So…it’s by now very well established that I am a lousy front pager. I will remain so at least through March, as I have truly got to push the latest MS of my desk by then. Which means no posts ’til then that require my little grey cells to exercise themselves much at all.
But that doesn’t mean no posts at all, amirite?
The long-memoried of y’all will remember that I am a roast chicken fanatic. It is my comfort food, and a staple of the menus in my corner of the Hub of the Universe.
Over the years I’ve posted several of the variations that have made it into the rotation–and just a few days ago, I found one more. It’s really good, and I thought I should share.
It comes from Yasmin Khan’s Ripe Figs cookbook. I’m slowly working my way into it; everything I’ve cooked so far from there has been lovely. (The sheet pan sumac flavored chicken thighs are an incredibly easy weekday delight, for example.) Last Thursday I got to this recipe, a spatchcocked roast bird with a simple and really good liquid rub under and over the skin.
Uncharacteristically, I followed the recipe almost to the letter this time out (omitting the salad)–just used a mixture of smoked paprika (pimenton) and ordinary sweet paprika. The baking powder move was new to me. It seemed to work–or at least do no harm. As the many cooks of Balloon Juice already know, spatchcocking and flattening is another good trick to ensure the breasts and leg quarters cook at the same rate. (I’m also a fan of splaying the legs to achieve the same result–which is the way to go if you want to stuff anything into the cavity.) Next time out I might add some Aleppo pepper instead of or in a mix with the black pepper.
And finally–the real secret, of course, is to use a good chicken. Here in the Athens of America, our take-a-second-mortgage-out-at-the-door butcher shop, Savenors, (Julia Child’s local, IIRC) sells Giannone birds from Canada that are excellent. Surprisingly, given the venue, this is the one item in the meat case that isn’t insanely priced (info of value only to fellow locals…). Even at the price for a premium chicken (now up to $4.75/lb for these), my wife and I get four suppers and enough breast meat left over for one lunch sandwich, so it’s a luxury, but not a crazy one.
Anyway–the result was a delightfully flavorful bird–a really nice mixture of eastern Med. flavors and the bass note of roast fowl. Highly recommended.
The thread is open, but maybe a focus on the one foodstuff or dish that most comforts and/or delights you?….
Image: attr. to Jacob Mathan, Kitchen Scene, 1625. Something’s cooking there; not sure it’s limited to dinner.
Don’t prepare it nearly often enough but love me some eggplant parmigiana. Used to be a place in the Poconos that offered a killer-diller eggplant parmigiana hero on the menu.
Wintertime favorite is a big pot of curried eggplant, ladled over rice. Sometimes includes beef, other times not. Stick to the ribs goodness either way.
Since chicken egg prices are bemoaned in the below thread, discussing eating the egg producers is fraught!
Sounds good, anyway.
Still soup and stew season, given winter’s surprising grip here. We have about six months when both seem absurd. (Hey, I’m sweating even more!)
What is holding those tubers in the basket upright? They look like they might be parsnips, but they also look like they are possessed by some demonic force.
I am turning into a big crockpot-er. I found this Moroccan Lentil Soup recipe a few years ago and it is just fantastic. It fills my house with the most amazing aroma.
As for roast chicken, I usually use the Ina Garten version of “Engagement Chicken”. It’s so delicious.
I usually roast bone-in chicken thighs because it is easier. My favorite go to is the tandoori chicken marinade. I had a Turkish housemate in college, everything he made was delicious. I learned to cook watching my Turkish and my Pakistani housemates.
They always made sure I was fed when I was new to cooking and botched many of my recipes
Madhuri Jaffrey’s books have a recipe for the tandoori marinade
But if you can get your hands on ready made masala packs from an Indian grocery store it is much easier.
My recommendations for brands would be MDH, Shaan and Everest
A charcoal grill is the best approximation to the tandoor flavor but an air fryer is a decent option too.
Quantity is not quality. Just sayin’
Mac ‘n’ cheese being the exception to the rule?
Roast chicken is an essence of the good life, to which I add my favorite recipe from Marcella Hazan. The ingredients are simple:
A 3-4 lb chicken, salt, pepper and two small lemons.
Soften the lemons by rolling them, then prick them with a toothpick. Place inside of the chicken’s cavity and truss the legs together. The lemons will baste the chicken from the inside out. Coat the chicken with salt and pepper and place breast side down in roasting pan of choice (I use le cruset). Roast @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes, flip the bird and roast for 30 minutes more. Increase heat to 400 degrees and roast for another 20 minutes.
The chicken will have puffed up with the skin nicely browned. Slice and enjoy!
@schrodingers_cat: I had a Weber kettle charcoal grill that was frequently used for chicken recipes, a favorite is pulled bbq using the indirect slow method on leg quarters. The sauce in preparing sandwiches is the key (not to mention the coleslaw)
@Mike E: Sounds delicious!
Kitty seems more interested in the nice fish.
@Splitting Image: Wise feline.
2023 marks 100 years since chickens were first raised commercially and became available as a more than special for Sunday dinner item.
My local Thai place makes the most wonderful Yellow Curry; haven’t found an easy* way to do it at home that is comparable. Don’t know the secret ingredient, dammit.
* Easy meaning open can/jar/box. Turn on stove or nuke. Eat. Wish I had the time to do it from scratch, then I’d find that secret ingredient.
that one’s my go-to. i can make it in my sleep i’ve done it so often.
A steaming bowl of Lutefisk keeps me warm at night.
