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my winter cooking frenzy - Ambar
December 7th, 2001
09:31 am

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my winter cooking frenzy
is actually fuelled by spending a lot of time at elflet's, reading cookbooks. (When in Rome....)

So Thursday, being grocery day, I whipped myself into a frenzy reading Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. By the time I left his place, heading for home, I wanted to cook. So I stopped by Whole Foods on the way out, happy, for a change, to trade off the extra east-bound traffic for a romp through one of the best produce departments I have access to.

But Whole Foods in San Ramon is smack next to a Borders Books. I had a medium bookstore accident. (The Hazan book, plus Puerto Rican Cuisine in America.)

So I bought food. Driving home, I considered what to cook first. When I noticed that I was juggling three or four recipes in my head, I realized this was enough food for me for something like three days. Bad. Must find someone to feed.

So I called up my vet in Stockton, with whom I've socialized in the past. She is busy separating from her husband, but was evidently happy to come to dinner, even if it was on four hours notice. I had a lot of fun cooking, and we drank what felt like a great deal of wine (but proved to be a half-bottle or so) and nattered away pretty late, considering it was a work night and she had to be in the clinic by eight.

Menu:
Hard-Boiled Eggs with Green Sauce. (I would call it "deviled eggs, Italian-style", since the yolks are seasoned with parsley, capers, and anchovy fillets. Salty. Yum!)
Roast Chicken with Two Lemons. (That's about all there is to it. Insanely delicious, too.)
Romaine Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola. (I've always thought gorgonzola cheese smelled like old socks. Why would anyone want to eat the stuff? Because it doesn't taste like that, silly. Inspired in part by a reading of The Cheese Course, I resolved to try at least one cheese I hadn't had before. Yum!)

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From:kathrynt
Date:December 9th, 2001 02:32 pm (UTC)

Roast chicken?

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Tell me of your roast chicken with two lemons, Usul.
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From:ambar
Date:December 10th, 2001 02:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Roast chicken?

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Hmm. Off the top of my head:

wash & pat dry a 4lb chicken. Rub inside & out with sea salt & fresh-ground pepper. Wash (with water, no soap) & dry 2 lemons. Roll them on the countertop, using some muscle (this helps extract the juice). Pierce each in at least 20 places. Stuff the cavity with them.

There is, at this point, some fussing with closing up the cavity with toothpicks, and tying the legs together, on the grounds that if you haven't split the skin, the chicken will puff up & look impressive. I split it turning the chicken, and it doesn't affect the taste, so fuss or not as you will.

Put the chicken in a 400F oven, breast down, for 30 minutes. Turn it over, roast for another 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F and go for an additional 20 minutes.

I think I've got that right, but you might want to hold off until I get home & can double-check the oven settings. :-)
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From:kathrynt
Date:December 10th, 2001 04:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Roast chicken?

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Jesus. So really you just wash, dry, salt and pepper a chicken, then manhandle two lemons and bung 'em in the cavity and roast until done. If today's pot roast wasn't already in the oven, I'd give it a try. That sounds awfully good.
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From:tersa
Date:December 9th, 2001 03:41 pm (UTC)
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Gorgonola. Suspicious.

I've heard it's similar to bleu cheese. I loathe bleu cheese. Is it comparable?
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From:ambar
Date:December 10th, 2001 02:50 pm (UTC)
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It has no resemblance in taste to blue cheese dressing, which is the only blue cheese in my experience. The texture is creamy and rich, something like a brie, only softer. The flavor is strong, maybe a bit musky? but not sharp as such.

Come over and we'll make the salad again and you can decide for yourself. :-)
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From:tamago
Date:December 9th, 2001 10:06 pm (UTC)

cheese!

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I almost can't bear to eat bad gorgonzola. Good gorgonzola is, however, sublimely yummy. (But then, I like elderly cheeses like stilton and gorgonzola.) Chrisber's Nonna served us some really magnificent gorgonzola when we ate at her table, but it's almost too rich to eat on it's own or in more than small crumbles. On a salad, say... with walnuts and pears. Yum!
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From:diony
Date:December 13th, 2001 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Yay new cheeses! I have been trying to sample a bunch, but this is not the time of year for me to buy perishable foods, so I am saving my plans for when I get back from massive family-travelling.
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