Monday, June 28, 2010

Crowd Pleaser

This recipe comes from Dave Lieberman, when he used to have a show on the FoodNetwork. And really, all snideness aside, when the FoodNetwork actually produced shows about cooking. I still, occasionally, watch FN for entertainment, but certainly not for cooking.

Dave called this a St. Louis pancake. Around here we just call it GIANT PANCAKE. Sometimes its presence is summoned by Jim’s kids chanting ‘ giant pancake, giant pancake, GIANT pancake, GIANT PANCAKE!’ I usually make it just as Dave prescribed with a mixed berry topping. It’s a cheap dish to make and a total crowd pleaser, especially for the single digit set. Today I did not have mixed berries, I had 1.5 lbs. of frozen strawberries in the freezer which seemed to go well with the theme of extended, girls only slumber party.

The giant pancake is a single large cake produced, quite easily, in a cast iron skillet (the pan). Then you slice it and serve it like regular cake. It’s always a huge hit with Jim’s kids and today it was certainly a hit with my godkids. They asked that I pass the recipe on to their Mom, who is an excellent cook, we’ll get to her butternut squash recipe in another blog. Aimee if you are reading - ‘ giant pancake, giant pancake, giant pancake!’ Oh and the kids always love to help prepare it. I have to say I was impressed today when I asked my youngest god daughter to mix the eggs and milk, after 2 changes of whisks to meet her satisfaction, she completed the task of and said ‘ I’m done, light yellow, that’s right, isn’t it?’ I’ve never heard it put so simply or perfectly. Light yellow. Out of the mouthes of babes.

G I A N T P A N C A K E !

GIANT PANCAKE - adapted from Dave Lieberman - Serves 5, yes 5

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1.5 lbs. frozen strawberries

4 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla in a bowl. In another bowl combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Combine the dry into the wet ingredients, mix until combined, let rest for 10 minutes. While the batter is resting, place a 10” cast iron skillet in the oven. Put the berries in a pan on medium low heat on the stove top. When they start to thaw and break apart add in the sugar and zest. I like the berries just cooked, so they still have some form to them, but warm. After 10 minutes remove the skillet from the oven, add in the butter and swirl around to completely coat the pan. Then pour in the batter and cook for 15 minutes +/-. It will rise and become golden on top, like any cake, you know it’s done when you stick in a skewer and it comes out clean. Invert the giant pancake on to a large plate or platter, dust with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and serve with berries and maple syrup.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Girls' Weekend

I have cook book, it’s more like a scrap book really. It’s a standard sketch book and in it I have taped recipes I have used through the years that I like and have proven trustworthy and some recipes I have come up with and refined. There is no ‘organization’ to it. Write something down and move on. Usually it just involves a vague list of inferred ingredients. It also has menus in it, and lists. Lists upon lists. Lists of what we ate with no recipes, vague lists, and lists about things that Jim likes, lists for bridal showers, lists for engagement parties, lists for any and everything. I troll through it often, the totem of food. Recently I was cruising through it and I came across this ‘Raspberry Lambic Float’. This comes from my friend Danny. My friend Danny who hates dessert. Danny eats dessert about once a year, probably on his birthday when he has to choke down the cake someone made for him. This year he is going to have to choke it down twice since he is getting married.

Several years ago we used to have these Iron Chef offs. Four of us would each make two dishes in amuse bouche form. Then we invited two friends to be our Jeffrey Steingartens. They would blind judge and deem someone the winner. I don’t think Danny won for this dish but he should have. It was creative, tasty and it contained booze in dessert form. When I saw it in my ‘cookbook’ I thought to myself - ‘why haven’t I made this?’

I am presently having a girls' weekend with my two giggly adorable godchildren. So I decided the time was right to recreate it. Obviously a non-alcoholic version for the kids. Hamburgers, corn on the cob and ice cream floats! I’m sure it was originally made in a shot glass or a thimble or something tiny, it looked better in a pint glass, but it was way too big for me to finish. I've adjusted the recipe for a more manageable serving.