My comfort food is warm fish-flavored jello with just a hint of lye. I brought some to a party once and my friends put a bag over it, but the bag blew up like a balloon from the off-gassing. They put a second bag over the bag, so it was a double bagger. It is a wonder that I still have friends.
@vbreakwater: I haven’t made Hazan’s chicken for a long time; should. It’s really good. (I do a variant that I found in an Italian cookbook, which puts one lemon, a bunch of pitted olives and some parsley inside the cavity. That’s really nice too…)
The cooking times are long, for my taste. I have a convection oven, and I usually just leave it at 400 degrees for the whole time; that leads to a cooking time of 40 minutes or so for a 3.5 lb. bird. I should give the lower-to-higher temp routine another try.
Qrop Non Sequitur
A demonic force like existence as a parsnip?
@Suzanne: The lentil soup sounds fantastic — bookmarked!
WRT nonculinary art: last week for a Carpaccio (yes) of Venice exhibit at the National Gallery in DC. Closes February 12. I’m gonna try to get there this week. The art hardly ever travels, but they’re doing a reno in Venice.
In a culinary tie-in: yes. The raw beef dish is named in his honor, for the quality of his deep reds. NGA link.
@Elizabelle: I learned something today! Thank you.
Is anyone else having an issue with the URL info not coming up when you hover over a link? Used to be able to tell what I was clicking on.
Is there a way (for me?) to fix that? It’s been happening for a few days now. Like to try to avoid paywalls, where necessary.
West of the Rockies
It might be fun to someday have a thread devoted to guilty pleasure dining (in reference to the Mac ‘n’ Cheese comment above). Bob’s Big Boy offered a chili over spaghetti dinner (Chilietti) that was stupidly satisfying.
And we love you, Tom. Even when you ignore us… don’t worry… we’ll be fine. (Sniff.)
@Tom Levenson: That’s usually our line!
Now adding eggplant to the monthly shopping list.
Which might even comes to pass if (a) I remember to bring it along and (b) remember to consult it at the store.
Not unlikely. Everyone knows that carrots are the devil’s favourite food.
West of the Rockies
And I thought I had weird food tastes…
@NotMax: Eggplant bhajia are the best. Unfortunately they drink oil. So its an indulgence.
@Elizabelle: The URL preview is working for me (laptop).
@Betty Cracker: Good to hear. WaterGirl informs it is not a sitewide problem.
I might just reboot in a while and see if that helps. It usually does. Thank you.
I just bought a free-range Amish chicken at the “Old Time Meat & Deli” and a 3-lb chicken costs in the neighborhood of $10. Not sure if that’s high or low.
What I like about the Amish chickens is that they aren’t HUGE or filled with crap and hormones and such. I roast it in a Dutch oven, save the chicken breast for other meals and then make soup out of the rest.
Last night hubby made mac and cheese with pepper Jack and ghost pepper cheese.
@WaterGirl: I’m imagining Amish chickens driving around their free range in little horse carts.
@WaterGirl: THat sounds like a very good price for a quality chicken. Up to fall last year, the top of the line chickens at Whole Foods and the Savenors’ birds (better than WF) both ran $4/lb. Haven’t checked what WF is charging for heritage birds or free-range organic, but Savenors kicked their prices up a bit in the last few months.
Still a lot better than the spectacular numbers they command for their beef. (Which is really good, but a rare indulgence.)
@Mike E: I used the Weber and charcoal yesterday to bbq chicken thighs. True comfort food in this house! The key is having the heat just low enough not to burn them up but high enough to impart a little scorch for the sauce to soften up. I vacillate between Rufus Teague and Sweet Baby Ray. Right now, “the sauce is the boss.
ETA – Hanging on the deck in the evening was a perfect ending to a glorious day (low 60s and sunny).
You will find baking powder discussions wherever chicken wing recipes are online: how much, what brand, NO aluminum! My favorite recipes use a tsp of baking powder with a tbsp of salt for a half sheet pan of wings to get crispy skin.
@Elizabelle: It’s been a long time since I changed that setting, so I don’t recall details.
Google says this:
In the Safari app on your Mac, hold the pointer over a link. The website’s URL appears in the status bar at the bottom of the window. If you don’t see the status bar, choose View > Show Status Bar. If your trackpad supports it, force click the link to preview the content.
When we make chicken it is usually buttermilk chicken with paprika (if my wife is cooking), or Korean style (wings or thighs/breasts) baked crispy in the oven (my cooking duty). For Korean we do it using either this recipe or a simple KBBQ sauce you can get at most H-mart/Ranch 99 style Asian markets. Something about the way that Gochujang sauces caramelize and crisp just makes it the perfect texture/flavor combo for skin-on chicken. Pair it with some sushi rice, kimchi, and smashed cucumbers (and/or garlic-sesame-oil spinach) and you have a fairly easy Korean feast.
@trollhattan: That’s one town over!
Color me shocked that Savenors is still around.
@schrodingers_cat: The Imam Fainted!
ETA – One variant of the recipe https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015148-imam-bayildi
@WaterGirl: WaterGirl fixed it. That’s exactly the issue. Thanks. (Thanks on previous thread comment, too.)
My favorite roast chicken recipe is the splay-legged version from the NYT. No more undercooked meat around the thigh joints.
Hey guys, has anyone here ever replaced the hydraulic cylinder on a desk chair? I got a fairly expensive one just last summer and the hydraulics are already failing. I see replacement cylinders on Amazon and web pages on DIY, but not sure if this is something trivial or for the ‘home shop’ kinda guy.
