Yup, it’s official…

I’m a terrible blogger.  Okay this is the part where you tell me that I’m being too hard on myself.  In all honesty, this has been the craziest month and I’m so sorry to have let you all down.  The good news is I’m still alive, the bad news is that I’ve been so bust that I have not eaten anything blog worthy in almost a month.  It’s a travesty, I know.  I’ve been living off of lean cuisines.  Don’t sun me completely though, I promise I’ll be getting back in to the swing of things!  Much love, and stick with me!

Keep eating and clinking

-C

Crazy Mother Clucker

Merry Christmas everyone!!!  Wanna know why Christmas is one of my favorite holidays?  The food. Duh!  Bet you didn’t see that one coming.  Anyways, my family doesn’t really have any set traditional Christmas spread.  Instead, we usually just go with the flow and make what feels most festive.  Often this involves either a turkey or chicken.   This year, I offered to take on the sometimes terrifying task of taming the bird.  I know what you’re thinking, that there’s no way that roasting an entire chicken can be a time saver… ever, let alone easy.  It is!!!  This recipe has a few simple ingredients that will knock the socks off of anyone at any time of the year.  

Grocery List:

** Keep in mind that you may have to increase the amount of herbs, garlic and butter if you’ve got a bigger bird!

  • Whole raw chicken (any size that works with the amount of people that you’re feeding.  When I make this for just me and my roommate, I stick to a 3-4 lb chicken and we have enough for lots of great leftovers) and get rid of those giblets!  I usually ask my butcher to just pull ’em out for me at the grocery store but if they won’t do it or you forget to ask, roll up your sleeves, close your eyes, and feel around for a little bag and throw those things away!
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed (just peel them and smack them with the flat side of your knife)
  • 1 Lemon cut in half (roll it around on your cutting board first before you cut in to it just to get all those great creative juices flowing, don’t worry about the seeds!)
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped rosemary
  • 1Tbsp of chopped thyme
  • 2-3 Tbsp of butter at a nice and soft and at room temperature 
  • Lots of Salt n Pepper

How to:

  1. Prep all of your ingredients, chop up the herbs, give the lemon a roll and a slice, you know the drill.Image
  2. Time for the bird bath!  Give the bird a nice sink shower and be sure to pat it super dry. If you leave any moisture that’s going to end up steaming the skin and preventing it from getting nice and crispy.
  3. Insert your lemon halves, sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and your crushed garlic.  I know it may feel like you’re violating the poor thing but I promise you it’s okay.
  4. This chick is getting totally pampered, not only did it just get a nice bath, but now it’s time to give the bird a butter massage.  Use your fingers to coat the skin with a liberal layer of butter.
  5. At this point it’s time to get crazy, sprinkle on all those chopped herbs and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  6. After such an exhausting few minutes, the bird is probably going to be exhausted.  Let it res at room temperature for an hour.  (This is a great time for you to go take a bubble bath, read, or do pretty much anything you would think the time consuming act of roasting a chicken would prevent you from doing.)Image
  7. Pre-heat you oven to 450′.  I usually cook my 3-4 lb bird at 450′ F for about an hour or until the meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165′ F for the bird.  Let your roasting pan or skillet heat up with the oven.
  8. Once your oven is all fired up it’s time to get that thing in there!  Set it for about 45 minutes.  That’s usually a good time to check and see how your bird’s tan is coming along.Image
  9. Once the internal temp is 165 that thing is totally cooked.  Pull your pan out and let the chicken sit for a good 20 minutes just to make sure that all of those great juices don’t escape.
  10. Carve and enjoy!

I told you it wasn’t that hard!  Plus, this chicken also makes for great left overs that you can use for chicken soup and totally kick-ass chicken salad.  It’s like the gift that keeps on giving! I hope you all had an absolutely amazing holiday and that you give this chicken roasting thing a go.

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night

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Tonight I have no fantastic eats or clinks for you.  Instead, I just want to let all of you know that I appreciate you checking in on my little food and drink finds.  I hope that all of you have a wonderful night tonight.  Even if Christmas isn’t your jam, take time to enjoy everything that’s around you.  From the little lights, to the glow of the snow, and all the big stuff like, family, friends, and those friends that are as good as family.  I love you all!

