Thursday, December 8, 2011

Operation 100 Goals--Day 18

Goal:  Follow people’s book recommendations by reading the backs of suggested books and then the first 100 pages.  If a book is good, finish it—if not, stop reading!

Caleb’s naps have been getting ridiculously long these past few days.  He must be going through a growth spurt.  Main bullet point: I actually got a chance to do some leisurely reading while he slumbered through the morning, which was quite lovely.  By the time I got settled in, the reading session only lasted about 25 minutes, but I’ll take it!  I’m almost finished with a book called Little Brother, which was recommended to the English Department by the high school librarian.  If I finish tonight or tomorrow, I plan to put together a quick review as per my GoodReads goal.

Goal:  Continue working hard in the kitchen (splitting dinner duty with Amanda, trying new recipes, experimenting with pairings, etc.)

While making dinner tonight, I was overcome with a wave of ambition and started snapping pictures.  I made Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Onions, and Spinach, loosely following a recipe from Everyday Food (yes, I like me some Martha Stewart every now and again, and I’m not afraid to admit it).  Looking back through the pictures, I realize that I can probably walk you through the recipe, so that’s exactly what I intend to do!

            First, I chopped up some small golden potatoes so that the pieces were about ½-inch thick.  I followed that up by cutting up a red onion into ½-inch thick pieces, cutting across the onion so that I could pull the pieces apart into rings:

            Then, I unwrapped a roasting chicken and cut out the backbone (which, quite frankly, was the most difficult part of the preparation by far).  I started off using kitchen scissors to do the job, but they just weren’t cuttin’ it (hey-yo!), so I switched to a big ol’ knife to finish up.  Once the backbone was out, I was able to rinse out the chicken, pat it dry, and splay it out for roasting purposes.  Then, I rubbed the chicken down with some olive oil and then sprinkled it with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper:

            Next, I took a baking dish and covered it with tinfoil.  I poured a thin layer of olive oil over the tinfoil, which I then dropped the potato pieces into, rolling the pieces over so that they became coated with oil.  I then covered this layer of potatoes with onion rings, hit up the tubers and veggies with some salt and pepper, and finished by putting a cooling rack over the dish upon which the chicken would sit.  Note:  The recipe suggested using a broiler pan, which we do not have.  I rigged up this contraption and it worked just fine:

            While the food baked in the oven on 450 degrees for 35 minutes, I emptied a bag of baby spinach into a big salad bowl and tossed the spinach with a healthy pour of olive oil, a splash of orange juice, and more salt and pepper:

            Before too long, the food was ready.  I double-checked the cooked-ness of the chicken via the meat thermometer, and it was sitting pretty at about 170 degrees, so I then dished up some plates:

            This recipe was easy enough to throw together.  As I mentioned earlier, the most time-consuming part was hacking out the backbone, and honestly, that step was probably unnecessary.  I’m sure the chicken would have cooked just fine otherwise; it would have just taken a little bit longer.  Additionally, the leftovers situation is good in that we now have about half of a chicken whose pieces we can use to make chicken salad for lunch sandwiches.  Healthy, tasty……worth adding as a mainstay in the Chef Martin repertoire.