Thursday, May 3, 2012

Roasted Chicken

I read a great book.  Everyone should read it!  A professional cook takes a handful of women under her wing and shows them how to cook.  They also learn basics that I wish I knew too!  Knife techniques.  Butchering.  Wait, I don't think those are basics.  But they would be great skills to have.

The book is called The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.

One of the first scenes in the book is the chef at the grocery store.  She sees a woman with a grocery basket FULL of CRAP.  Okay, I'm going to sound snobby.  But crap as in processed food.  Like frozen pizzas, jarred alfredo sauce, canned soups, Hamburger Helper, etc.  She took the woman aside and asked her WHY.  Convenience, of course.  And not knowing any better!  The chef explained how easy it would be to recreate the same meals, for cheaper and not as much time as you would think.  It would be enlightening to anyone!  I've seen a lot of the same kind of grocery carts at the store too...

[Crap as in all of the same foods that we offer at our school food shelf.  I cringe thinking that these are the foods we are giving to our kids but they are shelf stable and easy for kids to make themselves.  I wish there were a better solution.]

One of the things that I was reminded of was how easy it is to roast a chicken.  The book also goes into great detail of how much more economical it is to cook a chicken this way and use the shredded meat or pieces for meals throughout the week.  Roasted chicken takes a bit longer than my usual weekday 30 minute or less meals, so I've found that roasting a chicken ahead of time (on Sundays or Tuesdays when Jim is at pool) is the best thing for me.  I've been freezing cooked shredded chicken for later use, in 2 cup portions if we don't immediately eat the pieces of chicken.

This book is great because it gives you TEN ways to flavor roast chicken.  I've tried two so far- Soy Ginger Oil & Tex-Mex.  I have to say that these are VERY flavorful and the chicken comes out so VERY MOIST!  The flavor combinations are rubbed under and over the skin.

Soy Ginger Oil-

Tex Mex-

Whole chickens really are so much cheaper.  Even cheaper than buying a precooked rotisserie chicken.  Duh.

I can't wait to try the others.
Lemon-Herb Butter
Italian Herb Oil
French Dijon
Goat Cheese with Proscuitto and Herbs
Thai-Style (this one uses coconut oil, something I don't have right now, otherwise I'd be all over it!)
China Spice

This book also talks about the beauty of omelettes (something else I've been dabbling in), soups, and making your own bread.  I have the book she mentions but I never dug into it.  Mental note:  bake bread.  Experiment.  I've wanted to recreate the Cheesecake Factory's brown bread.  OMG YUM.

I'm also looking up local classes to find where I can learn these knife skills!

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