Since this is an Open Thread, we’ve decided to go back to visit Seattle in April for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Quick trip of 4 days, 3 nights staying in La Conner. Staying at a cute little cabin right across from the water. Will spend one full day on Tulips and the rest just poking around, exploring/hiking and doing a lot of chilling (which we didn’t really give ourselves enough of in Yucatan). Hope to see one of my oldest friends who lives in Issaquah, but he’s not sure if they will be in town. Either way, looking forward to some PNW weather, scenery and delicious seafood :)
@UncleEbeneezer: Will try that. I love Korean food. Have never tried to make it at home, though …
I’m with you on a good roasted chicken as one of my favorite comfort foods. I am addicted to Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken:
Italian foods, especially long pasta recipes, are also tops in comfort food for me. I love angel hair with a quick marinara from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:
I was watching an episode of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy the other day and there was a segment on the origins of bolognese sauce. It seems that the creator of bolognese was Pellegrino Artusi and his recipe is the first recorded one. This historic recipe for tagliatelle a la bolognese does not contain tomatoes. So I tried it this weekend and it was delicious:
Also too, she won’t be passed.
@UncleEbeneezer: Oooh! Seattle! I was stationed there in the ‘80s. Recently looked at a Google map and realized the building where I worked on Lake Union is now a maritime museum.
@West of the Rockies:
Sounds like Cincinnati chili. Which is…well, I guess you could call it interesting.
@Kristine: That’s great. I cook that year round, with leeks and mushrooms instead of ramps, (and sometimes curried cauliflower. Or fennel, onions and mushrooms. Or… you get the idea.
@NotMax: I will raise my glass to the noble fowl this evening!
If recipes calling for pancetta are too rich (both fattywise and pricewise), a decent but not exact substitute is using back (Canadian) bacon.
@Tom Levenson: One can also add garlic and rosemary as well. Re cooking times, I’m not sure of the science involved, but the last 20 minutes at 400 seems to be when the skin gets just right.
Years ago, I made up a casserole of some of my favorite things: potatoes, sausage, cheese, pecans, green olives. Basically, I chop pecans, shred Cotswold cheese, and slice kielbasa (flavor comes through better than ground sausage). Then I layer the hash browns, sausage, cheese, pecans, & olives three times – it cooks down a lot – sprinkle some ground pepper & a little salt along the way, spread more cheese on top, and bake (about 350, I think). Delish!
Because it’s kind of a production I make a lot at once – last year I made three 13×9 pans – and freeze it in couple-meal sized portions. As you can probably tell, it’s kind of a “throw in whatever works” kind of dish. I used to slice whole Yukon Jack potatoes & layer them prettily a la Potatoes Anna, but that got too tedious. I’ve been known to use regular shredded cheddar plus dried chives, too. And I get the sliced green “salad” olives that come without pimento, but that’s just me – the olives do add a little zing that offsets the potatoes & cheese, but YMMV.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@UncleEbeneezer: Sounds like something to look forward to
Hey Tom–you might already know this, but the chickens at Wilsons (Wilsons Farm) in Lexington are terrific. And they probably cost 1/2 of the ones at Savenors. Wilsons raises chickens, very much free range, at least at the Lexington farm. (We used to go visit the barn including the chicks all running around–very entertaining for the junior members.) But their chickens taste like chicken, not pale pink gunge. I miss their chickens, and their spinach–about which I can rhapsodize–like crazy.)
@NotMax: I don’t cook with pork (atavistic nod to my childhood’s version of kashrut), so I use duck or lamb bacon when various forms of cured pork are called for. They both do nice things…
Discovered the baking powder trick for roasting the crispiest chicken skin a while back. Use it in a super crispy roasted wing recipe. Here’s a close approximation of what I follow (sort of allergic to blindly following a recipe — always got to put a spin on it).
This site talks about the science of using baking powder:
@NutmegAgain: They are great. We just get out there so rarely, and the Beacon Hill Savenors is just a couple of minutes on the bike from my office. So…
I tell myself that the half gallon of gas or so it would take to get Wilson’s farm and back sort of evens it out.
Chacun à son goût. I’d scoot past a tableful of roast chickens for a good pork loin roast.
Never been much of a bacon fan. Will tolerate it. Exception is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for potato salad (no mayo) with the binding dressing made using bacon grease.
Last year I made a spatchcock turkey on my Weber grill with wood chips for an added smoky flavor. It was by far the best turkey that I made. I did a dry brine overnight and let it air dry. yum
@NotMax: Chacun indeed!
I also enjoy pork loin when served it. (As I said–I nod towards kashrut rather than hold to it.) But roast chicken is (for me!) sublime.
As for bacon–I almost never eat it on its own. But when recipes call for cured pig as a flavoring agent, I’ve found that these non-pig versions do well. So does duck prosciutto, but that’s so insanely expensive I just can’t bring myself to cook it down. It goes on good bread and is best accompanied by a nice glass of something.
@JPL: Details, please…including cooking time and how you maintained the temp on the grill.
Not recommending by a long shot but there’s now flavored charcoal.
@vbreakwater: That sounds very similar to the Ina Garten Engagement Chicken. Ina’s does the lemon in the cavity, plus garlic. Then you roast it over onions.
Goddamn. Now I’m hungry.
@NotMax: See, now this what happens when you hand over the Kingsford account to the Cheetos team. Nyet!
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Definitely. Yucatan was AMAZING but also a bit overwhelming due to how much we tried to do, and how much mental effort was required for driving, currency calculation, trying to speak Spanish, drink only filtered/bottled water etc. This will be a much more easy/chill trip.
