Roasted Chicken with Safflower and Lemons

While I know it’s easy to hate the switchover to Daylight Savings Time because of losing an hour of sleep, I have to admit that I don’t hate it at all and now that we’ve moved back into the Mid-Atlantic, I kind of love it. Sunset on Sunday following the change was after 7:00 which is nothing short of extraordinary. Admittedly I am usually very in favor of this change because as a food blogger who likes to take pictures of the food we eat in natural light (and much preferring to do so when we actually cook it), being able to do so in the beginning of March feels downright heady. I can’t wait to see how bright it gets here in the summertime.

It’s fitting, then, that on the first day of extended daylight we make a roasted chicken that’s so bright and sunny itself thanks to the use of saffron and lemon. It’s a recipe from Saveur that’s incredibly simple with an extremely short ingredient list, but it creates such a savory and juicy chicken that even adding some potatoes to the roasting pan made them delicious by association. Read More

Tomato Pesto over Gnocchi

Tomato Pesto over Gnocchi

I spent the last few days in Chicago visiting a dear friend, and those days were surprisingly warm. I was all ready to embrace the fall and I even packed two sweaters to combat against the wind tunnel effect, but they and the jacket I packed were completely unnecessary. It was sunny, and warm, and largely reminiscent of not only the last third of this past summer, but also of our time last year in Barcelona. Between Thursday and Friday, I walked all over Lincoln Park, and the Loop, and revisited West Loop which was the neighborhood I stayed in the first time I was in Chicago ever. As a belated housewarming gift to my friend I brought him an immersion blender, and ever since then I was kind of preoccupied with making my favorite tomato pesto because it always comes out better using that than the traditional blender.

If I also wanted an excuse to post this recipe again to tempt T into making it before the tomatoes are lousy, well, I’ll never tell. Read More

Mustard-marinated roasted chicken

I can’t say I’m the most organized person, but one area in my life where I do crave order and lists is grocery shopping. My mom is a freaking ninja when it comes to it–not only does she write lists weekly, kept in a little stenography notebook, but she lists everything in the exact order she’ll find them in the store. By aisle. It’s hardcore–and she started doing it back when I was little and she needed to get through the store as quickly as possible before I started getting fussy.

I am nowhere nearly this organized with lists, but I am pretty good about whipping out a Post-It or one of our restaurant waitstaff notebooks (you know, those guest check pads you can buy at Staples) and a Sharpie and meticulously* noting down everything we need for a meal.

*or not-s0-meticulously

Read More

Rostit de Festa Mayor (Holiday Roasted Chicken)

Four FC Barcelona/Real Madrid matches in eighteen days: it’s enough to make the most ardent Spanish football fan both excited  and terrified at the same time, because so much can happen in one game, much less four. It’s hard in America to find something to relate this phenomenon to, and the best I can offer is to imagine the Yankees and the Red Sox competing for three separate titles over the course of two weeks–it would be crazy and as a fan you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself so you’d likely sink into a banquette of a sports bar either in Manhattan or near Fenway, drinking beers and rapidly losing your grip on sanity as the games proceeded.

I’d use the Subway Series as another example, but that would be too low a blow to Mets fans right now.

I’m channeling much of that nervous energy into cooking (or at least planning meals), to the point that I peeled an entire head of garlic in 45 minutes thanks to a whole lot of antsiness during the hour leading up to the first game–a rematch of the Liga clásico that saw Barça destroy Real Madrid 5-0. Given how the teams have played since then this wasn’t considered the most important of the four, but being the first the anticipation was very high nonetheless. Read More

Braised lamb shanks with Asiago risotto

It would be wrong of me to declare winter on the way out.  That would assuredly bring several additional feet of snow/sleet hurricanes/what have you depending on geography and disposition and I won’t be responsible for that.  Indeed, we in NYC were not spared winter’s wrath with a freak couple-a feet last Thursday.  As the sun finally broke through on Sunday it occurred to me that even as we looked out the windows onto snow piles that used to be street-parked cars with out-of-state plates that we didn’t have many weekends left to fill the house with the warmth of the oven and aromas of long, slow roasting before it gets too humid once more and we’d rather subsist on ice chips than light the stove.  It may seem far off, but believe me friends, it’s not. Read More

Roasted Pork Shoulder with Braised Lentils

Just about everyone who could possibly reading this has had, I’m sure, to alter some of their plans due to snow over the last few weeks.  Typically, when the weather is nasty, we opt out of our normal trip into the Harlem Fairway, and instead we sojourn via subway to either the Whole Foods on 97th street or, as in this case, the UWS Fairway on 74th and Broadway.

