much ado about chicken

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The humble roast chicken. A backbone of American cuisine. I am one of those people that loves roasted chicken. But I need to spice it up a little and not just roast it in the style of Julia Child all of the time.

So I have been experimenting with marinades that use plain Greek yogurt as a base. My favorite plain Greek yogurt is the Fage brand.

As I am especially pleased with today’s marinade so I thought I would share the approximate ingredients:

1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
Salt to taste (kosher is best in my opinion)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Dash or two of hot sauce/Tabasco

Combine marinade a greedy ingredients in a small bowl whisk well, taste for salt and set aside.

Take a 4 1/2 to 5 pound roasting chicken and butterfly it – basically you are cutting it in half and spreading it open so it lies flat.

Take butterflied chicken, put it in a large Ziploc freezer bag and dump the marinade on top. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal the bag and smoosh the marinade around. I then put this bag in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator for anywhere from five hours to overnight. I periodically smoosh the marinade around in the bag and turn the bag over so it coats evenly.

When ready to cook bring your chicken out of the refrigerator and remove from marinade and lay out flat in a roasting pan lined with onion slices. Discard the rest of the marinade. It has had raw poultry and it so you can’t use marinade for anything else.

The chicken goes into a preheated 350° oven skin side up and flat out for approximately 15 minutes per pound at 350° . I actually use a meat thermometer to check for proper doneness with poultry.

The chicken is delicious when you use a yogurt marinade. I will serve this with something like roasted carrots and a salad, or a wild rice mixture and a salad, or oven roasted potatoes and a salad.

Enjoy!

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happy 100th julia child!

Julia Child would have been 100 today.  PBS Digital Studios did this fun tribute.

In celebration of her 100th birthday, Julia Child Remixed by John D. Boswell,  for PBS Digital Studios. Please support your local PBS station as they have many cool programs!

Visit pbs.org/food to join in the celebration, check out  recipes and more. You can leave your own tribute to The French Chef by cooking a Julia recipe and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter with #CookForJulia.

Special thanks go to the Julia Child Foundation for their support. The French Chef episodes used courtesy of WBGH/Boston. For more, go to http://www.wgbh.org/JC100

Follow them on Twitter: @pbsds.

I keep wondering what Julie Powell will say today – she is the author of the Julie/Julia project which I loved. It is a shame all the links are broken to what was her original Salon blog – I guess the original is gone now?   Her book was turned into a lovely movie with Meryl Streep. After the movie, she came out with another book called Cleaving.

Anyway, I grew up watching Julia Child on TV in black and white and I also have a couple of her books, including a vintage copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her memoirs My Life in France.

Incidentally if you can master a few Julia classics, you can cook.  She gives you bones.  Her roast chicken recipe is still the best on the planet.  My own roast chicken recipe uses hers as a base. – where my recipes are my own that I share, the basic techniques for my roast chicken recipe were learned from her basic roast chicken recipe.  You see, a lot of chefs forget the basics, which as a related aside is why I love Ina Garten so much (The Barefoot Contessa). Like Julia Child, she is a big believer in basics. And in order to develop your own recipes, professional or home chef, you have to master some basics.

Happy Birthday Julia ChildBon Appétit!

this chicken dinner will keep them coming back for more

Any vegans in the room need to turn away from the page now.  We’re talking chicken.  And I love chickens. I am also  a fan of Chickenman in West Vincent and am hoping he doesn’t get run over by the road master of West Vincent or the peace love and eminent domain lady and the lawyer of reinvention either.

But I digress. And besides, I bet Chickenman would love my home cooking as well as witty political repartee n’est–ce pas?

Back to cluck…so easy to wander down a rutty path towards politics when discussing chicken dinners.  After all chicken dinners are the staple of most politicians.

(If you were hoping for The Pioneer Woman or Barefoot Contessa , sorry, it’s just me)

And yes, as per above photo I do know where chickens come from.  No, I will not be doing my version of Little House on The Prairie and fetching a chicken and slaying it for dinner.  Mine came from the market.

It’s summer I don’t want to stuff anything except maybe the occasional tomato or deviled egg.  But today has been thunderstorm city  and who knows if it will keep on not raining or not, so oven it is.

I love roast chicken and this is the plan B roast chicken when you don’t feel like stuffing.

First I clean out my chicken and remove the gizzards (which I freeze for homemade stock another time.)

Then I June Cleaver it with my cleaver.  Oh ok: translation: I place my raw chicken breast side down on a non-wooden cutting board and cleave her open (see photos).  Then I place her breast side up and spread out on a little roasting rack in a pan I have lined with that half parchment half foil paper, foil side up (easier clean up – sorry – it is Friday and I don’t want to be slave to kitchen.)

Then I look for two little skin pockets that I help along with a little paring knife (see photo) and I stuff 4 cloves of garlic sliced under the skin (evenly on each side) along with the herbs I have handy and fresh outside – oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves.

Then I channel my inner Julia Child but not to the point of Paula Deen and I rub the chicken with a pat of butter (ok so maybe it is like a tablespoon plus a smidgen.)

Then I rub on the skin  salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, oregano, basil, smoked paprika, regular paprika, tarragon, cumin, and dried Valencia orange peel.  Look, I don’t go THAT overboard, a dash or this and a dash of that until it smells good going in the oven.  Omit what you don’t like.

Into a pre-heated 350 degree oven it goes.  I have seen recipes that say different things with regard to the internal temperature and doneness, but I just let my meat thermometer do the thinking and when it says done for poultry I haul it out of the oven and rest the cluck for at least 15 minutes with foil on top.  Tonight’s bird is 6.74 lbs. so it will cook about 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

A note is halfway through I always sour a roast, whether it is chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.  I sour it with whatever wine is open.  I don’t drown it, just refresh it.

Tonight I have fresh corn and a salad to accompany my cluck. 

I will post a roasted completion photo later.

Happy cooking!

simple pleasures

Life is full of simple pleasures, from seeing your wild columbine come back to the blooms other plants in the garden, a stone bunny peeking out from hostas, or the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven stuffed full of herbs you grew yourself and spring onions from the local farmers market.

Take time out of your day for the simple pleasures.  Find one a day.  You’ll be glad you did.