Raspberry Lambic Float - Serves 1

4 oz. raspberry lambic (or raspberry soda)

1 scoop premium vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen Dazs five and also gave the girls two scoops and 8 oz. soda)

2-3 tablespoons whipped cream (I use 1 cup of whipping cream to 1 teaspoon vanilla whipped to your desired consistency)

5 raspberries

mint for garnish

Pour the beer in to a glass larger than the beer will hold (this is so when the ice cream goes in to the soda/beer the ice cream volcano stays contained in the glass), scoop the ice cream and hang off the side of the glass, top beer/ice cream with whipped cream and garnish with the berries and mint. Serve with a spoon and a straw.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baby, can you get me another one?

Some people are of the belief that the ability to grill is inherent to the ability to light a fire. I have watched many times as the ‘grillmaster’ goes outside, lights the grill, then re-lights the grill - almost setting something (house, tree, patio furniture) on fire, has a few beers, whoops, adds more charcoal, a few more beers, then three hours later, someone, a very hungry person, takes over and finishes the job. This theory was recently proven true. My friend Jason went to a cooking class presented by a famous American chef known for his grilling prowess who expressed that there are two types of people, those that can grill and those who think they can grill.

My old man can grill. It’s a craft really. Very few people I know can do it well. There are too many variables, you can’t really give specific instructions, like, say a temperature. Different types of charcoal burn differently. Much like our traditional birthday and Father’s day breakfasts it is traditional on these days for Jim to cook dinner for us. I’m not sure how this tradition got started but he’s happy with it. The kids got Jim Steve Raichlen’s new book, Planet Barbecue! for Father’s Day. Steve’s been good to Jim over the years; he’s offered numerous valuable tips in his other books. When I read his recipes he sounds very patient. I would say if you really want to know how to grill, check Steve out. More importantly he’s reliable and somewhat of a barbecue anthropologist.

Jim decided the first recipe we’d test out of Steve’s new book would be beer can chicken. Yup. Beer. Can. Chicken. This delighted the children. To help me with my sense of horror Jim knew just what to do. He knows I can choke down anything I perceive as having a questionable pedigree if it is somehow ‘fancied’ or ‘neatened’ up (which inspired me to make fancy pizza for dinner tonight; that’s right watch for my pizza ‘recipe’ tomorrow). Steve had Jim’s back on this one. His recipe for the beer can chicken was marinated in an Asian pesto. I could handle a beer can bird covered in green sauce.

I had never had beer can chicken before. I’ve never had a turducken either (neither has Jim, or so he insists). I’m sure there are a whole host of other items from the same menu I need to try. I think part of the problem is I can only imagine how either of these recipes came into existence. I picture some gentleman having a culinary epiphany resulting from the consumption of a case of beer, resulting in such commentary as: ‘Why don’t we shove this here beer can up that chicken’s ass and GRILL it!’ or alternatively: ‘Hey, I just had an idea, why don’t we shove a chicken up a duck’s butt and then let’s shove that duck up a turkey’s butt and then let’s DEEP FRY the mother!‘ Steve did not document the true anthropology of the dish; his recipe hails from Australia.

Honestly, I would have written about our Asian inspired rice noodle salad I made to go with it if I could remember the proportions I put in there but cocktail hour starts an hour earlier on Sundays. I’ll tell you it had rice noodles, carrot, asparagus and cucumber ribbons, green onion, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, thai basil, mint and toasted un-salted peanuts. It was dressed with a healthy dose of fish sauce, peanut oil, turbinado sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, hot water and rooster sauce. The sharp flavors and textures went really well with Steve’s smoky, Asian-y beer can chicken.

Oh and let me apologize about the picture. Apparently I photographed it from the wrong end and according to Jim it may be seen as vulgar.

Beer Can Chicken with Asian Pesto adapted from Planet Barbecue! by Steve Raichlen

1 - 4lb. chicken

1/2 of a 12 oz. can of beer


6 green onions, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 stalks lemongrass (Our local grocery store was out so we used about 2 tablespoons of the kind from a tube, but if you get the real deal, chop it up)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 - 2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

Put everything for the marinade, except the oil, in a food processor, pulse a few times until it’s pasty, but not goop, turn on and stream in oil to emulsify. Spoon some in the cavities, then coat the outside of the bird with it. Steve says to marinade it for 3 hours, we did not have that luxury of time. Soak 2 cups of wood chips or chunks in a bucket of water or beer or beer/water combo (we just did the water and just did it for 20 minutes as it was Sunday in Georgia (no beer to spare) and 6:30 (hungry kids). Steve recommends an at least an hour and I’m sure he’s probably right.

