Saturday, December 30, 2006

An Ideal Dinner

Mom is visiting me for the weekend! We had a stellar day tromping around PA, and then since she thinks I eat out too much, we ate in tonight.

Here's my mom in front of the main part of our dinner.

"Word to my moms, she came to drop bombs."

Isn't my mom a total babe? And doesn't she look totally psyched for our roasted chicken? That chicken was 4 pounds. We have a drumstick left now. It took us exactly 25 minutes to demolish that bird and since my mom is very Chinese, she also actually like ate some of the bones.

EDIT: Since I have gotten some comments, I would like to say that my mother did not have me when she was 5 or 10. She's just very, very lucky. She does dye her hair- don't tell her I said that.

So...we both have severe stomach aches now. She's falling asleep next to me on the sofa right now. Food comas are also a hereditary condition, I believe.

Prior to this deliciously roasted bird, we ate an endive salad with chopped almonds and apple with a garlic lemon dressing. I was almost full after that salad. But apparently, I was 2 pounds of chicken short of seriously-about-to-die full.

So it turns out that my lack of appetite control comes from my mom. In the grocery store today, she had three different cheese samples... And she literally had like 4-6 pieces of cheese each in her hand each time. I've never seen the like. I was almost embarrassed but anyone who's been to a sampley place with me knows that the women in my family have no shame when it comes to samples of cheese.

The chicken above was cooked long and slow at between 275 and 315 for more than 4 hours, and basted approximately every half hour. It was rubbed with salt and paprika, stuffed with a hand full of herbs from the garden and half a lemon. This method is from one of my favorite food writers, Laurie Colwin. What results is a loose fleshed, taut, mahogany skinned, juicy-ass bird. (As an aside, my mom wouldn't let me eat the tail because it's from the butt!)

I've tried the Zuni (Dry salt brined and high heat) and Marcella (Lemon and high heat) styles. There's a lot of flipping around and sometimes the skin can get crisp, but the breasts are always really dry and the one hour you're roasting that chicken is pretty high stress to me. (However, the Zuni bread salad is worth any amount of work, and next time, I'll use the copious juices for a bread salad a la Zuni, even if the bird isn't done in the correct way).

I guess everyone has a method they swear by. I need to try out more.

PS, the title of this post was because my Mom and I spent part of the dinner watching "An Ideal Husband" with Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett. I was going to try to work the movie into the post more, but it didn't happen. But roast chicken is an ideal dinner so the title stays.


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