@Tom Levenson: With a Weber kettle you maintain the temp with vent control. It was worth the effort. If the weather didn’t allow it, I was going to roast it. Serious Eats
@hw3: Oooh, sciency! Sounds worthy of a try.
We have a good Italian deli within walking distance where I can pick up pancetta at a decent price. It’s only a little needed for the bolognese, so not too pricey.
@NotMax: ha Yup not going to try. 😊
I still remember the lighter fluid starter from my youth.
@hw3: Does it still work if you put sauce on wings for the final 5-10 minutes?
@geg6: Bolognese sans tomato sounds sacrilegious but the recipe looks awfully good. Veal not easy to find, however.
Not the same chickens at all. Not even the same breeds of chickens.
My next big roasting project is to attempt to rotisserie roast a full turkey. I’m going to a test run first to see how it turns out before attempting it for a high-stakes family dinner like Thanksgiving. But I’m curious to see if it makes the turkey more tender and juicy just like it does for chicken.
Anyone here rotisserie roasted a whole turkey on their grill?
Open thread? I just dropped a piece of toast (mom’s homemade bread!) after I’d buttered it, and it landed in it’s edge on the bottom ledge of a cupboard door and never hit the floor!
I feel a sudden urge to gamble…
One of my son’s told me about Serious Eats recipes. A few years ago, he brought over red wine braised turkey legs, and they are delicious. Recipe
@Kent: How many pounds? I would guess that you would want to do a smaller bird. Chicken works great though.
I just got the cover art for Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m A Giant Monster, and here it is. I should finish writing the last chapter of Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Saved The World Again tonight or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow. I wanted to brag. Now back to writing.
@Frankensteinbeck: Neat! I can’t tell what’s been crushed in the footprint, but I suppose the book itself might provide that information.
@Frankensteinbeck: Very cool!
The food that comforts and delights me is pot roast – the 1970s Joy of Cooking recipe plus potatoes (because potatoes cooked that way are scrumptious).
But what I really enjoy making are fruit tarts – just dough, fruit, sugar, and butter, plus a little apricot jelly to glaze after they’re cooked. Apples (use tart ones), pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, even figs will work.
@Kent: Yeah, I knew that.
Funny, I just came from Costco and didn’t get one of the $4.99 roast chickens. I’ve been determined to lose weight and a mediterranean plus intermittent fasting seem to be doing the trick so I’m straying away from dark the dark meat. Twelve pounds in three weeks and aside from the occasional dizzy spells (my md had me stop the blood pressure meds) so there is that!
My local store of our regional chain (Giant Eagle) carries veal all the time. You can’t get every kind of cut, but ground veal is always available, along with cutlets. Not easy to get chops though.
I’m going up to Minneapolis this week because my mom slipped on the ice and broke her arm. So I’ll need to find the crockpot if she still has it (I will be teleworking from there so I would prefer to use that to make dinner).
@JoyceH: check if there is a used office store near by. They refurbish a lot of used chairs and might be able to help. I got a Herman Miller Aeron for $350 at one.
Toasting bread — with water? Skip right to conclusion.
I made this once – seriously good. Highly recommended.
Have a cooking q — what’s a good substitute for mushrooms? I hatehatehate them and usually skip recipes that call for them but occasionally see something that I am tempted by – I leave the fungi out but wonder if I could use something else instead.
I’ve done it many times. The propane grill I have has a special burner on backside of grill area and a full size lid. The outdoor temperature makes a huge difference to cooking times, I warm up the grill before starting. I use skewers to hold it together; as it cooks, it will tighten up. The legs may cook faster depending on your set up.
ETA: I baste it with oil, usually olive, as needed. You will have to see what size yours’s can handle. I’ve managed 18# but 12# birds are easier.
@Elizabelle: I was at the exhibit yesterday. It’s small by NGA standards, and his “flagship” cycle never leaves Italy (a large-scale six piece cycle of the martyrdom of St. Ursula), but they pulled together a very nice selection of both paintings and “studies” (AKA drawings) as well as a room that provides information about the places in Vienna that commissioned his work. The works come from a lot of different places, including the Getty Museum, the Met, Denmark, England, and, of course, Venice. I had never heard of Carpaccio, just like I had never heard of Verocchio, which is the last exhibition I went to just before the Pandemic hit. It’s definitely worth seeing.
Feels obligatory at this point,
Louis Jordan, ‘Ain’t nobody here but us chickens’
@Anyway: Probably leave them out.
I’m not into canned mushrooms or soft mushrooms, but if you cook them slow for twenty minutes, they take on a different flavor. You don’t want them burnt but definitely dry. Someone I met decades ago would then add cream and said his parents called them the poor man’s truffles.
Ultimate comfort food? Some version of pasta. One favorite is pasta tossed with fresh lemon juice and zest, fresh basil, grated Parmesan, plus olive oil, salt and pepper.
Good old-fashioned spaghetti and meat-sa-balls, also.
@Suzanne: I really love spaghetti olio aglio – not a lot there – with some toasted breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes. So good.
I have a Weber Genesis grill (the newer model) and it looks like it will fit fine if I pull out the grates and just roast it directly over the burners. I have an aftermarket rotisserie motor and skewer and I assume I’ll need to tie or wire up the turkey so it stays tight and doesn’t flop around. I think I would probably mix up an olive oil and herb blend to baste with and maybe rub the inside with the same (olive oil with thyme ,rosemary, sage, etc.)
Try cubed extra firm tofu. We use that in many dishes and it is on the top of many lists on various sites for best mushroom substitutes.
The smallest one I can find. It is actually kind of hard to find full turkeys outside of holiday season. A lot of grocery stores don’t stock them except in Nov/Dec. But I expect I can find them at some big meat market. This is a big city.
