Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poem of the Week

when one is taken with another,
where does one go?
lying on my side,
with only a window pane to separate me from the trees,
can’t tell if they’re blowing, or the house is moving
maybe the trees are just bending down for a kiss
if I were a tree who would I kiss?
if I were me?
what is subtracted from the equation?
in the economy of love,
how does a sapling grow?
do we (n)ever not get what we didn’t pay for?

by Cristina Paul

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crispy-Skinned Roasted Lemon Chicken

Serves 3 to 4

Use fresh lemon juice to achieve true lemon flavor for the delicious sauce that accompanies this dish. The baking soda mixture that is rubbed on the chicken’s skin will produce a wonderful crispiness. A sharp pair of kitchen shears will make removing the backbone of the chicken easy. Use a non-stick aluminum roasting pan for best results.

2 ½ teaspoons table salt, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 1/3 cup juice from 3 lemons
1 teaspoon sugar
1 whole (3 ½ - 4 pound) chicken, butterflied (backbone removed)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, savory, or thyme

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, baking powder and pepper in a small bowl; set aside. In another bowl, combine the remaining teaspoon of salt, lemon zest, and sugar and set aside.
2. Place the chicken breast-side down on a work surface. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone of your chicken to remove the backbone. Flip the chicken so the breasts face up and press down on the chicken breasts with your palm to somewhat flatten the chicken. Trim any excess fat.
3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Using fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon, carefully separate the skin from thighs and breast. Rub 2 tablespoons of the lemon zest mixture under the breast, thigh, and leg meat. Now, rub the chicken skin with the baking powder mixture, coating the entire surface evenly. Using a metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Now place the chicken in a roasting pan. Combine the broth, lemon juice, and remaining zest mixture and pour around the chicken.
4. Roast until thigh meat registers 170 to 175 degrees, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for twenty minutes.
5. Meanwhile, transfer the pan juices to a saucepan, whisk in butter, and parsley, savory, or thyme; and cook over low heat. Pour the sauce around the chicken on a serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and herbs if desired. Carve and serve the chicken.

***Butterflying the chicken helps it cook more evenly and quickly than a traditional roasted chicken.
**Baking powder is the ingredient responsible for the crisp skin of this chicken. Like baking soda, baking powder is a leavener (containing sodium bicarbonate) but it also contains a drying agent.
*Baking powder and baking soda are often used in baked goods. Baking soda alone can create a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

I recently stayed at a bed and breakfast and realized that there is a funny etiquette that operates when you enter into this world of doilies and daisies. I loooooove B&Bin' it - and not just because I get to use the abbreviation as a verb. I have a strange addiction to the conversation at the communal breakfast table. A B&B is a whimsical mingling of people in close quarters, friendly innkeepers, and the serendipity of finding yourself amongst other curious travelers that have chosen this same slice of American pie. When I make may way to the breakfast table, I cross my fingers for a small number of guests so we can most effectively talk at each other. I don't care what type of cable-sweatered, weary traveler fate plops into the wooden chair across from me. The B&B beckons me to ¡EMBRACE! my fellow wanderers/wonderers - to tell them about the book I never wrote, my first crush, explain why I don't take sugar with my coffee but will add it to my tea, marvel at the local discoveries that I have or haven't yet made, realize that I REALLY like the fuddyduddies or freaks sitting within spitting distance. After an hour or two of relaxed rambling over fresh plates of fruit, I exchange emails with the honest intention of keeping in touch with these people who seemed to be so different. Now I feel irreversibly bound to my unlikely friends. If the vicissitudes of fate dropped me down on a plane seat next to this traveler, or my love of sending postcards miraculously brought me to the same post office, I would expect them to greet me by name and introduce me to a loved one. I really and truly believe that anyone I meet at a B&B will name their firstborn after me or at least beg their sons and daughters to do so.

Things I saw during my most recent travels:

The loveliest bird feeder ever

                A happy bush

Elephants on parade