Eat and Clink Extra hard!

-C

Holy Macaroni (and more)…

Okay, it’s official, I’ve been a terrible blogger the past few days and I give you my deepest apologies.  It’s hard to cook when you’re not in your own kitchen with your own stuff.  This all being said, I think that I have just the meal to help me redeem myself.  

As I told all of you before, my parents just relocated to New Hampshire.  While they just found a house in Bedford, they’re working on remodeling the the whole thing from top to bottom (at it’s starting to look ah-mazing!) so they’ve been staying in a little apartment in downtown Manchester.  The kitchen in particular is small so we’ve been going out to eat a ton.  At first glance, the area looks a bit dreary but the food options are far from limited.  I blogged earlier in the week about the cafe, Baked, and now I’m introducing you to another downtown Manchester gem, Ignite.  This place is absolutely ridiculous, good ridiculous that is.  It has one of the most eclectic menus I’ve seen a in a long long time.  Better yet, it’s not eclectic in the there-are-pig’s-feet-and-mongolian-llama-on-this-menu sense, it’s more like oh-my-gosh-there’s-pealla-AND-pad thai-on-the-menu-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-get kind of eclectic.  Needless to say, it’s awesome.  The second that I saw baked macaroni and cheese on the menu I was totally won over though.  Since it was a new restaurant, and I had high hopes for the place, I asked the waitress (who was crazy helpful and absolutely wonderful) what she thought of the dish.  She immediately began to rave about it and told me that I should definitely take advantage of the offered opportunity to add steak tips as well.  While I was a little hesitant, I trusted her and decided to add ’em on in.  The more the merrier right?  We also ordered an appetizer of scallops wrapped in bacon nested in reduced Vermont maple syrup.  As a Vermonter, I had to give it a shot.  

First thing’s first, the scallops were fantastic.  Cooked perfectly and seared to perfection with that awesome golden brown crunch.  The bacon somehow achieved a level of bacon nirvana, both tender enough to stay wrapped around the scallop and crunchy enough to add a really fantastic texture in every single bite.  The maple syrup pulled everything together, you got the natural salty taste from the scallop, the smokey taste from the bacon, and that sweet sticky taste from the syrup.  Check it out:

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Now on to the star of the show, that mac n’ cheese with steak tips!

This was a pretty awesome dish.  I like to think of myself as a sort of mac n’ cheese connoisseur and this one ranked fairly high, about an 8.  It had tender bow-tie pasta with a creamy cheddar cheese and a baked breadcrumb top.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the steak tips, although at first I was weary, I quickly became a huge fan.  The steak tips were cooked perfectly, packed some seriously great flavor, and baked right into the mac n’ cheese.  I only had two small complaint-ish points (complaint seems like too strong of a word): 1)  I would have loved to have a little more flavor in the cheese sauce and 2)  I’m a huge sucker for a great bread-crumbly crunch in a baked mac n’ cheese.  Overall though, this dish was delish!Image

 

Some other eats and clinks worth salivating over from Ignite:

Fried pickles with a Jamaican relish, you haven’t snacked until you’ve had a fried pickle.

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And an Orange Julius cocktail, not even kidding it tastes EXACTLY the way that the real frozen treats do!

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If any of you ever find yourselves in Manchester, definitely hunt this place down.  Even if it’s just for a drink, it’s totally worth it!

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

 

The Latketini

I felt like this was appropriate in regards to my earlier response.

I was about to walk out the lobby of my parents’ apartment building when the guy at the concierge stopped me and asked if I wanted one of the latkes his wife had made earlier that night for the building.  What Concierge Man didn’t know was that, for whatever reason, I had been craving a potato latke for weeks.  Unfortunately, I’m not jewish so no one is cooking up any of the crunchy salty treats this season in our house.  After tasting Mrs. Concierge Man’s ridiculously good latkes, I decided that I should check out a few variations on the seasonal snack myself.  It was then that I came across this gem, a Latketini.  It’s a bonafide liquified latke.  

http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2012/12/latke-martini.html 

Any brave souls going to give this a try?  Think it’s any good?  Let me know!