@cain: I am not skinny because I love pasta and bread more than I like being skinny.
Eggplant or zucchini also, depending on the recipe.
We have several breeds that are considered dual purpose, but you are probably correct in that the commercial farms don’t use dual-purpose hens.
@Frankensteinbeck: You can brag in an Authors in Our Midst thread, too, if you want.
@Suzanne: I’ve a red lentil dahl recipe that’s very similar. Replace the paprika and cinnamon with garam masala. It’s sooo good. Plain yogurt is a great topping.
That would be a very good idea. Let me contact you later. I’ll be very busy for the next few days, finishing up this last chapter and then getting the manuscript compiled from its separate chapters and cleaned up with a little light editing.
@Anyway: Do you hate the taste or the texture? If it’s the latter, you could put dried mushrooms in the dish and keep them in large enough pieces that you can take them out. You can also buy mushroom broth. If you hate the flavor, then depending on the recipe, you could substitute with something like liquid smoke or a bit of soy sauce. Another substitute would be little pearled onions, if compatible with what you are cooking.
That soup looks…yum yum
Quotidian button shrooms, sliced, sauteed in butter, then add a slight glug of bourbon right at the end when they’re about to be removed from the heat.
Once in a while I broil whole saucer sized portobellos (thanks, Costco – way more affordably priced than at the market) with a brushing of oil, then a spritz of oil again and sprinkle in some garlic and a light dusting of parmesan when flip them over as they’re cooking cap side down as a substitute for a burger.
Ultimate comfort food is probably pasta of some kind. I had some two weeks ago w/roasted lamb and a cream sauce and walnuts. Even though it was quite good, I would make it differently–I’d use a little mascarpone or sour cream in the sauce (it needed a little acid) and sub pine nuts for the walnuts, but that’s me. I make bolognese sauce with beef or pork, plus venison, and it’s wonderful. Another comfort food is venison cheese steaks with caramelized onions and camembert cheese on a really good baguette.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@trollhattan: I seem to be able to get eggs here in the DC area for about the same price as they’ve been…like a dozen for $4. It’s maybe a little more expensive than they used to be but not so much so that I’ve really noticed.
@JPL: I’ve been doing my turkey that way (Weber kettle grill with wood chips) for about a decade now using the dry brine recipe from Serious Eats (who make the same claim about the skin crisping power of baking powder). Turns out great every time. I usually put a butter and herb rub on it for Thanksgiving, or in the summer a BBQ dry rub.
For those with Weber kettle grills I got this thing called the Spider Venom last year that is a temperature regulator for Weber kettle grills. It basically replaces the ash bucket with an ash bucket with a built in electric panel that seals up the air vents and has a built in fan to control the air supply. I find it gets in the way for quick cooking stuff like burgers, brats etc. because the fan keeps trying to get the grill heat up (which kicks up a lot of ash) every time you remove the lid. It’s also not all that useful for higher heat roasting IMO as the charcoal with the bottom vents wide open does just fine. For low and slow though…you just set it and forget it for like hours. I can get about 5 hours out of a chimney full of charcoal at 225 degrees before I have to add more charcoal to the grill so I can go a long time without tending to anything if I’m doing ribs or a Boston butt or something.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Tom Levenson: What I do (without the gizmo I described above) is put an aluminum roasting pan underneath where the bird is going to go and fill that part way with warm water to act as a heat sink. I make a U with charcoal (pre lit in a charcoal chimney) around the drip pan. Fill the pan with water using a plant watering can AFTER putting the charcoal around the drip pan – if a half chimney’s worth of charcoal gets spilled in the water filled pan, you are screwed, but if there’s no water in the pan yet the charcoal stays dry and you can dump it back out of the pan and use long handled tongs to arrange it then put the pan back down where you want it. Just be careful with filling the pan so you don’t splash too much water on the coals – if you dump too aggressively a lot of water can splash out onto the coals.
I start with the dark meat facing the charcoal – i.e. inside the U with the breast meat facing the opening of the U where there’s not charcoal – as that is much harder to overcook. When that’s getting reasonably close to the desired temp (I usually go to 165) I rotate the bird 180 degrees so the breast meat is surrounded by the charcoal and starts to cook faster. To maintain temp I add about 10-12 briquettes every 40-50 minutes. I leave the bottom vents wide open and adjust the top vents to keep the temp around 350 degrees (there’s a thermometer built into the lid of the grill that’s reasonably accurate). I scatter a couple handfulls of wood chips and/or chunks (pre-soaked in water to generate more smoke) on the coals at the beginning and again roughly halfway through the cooking. I’ve gotten 12 pound birds done in less than two hours this way and they always turn out juicy, tender, and infused with smoky flavor. I don’t monitor the temp of the grill that closely – the turkey I find draws a lot of heat so even though the coals are going full blast the thermometer may only be reading 325 or so. It’s still plenty hot.
@Benw: Sooooo I am sure it is sacrilege, but I keep some of those packets of TastyBite madras lentils in the pantry for those days when I just give the fuck up and need something easy and don’t want to go to the store. I want to find a crockpot version of something similar but not processed.
Crockpot recipes are really great for WFH days. And they make the house smell great.
@NotMax: That’s a classic.
When I was a kid on Long Island, my favorite restaurant was this Italian place called Christiano’s. I have taste memory of their marinara sauce, but have never been able to recreate it.