Prepare your grill for indirect heat (coals to one side or two sides, but not directly under your bird), light coals, set large pan in the center of the grill or put some aluminum foil on the grate under the bird to avoid flare ups. Jim has a special beer can chicken holder device thingy; it secures the beer and therefore the chicken, putting the bird into a sparring like position. Drink half of the beer, or in Jim’s case, accidentally drink more than half, finish the first beer, go get another and repeat. Add two more holes to the top of the can. Place the 1/2 can of beer in the holder or on the pan. Seat the chicken on top so it sits on top of the can, place chicken on on a can over the drip pan or foil in center of grill, add in the wood chips. Cover. Watch it and if it starts getting too brown, tent the overly browned side with foil. Steve says 1.25 hours and that’s how long ours took. It came out looking lacquered. It was really quite good.

Notes: Jim was apprehensive for me to list this blog since I didn’t cook it and he has not yet perfected the recipe. I rack it up to it being part of our culinary landscape and I’ll certainly update the recipe as we do.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Around here father’s day, or alternatively Jim’s birthday, means two things: bagels with lox and champagne. Jim really gets the treatment. He’s allowed to sleep in, the kids start by bringing him, first coffee and then the paper. We leave him to get his wits together and we assemble a spread of bagels, cream cheese, onions, capers, tomatoes, fruit, O.J. This is all placed on china, then on a tray and presented to him as he lounges in bed. Then we all climb in for a bedroom picnic. Jim enjoys champagne and the kids sip sparkling apple cider out of champagne glasses.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweet Peaches!

I am going to rip the band-aid off - I don’t like Georgia peaches. That’s exactly what I said and I realize it’s blasphemy and I am willing to take the backlash for saying it. I thought there was something wrong with me. It hit me one day while standing in the peach section at the YDFM trying to figure out if I would be considered less of a sinner if I bought the New Jersey ones, because they aren’t as far away from here as the California ones, but I really wanted the California ones. Perhaps the ones from Alabama ? Nope, they’re almost just as lame. That’s when it just fell out of my mouth - ‘You know, I don’t like Georgia peaches’. Luckily Jim loves me unconditionally and to my surprise he concurred, ‘Me either.’ Phew, it’s not just me.

The Georgia peaches I have had are mealy and mushy. When you bite into them they sort of ooze, the skin doesn’t so much snap back as it acquiesces. Whereas their California cousins are firm, tart, sweet and delicious. The California peach is taught, that peach goes to the gym everyday; the Georgia one is flabby from sitting on the porch all day eating pimento cheese and boiled P-nuts.

I know I am not supposed to support an agrarian culture as far away as California in this locavore crazed day and age. And I’m sure it’s unGeorgia-otic to trash talk our major cash crop. But I’m sorry; until someone can get me a decent Georgia peach I am going to shamefully, when no one is looking, sneak those California peaches in my basket.

‘ Georgia Caprese’ Salad – Serves 4

2 peaches firm but ripe - sliced (I prefer California white peaches)

3 oz. goat cheese - sliced into disks

1 cup Arugula (a handful really)

2 teaspoons +/- balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons +/- extra virgin olive oil

12-16 basil leaves

Place arugula on plates, then stack, in layers, starting with peaches, basil, goat cheese. I usually go for 3 layers of peaches and basil and 2 layers of cheese. Drizzle each salad with 1/4 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon vinegar.

Notes: I find it’s easiest to cut the goat cheese into circles as opposed a crumbly, sticky messes, by removing it from the package and placing it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then I use waxed dental floss to ‘slice’ it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mayo Wars


Your response was either ‘yuck’ or ‘yum’. I don’t know anyone ambivalent about mayo. I love the stuff and have been known to eat a scoop-full straight from the jar. The people that love it are seriously devoted to one brand or another. My friend Tom likes Dukes - yellow top, my friend Jayme swears by regular Kraft although she has been making rumblings about switching to the olive oil variety. I’m a traditionalist, I ride in the Hellman’s car. I know this seemingly useless information because people like to talk about their preferred mayonnaise and it’s superiority.

