Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Take one whole, free range chicken, rinse and pat dry.

Sprinkle dried thyme (the recipe called for fresh, but I didn't have any, so I used dry as a substitute) inside the cavity, and then stuff with lemons (leftover from the crab feast), rosemary (from our garden), and onion and garlic cloves(sitting on my countertop as a part of my usual stock of goods).

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then add chicken broth (from my pantry) and lemon juice (used up another fresh lemon); baste regularly until done (about another hour).

To make gravy, use pantry ingredients (water, cornstarch, shallot, garlic); mix well, stir constantly.

To this recipe, I decided to add vegetables. I chopped up potatoes from the farmer's market, as well as some carrots, zuchinni, and bok choy that I happened to have in my fridge, and placed these around the chicken at appropriate times as the bird was cooking (first just chicken, then add potatoes, then carrots, etc.).

Dinner tonight was excellent. It's amazing how different a whole chicken tastes than just a piece. I'm used to buying boneless, skinless breasts, but they're more expensive and more processed, so I bought a whole bird. I wasn't prepared for the major difference in tenderness and flavor - it was much, much better than if I'd done a similar recipe with boneless/skinless. I did remove the skin before carving; I still want to watch my weight, and this plan doesn't change that. The whole dinner was 7 points but tasted ridiculously rich.

Okay, so I'm boasting, and this kind of thing doesn't make good reading. If anyone's actually reading this, I apologize; my intent is more to remind myself than anyone else that my goals of not wasting food, eating locally, etc. are not punishments. The meal was not all local, but it was a step in the right direction. The ingredients were not all seasonal (lemons? in Seattle? in FEBRUARY?). But I didn't waste stuff. My refrigerator is starting to look (gasp! can it be?) bare. (My fridge is never bare. My fridge is always stuffed to the gills.) This delights me. Usually, food gets wasted and thrown away as new food replaces it. (Again, there's an embarassment factor...I hope nobody is here to judge.) Not today. Today, I had this little success, a little move in the right direction. And the results were beautiful, successful, delicious, flavorful.

And I haven't even mentioned yet that the carcass is bubbling away on my stove, turning into stock. I wasn't well prepared for that step - out of onions, I used green onions including the whites. No celery, so I chopped up the last fresh zuchinni. Soon, I will cool it, strain it, and put it into a container to freeze, and next time a recipe calls for stock I'll have homemade stock at home. Next time I'll be better prepared for the stock part, as this one is sure to be a little bland, but I'll figure out a good way to use it anyway.

I'm planning tomorrow's main meal around spinach because I've got loads of it. Maybe a simple spinach salad with leftover chicken diced into it....and the last couple avocados, and I'll make a couple hard-boiled eggs....

This is a lot of work. Mostly, it's a lot of planning, because I'm not used to it. That's okay. I'm adjusting. My hope and thought is that after doing this for a while, it will come easier, because I'll have thought it through before.

Also, we eat a lot of international cuisines - Japanse, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Thai...and the stuff I'm finding on local food/seasonal food seems to be more traditional (roasted veggies and meats). I'll have to work on that. I like big flavors.

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