Thanks for the mushroom responses. Eggplant and pearl onions sound promising …
I have chef friends who take my mushroom-dislike as a challenge “you haven’t tried it this way…” No I’ve tried them in a number of cuisines – Italian. French, Chinese, Japanese, Kennet Sq (local plug), pizza – hate ’em all. It’s the texture and the taste.
@Tom Levenson: I hear that! For many years I lived around the corner, which really was being spoiled in terms of fresh produce. But even when I moved farther away I would stock up from time to time. Down here in the wilds of CT, nothing compares. Kind of surprising.
There’s a nice restaurant here which at one time must have gotten a helluva bargain buy on lentils. Served with everything. For months.
Order shrimp? Came with lentils. Fish? Lentils. Ribs? Lentils. Filet mignon? Lentils. Lasagna? Side dish bowl of lentils.
@NotMax: I really like lentils. I was vegetarian for a number of years, including those first pivotal away-from-home-and-poor years when one is learning to cook, so I got very comfortable with things like lentils and beans and quinoa. Also, I am fairly simple and unfancy.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@JPL: Yes I had to do it in the oven one year it was pouring down rain here (although we usually have nice weather here in the DC area round about Thanksgiving) and it still turned out great. Lacked the smoky flavor but sometimes I like the nice clean roasted foul flavor from oven roasting. Plus you get pan drippings, which I suck out of the roasting pan with a turkey baster and baste the turkey but also add generous squirts to the stuffing which adds another level of fatty flavor to that. I don’t think I’ll ever roast a non-spatchcocked turkey either on the grill or in the oven ever again. The backbone I used to make some stock and that (along with the giblits) and that goes into the gravy. Then I make bone broth with the carcass in my instant pot. Then we make turkey soup with that. I still actually have a couple quarts of turkey soup from Thanksgiving in the freezer.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: That is very cool
I love the Souffle aux Blanc d’Ouefs (egg whites) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I use Peccoino Romano since I can’t tolerate cows milk. It turns out tangy and the fragrance from each bite is astounding. I make a Bearnaise or Hollandaise from the yolks. Dinner guests are gobsmacked, err, impressed.
Might put in a request to Uncle Phaedrus. (Severe time sink for foodies.)
Crap crap crap. Bad link at #124. Fix.
Might put in a request to Uncle Phaedrus. (Severe time sink for foodies.)
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Suzanne: Despite geeking out on roast turkey most of our weeknight meals are vegetarian. I’ve started making misir wat (we have an Ethiopian market near us that sells injera right down the street) although I use chicken broth for the liquid so it’s not technically fully vegetarian.
One dish that is vegetarian and can be made vegan is Deborah Madison’s lentils with wine glazed root vegetables (from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone). I usually make that in my saute pan (it has higher sides than a regular skillet) and put drop biscuit dough on top and chuck it in the oven until the biscuit topping is done. I’ve also topped it with mashed potatoes as a vegetarian shepherd’s pie type dish. Could also top it with puff pastry or several layers of filo dough.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@JPL: It is really great for low and slow. At higher heat the fan runs a lot and kicks out a lot of fine particulate matter and usually foods cooked on higher heat require more frequent tending so I do worry about what it’d do to my lungs long term. So I basically take it off and use the regular ash bucket for anything other than low and slow, but it is a space saver compared to having a dedicated smoker. I’ve used it to do a whole beer can chicken but anything that requires more frequent tending than that (or less time with the lid on the grill) I basically just turn it off and cook as I used to before I got the thing.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Thanks for the suggestion. I actually own that Deborah Madison book! I am not a big cookbook owner…. I have maybe 12, and most of them were hand-me-downs. But I got that one back in college from SuzMom! I haven’t tried that recipe, tho….I’ll have to give it a spin. I do green lentils with spinach and feta a lot.
@NotMax: A $300 toaster? I think I’ll continue with a 6 out of 10 toaster.
OT, but I am loving how the right wing conservatives are melting down about Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance of “Unholy” on the Grammys last night. (Which is a great song, BTW. Sam Smith has gotten significantly more interesting as an artist.)
Look, dudes…..modern life in this country is obviously not for you. Please feel free to retreat under a rock somewhere.
@Suzanne: My TV’s came with on/off buttons.
@JPL: Off button = Cancel Button
@Tom Levenson: I’m not horribly impressed with Whole Foods supposedly premium heritage chicken. I have caught a sale on Mary’s and one other brand only to find the finished product tough and not particularly flavorful. I usually try to scout out kosher.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Suzanne: Yeah, pasta is my comfort food of choice. I particularly like a deeply concentrated tomato sauce.
Howzabout some inordinately lavish bread?
My most recent light-bulb moment with respect to cooking has had interesting – and delicious results.
Two weeks ago I made a batch of Sally’s Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies. The one ingredient that I’ve never seen in chocolate chip cookies before is honey/corn syrup. Sally’s recipe also reverses the proportions of white to brown sugar that I normally use. I love the butterscotchy flavor that I get with dark brown sugar and pecans. To me, Sally’s cookies were a bit too blandly sweet because of the dominance of white sugar. The cookies were crisp when they cooled but they didn’t stay crisp. But that is where the fun begins. They were wonderfully chewy.
I made No. 2 Pencil’s tiny batch of chocolate chip cookies the other day and added a teaspoon of corn syrup to the dough (along with a cup+ of chopped pecans), and the cookies were brilliant! They flattened more than Sally’s did, and were a cross between crispy and chewy. Amazing! I baked them for 10 minutes at 350F, which is my usual time/temp for chocolate chip cookies but for the next batch where I use corn syrup, I’m going to back it up to nine minutes 30 seconds. Where the No. 2 Pencil recipe says you get two large cookies, with the added nuts I got 12 cookies – one sheet pan.
