Sunday, February 28, 2010

Easy Saturday

Hello Everyone!

It has been a busy and stressful week here at USC where we've been dealing with midterms, perturbed roommates (at least in my apartment,) and fickle weather. We are also currently struggling with the Mystery of the Lost Digital Camera or the MLDC so sadly we will not have pictures of our creations until it has been solved.

Yesterday Justin and I went to the grocery store, which was very necessary considering that I had been living off of oatmeal and whole wheat pasta for a week due to lack of grocery store transportation. I most certainly felt like the typical, culinarily- challenged college student! At the grocery store we picked up our basics for a healthy and easy Saturday night dinner. We were all about good comfort food without a whole lot of effort this week.

Our menu:

Pan roasted (ahem fried) chicken

Fresh green salad

Sauteed Vegetables

Store-bought frozen yogurt

For the chicken, we bought a small frying chicken (about 4 pounds). I let Justin take care of the butchering and de-organing. His techique consists of some very heavy duty kitchen scissors and grabbing the legs of the chicken and shaking out its innards as it gyrates helplessly in his hands. As a person who grew up with chickens as pets, I find this technique and the handling of raw chicken in general rather horrifying. I do not, however, have any objections to eating it. :)

Justin cuts the bird into six pieces: two legs/thighs, two breasts, and two wings. We (meaning Justin) then season the chicken with salt and pepper, lots of granulated garlic, and a little rosemary. It is important to season both the skin side and the flesh side of the chicken for extra yumminess.

In a large saucepan, melt an obscene amount of butter (I realize this particular measurement depends on your definition of obscene; for me, it's about half a stick). Sear the chicken skin side down until it gets crispy. Then flip the chicken and transfer to a 375 degree oven, and let cook through (about 25 minutes). We usually turn the chicken once more half way through just to get the skin side extra extra crispy. If the rest of your meal is taking a bit longer, just turn the oven down to keep the chicken warm. We are notoriously awful at timing our meals so we know this works!

For the vegetables we had some zucchini (my favorite), carrots, onions, green bell pepper and some baby mushrooms. We just sauteed them in a bit of olive oil and butter. By cooking with butter and olive oil, you raise the smoking point of the butter, which allows for higher cooking temperatures (and some seriously delicious flavor). The veggies were seasoned with salt and pepper, oregano, and rosemary.

We then had a regular green salad with organic baby greens, avocado, tomatoes, and my famous vinaigrette.
In the vinaigrette:
3 tbsp balsamic
1 tsp dijon mustard
pinch salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch of oregano (or rosemary)
about 2 tbsp olive oil

Make an emulsion by slowly adding the olive oil to the rest of the ingredients. This is easiest in a blender of some kind but I usually just use a fork and a bowl, rapidly whisking the mixture as I slowly drizzle in the oil. I personally like my salad dressing more on the vinegary side than on the oily side but you can adjust due to your personal preference. It is also delicious if you add a bit of freshly minced garlic, but I would leave this out if you plan on kissing anyone. Or really breathing near anyone.

For dessert, our favorite no-hassle treat. We usually make dessert, but decided to take the easy way out and plunk our butts on the couch with 1 carton of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt and 1 carton of Haagen Dazs Coffee Frozen Yogurt. YUM! (And Justin doesn't feel guilty if/when he eats the whole carton).

Tonight I'm going to bake some yummy treats! I'll share the recipes later (if they're as delicious as I hope they'll be).

Signing off for now,