Mayonnaise lovers have an acute disdain for those who like Miracle Whip. They like to talk about ‘those people’ while pontificating about their brand. If you happen to be talking to someone who likes a different brand of mayo than yours, you can be certain you have a brother in arms when it comes to mutual sentiments about those Whip eaters. If a sandwich spread war broke out you’d band together to fight them, unified in self-righteous indignation.

But I have a confession, Jim is in The Whip camp. This is equal to me being a Capulet and Jim a Montague. It just isn’t done, and if it is, it clearly has tragic results. It’s embarrassing when my other mayo lover friends open our fridge to get a beverage and say ‘What is THIS?’ I turn a blind eye to it and hope the other condiments don’t catch what it has. To me, it is the I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter of mayonnaises. White Jello with a bad after taste. If you are near a jar, open it up, give it a shake, watch it jiggle.

I can ignore Jim’s fetish most of the time except when he gets careless and his inner Ohioan can hide no more. He makes this dish called banana salad. It contains: Miracle Whip, sugar, bananas, milk and food coloring. I dared to ask him ‘What color is it?’ The reply, ‘ Depends on the holiday.’ I’m not making this up, I’ve seen it. And it’s not nice to make fun of people either; apparently it’s a regional delicacy. Oh and he relishes eating it - smirking, making noises, staring right at me the whole time knowing I’m squirming, as if he had just plucked a dog turd out of the yard and tossed it his mouth. Now the reason Jim doesn’t like mayo is because as a kid some cruise staffer told him a bowl of mayo was banana pudding, so you can imagine his shock and horror when he dug in. But that just makes his love of that banana salad thing more baffling.

I have heard homemade mayo is totally different than anything we purchase in the grocery store. I know making your own mayo sounds very Martha Stewart on a tear to complicate your life but I looked up Julia Child’s recipe today and it takes almost as much time to make as getting that ridiculous plastic seal off of the jar. And, yes, it is different. I’ll see what Jim thinks when he gets home.

Cod Cakes with Tartar Sauce - Makes 8 patties

1 1/2 lbs. cod

2 eggs - lightly beaten

2 celery ribs - chopped finely

1 shallot - chopped finely

1/2 cup panko

1 tablespoon Old Bay

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

1/4-1/2 teaspoon each dried dill and thyme, or fresh if you have it

Saute celery and shallot in olive oil until just translucent, set aside to cool. Cut the cod into large chunks, pulse in a food processor until flaky but not mutilated. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the eggs to the cod and fold in celery and shallot mixture. Add cod mixture into dry ingredients. Thoroughly mix and shape into 8 patties, place on wax paper and covered in fridge until you are ready for them. Pan sear them in olive oil about 2 minutes per side until they have a decent brown crust. Finish in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve with tartar sauce.

Mayonnaise - adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking - makes about 1 cup

2 egg yolks at room temperature

1 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice at room temperature

Place the eggs in a blender, turn on low and start to stream in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Turn up the speed to medium, as Julia says ‘for whipping cream’ and continue to stream in oil, add in lemon juice. You’ll know when it’s done, it will have the consistency of mayonnaise. The whole blending process shouldn’t take but a minute, minute and a half.

I used my homemade mayo with this tartar sauce recipe from

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can I make you a cocktail?

Today was, quite simply, center of the sun hot. The kind of hot that at the end of the day you should treat yourself to a fruity beverage because you have made the effort to just walk around and ‘be’ kind of hot. While at the grocery store, procuring dinner, I texted Jim ‘Margarita?’, he responded ‘Yum’.

Historically, I’m not a huge margarita fan. I’ve had way too many neon, sugar coated, doughnut level calorie laden Carmen Mirandas posing as beverages. I normally drink black coffee, water (no ice) and wine, in that order. Even the five years I lived in Texas could not bring me across the fence to embrace the margarita.

One day while having a laid back lunch at Holy Taco we had the ‘organic‘ margaritas. That cocktail was and is what I think a margarita should be; it stood up, gave me a firm handshake, looked me in the eye and said ‘I am tequila, lime juice and triple sec’. I enjoyed it so much I went back there for seconds and thirds until I decided it was time to formulate my own recipe. I did this in anticipation of Jim’s birthday in March. We were taking a few people to Mi Barrio for his birthday dinner and had invited them for drinks at our house prior. The race was on to refine it.