I also recommend melting the butter and letting the sugar dissolve in it before proceeding.
It’s taken me many, many decades but I think I am finally close to the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
PS I used corn syrup instead of honey because I am out of honey but had the corn syrup. Once I acquire a new jar of local honey, I’m going to try a batch of cookies with that.
@FastEdD: Lutefisk should properly only be a vehicle for the delivery of potatoes and bacon lardons w/ drippings. If you’re just eating it straight up, well, uff da! As they say.
@Kristine: For splayed chicken, this easy Jacques Pepin version is sublime.
It is some time hard to find a 3 lb chicken (my favorite size)…the 4 lb chicken size in the recipe works in that instance.
@NotMax: Whenever I hear about “commercially-raised chickens,” I am reminded of PG Wodehouse’s Love Among The Chickens, first published in 1909, heavily revised and republished in 1921. It is wonderful – one of his best.
@JPL: Yes, it’s amazing how easy it is to just opt out of stuff. I remember they told atheists that they didn’t have to pray at public meetings or in school….well, y’all don’t have to take part in any modern culture, either. I love turnabout.
They’re so salty about having no cultural influence or cachet. This is just the market speaking. The market is telling them that they are uncool and unimportant. This is society telling them that their tastes do not matter. They should listen. Make your own stuff if you don’t like it.
So the market is like my high school.
One of the perks of living in rural upstate NY is getting great chickens and other meat straight off local farms either in person or at a local farm store. For basic roast chicken, my go-to method is Thomas Keller’s: pat chicken until completely dry; rain kosher salt all over the outside and in the cavity. Couple grinds of pepper. Truss. In a 450 oven for about 45 mins. Brilliant every time I’ve done it. I also love this old Craig Claiborne recipe for “Smothered Chicken” from the archives of the NYT. You spatchcock the chicken and cook it skin side down in a cast iron pan or dutch oven with a couple of tablespoons of butter until the skin is nice and crispy and releases from the bottom. Then you add some flour and chicken stock and make a gravy with all the brown bits in the pan. *chef’s kiss
@Suzanne: As always, The Onion seems to have gotten there first.
@NotMax: Mrs. School is the fancier bread fan, but your link doesn’t seem to be there.
@jonas: Haha. I hadn’t seen that one before. Thanks.
@Suzanne: My pet peeve has been sports teams praying before games. Like really, if you didn’t hear god say don’t play if you don’t want your head bashed in, it’s too late..
To follow up, the critical part of the culture war stuff that the social conservatives get wrong is that they keep whining that “leftists control corporations and institutions”. This is dumb shit, but it also misses the point. The really important thing is that the consumer tastes of the mainstream have shifted.
Having worked in marketing for some time, I can assure you that, in that world, some people matter a lot more than others.
Yeah, pretty much.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@karen marie: I’ve been working my way through the PSmith novels (currently on PSmith in the City, but have already read the last of them as it is one of the Blandings novels). I’m not through the Jeeves and Wooster ones quite yet but those are my favorites so far and I’m spacing them out so I still have at least one or two new ones to look forward too.
My take on Wodehouse is that he builds fantasy worlds every bit as richly imagined as Tolkein, but set in a somewhat more familiar age – specifically the Jazz age. The stakes of most of his stories are much lower than those used in high fantasy but he’s capable of making low stakes plots imminently enjoyable and sufficiently compelling. I find it nigh on impossible to be in a bad mood while reading his books. They are the ultimate literary comfort food for me.
@Suzanne: This might be a surprise to some, but in the late eighties we moved from Dallas to Roswell, GA. What I discovered is that the schools were at least a year behind in math. The neighborhood which was upscale had lots of families with guns, and prayer was allowed before sports. It’s shifting now but not enough.
I didn’t realize how out of it I am until I tried to watch the video. I did not care for it at all. I did turn it off.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Suzanne: I think I use that cookbook more than any other I own. Like I said I don’t cook a lot of meat. Generally I cook Sunday dinner and it usually involves meat or poultry or fish. Usually we go out on Friday and Saturday so I let others do the meat cooking those nights. If we have people over on Friday or Saturday in the summer I’ll grill and then I might cook some form of animal protein twice in the weekend. Every once in a while I might do fish on a weeknight. But mostly it’s vegetarian during the week, which means lots of legumes, which I’m fine with. I think they’re about the healthiest way to get protein and they can be delicious when properly prepared. Another of her recipes I really like is chick peas with pasta and sizzling sage. I grow a small herb garden so almost always have fresh sage on hand to make it with.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Absolutely! When all else is going to shit, pick up a Wodehouse and it all falls away
Do you read Donald E. Westlake? He’s also a brilliant comfort read. His “comic crime capers” are wonderful.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: The Moosewood cookbooks.
I have family visiting with one gluten free and another dairy free. I find adapting for dairy free is harder.
OT, Guy shot by Cheney died.
@JPL: So my cousin went to high school in Roswell (his senior year only). He said there was “Tractor Day” and his classmates drove to school on their tractors.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@JPL: I have the Moosewood Cookbook and do use it pretty regularly but the recipes in the Deborah Madison one are somewhat simpler and easier for a busy weeknight, IMO. Although the Moosewood cookbook’s recipe for Welsh Rarebit is great and any leftovers are especially good chilled and used as a spread for soft pretzels. I thankfully don’t have issues with dairy. It’s hard to bake anything that doesn’t contain yeast without dairy. I guess pie crusts made with vegetable shortening you can do but that’s about it. My biscuit recipes use vegetable shortening rather than butter but there’s milk in there too.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@karen marie: Have not read any Westlake but will check him out.
