Autumnal Roast Chicken

Consistently succulent methodologies borrowed from Alfred Portale and Jacques Pépin. Moist with crispy skin. Secret is drying thoroughly and refrigerating with sea salt in the cavity. Then, rotating in the oven.

4 lb. farm fresh whole chicken with giblets. Rinse chicken and giblets. Put in roasting pan with paper towels on the bottom. Pat dry chicken all around and shake sea salt into the cavity. Refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready to cook, take chicken out of refrigerator while oven preheats to 425 degrees. Remove paper towels from the pan stand chicken cavity side up. Cut top off whole garlic head and place in cavity. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze juice on giblets and put remaining cores into cavity. Sprinkle dried thyme or place a fresh thyme sprig into cavity. Place chicken onto its side with giblets in a corner of the pan.

Slice a sweet onion and place behind chicken back and over giblets. When oven is at 425 degrees, drizzle olive oil over leg, wing, side of chicken. Sprinkle with garlic powder and ground black pepper. Place on middle rack of preheated oven for 30 minutes. Take out chicken, turn to the other side, drizzle with olive oil over leg, wing, side and cover with garlic powder and ground black pepper. Place back into oven for another 30 minutes. Take out chicken and place so breast side is up. Baste with juices all over. Put back into oven for another 30 minutes.

Take out and cover with aluminum foil for 15 minutes. Onions and giblets crispy. Skin, too. Moist meat. Eat!

Roasted Squash Couscous

Cut 1 zucchini and 1 summer squash into lengthwise quarters. Trim ends. Place in a pie pan seed-sides up. Drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle with generous amount of cracked black pepper and garlic powder. Put in oven and turn to 400 degrees convect. When oven hits 400, turn off. Take out the squash after another 5 minutes. Let cool. Cut into small bite-sized chunks.

Make couscous. Use casserole dish with tight fitting cover. Put 1 cup dry couscous in the casserole dish. Add squash chunks. Boil one cup chicken broth and a couple pats of butter. Pour boiling broth over the couscous and squash. Cover and shake a bit to distribute liquid. Let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Sriracha Pork Steaks

1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin. Cut into quarters across the loin. Pound the pieces to tenderize, but keep steaks thick as possible. Marinade in Sriracha sauce, just enough to coat both sides and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Julienne one bell pepper, 2 jalapeño peppers, 2 long chile peppers. Sauté peppers in a little olive oil in a large fry pan. Add pork steaks and sear on both sides. Then turn heat down to cook until pork is pink in the middle. Pounding and marinade make meat tender.

Serve with roasted squash couscous.

Mashed Potatoes & Parsnips

Late summer farm stand fare. Delish. Peel and quarter 4-6 local Valley potatoes. Peel and slice 3 parsnips into small diagonal chunks. Cover with water in a large saucepan. Season with a generous amount of cracked black peppercorns and a little kosher salt. Cover and bring to boil until potatoes and parsnips are very tender. Uncover and simmer until water is almost gone. Add 3+ tablespoons butter and chives to taste. Let simmer until water is evaporated and vegetables brown up a bit. Mash with a hand tool until blended. Savory side dish.

6-Minute Tandoori Shrimp

Staying with the Tandoori theme, left over plain yogurt in the fridge, used Pierre Franey’s time-tested cooking method. 6 minutes under the broiler, no turning. Perfect every time. So, clean and de-vein largest fresh shrimp you can get.

16 shrimp serves 2. Put in medium-sized bowl with 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, 1/4 tsp. each of cayenne, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cumin. 1 tsp. paprika. Garlic powder to taste. Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime. Stir and coat shrimp. You can refrigerate until ready to cook, or just broil right away.

Place shrimp on a cookie sheet so not touching, using all of the coating mixture. Turn broiler to high and when hot, place cookie sheet on highest rack. Broil for 6 minutes. That’s it. No turning. Serve with Kazmati rice and chutneys.

LaborDay Tandoori Grill

Use parts of one chicken. Breasts. Thighs attached to legs. Skin on and bone-in.

For the marinade, in a large bowl mix:

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 lime, juice
3 scallions, sliced with part of the green
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
1 jalapeño, de-seeded julienne
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin

Roll chicken parts in the blended marinade to coat. Put them in a shallow glass pan and pour remaining marinade over them. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to grill, take chicken out of marinade and put on plate, still with as much coating as possible. Skewer 2 large farm stand bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into quarters. Skewer 1 red onion, cut into large chunks. 2 whole jalapeños. Coat veggies with olive oil and garlic powder. Grill in stages, chicken first to sear and cover until mostly cooked through. Then put it off to the side of the grill while cooking skewered peppers and onions over the fire, turning until charred but not burned. Serve with basmati rice, chutneys, and homemade raita.

Refreshing Raita

Peel and chop 3 farmstand pickle cukes into small chunks into a medium sized bowl. Add 6 shredded, trimmed mint leaves, 1 cup plain yogurt, 3 small scallions, sliced. Season with 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. celery salt, ground pepper to taste. Stir. Add a drizzle of red wine vinegar to taste. Stir. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with Tandoori chicken or as a refreshing side with any meat.

Carol’s Gazpacho 2014

I add watermelon to balance the acid. Not as a dominant taste.

4-6 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6-8 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put bread and all above ingredients in layers in a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth with a few chunky bits. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance.

Put in a container and chill. Serve cold with chopped garden veggie garnishes.