Tag Archives: Meat

How we danced

I’m writing this all down before I forget.

I didn’t take many photos this past weekend. Or, none that were food related, anyway. Or of myself or my friends who were in town for that matter. For the most part, I was too busy simply enjoying the rightinfrontofme.

Instead took photos like this one:

Spotted on a quiet street in Brooklyn, which lead to a debate of who actually wrote it. (I’ll spare you the suspense: it was Alexander Hamilton.)

And this:

Look closely and you can see Jane’s Carousel in the distance. It’s a venue so secure in its own permanence that it has a plinth announcing “Since 2011″—I laughed when I first saw it, but on second thought, I like the brashness of it, the implied staying power. Something from another time, made modern by the architecture.

Naturally, the kids waiting in line don’t think about these things. They’re just happy for the chance to ride one of the hand carved horses. Or, if they’re really lucky, to get a chance to share one of the chariots with a friend. I thought about doing just that.

Then, surrounded by the children and their parents, I got bashful.

I’d like to say that’s unlike me, although that might be a stretch. It’s of no consequence. I knew that had I asked, my friend Ben would have done so—after all, in the first weeks of our friendship we had tangoed across the floors of the Tate Modern. It was closing time soon, so the docent let us be. I’d like to think that he also felt the Rothko room needed a little less red and a little more life in it.

At the present moment, there were places to go and sites undiscovered as of yet.

Including Cindy Sherman (the exhibit and the artist. Or, at least some of us thought).

And, then it was time for us to say goodbye. That’s the thing about having dear friends or family in different cities, you’re often saying goodbye or attempting to share experiences from afar.

It’s easy, if you have someone to show you the way.

In this case, while we can’t share meals, we can share recipes. This, then, is a variation on Ben’s Thai Green Curry.

brookyln bridge

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Eggplant

1 bunch cilantro
2 limes, zested and juice
1 small knob fresh Galangal (appox. 1 TBS), peeled
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2-3 sprigs scallions—the white part should be roughly chopped and the green parts should be chiffonaded and set aside
5 garlic cloves, peeled roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
5-6 bird’s dried eye chilies
2 TBS peanut oil
12 ounces coconut milk
6 ounces water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 eggplant, roughly diced
fish sauce (approx 2 tsps)
soy sauce

garnish: scallions

Using a food processor, combine the cilantro, Galangal, garlic, dried bird’s eye chilies, onions, white portion of the scallions, and lemongrass stalks and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Add water if you are having difficulty getting into combine.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over a high flame. Add in the peanut oil and allow to heat, approximately 1 minute. Add in the cilantro paste and heat approximately 5-10 minutes, until the paste become aromatic. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add in the coconut milk and water. Stir and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add in the chicken and stir. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Add in the eggplant, mix together and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until the eggplant has become soft.

Season to taste using fish sauce (approx. 2 tsps, depending on how salty you like your curry) and soy sauce. Garnish with the green part of the scallions and serve with white rice.

Serves 4 as a main dish



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This one uses lotsa butter

We’re under a week away from all of the “New Year, New You” messaging, telling us to cut back, lose weight and use all sorts of fat substitutes, so I’ll just get on with it.

The reason that this turkey is so good is butter, plain and simple.

You use a whole stick of it.

Before you judge me, know this: nothing good ever came from promises of no fat and no calories (with the notable exception, in my book, of Diet Coke). So, enjoy it. And, give me credit for not also covering the turkey breast with bacon, as a dear friend of mine had suggested.

Of course, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t tempted. Perhaps that’s a post for March, when, following months of nesting, we’re over all of the promises of new everything in the new year? It’s a thought, anyway.

For now, here’s to plenty of butter and cream to get you through the last days of 2011.

Roasted Turkey

Note that the roasting times are approximate and will vary with the size of your turkey.

1 10-15 lb turkey
8 TBS butter, room temperature
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, cut in half with zest and juice set aside (*Note that you’ll be using the juice in the gravy)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
salt and pepper

Lots and lots of tin foil
Roasting Pan
Approximately 4 cups water

In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, lemon zest, thyme, and rosemary with the butter. Stir it until everything is well incorporated and season liberally wth salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Your turkey should be at room temperature. Rise it off and pat to dry. Insert the halved lemon and quartered onion into the cavity. Then, using your hands, gently seperate the skin from the meat of the turkey breast. Once that is complete, use your hands and place the herbed butter under the skin, distributing it as evenly as possibly, using as much of the butter as you can fit.

Use the remaning butter to coat the turkey skin, taking care to make sure that the wings and drumsticks are well coated. Season the outside of the skin with salt and pepper.

