Third Time’s The Charm?

April 19th, 2011 | Rachel

This weekend I finally got to share some french cooking with my favorite dinner companion.  I wasn’t planning on cooking this weekend (the highlight of the weekend involved a frozen drink machine and a recipe for a Lemon Whiskey Slush — which is even better with lime juice), but Steve and I decided to brave the crowds at Whole Foods to pick up some dinner ingredients.

For those of you who do not live in New York City, a trip to Whole Foods — particularly on a Sunday evening — is not for the feint of heart.  A sign at the check out counter listing the best and worst times to shop adeptly described it as “frenetic.”  We managed to navigate our miniature shopping cart through the narrow aisles full pairs and trios of shoppers (Whole Foods is no place to be seen alone on a Sunday evening), and eventually ran into a wall of people dividing the bakery from the deli.  That was one of the check out lines.  There were three of such lines, each comprised of at least 25 people who were funneled into a color coded holding pen.  At that point we waited for a screen to tell us which of the 40 check out counters to go to.

Since this dinner was unplanned, I wasn’t able to reference my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  However, the upside about making the same dish several times in a row (this was my third roasted chicken in the past month) is you pretty much memorize it.  I almost pulled of this roasted chicken from memory without a hitch, but I forgot to pick up some sort of stock to make a light sauce at the end.

And I forgot to put salt on the chicken each time I flipped it.

I also forgot to dry the chicken before I slathered it in butter.

I also forgot to make note of what time I put the bird in the oven and cooked one side more than the other…. I guess I forgot to do a lot of things.

I did not forget to buy cooking twine to tie the birdie’s legs together (although Julia Child prefers to use a mattress needle to sew her chicken into a tight bundle).  I also did not forget how to roast the tomatoes, which make an excellent, fresh side dish.

Since several people have asked for recipes, perhaps I will start sharing some:

Prepping the tomatoes for roasting (this photo is from my first attempt… this past time I used Roma tomatoes)

Julia Child’s Roasted Tomatoes (a rough paraphrase): Select tomatoes less than 2″ diameter. Cut out the stems an sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity.  Paint with olive oil and place stem side down in a baking dish (I’ve been using round casserole dishes).  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until skin starts to split.  Serve immediately.

Although many of Julia’s recipes involve smothering your main ingredient in butter or cream, others are designed to showcase the essence of the meat or vegetable.  If you are ever at a farmers market and come across a table of small, ripe, homegrown tomatoes, this is what you need to do with them.

My sous chef for the evening, Steve

Patiently waiting for the chicken to finish (due to a late start we ended up eating close to 11pm… woops)

One more golden-brown chicken to add to the archives

Third time was not the charm, unfortunately.  Although the color was near perfect, the texture of the skin was not.  By the time I realized I hadn’t properly dried the chicken, I had already smeared it with butter.  I was hoping the oven, which was far more powerful than the Easy Bake Oven in my apartment, would compensate for this omission, but no dice.  The inside, thankfully, was still near perfect

And so, after battling the crowds at Whole Foods and schlepping our groceries onto the subway, Steve finally got to try some of my (beginner) French cooking.

Carving the bird

One of these days I’ll get it right.  And one of these days I’ll be brave enough to try a French dessert.

3 Responses to “Third Time’s The Charm?”

  1. Travis says:

    You’ll have this down pack by the time you perfect the skin texture! Also, the gataux de crepe looks amazing!

  2. Harmony says:

    Nice job! You’ll be a pro by the time the B&B rolls around.

  3. […] me since the beginning of this blogging endeavor, then you might remember a quick succession of attempted roasted chickens.  (Wow, was that really six months […]

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