@JPL: I’m intolerant of cows milk but found I do fine with sheep or goat milk but I don’t do them much. Some Oat milks are great but soy “cheeses” are crap. My brother’s girlfriend is gluten intolerant so family meals are always surprising.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Thanks!
Cheryl from Maryland
The best roast chicken I ever made was for my mother at my brother’s house. He wasn’t good with pantry staples, and I made incorrect assumptions about his kitchen (like who doesn’t have margarine/butter/tasty oil?). So I ended up lifting the chicken skin over the breast and squeezing it with packets of McDonald’s Breakfast Sauce I found in his fridge as I didn’t have time to go to the store (now no longer available unless you make it yourself). IT WAS AMAZING!
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Welsh rarebit — yum!
@Sure Lurkalot: Yeah. Not impressed with Mary’s during last spring’s stint in Palo Alto. Here on the east coast we occasionally get a heritage breed bird from PA that’s not bad. But basically, I’ve become a snob, and if I want a whole chicken, I get the Giannones.
Steve in the ATL
@Suzanne: yeah, Roswell is definitely not like that anymore!
Started round three of ‘how close to a vegan can I get’ yesterday. Make it a little further each time. Add some recipes, retire some things. Not sure I’ll ever make it, but taking comfort in the progress of it. Every little bit helps. The hard part is the social component. I don’t want to be a dick or an annoyance. If we go to a restaurant with no options, I’m not going to refuse or walk out but slowly I’m steering my social groups (and family) increasingly toward places that have options. You can do vegetarian In-N-Out but not vegan. You take what you can get sometimes. I can at least upgrade in most places – beef to fish, etc.
My added difficulty this round is no lentils – or at least not a as primary ingredient. Got enough of those recipes. Need to force other ones in. I’ve decided the thing I’ll never tire of is plain roasted vegetables – olive oil, bit of seasoning, high heat.
@Cheryl from Maryland: That’s just morally wrong. Like eating fried baby. Might be delicious but it’s not okay.
Sigh. Not my day for linkage, it it?
Here’s the one which should have appeared above. Apologies.
Nor for typing, it seems.
it it? = is it?
Cheryl from Maryland
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Some of my fondest memories are of being with my father outside as we read PG Wodehouse together. His brother started buying Wodehouse in the 1920s, so I have my uncle’s early edition hardbacks.
Not technically food, but it must be so very boring here today my local rag’s top article is currently “Domino’s Pizza adds new dish to Sacramento menus ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.”
Nothing else going on today, guys? Nothing?
@Anyway: The reason mushrooms ascended to the top of the culinary mountain is because their secret ingredient is MSG. They enhance the flavor of almost anything. However, “naked” MSG is too overpowering, so not really much of a substitute.
Cheryl from Maryland
@Martin: Really? I didn’t know that there were moral strictures on deliciousness. Do tell. And I’m not certain whether Mickie D’s breakfast sauce, while maybe horrible ingredient-wise, is any more unhealthy than butter.
@trollhattan: At least it’s news, not opinion.
@zhena gogolia: Imagine being famous for the sole reason of being shot by Dick Cheney then being coerced into apologizing for wasting perfectly Dick Cheney birdshot by stealing it with your face.
RIP, guy with list of bad friends.
@NotMax: Now that’s worthy of a $300 toaster.
@Barbara: Do you reckon the should put “Pizza” in scare quotes? Conflicted.
That blechstravaganza hasn’t taken place yet? Jiminy crickets, it’s February.
Aha. Sweeps month.
@jonas: Yes, the traditional method is with boiled potatoes. The modern method is Lutefisk shots, in shot glasses. Line ’em up, knock ’em down!
Steve in the ATL
OMFG you know damn well that Balloon Juice After Dark doesn’t start this early!
@Steve in the ATL:
Better a hundred naked MSGs than one naked MTG.
Forget the highfalutin chemistry. MSG stands for Makes Stuff Good.
@Cheryl from Maryland: Using any fast-food condiment as a cooking ingredient is morally wrong. It’s in Leviticus.
@Steve in the ATL: this is when you kneel and thank the lord.
This thread caught me at a good time because I’m cooking chicken for dinner (and three more meals). Thighs are my favorite, so I put a package of four in hot oil at the bottom of a big cast iron pot. salted and peppered both sides, turned down the stove burner, and put a big iron skillet on top, right side up. It fits tightly. I just added five russet potatos cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. I’ll add carrots and onions in a while. I’ll also add some lemon zinger tea for more steam. This will advance the recipe from crude to artisanal.
It should take two hours or so total to be ready.
After watching the kitchen tech pull a chicken off the roaster, package it and hand it to me directly, I was surprised the whole bird made it out of the Costco parking lot. I believe the birds are laced with and basted in crack cocaine, but I might just be projecting.
This sounds lovely!
@JoyceH: I tried to replace the hydraulic lift on mine, which wasn’t hard to remove but the chair is so old that I couldn’t even get the part I needed. I decided which height I preferred and put a piece of wood inside the broken cylinder. Not adjustable but the rest of the chair remains quite comfortable so I’ll stick with it. The cheap copies of those chairs last about 1 year and I can’t justify the built in worse than obsolescence.
@Martin. We are in a book club/dinner group, with one fish-only vegetarian. It’s a PITA to have to either only have fish main dishes or have to cook a separate entree for that one person every time. Maybe she should bring her own entree? I don’t know but it makes it difficult for the designated entree cook. Vegan would be nearly impossible with this group of people.