So let's get right to it.
I made dinner the other night (three weeks ago) and it was delicious.
All the CSA stuff went into it (most of it anyways, I forgot about the spinach). And unless you are a better chef that I am (which I'm sure many of you are) you should be jealous you weren't here.
Were looking at a lot of pictures here, so I'm going to do a sort of "start to finish" with each component of the dinner, and first up is the appetizer, Mr. Salad.
We start here with the mesclun greens:
And then I snazzed up the radishes and added some of the cilantro, added lime juice, salt, pepper and champagne vinegar:
Added some candied almonds I had made for a crumble (photos forthcoming), tossed in a sherry vinaigrette and voila:
A delicious salad.
Next; side dish.
Started with garlic scapes:
And the Bok Choy:
Cooked the scapes in butter, olive oil, salt and pepper:
Added the chopped bok choy:
And got this:
Meanwhile, I gussied up the chicken by stuffing it with herbs, butter, shallots, salt, pepper, and an orange half. I tied it up, and used a little trick I picked up along the way of stuffing butter and thyme under the skin, and roasted it most of the way done in a 500 degree oven...
Until it looked like this...
Then I used the bacon from the Piggery CSA to make an already delicious chicken...
Obviously I spooned the butter/bacon fat/pan drippings over and into the bird for the last 15 minutes for added ridiculousness...
A quick note on roasting birds:
I don't generally give recipes to my dishes, and this is a decision that I'm reconsidering going forward as it really doesn't help anyone to see these pictures and then not be able to make them. I always considered my blog more of an "inspirational" blog and not a "food recipe" blog.
With that in mind I hope to figure out a way to make my blog more helpful to readers, again working under the assumption that are readers out there that read this for anything more than entertainment and maybe a "that's a good idea".
So I wanted to take a quick moment to describe how I roast chickens, because it's a little more "restaurant cook-y" than "home cook-y" and I happen to think it's better than the lower and slower methods than most cookbook or magazines recommend.
I blast my oven to 450-500 degrees, and either turn the chicken in a roasting pan a quarter turn every 15 minutes, or start with the breast side down for 30 min. and then turn it breast-side up till it's done, usually another half hour or so, but check with either a thermometer, or until the juices run clear after about 45 minutes all told, obviously the size of the bird will affect the total time. I also begin basting with the fat and juices that runs out of the bird after about 30 minutes. I usually add some duck fat, butter, pork fat, or olive oil in the beginning to help, and if I have some thyme on hand will place than on top of the breast and spoon or baste the fats onto it to add a little more flavor.
I find this method to yield a consistently juicy bird, but also give it that super crispy skin that you think you can only get in restaurants, but it really easy to get at home if you can get over the high cooking temps.
I'll document this procedure in more detail in a future post, but if you're looking for a way to make your chickens look and taste better, don't wait for that, go out and cook that shit up...
Back to our dinner...
Two words that are bound together for all time in the "what the fuck else are you going to do with rhubarb" pigeonhole.
There are many answers to this conundrum, but this is not one of them.
I happen to like strawberry rhubarb, and have never made a straw-rhub anything, so I decided rather than get all culi-cute, I'd stick with a classic.
Now that being said, give me an ice cream machine, and we're talking a whole different post here. But since my strawberry rhubarb sorbet sweetened with thyme simple syrup wasn't going to happen, I decided to make a crumble...
Yes with vanilla ice cream... I know.
But here's where the story gets sad.
I burnt it.
Not just burnt it, I destroyed it.
But it started out great.
I mixed strawberries and rhubarb (duh) with sugar, a pinch of salt, a couple grinds of pepper, some picked thyme, and some tawny port and set it aside to macerate for awhile, and then put it in a pie dough...
Then I made a crumble following a traditional crumble recipe, but instead of rolled oats I used granola, and I candied some almonds instead of just using regular ones, of which I ended up using the extras in the salad...
I baked it until bubbly and golden delicious, and then for some stupid reason decided I wanted a little more color, so I turned on the broiler while I finished plating the salads, and only remembered when I smelled "burn"...
We ended up scraping off the burnt crust, and it was still pretty good, but, damn it, I wanted that crumble...
Oh well, I guess there's always next time...
So here's where I usually take a picture of a completed plate showing the entire scope of the meal in one, usually pretty good looking picture.
This time however, be it from the anguish of burning dessert, the drunkenness from many bottles of wine, or sheer physical exhaustion of cooking drunk for 5 hours, I didn't even think of it. But rest assured, we ate it, and it was delicious.
The closest proof I have of assemblage is me cutting the chicken up, notice the awesome "moving knife" action, also notice the juices as there are a lot of them:
And one more shot because it's beautiful:
So there you have it... Almost three weeks after I got the shit, I finally posted the dinner... Ridiculous, I know, but what did you really expect?
The good news is that I'm lovin' the CSA's...
The bad news, or more appropriately, the regular news, is that I'm a lazy poster. So we'll see, huh?
In the meantime I have a bunch of stuff I'm working on, so hopefully I'll get around to posting them one of these days...
Stupid World Cup... Built in distraction.
(also Germany... and Argentina only because I love Messi)
See you next time...