Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Food, Part 2

I thought I would share some of my favorite things to make for dinner, because who doesn't like food?

I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain and he was talking about how everyone should know how to roast a chicken. I had never actually roasted my own chicken, although I had eaten many. They're good. Whats not to like about a roasted chicken? And there was one piece of advice he gave which I think is the most important. You have to dry your chicken. After you wash it off, pat off all the water with a paper towel. Otherwise the skin wont get crispy. (I don't eat the skin because it has a lot of fat in it, but Mike and the cats like it so I have to do it right.) Plus it looks better that way. Another thing I do is to carefully detach the skin from the breast, making sure not to puncture it, and there you have a great place to put spices, garlic, or whatever you want. Because if you only season the skin, the flavor wont go through the skin and into the chicken. You'll just have really flavorful skin and bland chicken.

If you have a string, tie the legs together. The dark meat cooks faster than the white, and by compacting it into a smaller area, you're going to have a more evenly cooked chicken. You also have to flip the wings underneath so they don't burn. And always remember to remove the bag of weird chicken parts from inside the chicken. Feed those to your cat.

For spices, I use a mix of Old Bay and some brand name chicken seasoning because that's what I have in the cabinet. If you've never used Old Bay, get some. It's really great in hamburgers too.

After you've done all those things to your chicken, and you've preheated your oven to 350, go online and look up how long to roast your chicken by weight. I'm not going to type every cooking time on here. It's easier for you to just look it up. I usually add on about 20 minutes to whatever the websites say because I'm afraid of undercooked chicken and I don't have a meat thermometer.

I always put my chicken on a cookie sheet (with a rim) covered in foil. The lower the sides on your cooking dish, the more evenly cooked and crispier your chicken will be. Lots of websites will tell you to baste your chicken, which I have done, but I've also not done it and it came out fine.

Once your chicken is in the oven, go watch TV or stalk people on facebook for a while. I usually watch the travel channel and have a beer, or stand in the kitchen for no reason. Then, in a few hours, your chicken will be done. The house will smell good, and whoever you cooked for will appreciate the hard work and hours of preparation that went into this meal. You don't have to tell them how easy it was.

A tasty chicken looks even better on some retro
Bjorn Christensen Rosti Mepal Dinnerware

My other favorite thing to make is pizza. I like ordering it too, but home made pizza is great because you can put whatever you want on it and you don't have to tip someone to bring it to you. My dad started a tradition around Christmas called pizza night. Everyone makes a small pizza with whatever toppings they want, and then he cooks them on a pizza stone on the grill. It's a lot of fun, and it's interesting to see what other people will come up with. Last year even Ivy, from the Cramps joined us for pizza night. (Cool, huh?)

Ivy made a lovely vegetarian pizza

My new favorite pizza that I make is red onion and chorizo. I love chorizo maybe even more than bacon. It's good with anything. It comes in different forms depending on what ethnic group you happen to live near. In Tucson I always found it in the ground form, like hamburger meat. Out here its in tube form, and more like salami. I like them both. If you use the ground kind, drain it after you cook it. There is a ton of fat. You don't have to cook the tube form, but I do, and I break it up into small pieces.

The crust is up to you. Personally, I just buy the frozen dough because I've only got about 4 square feet of counter space and I have really bad luck with getting dough to rise. If you want to make your own dough, you're on your own. Frozen dough is pretty good. Just don't buy that Boboli crap.

Now cut up a small red onion into thin pieces, and cook your chorizo so it's ready to go on your pizza.

I've tried different ways of stretching the dough into pizza shape, and I think rolling it is the easiest, but I don't currently have a rolling pin. so hands work well. And if it looks funny just call it rustic. That's what everyone on food network does. And they all pretend that they're the first to think of it. I put some olive oil on my cookie sheet and get the dough as stretched out as much as I can. Then I put on some tomato sauce, and some sliced mozzarella. I don't grate it but you can. Then, I put on the chorizo and onions. (Do I even need to be telling you how to make a pizza? It's pretty obvious.)

Put it into a 450 degree oven or whatever your dough package tells you, and wait about 15 minutes. If the cheese in the middle isn't melted yet, wait a little longer. Then take it out. There you have it. And you can get all the ingredients, enough for two pizzas, for about ten dollars. That's the same price as those horrible five dollar pizzas from Little Cesar's. And you can have an awesome pizza that looks like this.

Mine is square because I have a square pan. If you have a round pan, make it round. Make it a heart for Valentines day. Do whatever you want. Just try making dinner. It's fun and it tastes better than eating at restaurants all the time.

1 comment:

  1. I made some kickass polenta with a mix of tomato sauces and goat cheese and mozzarella last night. And I reveled in not paying some jerk to make it for me! (There's only one restaurant around here that even knows what polenta is anyway. They only use corn for stupid stuff in the midwest.) Two nights ago I did red pepper lasagna which is so big and complicated looking but, like your chicken, is really quite easy. Just throw a bunch of things in a dish. If there's enough cheese and fresh vegetables, everyone will think you're a genius.

    Xmas at your Dad's looks so extravagant! (And he looks so Godfatherly.) I think I met Ivy before. It was always interesting who would turn up at dinners there, talking about all the places they've been.

    I love your food articles. I always think about Chef Ramsey, and how he would probably skewer us for the simple food we like, and our jerry-rigged cooking methods. "You don't have a proper meat thermometer!? You DONKEY!" Um, I have a knife, and I have eyeballs.