Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Art of Simple Chicken

We've made this chicken, from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food, twice now. Both times, the resulting bird has been juicy and tasty.

Start with a high-quality chicken (free-range, no hormones added, etc.). This is the most important step.

The day before you intend to roast it, clean the bird out and rub it with salt and pepper.

An hour before you intend to roast it, remove it from the fridge and let it rest on the counter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then (and here's the second most important part), start the bird breast-side up and set your timer for 20 minutes. Flip her every twenty minutes until she's done (maybe an hour and a half for a four-pound chicken).

We roasted the chicken on a v-rack, placing some sliced yellow onion in the (dry) pan below. We served it with red potatoes tossed with olive oil and rosemary and roasted, covered, on the lowest rack of the oven. The chicken cooked on the middle rack at the same time. Also along for the ride was broccoli and fresh dinner rolls. And, of course, the perfectly carmelized yellow onions and accompanying jus, which we sneakily referred to as sauce.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Fish and veggies

tilapia, green beans, brussels
Originally uploaded by Ricestein
Nerd alert: We finally set up our Flickr account to speak to our Blogger account, so we can post photos directly to our food blog. We've missed writing posts about the food we eat, so maybe this will make everything just a little bit easier.

Now, on to the food.

Winter vegetables are in abundance out here in Tucson, and in the past year we've become particularly enthralled with brussels. Most of the time we just roast them in the oven with only a little olive oil, cracked pepper, and salt. As much as we like bacon, the simplicity of this preparation really highlights the brussels' natural taste. It's part of a pretty major shift towards a whole foods aesthetic that we're embarking on. Basically, we're trying to bring out the individual flavors with as little meddling as possible, then build whole menus featuring items that build upon each other. Sounds much fussier than it actually is.

For example, this night we had the roasted brussels, some blanched green beans, and tilapia cooked in the skillet. All pretty basic preparations, but the brussels melded really well with the tilapia, and the green beans helped keep us honest.

Right now, we're using a combination of cookbooks to guide us through our simplifying, mostly the ever-present Bittman's How to Cook Everything and our newly acquired The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, which by some quirk is aimed exactly at us.