Fold the wings under the breast so that tips are hidden and truss the legs so that the lemons and onions in the cavity cannot fall out. Set the turkey aside.

Crumple some of your tin foil to create a platform that the turkey can rest on. The turkey should be about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. Place the turkey on the platform and add water to the bottom of the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll need 4-8 cups. The water should cover the bottom of the pan but not come into contact with the turkey.

Cover the roasting pan with foil and roast for an hour and a half. Remove the tin foil at that point, and base the turkey with the pan juices. Cover the turkey breast and wings with the tin foil and return it to the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the tin foil from the turkey, baste and roast for another 20-30 minutes, until the breast is golden and the interior tempertaure of the turkey is 180 degrees farenheit.

Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the roasting pan and allow it to cool for another 30 minutes, so that the natural juices can redistribute. While the turkey is cooling, make your pan gravy (recipe follows).

Serves 10-15, depending on the size of your turkey

Pan Gravy
Pan drippings
1 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
2 cups poultry stock
1/2 tsp thyme

Skim the pan drippings to remove the majority of the fat. You should have about 3 TBS of fat left. Pour the fat and the rest of the pan drippings into a pan. Add 1 TBS butter and 4 TBS flour, and using a whisk, combine on a low heat, until the flour has browned. Add thyme and sautee for another minute. Add in the chicken stock and allow to simmer over a low heat, until the mixture thickens. Add the cream and stir to combine. Taste and add lemon juice to taste. This should cut the richness of the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Bad Time Management [Redux]

Remember that long ago meal that I told you about?

Yeah, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure that I do, either.

But, it seems to me that it’s high time I got a roasted chicken recipe up here. I don’t make roast chicken as much as I used to—when you’re living alone it seems a bit excessive—but, it remains my go to when it comes to feeding a crowd.

It’s simple. But, in my mind, it manages to be elegant, too. In fact, when I was growing up, most Friday nights, we had a variation on this meal. The beauty here is that, if you plan it right, you can get the rest of the meal prepared while your chicken is cooking and then sit down and actually eat with your guests.

A fantastic way to end a week, if you ask me.

There’s this, too: if you plan it right and reserve the carcass, you have the tools for a lazy Saturday afternoon of making chicken stock.

If you’re so inclined, add more root vegetables to the pan, too. You’ll have plenty of leftovers that way. Just the thing after a busy week.

Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten

For the Chicken
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 pounds
1 TBS Kosher salt
1 TBS Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, quartered

For the vegetables
3 sweet potatoes, diced
3 yukon gold potatoes, diced
3-4 parsnips, diced
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, cut into eights
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp herbes de provence
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity the lemon and onion.

Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the root vegetables in a pan. Toss with salt, pepper, herbes de provence, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for another hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

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They Say It’s Your Birthday….

Right, the title of the post.

Perhaps a little explaination is required.

Well then, when I told my mother I was cooking chicken satays for a friend, her response was, “Why? Is it her birthday?”

And, in fact, for the past ten years, I’ve been cooking my mother a birthday dinner often featuring this dish. Or, more precisely, various iterations of it.

When she first asked me to make her an Asian inspired dish years ago, quite honestly, I didn’t know much about Asian cooking. The ingredients I knew were soy sauce and seasame oil. So, I took the the household cookbooks, cobbling something together with flavors that sounded like they would fit.

Then I tweaked and tweaked. And tweaked.

And, at last, I think I’ve got the recipe down.

The honey balances out the spice and the soy gives a much needed boost of salt. Tying it all together, I think, is the corriander. You don’t quite know what it is, but the flavor ties everything else together, making it a cohesive whole.

Even better, it’s the ultimate make-ahead dish. Since you can marinade it overnight and then bake it off in the oven, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your dinner with along with your guests.

Chicken Satays

This recipe is adapted to cook indoors, but it would be fantastic grilled. If you choose to go that route, once you’ve marinaded the chicken, put it on bamboo skewers and grill (or, if you’re indoors, use a grill pan). The cooking time will vary, based on the thickness of your chicken. Be sure to soak your skewers for at least 20 minutes before you use them so that they don’t burn.

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sriracha
1 tsp honey
2 TBS sesame oil
3/8 cup light soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime (approx. 3 TBS total)

Mix all of the ingredients, except the chicken, together, whisking to form a well blended marinade. Once that’s complete, place your chicken in a container or vessel with a firm seal, such as a Ziplock quart sized bag. Pour your marinade over the chicken and shake to evenly coat.

Marinate for at least 1 hour. Ideally, you want to marinate it overnight to give the flavors time to meld.

Once you are ready to cook, either put the chicken strips on a baking tray in a preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 F, being careful not to overcook.

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