Wrapping up Halloween in August week, I will end the week with roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m about over pumpkin at this point! I’m not worried though. As soon as I feel the first cool breeze I’ll be putting pumpkin in everything from coffee to cake and back again. If anyone has tips on getting pumpkin butter into a latte, I’m listening.
I read a lot of recipe posts on how to roast pumpkin seeds because I couldn’t remember what temperature at which to roast them. What I found was a lot of overly complicated instructions that involved spending an inordinate time cleaning the seeds, then drying them, them boiling them in salted water first (what?) and THEN finally roasting them. Maybe all of that work does really make better pumpkin seeds. But I decided that it was completely unnecessary. You’re welcome.
I did rinse most of the pumpkin goo off of them because I got nervous and self-conscious after reading all those intimidating recipes. Next time, I’ll pick out the big chunks and move on with my life.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the pumpkin goo off your pumpkin seeds. Pat them dry on a towel, and then toss with seasonings to taste. Roast for 20 minutes (give or take, depending on your oven) at 350 degrees, shaking or tossing at the 10 minute mark.
I’ve heard that the seeds from sugar pumpkins (or seminole pumpkins) are better for roasting than carving pumpkins, but I’ve roasted spaghetti squash seeds, carving pumpkin seeds… They all taste good to me!
The Everglades Heat seasoning is my newest obsession. It’s hot with the right amount of flavor. Love it! If you haven’t tried Everglades original or Everglades Heat, get thy self to a grocery store, stat. The original is awesome on grilled or roasted veggies, or basically anything. Double the deliciousness for the spicy folks out there when you use Heat. Note: Everglades Heat is the cat’s meow on some Mayonnaise Corn. Try it, and thank me later.
Another excellent use for a Silpat. These pumpkin seeds didn’t even think about sticking to that bad boy.
That’s it! Enjoy by the handful. I hear they are super nutritious, too, if you’re in to that sort of thing. All I know is that they taste good.
And that’s a wrap on pumpkin week and the week in general! TGIF, y’all!
So I’m finally getting around to posting about that roasted chicken I keep mentioning. Thanks for bearing with me!
This is another one from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home, but roasting a chicken is one of those things that I think everyone should learn how to do. Then you can adapt it however you’d like! The essentials will be the same. I realized it had been a while since I roasted a chicken the other day, and we already had some roast-able veggies, so that seemed like a pretty good Sunday supper. And cheap to boot!
The key to crispy chicken skin is to take your bird out of the packaging and put it on a plate and let it sit in the fridge uncovered for a day or two, according to Keller (and now, me). It dries it out a bit and makes for some deliciously crispy skin. Before you cook it, be sure to take it out and let it come to room temperature.
Roasted Chicken(adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home)
– a chicken (anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds)
– 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed (or more if you want!)
– fresh thyme, optional (6 sprigs or however much you want)
– root vegetables (new potatoes, onions, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, leeks – let your imagination run wild!)
– kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
– canola or vegetable oil
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
This one is a stretch, but my secret ingredient to a perfectly juicy, delicious roast chicken is to stuff it with a couple-few cloves of garlic and one whole Preserved Moroccan Lemon. It makes the BEST chicken, and the best veggies underneath it! If you’re fresh out of those, stuff it with a whole lemon cut into quarters, with the stem-end left intact.
This dish is the perfect cast iron skillet, one pot dish. But you can use any oven-safe skillet that is big enough to hold all this goodness.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Mmmmkay. First you gotta stuff and truss yo’ chicken. You actually don’t have to truss it, but it helps the breasts puff up and get extra brown and the entire bird cooks more evenly. Plus, it makes you look fancy. And who doesn’t want to look fancy?
Remove the innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. You can either remove the wishbone now, or you can wait until the end (I wait). Season the cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper, add three garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird. Now, you truss it.
Trussing a Chicken (see photo above)
Tuck the bird’s wing tips under it’s breasts, so that it looks like it is laying by the pool. Cut a piece of kitchen twine about 3 feet long and center it under the neck end of the breasts. Pull the twin up and over the breasts toward yourself. Knot the twine once right under the very end of the breasts, so that it puffs up. Next, bring the string around the outside of the legs, and knot it tightly again so that each leg is touching the other leg and the breasts. You just trussed a chicken! Wheat gave me the ultimate compliment on my chicken by telling me, “It looks like it came out of Winn Dixie!” So proud.
Side note: if you can look at the picture above and not laugh, we can’t be friends. #Iamachild
Wash, peel, trim, and/or chop your root veggies so that they are all relatively the same size to ensure they all cook evenly. The only exception to this is that I quarter the onion.
Toss the veggies and remaining garlic cloves with some vegetable or canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread them out in a cast iron skillet or whatever pan you are roasting them in. Sort of make a little indentation (or “nest,” if you will) in the middle to fit your bird, and lay the remaining thyme in it. Or you can toss the thyme in with the vegetables. Whatever you prefer. I just like to do it under the chicken to ensure it doesn’t burn in the oven.
Rub the chicken down with some vegetable or canola oil too, and season with salt and pepper (don’t be shy!). Nestle the chicken into the nest and cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and dab them on the chicken.
Put the whole thing in the oven and roast for 25 minutes at 475 degrees. Then reduce the heat to 400 degrees and roast for 45 more minutes, or until the temperature reads 160 degrees in the meatiest part of the bird. It’s best to stick it where the thigh meets the breast.
