Back to Basics Comfort Food

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I got the most fun book last week on a search for my dream job. It’s called The Foodie Handbook by Pim Techamuanvivit (I can’t even imagine how to pronounce this or how she spelled it as a youngster!) and I like her breezy, fun style. She’s touted to be queen of food bloggers and throws around her chummy relationships with A Class chefs all over the globe and I can’t help but like her. Here’s a link to her latest blog http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2010/02/crackbars.html

I tried her roast chicken and smashed potatoes today. It was the perfect day for roasting a chicken, it was snowing here in Manhattan, great globs of wet, slushy snow and quite cozy in my sweltering radiator heated apartment.

I began as she suggested by rinsing my little chicken and patting it dry then massaging it with 2 Tbsp of soft butter and salting it generously and a sprinkling of pepper. I couldn’t help but add my own touch of squeezing a lemon over it all and cutting it up and stuffing it into the cavity with chopped shallots.

I slid it into the pre-heated 475 degree oven in a shallow roasting pan. Her special method is to roast the chicken for 30 minutes on it’s side to get the thighs done first and then flip the bird (I totally cracked myself up when I was on the phone at the time with my girlfriend Joelle and told her I had to flip the bird, she humored me with a chuckle) to the other side for another 30 minutes and then roast it breast up for another 20 minutes or so, until the thigh juices run clear. (I’m not even going there…ok, my mind works in special ways..;-)

This bird was the most delicious golden brown by the time it was all done and then I rested it on it’s neck in a shoulder stand to let the juices sink into the breast meat. I had to take photos, it cracked me up in a very bizarre way. (See the above reference to my mind working in special ways.)

Next up, I took about a pound of mixed varieties of baby potatoes and boiled them in water in a skillet for about 20 minutes until they were tender and then drained the pan and smashed them with a large flat spoon and then roasted them with the lovely juices and fat from the chicken and a little dollop of butter. These came out like a crispy, browned pancake and with salt and pepper, were a smashed potato dream.

I used both burners on the stove to heat the roasting pan with the rest of the juices and brown bits left from the roasted chicken and then did a free style gravy with vegetable stock, some apple cider vinegar and some honey to mellow out the saltiness. It was sublime over the mashed potatoes, if I do say so myself…

As a vegetable side, I rinsed some Chinese broccoli I picked up earlier in the week from Chinatown and put that in the skillet with garlic and sesame oil then I let it steam in sake, mirin and Umeboshi Plum Vinegar. Oh it was so good!

I wish I could have enjoyed this meal, but the enjoyment I got making it was incredible. I brought it up to friends of mine who just had a baby and that was even more enjoyable and gratifying. I can’t wait to hear what they had to say!

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