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

Peanut Gallery

Hey you!  Yeah you, with the face, I’ve got a few questions for you.  New Years is fast approaching which means only one thing as far as I’m concerned.  Time to throw a party that will put all the parties to follow for the next 365 days to shame.  That being said I’ve always been a firm believer that a party is only as good as it’s food and most importantly… it’s DRINKS!  What are your favorite foods to have and parties?  And what I’m really dying to know is what’s your poison?  Favorite drinks?  Think about your favorite clinks!

P.S– What’s your favorite creative drinking game?

-C

So sorry!!

I swear I’m not neglecting you all!  I’m in Boston for a couple of days, you have my word that I will have something deliciously blog worthy tomorrow!!

Hope you’ve still been clinking and thinking!!

-C

Some Hot and Heavy Cooking

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My mother and I were doing a quick run through at target to buy a Christmas tree (last minute, we know) but we decided to take a detour through the book section.  Now let me begin by explaining that to say chicken was a staple in my family’s diet growing up is a HUGE understatement.  We had it at least four times a week and there was even a period around the age of 10 when I went on chicken strike.  Now, I cook it almost as much as my mother did and I think my wonderful roommate is on the verge of striking out on me as well.

As my mother and I were meandering the aisles of books my eyes caught a cook book that I had to show my mother, Fifty Shades of Chicken: A parody in a Cookbook, that boasted “50 Chicken Recipes Bound to Be Delicious”.  My mother took a look at the cover, had a laugh, and told me to throw it in to the cart.

The next morning, my mother told me that she felt the cook book was something that was more appropriate for my kitchen than hers.  I sat down to see what she meant and gave the cookbook a quick once over.  It didn’t take me long to realize that this cookbook really was a parody of the book Fifty Shades of Gray.  While the cook book has some seriously tantalizing recipes such as Roasted Chicken with Brandy-Vanilla Butter and Crispy Chicken Tenders with Cashews and Coconut Curry, it also has some hot and steamy narratives.  Let me tell you that roasting a chicken has never seemed so sexy.  Plus, the book comes with some great preparation illustrations:

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All humor aside, the dishes in here look great and there are some excellent new ways to teach an old bird new tricks.  I can’t wait to get all tied up in a few of these recipes.

Here’s the link to the book site:
http://www.fiftyshadesofchicken.com/
Keep eating and clinking!

-C

Site Suggestion- palate/ palette/ plate

Site Suggestion- palate/ palette/ plate

I’ve got another one for you!  Here’s a blog that I think is really unique.  This is the product of a visual artist with a passion for the fusion of food and art.  She draws lots of similarities between both kinds of creative processes and shares fantastic art along with recipes for fresh and creative dishes.  I’m dyin’ to give her Orcchiette with melon, pancetta, feta, and mint a try.  Give the link above a click, I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

A Cuppa’ Cozy

As a northerner who’s gone south, there’s nothing I appreciate more during the holidays than cozying up with a hot treat like a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  There’s something to be said for wrapping your hands around an over-sized mug with swirls of steam whispering from its rim as you look out on to the streets which are slowly becoming dusted with a blanket of fresh snow.  My parents just recently relocated to the Manchester/ Bedford area of New Hampshire and I’m currently here visiting them for the holidays.  Being unfamiliar with the area, I decided to tool around the area and get a little lost.  It didn’t take me long to find a serious gem called Baked.  It’s a great little cafe with literally every kind of cozy food you can imagine.  From mac n cheese to sandwiches to soups this place has you covered.  But their unsung claims to fame?  Their hot drinks.  Let me show you what I’m talking about…

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(This is Baked‘s Hot Choconilla.  They use a perfect combination of milk chocolate and white chocolate to create the perfect sweet treat.  I’m not kidding, this hot chocolate may or may not change your life, or at least your taste buds’ definition of what hot chocolate is really supposed to taste like.  Oh, and check out the size of those marshmallows!)

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(This is Baked‘s signature cappuccino topped with both chocolate and caramel drizzles and a sprinkle of sugar just for some added sweetness and sparkle.  As a coffee fiend, this is a dream come true.)

If you ever find yourself in the Manchester area, I can’t stress to you enough how great this place is!  I promise you there isn’t a thing on the menu you won’t love.  The food is fresh, the servers are fantastic, and the atmosphere is something that warms the belly and the soul.

Keep thinking and clinking!

-Cat