Keep in mind that this was a 3 pound chicken, and 45 minutes was just right. So if you are cooking a 5 pound chicken, you will have to cook it longer. Just keep checking it every 5 minutes after 45-50 minutes or so to see if it’s at 160 degrees.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 minutes or so, or until it’s cool enough to handle. Carve it up, and serve the chicken over the veggies. Make sure to toss them in the pan juices for maximum flavor!
I am NO expert on carving a chicken, and apparently, neither is Wheat. Here is a neat video tutorial I found from Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain (narrating) that shows you how to carve it, as well as another way to truss it.
Of course, mine looks much less perfect than Keller’s. But tomato, tomahto. This bird still tasted pretty dern good!
I garnished it with some more fresh thyme from my herb garden. This is actually lemon thyme. I think next time I will use it again and stick half of a lemon in the cavity and try that out.
I mean, would you just look at this crispy skin? So crazy good.
You can do so many things with a roasted chicken, and change it up in so many ways. The leftovers are great for chicken salad, or to put on top of a salad, or anything else you can think of! And you can keep the major bones (after you pick them clean) and throw them in the freezer. When you have enough, make chicken stock! Considering a whole chicken is pretty cheap, you can make those few dollars go really far, if you want.
So there. I finally posted about my roasted chicken. I know cooking a whole bird can be intimidating (because it used to intimidate me), but it really is pretty easy to do. But you don’t have to tell anyone that.
Just stand back and let them think you’re fancy! Or that you bought it at Winn Dixie. Le sigh.
Last week, chuck roasts were on sale, and last Sunday, we invited my parents up for a Sunday Pot Roast. It is such a southern Sunday thing to do, after all.
My aunt emailed me this recipe that she came up with a while back (thanks, Lala!), and I just hadn’t gotten around to making it. So when I saw the chuck roasts on sale, I knew the time had come. It is divine! The only change I made was that I added onions to the mix, because pot roast and onions go well together, and that way I felt like I had enough veggies to count as a one pot meal. Except it wasn’t one pot, because I also felt like cornbread was necessary. The recipe for cornbread is Lala’s, too. Essentially, today’s post is sponsored by Lori Halley.
Side note: my aunt’s name is Lori, but when I was little, I couldn’t say it I guess, so I called her Lala. All my friends growing up called her Lala, in addition to all our younger cousins. When my older cousin’s son came along, he couldn’t say “Lala,” and began calling her “Yaya.” Just thought I’d explain who in the heck “Lala” is. She’s also one helluva cook!
– a boneless chuck roast
– 1 can beef consumme
– McCormick Perfect Pinch Steak Seasoning
– dried basil
– garlic powder
– salt and pepper
– new (red) potatoes
– carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
– one onion, quartered
– one can cream of mushroom soup
– one can of water
– 3 tablespoons vegetable (or any kind) oil
As far as all these ingredients go, the number of people you are feeding will dictate the size chuck roast, how many carrots, how many potatoes, etc. I am pretty sure ours was about a 3 pound chuck roast, which was so enormous it seemed like we needed to invite someone over to help eat it. The “cans of” measurements will stay the same, unless you are literally feeding an army. This meal fed four adults with enough leftovers for two.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron (or enameled cast iron) pan. Season the roast with the steak seasoning and garlic powder. Just kind of pat it on with your hands. Try to coat the entire roast as best you can, despite the unwieldy-ness of the giant hunk o’ meat. Also, I apologize for raw meat pictures. Just felt it might be helpful for those of you that might actually make it to see the before, and not just the after.
Proceed to brown the roast on both sides. Flip it using your largest pair of tongs.
Add one can beef consumme and place in the 300 degree oven. Bake until tender, approximately two hours. Add the vegetables, the cream of mushroom soup, and one can of water. Season the veggie portion of the pan with salt, pepper, and basil. Bake until the veggies are done, aka until you can stab them with a fork and it comes back out easily. It took about 40 minutes for these.
Lala’s Notes on her “oh so southern” pot roast: “Makes a great gravy, and is very tasty!”
She was right. It was VERY tasty!
Natalie’s Note: It’s really hard to take good pictures of a pot roast, most especially difficult at night. Also, I believe you could convert this pretty easily to a crock pot recipe, but you would still want to brown your meat first, and wait to add the veggies until the last hour or so. Mushy veggies are not okay in my book. Here’s a chart I found at busycooks.about.com to help you convert it, if you’re interested.
Lala’s/Yaya’s Super Southern Cornbread
(goes really well with pot roast, and basically anything and everything else you can think of)
– 8 ounces sour cream
– 1 cup self rising cornmeal
– 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Beat the eggs with a whisk in your mixing bowl first, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Bake in a greased pan at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Lala’s Note: “I use White Lily self rising cornmeal mix.”
I also think this pot roast would have been TDF with mashed potatoes instead of cooking them in with the roast. Any way you slice it though, it’s delicious.
The best part about pot roast is you get free time while everything is cooking! We spent this particular Sunday afternoon on the patio. My dad and Wheat attempted to sight in Wheat’s new pellet gun (beware, squirrels), and we did a good bit of sitting around the “fire,” aka sat around an empty fire pit. Still just as great in the summer time!
Look Doc, you’re famous!! ;)
We ended the evening with some homemade chocolate ice cream, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post. Have a great Monday!