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Monday, February 20, 2012

Italian Meatballs

(serves 2-3 ppl)
(prep and cook time 45 mins)

Ground beef 1 1/2 lbs
Bread crumbs I used a food processor to grind 1 1/2 slices of Dave's-Good Seed-killer bread!
Whole milk 3 Tbs
Egg 1 large (lightly beaten)
Crimini mushrooms 1/4 cup (chopped fine)
Onions 1/3 cup (chopped fine)
Parmesan reggiano 1/4 cup (shredded fine)
Parsley 1 whole bunch (stems removed and chopped fine)
Oregano 1 tsp
Chili flakes 1 tsp *optional
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pepper 5-6 grinds
Olive oil 4 Tbs for pan frying the meatballs


Soak the bread crumbs in milk.
Combine all the ingredients (minus the olive oil) in a large mixing bowl.
Mix gently.
Form tennis ball size meatballs.
Heat up some oil in frying pan and lightly sear all sides of the meatballs.
Drop the meatballs in warm marinara sauce and let them simmer for 25 mins or until done.

I served this on some whole wheat spaghetti.
Hope you like :-)

Marinara Sauce

Tomato sauce 1 1/2 cup
Tomato paste 1/3 cup
Canned whole tomatoes 1/2 cup

Crush the tomatoes or chop them into smaller pieces and combine them with the other ingredients in a large bowl.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken

(Prep time 20 mins)
(Marinade time 1 1/2 days)
(Bake time 1 1/2 hours)
(Serves 4-6)

Habanero peppers 3 (whole)
Allspice berries 10
Cloves 10
Peppercorns 1 Tsp
Bay leaves 3
White vinegar 1 cup
Kosher salt 1 cup
Ice cold water 1 gallon

Blend the habanero peppers and some of the water, say maybe a cup, in a blender. The idea is to juice the chilies so that the chicken can absorb the flavor better.
Add this to the rest of the water.
Mix in salt, vinegar and the remaining spices.
Keep refrigerated.

TIP: Nice info on brining.

Compound butter:
Unsalted butter 4 Tbs (softened at room temp)
Juice of 2 limes
Dried rubbed sage 1 tsp
Dried rosemary 1 tsp
Dried thyme 1 tsp

Combine all the above ingredients really well and refrigerate for 15 mins to firm up a little bit but don't let it become rock solid.

TIP: Most of the butter melts and falls out, but for an even lighter version skip the butter all together and use just the herbs and sprinkle the lime juice on top of the skin.

Spice rub:
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp
Coarse ground pepper 1/2 tsp
Paprika 1/2 tsp

Combine all the spices in a bowl and keep aside.


You will need lots of room in your refrigerator and a very BIG pot.
Soak whole bird in brine for 24 hours, it should be fully submerged in water. Keep refrigerated.
After 24 hours place the chicken on top of a wire rack and drain for 6 hours in the fridge.
The skin will become very dry.
Place the chicken breast side up, use your index finger to get beneath the skin and loosen it, try to reach and loosen the skin on the legs too. Be gentle so you don't puncture the skin. Take some compound butter and try to push it in as much as you can beneath the skin. Once the butter is under the skin you can massage the top of the skin and help it reach nooks and crannies.
This is great video to understand the process better.
Sprinkle cayenne, pepper and paprika on all sides of the chicken.
Wrap the chicken in saran wrap.
Marinade in fridge for 6-8 hours.
Remove the saran wrap and let the bird rest uncovered on the countertop for 20 mins before baking.
Stuff the chicken with a small hand full of whole garlic cloves and a small handful of onion quarters.
Then truss the chicken with some cooking twine.

IMPORTANT: Don't stuff the chicken while it's marinading because bacteria will accumulate in the cavity. And don't stuff it too much because the chicken won't cook completely, the cavity should only be filled one thirds.

You will need to adjust the rack in your oven to make sure that the top of the chicken is atleast 6-8 inches away from the heating element.
Rub some olive oil, about 2 Tbs, all over the chicken.
Place the chicken on top of a wire rack and inside a baking dish to catch all fluids and fat.
Bake for 30 mins 400 degrees breast side up.
Use a large towel to protect your hands and flip the chicken breast side down and bake for another 30 mins.
Turn it breast side up again and continue baking for the last 30 mins.
(Overall cook time is 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees)
To preserve juiciness it is very important to let the chicken rest for 20 mins on the countertop before you cut it.
I served this on top of some roasted root vegetables but I am sure it could work well with some thick cut french fries, grilled veggies, a nice rice pilaf or a leafy salad if you prefer.
The roses were edible and made out of potatoes and yams, I will post a video about that soon sometime.
Hope you like this and give it a try.
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