Monday, January 31, 2011

Oneshot: Easy Peasy Roast Chicken

I feel like everyone, no matter what your cooking skill level is, should be able to roast a chicken. Yes, an entire effing chicken.

There she is, in all of her golden, crispy, buttery glory (captured beautifully by my friend Sammi, I might add). Roast chicken is not only a really easy meal, but also a window to a lot of other meals. You can shred it and use it in tacos, salads, or casseroles. The meat keeps really well in the freezer (just don't forget about it) and you can also freeze and save the bones for stock. I'll tell you how I like mine.

First, set your oven's temp to 400 degrees. We want that oven ROCKET hot.

I start with a kosher bird; the supermarkets by my way sell a brand called Murray's. You don't have to use one, go ahead and use Purdue! But I feel like I'm getting a better quality birdie, the taste makes the difference. Make sure you wash your hands before you handle your chicken, folks.

Take her out of her plastic prison, stick your hand inside, and remove the little bag which will prob have the chicken heart, gizzards, neck, etc. You really don't want to leave that in there when you cook your chicken. If you want to save that to make gravy or whatever, go ahead...but I usually discard them. Rinse the bird inside and out under cool running water; I like to do this with some lemon juice. Lends a nice clean flavor, and I think it makes taste less like chicken coop. It's a Caribbean thing. (Also, if the thought of touching a raw, naked bird makes you cringe, use some latex gloves, sans powder.)

Dry the chicken with clean paper towels, set it on a cutting board and contemplate a massage. Not for you, but for the bird! I like to use softened, unsalted butter to rub down my chicken because, well, butter tastes good, and browns excellently. I use unsalted because I like to control how much salt I use. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper inside the chicken's cavity. Next, I take a quartered red onion (you can use white too, I just had a red one on hand), some springs of thyme and rosemary (just roll them around in your hand til they bruise), 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, and shove them into the bird's backside.

Graphic, I know.

Grind lots of fresh black pepper and some big pinches of salt all over your violated fowl. I like to squeeze half a lemon all over it too, to add some tang.

Some people like to use a roasting pan and a v-rack set up to roast their chicken...I like to use a cookie sheet because it doesn't squish up the bird. I just throw it on there and fold the wings under the bird so they don't burn. Oh! I used a stiff sprig of rosemary to secure the vegetation inside. Just poke two holes opposite each other over the cavity, and skewer the rosemary through.

Throw your bird into that 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until it starts getting brown. I start it in such a super hot oven to get the skin super crispy and scrumptious, then I turn the heat down to 350-300 and let it ride. Basically browning time, 15-20 minutes; roasting time, 45 minutes to an hour. As Alton Brown says, "Your patience will be rewarded."

How did I know it was done? I wiggled one of the drumsticks, and it was pretty lose. And I sliced a TINY hole in the back near the thigh, and the juices ran clean. I don't have a thermometer. Sue me! After taking it out of the oven, I covered it loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the birdie. If you don't do this, and you cut into it too early = DRY CHICKEN. And that, ladies and gents, is a true damn crime.

Ooooo, child....

Ya sweet, sexy thang, you!

I plated this sassy chick with AB's Pearsnip Sauce and some seasoned roasted broccoli (olive oil, salt and pepper, and some lemon pepper seasoning).

You know you want this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yet Another Burger Joint? Eatinist Bitch Reviews The Counter!

Burger joints are a dime a dozen these days; as soon as you blink another one pops up with more beefy wares and more toppings. This is definitely the case at The Counter, which just opened at W41st and Broadway. It's originally a Southern California fast-yet-casual restaurant chain, that specializes in gourmet custom topped burgers and burger salads. Rumor has it that there are 312,120 possible combos. My two favorite burger spots are Shake Shack and Bill's Bar and Burger, and I wanted to see if I could add another place to my list. Also, I have a massive jones for well made turkey burgers. Sometimes I like to lighten my bovine consumption, and turkey burgers help that. Bill's makes the best around, in my humble opinion, and who doesn't  like a challenge?

First thing that came to mind when I got in: this place is sleek. Lots of streamlined design and futuristic fixtures give the place a really modern look...just not a particularly cozy one. I sat at the bar, since I was eating alone and I was greeted by a very sweet waitress who set me up with a menu. Glory Moses...the menu read like a Census Poll! I love choices and all...but damn. After about 10 minutes of being overwhelmed, I gathered my thoughts and ordered. I got the turkey on a  hamburger bun with romaine, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, sharp cheddar, cranberries, and apricot sauce. For my sides, one of their "Fifty-Fifty" combos: sweet potato fries and onion strings.