We have been drinking it ever since; not everyday, just in case you were wondering. I have to say I think it’s solid, it’s not exactly like the one at Holy Taco, but darn tasty in it’s own right, especially if you don’t have the sugar gene in your DNA. Now, I’m not a Republican, but in my mind this is what Laura Bush would serve at the Crawford ranch. She seems like a no nonsense lady - who, it has been reported, really likes a margarita.

Margarita on the rocks - Serves 4

3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)

3 oz. triple sec or Cointreau

6 oz. tequila (we use Hornitos silver)

1 tablespoon agave nectar (you can also use simple syrup but reduce the measurement to 1 teaspoon)

Put everything in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake for 30 seconds pour/strain into glasses with ice.

Notes: For the fresh lime juice I have an electric citrus juicer. I know this sounds like a crazy kitchen tool that won’t be used, like a bread maker - but I use it, almost every 2 weeks. The one I have cost $30.

As for the agave nectar, it seems a little pricey at about $7 for 23.5 oz., and it can be found in the peanut butter and jelly aisle next to the honey, but it’s not as sweet as honey or simple syrup. It’s useful and I would recommend investing in it.

Summertime Blues

I woke up yesterday morning and awaited the arrival of my newspaper. No one likes to wait for the Sunday paper. When it arrived at 7:40 I dug through it like a cat in a litter box. The magazine is always the first section I want for the recipe/food related article somewhere near the center but not always. I ripped open the magazine searched either side of the Obama article to find Sam Sifton had put my national dish on the menu, spread out lasciviously like a centerfold. Steamed crabs. Oh Sam - how could you do it?

I had two issues with the article I had not yet read. Firstly, I HAD to have steamed crabs for dinner - somehow. Secondly, I was afraid to read Sam’s article. Saying you like Sam Sifton presently is equal to bringing up religion or politics at a cocktail party but I DO like him and I did not want to stop liking him because of his steamed crab article and subsequent recipe.

I’m an ex-pat Marylander and more specifically 3rd generation Baltimorean. We take our crabs as seriously as a Philadelphian regards Cheesesteaks, a Chicagoan hot dogs and BBQ just about anywhere. It’s a hot topic widely disputed in the region alone.

I eyeballed Sam’s article. I got another cup of coffee, read the travel section, caught up with Bill Cunningham, scanned the front section for my friend Keith’s pictures from India, thumbed the magazine again and decided to go for it. I was impressed. Sam had done his homework. I even wondered to myself had Sam grown up in Maryland? And that article, even his recipe, which I don’t entirely agree with, only made my need for steamed crabs more pronounced.

It’s hard to find a decently sized blue crab in Atlanta, we have them but they are usually too small for the amount of effort involved in order to feed yourself., I once found what we in Maryland would call ‘mediums’ at the fish monger in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Another time we had them flown in from Maryland for my birthday, but they were already cooked, so there was no thrill of piping hot crabs. Usually what I do when the urge is too much to ignore is I go Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market and buy Dungeness crabs. They don’t have the briny sweet flavor of Blue crabs but they are a heck of a lot easier to pick. And who I am to complain?

Maryland Style Steamed Dungeness Crabs - Serves 2

1 beer - preferably an ale

11/2 cups water

1/2 cup vinegar, white or cider

(2) 1 1/2 - 2 lb. Dungeness crabs (alive)

1 cup J.O. or Old Bay Seasoning (I prefer J.O. myself but Old Bay is more accessible)

Notes - I buy the crabs as close as possible to the time I am going to cook them. I put them in the sink until I’m ready for them. Really they are fine there for a couple hours, do not put them in the fridge. They should be alive when you cook them. Get a large pot put in the beer, water and vinegar, bring to a boil, add more liquid if needed, put in the crabs and sprinkle with half the seasoning and steam for 20 minutes. Halfway through cooking I turned the crabs over and covered them with the remaining seasoning. Let them cool for about 3-5 minutes prior to eating them.

How to pick a crab is as hotly disputed as how to cook them. I’ll refer you to YouTube, there are several videos there. Mentioned in the videos I watched, although not stressed, is do not eat the lungs. Yes, ‘lungs’, not ‘gills’ if you want to sound like a native. The lungs are just beyond the outer shell and are feathery and triangular. Otherwise everything else in there is consumable. Even the ‘mustard’ as the guts are called. Some people consider it a delicacy, some people think it’s gross. If you don’t like it just scoop it out.

