Roasted Delicata

Thu, Oct 21 • 0

In one way, I think my wife usually dreads the autumn, because that’s when I start doing things with winter squash. For the most part, she’s not into them. I think it has something to do with the way they sort of stick to your teeth, and their tendency to be sweet like sweet potatoes (also not on her list of favorites). So I was pretty surprised by her reaction to roasted and sliced delicata squash.

The delicata squash is ovoid in shape, with slight ribs running along its length. Their default color seems to be a light, creamy yellow, but that’s streaked with orange and green most times. They’re relatively easy to peel compared to most other winter squash, as the skin is smooth and mostly unblemished. I use a Y-peeler for the main body, pulling it towards me as I go, and a normal peeler for the rounded ends, which I trim off mostly anyway. I cut it in half, and core out the seeds and guts with a spoon. Then I slice the meat in quarter inch slices, toss them in olive oil and salt, and spread them on a foil lined baking sheet. I cook them in a hot oven, 425, for about an hour, tossing them halfway through.

The result is almost like french-fries, but with more fiber. She especially likes the dark and crispy caramelized parts. I bet if your kids don’t like to eat vegetables, they’ll dig these, too.


Better Roast Chicken

Sun, Dec 27 • 0

So it seems pretty straight-forward, but I never actually tried it until last week. A better way to roast a chicken. I’ve often lamented the fact that the thighs and drumsticks are rarely ever completely cooked to my liking, or if they are, the breast meat is completely overdone. Taking a cue from recipes for roasted turkey, I decided to try twirling the bird.

First, salt and pepper the bird, inside and out. If you want to get fancy, put a couple spoonfuls of compound butter underneath the skin of the breast. Then put the 3 to 3½ pound chicken on a roasting pan that’s preheated in a hot oven (425°), but put it in on its side, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Then turn it on its other side for another 15 minutes. Finally, roast it breast side up for 25 to 35 minutes more, basting the bird every 10 minutes. You should hear the chicken sizzling the whole time while it’s in the oven. (You know it’s done when the joints move easily.) Then let it rest outside of the oven for 15 minutes more, covered with foil.

The result is an very moist and completely cooked chicken. What’s more, as with other roast chicken recipes, it’s just as easy to cook two chickens at the same time, either to feed a crowd or for copious leftovers. And though it’s a little more work, and I can’t wander far from the kitchen, it’s definitely going to be my go-to way to roast a chicken from now on — or, at least until some novel method presents itself.


My Roast Chicken

Thu, Jan 10 • 0

chickenFirst, the day before I plan to serve them, I start off with two 3lb bird, preferably organic, free range, but I’ll settle for a regular supermarket bird if that’s all I can find. I make two because it’s just as easy to make two as it is to make one, and there’s always good uses for the leftovers. Next, I boil up 4 cups of water in my electric teapot (though a pan on the stovetop is fine). In that, I dissolve about a cup of kosher salt, an eighth cup sugar, a tablespoon of dried rosemary, several dried juniper berries — really, any dried spices you like.


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What’s for dinner? Roast Duckling

Tue, Dec 25 • 0

Christmas Duck Harris Teeter had fresh duckling on sale the other day, and I just couldn’t resist.

I used Ina Garten’s technique of lightly scoring the duckling’s skin with a fork, and cooking it in hot chicken stock for 45 minutes, which gets rid of a lot of the fat, letting it dry off for 30 minutes, and then roasting it in a really hot, hot oven (500°) for 30 minutes, followed by a rest for another 30 minutes. Before roasting, I tossed a little salt and pepper on the outside, as well as a little chinese five spice, but if I’d had my act together, I would have made it the way my mom used to … by basting it with some honey and curry towards the end of the roast.

While the duck was resting, I used some of the oil in the pan to fry up some onions and parboiled potatoes. The skin turned out pretty crisp, and not at all flabby. Still, needs more work. Unfortunately, my wife refuses to touch duck, so while I ate duck, she had steak. (Also, I meant to snap a picture before I started carving. Sorry about that!)


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