Monday, February 28, 2011

Sucky Soup

Woops.  Jere swears he liked it, and even Henry, wearing only a diaper tonight, slurped it down like a white trash 2 year old, but I think I really F'd up this soup.  I'm told this couldn't be easier, (which makes me feel like an even bigger loser), but everyone says, "Soups are SO easy!"  Well I say, "Kiss my ass."  Yes, I know I'll figure it out, try, try again, pull myself out of this self-loathing cooking moment, and get to the bottom of this meal that I so want to master, but today, I'm just not there.  MOM DOWN!

Cowboy Eatin' Fool
Perhaps y'all can help me.

I chopped a whole onion, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, and 4 cloves of garlic.
Heated some EVOO and sauteed the above items.
Added two bags of broccoli florets, then filled it with water so as to just cover the veggies.
Added a half a tub of miso, (I chose the red kind, but have NO idea what the differences are), then ended up adding the entire tub of miso because it was still a little watery and tasteless.  And YES, I added lots of salt and pepper, but at some point you have to stop, right?!
I continued heating up the whole pot until the broccoli was soft, then blended all the ingredients together into a puree.
At that point, I threw in a couple of dashes of crushed red chili peppers and a couple of glugs of sesame oil, lord knows why, I was grabbin' at straws!

The end result?  Very average.

Help me, people!  Was it just a matter of adding less water?  I was told you can't add chicken broth when you're using miso because they don't get along, so what's up?  Please send me any and all helpful hints, recipes, beat-downs, I can take it.

Oh and by the way, the real kicker, if you'd like to come over and have a taste for yourselves, I have a SHIT TON of it in my fridge!  Cue music, "I'm a loser baby..."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't be a CHICKEN SH*T!

Up until recently, not only did I have ZERO idea how to roast a chicken, but the simple act of cooking a whole chicken essentially freaked me out, intimidated me into a state of cooking paralysis.  My fears ranged from undercooking to overcooking, carving to cleaning, widespread Salmonella, and, not the very least, having it taste just god awful.

People, listen up.  Are you listening?  THIS IS SOOOOOOOO EASY and delicious!!!

So delicious, in fact, that I don't even have any "after" pictures from the other night because we were so voracious when the chicken came out of the oven.  The smell had enveloped the house and intoxicated us, so we ate...  I completely forgot to photograph the cooked bird.  (my apologies)

Henry patiently waits
My dear friend, Amy, has held my hand through this recipe of hers many times, because I'm so mental about it.  I call her every time to practice a verbal dry-run, and she listens every time, no judgement.  She's a good friend.

Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees, depending on your oven, and how fast you want to cook your chicken.
This is a 5 pound organic chicken, and I cooked it for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Palm some kosher salt inside the chicken cavity, shove a couple/few stems of rosemary and thyme inside as well.  Rub some extra virgin olive oil on the outside of chicken, along with kosher salt and pepper, and place it breast side down in a baking dish/pyrex.  Meanwhile...

Boil a big pot of water and put the quartered potatoes in, (these are organic golden potatoes, but you can use any kind), also toss about 6, 7, or 12! cloves of garlic in the water, skins on, and a whole lemon.  Once the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain the water.  (This usually takes about 5 minutes or so.)  Take the lemon in a set of tongs ('cause she's hot!) and pierce it so the juices shpritz out, then quickly shove the spraying lemon into the bird, and put the garlic cloves inside the cavity as well.  Surround the bird with the potatoes in a couple glugs of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and, if I have it, I sprinkle them in dill.

Here she is "before:"
HA!  I fear thee no longer!

And you're DONE!  Put 'er in the oven, and visit 'er in an hour.  At that time, cut into the skin, look at the meat, and if the juices run clear, it's time to eat.  I usually put it in for another 15 minutes, just to be sure.  Momma's still a little paranoid.

Hey listen, it occurs to me that I could be alone here, and everyone's roasting chickens right and left, but just in case, and to make my little inner-Oprah proud, if I can help just one person with this post, it will have been worth it.  I'm a giver.

Late Addition:  My friend, Blythe, commented that she puts her chicken in breast side up, so I consulted the Queen, Alice Waters.  Here's what she writes, and I will definitely be trying this technique next time.  Thanks Blythe!  
Put chicken in breast side up; and roast for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken breast side down. Turning the chicken helps it cook evenly by circulating the juices and fat throughout the bird and allows the skin to brown and crisp all over. After another 20 minutes turn the chicken breast side up again and roast until done.
Anyone else?  How do you put your chicken in the oven?  Do tell.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hungry For Something NEW-ish

My Creation
     This isn't exactly a "recipe," as it were, but I feel like it qualifies as a.) a great idea, b.) something I created, and c.) something I was HUNGRY FOR.  So there!  If you remember, I'm not shopping for myself for one year, (3 months to go, but who's counting!!?), and so I've had to get creative.
     There's this great jewelry store here in Los Angeles on Larchmont called Sonya Ooten,  Sonya's a lovely lady, and a wonderful designer with innovative, modern, edgy ideas, coupled with class and elegance.  Needless to say, the necklace I was slobbering over was a.) out of my price range, (even if I were shopping), and b.) have I mentioned I'm not shopping?  Shit.  It was this gorgeous, flat, oval-shaped piece, filled with pave, champagne diamonds, looked kind of vintage, and sat perfectly just below the 'ole clavicle.  (Yes, I tried it on, and yes, I'm dumb.)  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I visited it from time to time, would try 'er on, even introduced 'er to my mother!  It was getting bad.  Wait, see for yourself:
The Obsession

     Oy, this was a difficult one.  "How many days exactly until May 1st?"  Should I start putting the 2 grand away now?"  This kind of thinking was not helping me.  For the most part, I don't go into stores these days, it's just too tempting, (note earlier reaction to diamond necklace), but I had to pick up a repair from Sonya, and, well, I'm only human.  Then I remembered, I have this vintage pin that's kind of the same shape as this necklace, and who wears pins?  This particular pin stays pinned to a jacket I ALSO never wear.  So Sonya took the pin-back off, ordered this perfect, vintage, silver chain, and attached it to the piece.  (Some of you out there, no doubt, can attach your own chain, cutting out the middle-woman, but I'm just not that handy.)
 I am THRILLED with my new invention, I wear it all the time, people compliment me on it whenever I wear it, and even my son says, "Put this on."  Okay, so it's not the mouth-watering Sonya Ooten necklace, but it's doin' the trick, and I think it's quite the little show-stopper, if I do say so myself.  (Thanks for the inspiration, Sonya!)
Just a little idea that you too can add to your very own jewelry collection.  Look around in your drawers, (or on jackets), for pins you never wear, and turn them into necklaces.
You're welcome!
Happiness is, getting a new accessory