Friday, June 10, 2011

Slow-Roasted Perfection.

This is pretty much all you'll need. And the chicken, of course.

We've been teasing you all week--but now, the moment has finally arrived. Today, we reveal our super secret, slow-roasted chicken recipe!

First off, here's what you'll need to actually prepare the chicken:

*4-6 lb. whole chicken.
*A roasting pan. We prefer this one.
*Canola/olive oil spray.
*Kosher salt.
*Olive oil (optional).
*Spices (optional). This method uses dried spices: rosemary, marjoram, thyme.

And here's what you'll need to clean yourself (and the chicken):

*Hand soap (preferably with a push-top)
*Trash can/compost bin (keep this close)
*3 or 4 paper towels.

Give your chicken a nice, little rinse--inside and out.

Step 1. The Prep.

Get everything you'll need within arm's reach. Start by spraying the bottom of your roasting pan with the canola spray. This typically makes cleanup a bit easier. Next, remove the chicken from the packaging, discard the innards, and rinse your chicken--inside and out. Pat chicken dry with the paper towels. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast side up. Wash your hands. Preheat your oven to 300 F.

Let spices (and a slow-cooking oven) do all the work.

Step 2. The Spices.

Now it's time for the fun part--the spices! Sprinkle your bird with the kosher salt. Your goal here is to cover as much of the bird's surface area as you can. It may seem like a lot of salt, but remember, it's a lot of meat--so it needs to be flavored. Crack some pepper in the same manner. And if you're using spices, sprinkle of bit of each all over the bird. The best part? If your extra spices miss the bird and end up in the pan, you're simply adding more flavor to the natural juices (more on that later). Oh yeah, one last thing, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the chicken. Put the lid on and pop that bird in the oven.

Step 3. Wait.

Watch a movie, read a book and mentally prepare yourself for an amazing dining experience. As a general rule, cooking time is about 20 minutes per pound. My oven isn't that reliable, so for me, a 5 lb. chicken takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes at 300 F. Chances are, your oven is a bit more modern--if so, you may want to sneak a peek at the 2-hour mark.

Step 4. Salivate.

You've waited and waited...and by now, you're most likely detecting an amazing smell throughout your home. That means it's time to get that bird out! Remove from the oven, pop off the lid and allow the bird to cool for 15-20 minutes. To check for doneness, give a tug on one of the legs. After 2 hours of slow-cooking, the leg/thigh should feel like it's about to fall off (if it hasn't already). And if you're impatient (like me), go ahead and rip the wings off and snack on them. Yummy!

Need we say more?

Step 5. Enjoy.

Once your chicken has rested a bit, transfer to a serving plate. You may want to recruit a friend to help you accomplish this task. Generally speaking, the chicken is usually so moist and tender that the legs, thighs and wings may just slide off. This is a good thing. Plate your tender pieces of slow-roasted chicken and enjoy to the fullest!

Ah, the juices...

But wait! What to do with all of those leftover juices? Well, if you're planning to eat right away, you can spoon some of the juice over the chicken--it'll make it that much yummier! Trust me though, you'll want to save the rest. So pour the remaining juices in to a plastic container and stick in the fridge.

By the next day, the fat will have risen to the top and solidified. The lower level of juicy goodness will look something like chicken stock jello. Sounds gross, but it's delicious. Use it to saute greens, asparagus, broccoli or even add it to some warm pasta. Yum!

And there you have it...slow-roasted perfection! We hope you've enjoyed our "Bon Appetit" series. And remember, cooking (and eating) should be an enjoyable experience. Have fun, experiment and most importantly, use those spices! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sneak Preview: Roasting A Chicken.

The view from above.

Tomorrow, we're revealing our top secret chicken roasting method--but only because everyone should experience the deliciousness of a slow-roasted chicken. Are your taste buds ready for this?

Looking for a good roasting pan? This is my (surprisingly inexpensive, yet highly effective) weapon of choice: "18" Roasting Pan, from Mainstays".

A Simple Smoothie.

Seriously, how often is purple food considered delicious?

I love smoothies! What's not to love about taking a bunch of ingredients, throwing them in a blender and creating a super-tasty, liquefied treat?

Here's a super-easy, quick and delightful smoothie recipe:

-1 banana, cut in to pieces
-1/2 cup frozen blueberries
-1 tbsp. dried coconut
-5 heaping spoonfuls of low-fat, plain yogurt
-1 cup soy milk

Shove it all in a blender, hit blend, pour in a glass and enjoy!

Notes: I prefer my smoothies a bit colder, so I typically cut the banana up and stick it in the freezer (about an hour or so before the blending action begins). Also, you may want to adjust the ingredient amounts to suit your tastes. And for added sweetness, try a bit of honey!

