Archive for May 23rd, 2010

May 23, 2010

Citrus Salt Roasted Chicken

One of my favorite meals to eat, and to make, is roasted chicken. Golden brown crispy skin, and tender juicy meat, this is one powerful comfort food. You could say it is a classic.  Roasted chicken is a very simple, yet versatile dish.  You can make rubs or glazes to cover the bird, using any flavor combinations that inspire you! (Cilantro lime cumin, Soy-ginger, herbed, or the simple classic version are a few I use)   The rub below is great for Turkey and I use a similar version on my Prime Rib (against my father’s belief that nothing but salt and pepper belongs on Prime Rib).

The funny thing about roasted chicken is that everybody has an opinion on the right way, and the wrong way, to roast a chicken. My only opinion is that it is a staple dish that every home cook should know how to make. It may take a few hours to cook, but there is minimal preparation and active cooking time and the end product is so much more complex. So, find yourself a recipe you are comfortable with and successful at making, and you will have plenty of comforting roasted chicken meals. I have slow roasted chicken at 300 degrees and roasted them at 450 degrees. I stick to about 350 degrees for 2 hours, or 400 degrees for 1 ½ hours, either of these methods keep the chicken juicy with crispy skin. The slower you roast a chicken the juicier the chicken, but the stickier the skin will be (if you like that). Roasting a chicken is easy, and you will love sitting your family down to this satisfying homemade meal.

1 Whole fryer chicken

½ stick butter (or use olive oil)

1 white onion

2-3 carrots

2 celery sticks

1 pkg mushrooms

Rub

6T kosher salt
2T finely chopped sage
1T finely chopped thyme (plus 2 springs for the cavity)
1T finely chopped rosemary
zest of 1 lemon

Mix all together.

Clean your whole chicken. Spread just enough butter over the skin of the chicken and little under the sink on the breast. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon inside the cavity, and the other half on all over the outside of the chicken.

Starting with the cavity, sprinkle some of the rub inside. Then moving to the backside of the chicken, sprinkle the rub all over and rub it around with your hand. Flip the chicken and repeat on the breast side. Stuff the cavity with the lemon half you just squeezed, two cloves of garlic cut in half, thyme sprigs and one onion quartered.

Tie the legs together, or truss your chicken (trussing a bird helps the bird cook evenly).

TRUSSING: Place the bird breast side up, fold the wing tips under the bird. Slide some kitchen twine under the bird closest to the neck end. Bring the twine up on each side of the bird, pull the twine over the legs (between the breast and legs) then wrap the twine under the ends of the chicken legs. Pull the twine around the leg bone bringing the twine together around the leg pulling the bird together into a nice shape, then tie a knot.  Check out this video from CHOW one of the online resources I love. You can find anything from trussing a bird to tempering chocolate.

In a roasting pan or glass dish toss some carrots, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and pepper and toss the vegetables. Make room in the middle to lay your chicken, if cooking in a glass dish set the bird right on top of the vegetables.

Place the bird in a 350 degree oven for about 2 hours or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees and the juices run clear.

Allow your chicken to rest – this is a very important step, let the juices redistribute! Resist the urge to cut into the beautiful golden skin, I know it is hard but it is well worth the wait!

Serving suggestions – roasted ranch potatoes with roasted asparagus, and try Lemon Raspberry cupcakes for dessert. (all on my blog). Enjoy!

 

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May 23, 2010

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

I was inspired by the fake-out spring weather we got over a week ago. Now that we have gone back to winter in May I wanted to bring out the flavors that remind me of warmer weather! What better way to do that than with citrus? I knew I wanted to make lemon cupcakes with a pudding cake recipe and some lemony cream cheese frosting. Now what else can I add to compliment it? Strawberries? Yea! Then a co-worker suggested raspberries! Even better. (I originally made this recipe and filled the cupcakes with seedless raspberry preserves which was good, but making my own raspberry filling was tastier, the preserves were too jammy for me).

Lemon Pudding Cupcakes:
(adapted from http://www.carlyiscooking.blogspot.com)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 package of instant vanilla pudding (only the powder)
3/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
the zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. Spearately mix milk and vanilla, set aside.

With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest then the eggs one-at-a-time.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

A great tip got from the http://www.carlyiscooking.blogspot.com website was to use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter – great tip! Perfect size cupcakes.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
(from http://www.xplicitsweetness.blogspot.com)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
1 fresh lemon, juiced
5 c powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in 2-3 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Blend in the lemon juice. Add the remaining powdered sugar according to your own consistency preference.

The filling…
12oz. fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 T lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Over low heat, cook the filling until boiling.

Using a cupcake filling tip on a decorating bag, fill the bag with filling then inject the cupcakes with the filling. (or use this method)

To decorate the cupcakes I used a cake decorating tip and placed a raspberry on top.

May 23, 2010

Farmer’s Market Scrambled Eggs


Here in Carson we are fortunate to have an Early Farmer’s Market this year.  Considereing our Spring weather this year – I would say we are VERY fortunate. Yesterday, I took my first of many trips to the market this season. I got some fantastic early spring cherries, lettuce, baby carrots, asparagus, onions, garlic, and eggs. There is just something so great about the smell of freshly picked onions, it’s a smell you just don’t get from store bought. (My dad grows onions in his garden – along with a load of other fruits and veggies and whenever I’m lucky enough to get some onions I savor the smell – my dad lives in another state so sadly I cannot go raid his garden as often as I’d like!)

Use your favorite fresh vegetables from the Market and add them to your morning scrambled eggs.  Items like squash and tomatoes tend to be a bit on the wet side, pre cook them a bit before adding them to your eggs, or let them sit in a strainer for a bit to expel some liquid. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of cream cheese (to every 3 eggs) when scrambling my eggs, for and extra creamy texture, you do not taste the distinct flavor of cream cheese, but you will definitely notice a yummy difference in your eggs.

With my fresh ingredients I made some fresh scrambled eggs with bacon and asparagus (I also love mushrooms)….

3 eggs
2 strips of bacon, torn

4 asparagus spears, diced

1T butter
1T olive oil
1/4 c colby/jack shredded cheese
salt and pepper

Dice asparagus into bite-sized pieces and cook in butter and oil. My bacon was already cooked so I just tore it and added it with the asparagus just as the asparagus was done cooking.

Lightly beat eggs with salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the asparagus and bacon. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until eggs are just set. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with cheese. Tada! YUM!