28 December 2008

In the kitchen with Jess.

Tonight I cooked my very first whole chicken. Really? Just now I'm doing this?

I've always been intimidated by the whole chicken. It used to be that I was generally intimidated by meat, but I'm past a lot of that. I cook beef all the time, and it's easy because I love a rare piece of beef. That wasn't always the case, which again, made cooking meat a dicey proposition. If I can't have it lovely and rare, I actually have to pay close attention to make sure I don't over or under cook anything.

But one piece of meat -- a steak, a pork chop, maybe a chicken breast -- that's one small thing. I can handle that. An entire animal? Hold me.

However, I've been getting more and more daring in the kitchen and I finally got the nerve up to roast a whole chicken. I mean, I spend a good chunk of change on the occasional rotisserie chicken. And I can get a whole chicken way cheaper. Or, I can get chicken from the 'rents for free. Every year they buy chickens from some other local farmer and I've always declined, but this year I said I wanted a whole chicken. Of course, my tiny freezer forced me to wait until now to bring it home.

Mom sent back extra rosemary and thyme from the crust we made for the prime rib on Christmas Eve. So I stuffed the cavity of the bird with rosemary, thyme, half a lemon, half an onion and a few crushed cloves of garlic. Before I jammed the lemon inside the bird, I zested it. I added the zest to some butter and added more rosemary and thyme, as well as some garlic powder and pepper. I smeared that under the skin over the breast. Since I had some left over, I figured I should just massage it into the skin.

After lots of basting and a couple of flips, the chicken, she was done! And holy shit, y'all, it's pretty damn good. I think I might have cooked it a tiny bit too much. I just don't trust my meat thermometer and I haven't been to Target to get a probe thermometer or an instant-read. (But I have to return two of the four Wii controllers I got for Christmas and finally buy The Boy I Currently Like his housewarming present, so I will be getting one or the other tomorrow, dammit.)

The skin is golden brown and crispy. The leg, anyway, was fairly moist and delicious. YAY ME!

Oh, but why stop the experimenting with just one dish? I'll make curried couscous, too. I'm fairly sure I've mentioned my hatred of curry here before. But my aunt made this for Christmas and I actually liked it. I know she modified it quite a bit, but I never managed to find out what exactly she did.

That didn't stop me from making my own modifications, though. I used whole wheat couscous and cooked it without butter in vegetable stock. I used red wine vinegar and cut back about a quarter teaspoon on the curry powder. I used dried cherries instead of currants or raisins. I used all scallions instead of scallions and red onion. Oh, and I toasted the almonds. And color me shocked, I fucking love this shit. Maybe next time I'll even use the entire amount of curry powder.

I'm very proud of myself. And I have more than enough for lunch leftovers for the entire two days I'll be working this week. Maybe my cooking was a success because I started cooking well before I started drinking? Maybe someday I'll see if that's a correct assumption.

Before I go, I'd like to apologize for the craptasticness of my blog as of late. I've been sucking big time. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I'm fairly content with my life, so I don't have a ton of stuff to bitch about and we all know that conflict is good for writing and makes for an interesting read.

Do not fret, though. Soon it will be the New Year and the gym will be overrun with assholes and I'll have plenty of complaining to do.


Idris_Arslanian said...

Not meaning any offense, but this brings to mind the following quote:

"If you can't roast a chicken, you are a sorry, incompetent idiot who should dig his own grave."
- Anthony Bourdain

Idris_Arslanian said...

Wait, no the actual quote was: "That’s roast chicken, numbnuts! And if you can’t properly roast a damn chicken then you are one helpless, hopeless sorry-ass bivalve in an apron. Take that apron off, wrap it around your neck and hang yourself. You do not deserve to wear the proud garment of generations of hardworking, dedicated cooks. Turn in those clogs, too."

Again, no offense. Seriously. Just thought it was hilarious.

Jess said...

No offense taken. I've actually been quite ashamed for having taken so long to roast a damn chicken. It's astonishingly easy.

But now I can hold my head high, as I've accomplished roasting a lovely chicken.

I heart Anthony Boudain.