It is always a very interesting proposition when switching Fairways.  I’ve never been to two different locations of the same store so close to one another that have such a different selection.  Elizabeth says that it’s their intention to make each spot special, and in this capacity, they definitely succeed.  With Christmas around the corner, we needed little by way of groceries, but when in Rome, you have to at least see what the Romans are up to…

The meat cases at the UWS locale is very different from the other, perhaps only because the top meat man has different tastes.  I found half pork shoulders for a very modest payout, meaning I get a 3 pounder for less than 5 bucks.  In fact, I got two.  I knew I could throw them into the freezer for a week or two.  I had my parents coming in after the holiday to visit NYC for the first time since our landfall here and I wanted something that I could do a lot with (soup, tacos, sandwiches, roast).

That plan didn’t exactly come to fruition, though, because there was no way we could thaw one out in time their first night here, and a late lunch/gorge session at Katz’s Deli left us with no appetite Monday evening.  So we saved the noble porker for Wednesday with the intentions to finish it up Thursday night as part of our moderately epic traditional New Year’s Eve dinner.  It was nice, Elizabeth was working from home and I had only a few meetings to attend, so one of us could be in the apartment while the oven was on.

Most preparations call for a minimum of 2 hours in the hot box with 15 minutes of high heat to begin.  Some extreme treatments even call for 12 hours of very low heat to break everything down.  I took what I could take time-wise, settling on 20 min at 500 F then almost 3 hours at 225 in my roasting pan with the removable rack in.  I started the whole ordeal with a rubdown with my Penzey’s Fox Point, some chili powder from the Fruit Exchange and some cayenne & extra salt.

I’ve done the pork shoulder now, twice before, I guess.  I tried it French-style in the cast iron dutch oven, but the proper oven roast seems to do better, at least in my opinion.  I still think I’m making mistakes in the stove-top version, whereas this method is more fool-proof.  At the behest of the wife, I paired it with Anne Burrell’s lentils, which matched surprisingly well.

French Green Lentils on Foodista

Roasted Chicken with Cara-Cara/Chayote Salad

Sometimes, I get this feeling.  I just get this yearning, this urge.  Insane vegan women handling out pamphlets on the subway notwithstanding,  I get an inescapable urge to roast a chicken.  Roasting a chicken is a simple,  straightforward and rewarding exercise, absolutely perfect for a chilly Saturday.  It only takes about 90 minutes from truss to table and the bird comes out delightful.

Roasting a chicken is simple and best set forth in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.  To me, the most important decision is what to coat the birdie with before he goes for his trip down the high-heat highway.  My favorite is still a mixture of dijon mustard, salt, red pepper and cracked grains of paradise.  This time I tried for dried chipotle and Fox Point found at Penzey’s in Grand Central Market.  It was good, but in order for the coating to really take charge, it needs to be sterner stuff.

I found a few chayotes at Whole Foods on 97th street and after a few Top Chef flashbacks, I decided to give a simple salad a whirl.  It’s special citrus season, and instead of making my standard fennel/grapefruit salad, I mixed the chayote, shaved very thin with some Cara Cara oranges, their juice and some olive oil.  I let the whole affair sit in the fridge for a few hours before dinner and the result was a crisp salad that paid well with the sumptuous poultry.    One great thing about all the food on TV these days is that it can turn us on to ingredients we’d never even had heard of otherwise.  So fear not the unknown, readers, and until next time, cook on!

Whole Chicken on Foodista


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