If you want to be authentic about your meal serve it with white corn, specifically Silver Queen, a tomato or cucumber salad or if you’re at the family reunion macaroni salad and deviled eggs. Beer is THE drink, an ale and again, if you’re going for authenticity, it should be a Natty Boh (PBR can substitute) or a Rolling Rock.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Dirty Word...

People are chicken crazy. I don’t know about your town but chicken wings are on the menu of almost every pub and sandwich shop in this town. With the recession dumbing down our finer dining options and essentially turning them into gourmet burger joints I half expect to find a chicken wing fancied up with some harissa or teetering on a slab of foie gras plopped on the menu between the duck rillettes and the Wagyu sliders. Then there are the ubiquitous chicken fingers. Made out of, of course, real chicken fingers. If chicken fingers were the Kool-Aid several generations have already drunk it and we should all be scared. Clearly, like any prejudice, I have an unfounded disdain for chicken. Quite possibly it comes from these milquetoasty food stuffs I suspect of brain-washing or rather palette-washing the masses. This is only my ‘impression’; I was a vegetarian for 23 years so I don’t have much experience with chicken except for some rather unmemorable childhood memories.

The roast or rotisserie chicken runs the gamut of down and dirty fast food masquerading as dinner to the sublime. Grocery stores have built monuments to it. When I go out of town, Jim heads straight to the Kroger for the bird in a bag and a container of macaroni salad. If there is a roasted chicken on the menu of any restaurant I’m dining in with my father I’ve got $1,000 that says my dad is going to order it. He will then, if it’s good, talk under his breath the whole time while eating it about how much he likes roast chicken. He might even get in a ‘man oh man‘ and start to sweat if it’s exceptional. I felt that this classic, the apple pie of poultry, needed to be faced so I could find out what all the hullabaloo is about. As the saying goes ‘If ten people tell you you are drunk, it’s time to sit down.’

I had read somewhere that one of Thomas Keller’s favorite meals is roasted chicken. That seemed like a solid place to start. Now, I have prepared a few TK items before, mainly from the Bouchon cookbook, including a quiche that took about three days to assemble and cook and a fourth day to finish eating. I Googled ‘Thomas Keller + Roast Chicken’ and got back another Bouchon recipe. It was shockingly direct; it said ‘Take bird, put in oven, come back in 50 minutes, enjoy the most delicious roasted chicken ever’. I exaggerate, but not by much. The chicken is everything a chicken should be, crispy skin, juicy meat and full of subtle flavor; you will pick the bones clean and you will lick your fingers. And I owe the bird an apology.

The TK recipe calls for a 2 – 3 lb. bird and serves two to three people with a side dish perfectly. However, what if there are more than two of you? Or what if you cannot find this oddly shaped bird? I have only been able to find that size bird at Whole Foods. The smallest chicken, not including the game hen, at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets in Atlanta is going to be just over 4 lbs. So if you don’t have access to the smaller organic chickens I have adapted the recipe for a standard commercially raised larger chicken below.

Roast Chicken with Thyme (or Rosemary) adapted from Thomas Keller - Serves 6

(1) 5lb. chicken

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons thyme or rosemary or both

Remove the giblet pack from inside the chicken, discard or save for another purpose, wash the chicken and pat it dry. Salt and pepper the cavity, truss the bird. TK directs that you ‘rain salt’ all over the bird and for this size bird I use about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons. Pepper the bird as desired. Place in a roasting pan and into a 450 degree oven, come back in an hour and fifteen minutes +/-, remove the bird from the oven, cut off the kitchen twine, sprinkle with the thyme and baste with it’s own juices and the herbs then let it rest for 15 minutes prior to carving.

Notes : I have cooked this dish in 4 different ovens and in half of the ovens 3/4 of the way through cooking chicken juice spatters all over the inside of the oven, making a smoky mess of the house and a disaster of the inside of the oven. It’s worth it you’re willing to suffer through it. Or when this happens to us, we (and by we I mean Jim) literally just places a piece of aluminum foil on top of the bird, so it is as ventilated as possible and the foil is just to redirect the grease in to the pan. Keep the bird uncovered as long as you can.

Please wash your hands well after touching the raw bird prior to touching anything else.

**I recently found 3lb. birds at Trader Joe's; they were labeled 'broiler chicken'.