The sides came out first..and I really tried to wait to eat them. REALLY. Oh, it's difficult to do sweet potato fries well because sweet potatoes themselves have such a high water and sugar content. These were delicious, crispy, and light. And I could've eaten these onion strings forever, the batter was crispy and super flavorful. No oily or heavy taste either.

And then...the burger came.

Don't get me wrong here! The toppings were fresh, the sauce wasn't creamy like I expected, but just a bright tangy glaze, which I really liked. But the burger tasted like a preformed patty, and sure looked like one too. The turkey burger at Bill's Bar and Burger is hand-formed, seasoned with provolone and basil, and is an absolute delight. It doesn't treat the turkey burger as beef's lamer cousin. The meat was cooked well, but it just didn't taste like anything.

Lesson learned! Get the regular burger next time, until they learn to make a proper turkey one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eatinist #2 (Tana) Strikes Again - Turkey Dumpling Soup

 *Eatinst Bitch's Note: We're way past the holidays, obviously, and if you don't want to make this with turkey, go ahead and make this with chicken! It'll still be tasty. Of course I'd do this without dumplings...because I hate them. Take it away, Tana!

My dad's been after me to make a soup out of the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, because the 22 lb beast "called his name" in the grocery store, and as a result we had entirely too much after all five us polished off our plates.

It began as turkey soup, and then he decided he wanted dumplings as well...I've never made dumplings. And if you know Eatinst #1, you'll know she and I can go 13 rounds on dumplings and whether or not they're suitible for people above the poverty line. Ask her about it sometime!

In any case, where I would normally call her for advice on the best way to construct a dumpling, I was at a loss.

A slight digression: upon his return from the Wisconsin Badger football game the other night, he tossed a bag of Bucky (the mascot) cheese curds at me. This led to a conversation about battering and frying them, which  led me to make a simple churro dough out of flour and water and season the hell out of it. Maybe I could use this batter to make dumplings too.

Last thing before I get to the good stuff: I glanced at a few different recipes, just to get a skeletal idea of the typical ingredients and order of prep. For the most part though, I improvised. The measurements, except for the broth, are all approximations. Oh! And, my stepmom had disposed of the carcass, so I was sans beast bones.


2 cups Water
1/4 tsp Salt
2 cups of All-purpose Flour
2 tbl Seasoned Salt (Lawry's is fine)
2 tsp Olive Oil or Butter

Combine flour and seasoned salt. Bring water with salt to a boil. Add olive oil and remove from heat. immediately add flour and stir vigorously until combined. Dough will be stiff and not too smooth. Let the dough cool and rest a little and then form into golf-ball shaped balls.

Here you can refrigerate them until you're ready, or if you're set to go, go ahead and boil water in a medium sized saucepan. When the water starts boiling rapidly, drop the dumplings in, taking care to make sure they don't stick together. Let them simmer and bubble for about 5 minutes. You don't want them to get fully cooked. Take them out of the water and set them aside.


3 quarts plus one 14.5 oz can of low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbl black pepper (I prefer freshly ground, but the powder stuff is fine)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 tbl dried parsley
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of carrots, diced
3 cups of shredded turkey (you can use a combo of light and dark meat)
1 tbl of olive oil or cooking spray

Using a 4 quart stock pot, heat your broth on high, and add pepper. While waiting for your broth to boil, get your veggies ready. My dad violently opposes celery; I've been threatened with being made to sleep in the garage if I add it to anything I make for him: hence, the celery seed. Also, normally I would chop all the aromatics by hand got tired and I slap-chopped the hell outta the onions and garlic. Let's be real: there is no loss of dignity in the slap chop.

When your broth has begun to boil, add half the parsley and the celery seed. Continue boiling for 10-15 minutes.

Using the olive oil (or spray), saute the carrots over medium heat. After three minutes, add the onions and garlic. Cook until fragrant and the onions are opaque. The carrots should not yet be tender.

Turn off the heat and add the veg to the boiling broth. Stir to combine and allow to boil for another 10-15 minutes. Add the rest of the parsley and the turkey and continue to boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Take this time to make sure your seasonings are in order, don't forget to taste the broth. Throw your dumplings into the pot and boil for another 5 minutes, or until the dumplings are fork tender.

Congratulations! You have turkey dumpling soup (no picture because...well, I forgot and it was really tasty, and we ate it too fast)! My brothers ate theirs with oyster crackers, though I happened to have some homemade Parker House rolls on hand that were ideal for dunking.

My father's final word? "You know what's the best part of this soup? I don't have to dodge any celery."

Monday, January 3, 2011

HAPPY 2011!!!

Hello all my hungry lovelies! Hope you had an amazing holiday season. I didn't post any holiday recipes/stuff because..well, I was lazy. And I can't cook with my mother and take pics and crap at the same time. We had mouths to feed!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to eating/cooking/sharing with you as this new year goes on. I can't wait for what's to come.