Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lemon and 40 clove Garlic Roast Chicken...stuff them up its butt!

Continuing with all things lemon here is a twist on roast chicken. I used a lot of whole peeled garlic and included lemons in the pan itself to get a nice citrus tang to the pan juices. Definitely is tart but still very tasty.

Lemon and 40 Clove Garlic Roast Chicken
  • 2 roasting chickens, about 5-6 lbs each
  • 8 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 T thyme
  • 2 c cubed carrots
  • 4-5 medium white potatoes quartered
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 c water, white wine or broth

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and clean the chickens. Dry them. With cut one lemon into 4 slices. Remaining lemons cut in half.

For each chicken: Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Sprinkle in approx 1 t thyme. Add 3-4 lemon halves and 6 cloves of garlic. Slip fingers between skin and breast meat. Insert 2 lemons and 2 cloves garlic on each breast of the chicken. Fold wings under, truss and tie legs together. Lightly oil the chicken with the olive oil. Salt and Pepper the top and bottom of chicken. Sprinkle remaining thyme over the two chickens.

Place the celery stalks in the center of large roasting pan. Place chickens on top of the celery. Add remaining lemons, cut side down around the chickens. Put in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Toss remaining cloves of garlic, carrots and potatoes with 1T olive oil. Add 1 t sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. At the end of the 15 minutes remove the roasting pan. Add the vegie mix around the chickens. Insert thermometer or oven probe to the thickest leg of the largest chicken.

Lower oven to 325. Roast until thermometer reaches 170. Baste as needed if your pan starts to dry out. (The potatoes soak up a lot of pan juices so you do need to monitor).

At the end of the cooking time remove the chickens and put on platter, tenting to let stand 10-15 minutes. Spoon out the vegies and put in serving bowl. Add additional broth to pan juices and a thickener to make a gravy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2 lives for 10 lemons...limoncello time baby!

So what does one do with a single tree producing such copious amounts of lemons? You can only stuff so many up a chickens butt for tasty roast chicken. No, you need something that uses great quantities of lemons. Being a frugal (cheap if you will) person I hate to toss anything away. Lemon Zest has so many uses, but face it that only addresses part of the lemon.

The answer my friend lies in Limoncello that Italian liqueur, digestif and a host of other names you want to call it. Unbelievably easy to make, time consuming but not difficult at all. And is uses a bunch of lemons. To make it more fun have someone over and make it a party. I had my old college pal Ruth666 over so she could help me use up the bounty and just have some fun in general.

  • Zest of 10 lemons
  • 4 c vodka

Use a tightly sealing jar and add the zest and vodka too it. Put in a cool dark place for 4 days. I use the floor of a hall closet for this step.

  • 3 1/2 c water
  • 2 1/2 c sugar

On the 5th day combine water and sugar in large pan, over high heat bring to a boil stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the vodka to the simple syrup in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate 1 day.

On the 6th day pour the limoncello through a cheese cloth line strainer or sieve. Gather the cheese cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Toss out the zest solids and soiled cloth. Using fresh cheese cloth reline the strainer. Pour the limoncello through for the second time, discarding the cloth when done. It is very important to do the second straining through the cheese cloth if you are to have a clear limoncello at the end.

Zesting is about the longest and most time consuming part of the process.

End result is a bowl of nekkid lemons.

Zest and Vodka waiting for the final step.

Now what does one do with a dozen nekkid lemons? Can't toss 'em you make lemonade!

Simple Lemonade

  • Juice of 10 lemons approx 2 cups
  • 2 c sugar
  • 6 c water

Add sugar and water to a large sauce pan. Stir until dissolved and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Cover and cool to room temperature.

For a less acid lemonade add the juice when the syrup comes to a boil add the juice and bring back to a boil for one minute.

*variation, add 6-8 quarter sized coins of fresh sliced ginger for a Ginger Lemonade before bringing the syrup to a boil. Remove the coins after lemonade has cooled before serving.

Serve chilled over ice.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chili Corn Chowder

Not exactly a cool winter day but I'll grab those soup nights while I can as soon enough it will be blazing hot.

Tonights soup is an adaptation of a very healthy soup from the Cooking Light Magazine. This one has a nominal bit of fat for flavor and to aid in the sautee at the beginning. I tend to like things with a bit of a kick so I do add in some chili powder and cayenne. Not enough so it burns out the back side, just enough so you feel a little heat at the back of the mouth.

Chili Corn Chowder
  • 2 c fine diced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 t Chili powder
  • 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pound frozen corn
  • 1/2 C fine diced celery
  • 1/2 C fine diced onion
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c each finely sliced green onion and cilantro.

Toss chicken with chili powder and set aside.

In a large nonstick stock pot melt butter and add the celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until soft and just starting to carmelize, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Add 1 lb corn and broth. Over low heat cook about 15 minutes until corn is heated through. Remove from heat.

Take mixture and put in blender whizzing it on high until smooth. Pour soup back into your pan, add remaining 1/2 lb corn and reserved chicken. Heat over low about 10 minutes until warmed through and just starting to bubble. You may have to add 1/2 c or so of water at the end to get it to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve hot garnished with the green onion and cilantro.

There you go a pretty easy and low fat soup. Just enough butter to brown and give it a little smoothness. Unlike typical chowders that are thickened with a roux and milk, cream or half-and-half this soup get's its thickening from the whizzed corn....a natural thickener. The end result is a very low fat chowder that is extremely tasty. Also, added bonus if you substitute vegetable broth and a clear cooking oil you'd be pretty close to vegan which helps when you are on a pipe cleaning diet.