Spice It Up.

Vintage spice jar set, from Red Pop Shop.

When you're looking for a flavor boost, a dash of spice just may be the answer. Sure, salt and pepper are the go to guys. But have you ever tried cayenne pepper in an omelette? What about cinnamon or nutmeg in a curry? How about a little caraway seed with your sausage? Wait, you haven't tried any of those?! Hmm, I'm thinking your taste buds may need some pampering.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saving Money On Groceries.

Meet your new friend--the weekly ads.

Coupons are for suckers. The weekly ads are where the real action is. And the key to utilizing the weekly ad is to note and shop the pattern. Most grocery stores advertise everything that's on special for the week. Some stores will actually e-mail you these ads. Think of these ads as a map for discovering hidden grocery savings!

But how can you shop the ads and actually save money? Funny you should ask:

*Whole chickens. These will sometimes go as low as 79 cents/lb. Buy 3 or 4 and freeze 'em!
*Yogurt. Can't eat a whole 32oz. tub? Use it in smoothies!
*Fruit. This is a good smoothie ingredient too. Smoothies are healthy and will keep you full!
*Stockpile bulk foods. When grains go on sale, get a few pounds. A little grain will go a long way.
*Coffee and teas. If you drink these beverages every day, get a few weeks worth and save some $$.
*Vegetables and greens. Get creative--use them in quesadillas, stir fries and curries.
*Chocolate. Buy the big bars and have a square each night for dessert. (Caution, this one takes will power).

Have some other tips on how to save money on grocery shopping? Let us know!

Roasting: A Sneak Preview.

18" Roasting pan, from Mainstays--my weapon of choice.

Roasting a chicken is incredibly easy. It's also incredibly economical. And the best part? It's delicious!

This Friday, we'll share our secret chicken roasting recipe. Trust me, you won't want to miss this one...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10-Minute Dinner For Two.

A healthy trifecta.

My girlfriend and I work a lot. And by the time dinner rolls around, we're in need of something quick (usually because we're starving and don't feel like expending too much energy or time to prepare supper). So we've developed a few meals that quickly satisfy our grumpy, growling tummies--this is one of them.

Dover sole, with spicy asparagus and cous-cous:

-1 lb. dover sole (or similar light fish)
-1 bunch of Asparagus
-3/4 Cup Cous-Cous
-1 Cup Chicken Stock (or water)
-1 Tbsp. Butter
-Cayenne Pepper (a pinch)
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper (to your taste preference)

The key to any quick meal, is getting everything ready--before you start cooking. So get your buddy, boyfriend or girlfriend in the kitchen and start prepping!

First, preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. To prep asparagus, cut about 1 inch from the bottom of each spear. Arrange fish and approx. 10-20 spears of asparagus on baking sheet (depending on how much you want)*. Drizzle both with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. To the asparagus, add a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional). Put sheet in oven and cook for approx. 10-12 minutes.

Bring 1 cup chicken stock (or water) to a boil (in a small saucepan). Add 3/4 cup cous-cous, 1 tbsp. butter, salt and pepper. Turn off heat. Stir mixture a bit, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let the cous-cous sit on the burner (with lid on) for about 5 or 6 minutes. Add a bit of olive oil and fluff with a fork. Put everything on plates, sit down and realize how awesome of a chef you are! Oh, and eat!

*If you have a toaster oven, you can cook the asparagus separately, using the same foil/baking sheet method. Also, you may have a bit of asparagus left over--use it for another, delicious meal!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hallava Falafel.

Hallava Falafel - Georgetown, Seattle.

For the past few months, we've been frequenting a (mostly stationary) mobile food truck known to simpletons as "Hallava Falafel". But to us, this may as well be falafel heaven--for it's here where nightmares of mediocre falafel go to die.

Food from a truck has never been this good.

Located in the tiny "Georgetown" neighborhood (just south of downtown Seattle), "Hallava Falafel" is by far our favorite-est of favorites when it comes to Seattle eats. There are 3 menu items: falafel and shawarma (both available in sandwich or salad form), and "double-dropped" fries. All 3 are scrumptious--but the falafel sandwich is our champion.

The view from my mouth.

The ingredients: crispy, golden brown falafel stuffed inside a pocketless pita, Russian red relish, spinach, tzatziki sauce, a delicious blend of spices, and perhaps the underrated hero of Hallava's falafel sandwich, a wild Armenian pickle. Good. Freaking. Lord.

Do yourself a favor--go there...NOW! 5825 Airport Way S, Georgetown, WA.