ~ Our Favorite Roast Chicken

Giving your chicken a long saltwater bath (brining) is a simple trick to make roast chicken turn out extra moist and flavorful... any day of the week. It doesn't even need a bath toy while it's brining. It's happy to just hang out, bobbing around. Roasting it untrussed makes sure that the dark and white meat are both evenly cooked and moist. Even the leftovers are still moist. We roasted our first brined chicken at 371º (using convection setting at 371º), and it turned out perfectly, so we've stuck with 371ºF just for luck. 

I knew that you are supposed to reduce the temperature 25º when you use the convection setting for anything, but with our range you turn the knob and have to wait for the numbers to change bit by bit. I was too impatient to wait for it to go down 25 degrees, so I gave up after only 4 degrees and hoped for the best at 371º. Good call!  P.S. Roasting times: 4 lb chicken-1 hour total. For every 1/2 pound difference up or down, add or take away 5 minutes...3.5 lb chicken 55 minutes...4.5 lb chicken 65 minutes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blueberry~Sorrel Smoothie

Blueberry~Sorrel Smoothie

This is sorrel season! If you've never grown French sorrel, or seen it, sorrel grows in bunches like spinach. Each leaf is shaped like a long bright green arrow that shoots out of the ground. We grew ours from seed, but I've also bought it at farmer's markets. The tart, lemony flavor is due to oxalic acid, the same stuff in rhubarb. It's toxic in huge quantities but a 145 pound person would have to eat about 11 pounds of sorrel to get sick. If that scares you, don't worry. You only eat, like, an ounce of sorrel in this smoothie, so forget about it and enjoy because it's tasty-shmasty.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gwen's Citrus ~ Sorrel Dressing


 Gwen's Citrus~Sorrel Dressing

I have a happy patch of French sorrel that wintered over extra well. It's all ready to pick. In year's past I have sautéed sorrel to put on top of eggs or in omelettes (yum), but today I wondered if the lemony flavor of the sorrel would make a tasty salad dressing. It did...yum-squared! or one might even say y2.

Since it's so lemony (and peppery) I paired it with the juice of a sweet orange and some basil. Without the avocado it's a super light, perfume-like dressing perfect for a salad comprised of just lettuce. Any other salad "toppings" would overpower the sorrel flavor that you want to appreciate. Adding the avocado and perhaps an extra squeeze of lime or lemon juice would add a little weight to it for a hearty salad, say, with diced chicken or salmon. Save the rest of the avocado, though, and slice it to garnish the salad. Any leftover dressing (if any:) can be thinned with a little more orange juice and/or olive oil.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sweet Potato-Coconut Puree


Sweet Potato-Coconut Puree

Makes 6 Cups (scant)

This naturally sweet dish is perfect if you are craving something sweet and creamy. It's a delicious hot purée. Freshly grated nutmeg is key here. It's also delicious served cold or partially frozen 
for a treat, it's taste is reminiscent of pumpkin-pie ice cream if you double the spices (freezing subdues the spices, that's why you add more).

I've noticed that sweet potatoes can come nearly as large as footballs and as small as dinner-rolls.  It's hard to guess what size sweet potato to get for most recipes if no weight measurement is given. I once mistakenly chose enormous Russets for my first vichyssoise and I could have spackled a wall with it.  So for this recipe, I give some guidelines: choose large sweet potatoes, about 1 pound each, and it will be thick and creamy, like my first, ahem, "vichyssoise".

Monday, April 1, 2013

Crispy Chicken Liver with Lemon





Crispy Chicken Liver with Lemon

Most people start out liking liver . . . until they grow up enough to find out no one is supposed to like it. This is a mouth-watering way to prepare chicken liver for the enlightened who want to give liver another go. Best served hot and crispy over a salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, or served on their own with a squeeze of lemon juice over every hot piece. Sauerkraut is a nice side dish for these. Cold leftovers, if any, are best reheated in a skillet over medium heat until they have softened. I was inspired to make these from the clothes make the girl dot com, but preferred different seasonings and fresh garlic.