Salt roasted chicken
April 24, 2015, 12:13 pm by bottleman. Filed under: diy, invasive species, off-topic, simple living.

Be warned, I’m not a chef, a cook, a foodie, or anything of that kind.  But I am a person who has eaten a truckload of chicken in my life (sorry, fowl), so I know what for.  In this post I’m going to tell you how to prepare a chicken so that it is not a generic, stringy, miserable source of protein — so that it, in fact, actually tastes good.  As good as this picture, by Marjan Lavarevski, looks:

photo of roasted chicken by flickr user Marjan Lavarevski https://www.flickr.com/photos/mlazarevski/8500053523/in/photolist-dX7ZLX-6md2U-4YrREd-4wVvM-2f9YNJ-6XnaMP-4S2MBf-pom98-pom69-6rfxEP-5to2B6-6D9tro-6D9tLu-6D5kfM-6QhzCT-izXLmY-4wVwC-4jZnjV-6xCFpM-7PAXBC-7PAXUY-7PwYLR-2MVx1H-2MZMvq-2MZRGA-9hTUCN-4n3RHt-4wVwh-5An69i-7o6mPB-5Ygc8L-7Vt31N-wcoGV-dY4XFp-4dD1xC-6Nv28L-5HeyHb-2Adys9-7bXpos-5Hez4d-64xmQ5-6TD7c-7q5jRH-7dkeq-6TDcv-9TePZQ-5JJmF1-L7hKo-4YrCPy-73crBs/

It’s an incredibly easy recipe with just two ingredients, salt and chicken.  No quartering, no marinating, no onions or other BS.   You’ll get enough meat for two or three meals, and be left with the base for a soup besides.  It’s a tiny amount of work for all the food you get out of it.

THE MANIFESTO

Perhaps you’ve never experienced it, so know this.  A roasted chicken is like a ripe peach: if you’ve ever had a perfect one, it is a thing of sublimity.  It doesn’t just “wake your taste buds up,” it gives you a sudden awareness that there is color and good in the world, that life itself is a thing to be craved and savored.  That you actually want to continue to live, for moments like this.  You feel there is a rowdy f–, I mean roll in the hay, in your immediate future.

But such experiences are — sadly — few and far between.  Most chicken out there in the world is simply awful.  It is rubbery and/or stringy and/or dry and/or tasteless.  Then, in some attempt to save it, the tired flesh becomes a vehicle for flavorings or sauces or breaded coatings.  Yeah, barbecue sauce is kind of an art in itself, but the chicken should be good first.

Before you can make it right, you’ve got to kill all the impulses that make chicken recipes wrong.  The apparent goal of many chicken recipes is to remove all flavor, moisture, and tenderness from the chicken itself and replace it with something else.  Chicken recipes typically cut the meat into small pieces, inevitably drying it out, and separate the meat from the bone, removing a source of flavor and nutrition.  Moreover they seem terrified of fat, and remove the skin and/or drain the “drippings” away from the meat, removing another source of flavor and nutrition.  They then try to replace what they’ve lost with vegetables, spices, sauces, etc.

For the love of Pete, don’t do this.  Keep the chicken together and relish the fat.  Like so:

INGREDIENTS
One storebought chicken, whole (5-6 pounds).  (Note: if your chicken is notably smaller, you may need to adjust the cooking times below.)
1.5-2.0 tablespoons salt

METHOD
Preheat oven to 475F.  (Yes, 475).

Remove chicken from package and put aside any miscellaneous parts (“giblets,” neck, etc).  Rinse.

Rub the inside and outside of the bird thoroughly with the salt.  Really work it in there.  Some of the salt will fall off into the sink.  That’s ok.

Put the chicken, breast up, in the oven in a SMALL baking pan (the one I use is about 6.5″x10.5″x2.0″).  The smallish container will prevent the limbs from falling away from the body and drying out.  The walls should be high enough to collect the liquid that will be generated (1-2″ high).

Roast the chicken at 475F for 25-30 minutes.  At the end of this time, the skin will be crispy and turning brown, and you will just start to smell the fat in the skin burning.

Turn the oven down to 230F.  Roast for 1.5-2.0 more hours.  It should be safely cooked, but if you have any doubts, double-check with a meat thermometer.

Remove a perfectly done chicken.  Enjoy.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Right out of the oven: Try slicing breast meat and dipping it in the liquid in the bottom of the pan before serving.  This is what chicken breast is supposed to taste like.  It is not supposed to be dry.  The liquid in the pan is also really delicious on veggies.

After the first meal: cover tightly and store in the fridge. Draw on this reservoir of meat and broth for salads, sandwiches, etc.    Keep the fat and “drippings” in the pan.  This can easily last a couple of days and fuel a bunch of meals.

When most of the meat is gone: dump whatever remains in a slow cooker and make broth.

That’s it!  à votre santé !



Most unlikely Justice League ever?
August 3, 2009, 8:45 pm by bottleman. Filed under: invasive species, kids, off-topic.

The Goat Justice League advocates and educates on behalf of urban goats, who can be pets and milk producers (or wanderers).  In contrast, the goat above was actually more of a professional, part of a weeding crew cleaning out a construction site in Seattle, according to the photog.  Thanks Courtney!



Amazing dog photographs
November 10, 2008, 11:03 pm by bottleman. Filed under: best environmental books, invasive species.

It’s human nature to personify dogs, to relate to them like they’re people.  They have so many qualities we’d like to see more often.  Their joy is unfettered.  They have a positively inhuman alertness, protectiveness, and devotion (except possibly when the thief has brought steak tartar).  All for pennies a day! We forget they’re a different species, with their own expressions and rituals when they’re not playing Zelig.

Photographer Michael Crouser is doing something remarkable in his new book, Dog Run.  He’s showing us dogs being dogs when they’re not paying attention to humans.  It’s a glimpse into an utterly alien world — beautiful, scary, strange.

(Of course I am a little biased since Michael took the photographs for a book about knitting I co-wrote — check this pretty-as-heck shot out.  Anyway the guy is versatile, and — do I even have to say it? — both our books are so obviously perfect Christmas gifts :)



Again, sometimes words add nothing
September 27, 2008, 11:31 pm by bottleman. Filed under: invasive species, off-topic, politics.

Palin and Couric by the UN — from CBS News

The American tradition of fine political rhetoric has an eloquent new starlet.  For the full artistic effect, watch all three segments: one, two, three.

[UPDATE! The starlet’s performance was so spectacular that the writers of this comedy sketch decided they couldn’t do any better by way of satire: they just quoted her verbatim.]



To the catacombs!
June 4, 2008, 10:01 am by bottleman. Filed under: explosions, invasive species, simple living.

by flickr user fabbio, licensed under creative commons, see http://flickr.com/photos/fabiovenni/59762696/

“A strange new shadow land has grown up in America. It’s a world of cinderblock villas and plywood hallways, garish under halogen security bulbs. It clings to the underside of Western towns like Roman catacombs, pushes up funereal fault blocks in urban centers, and festoons suburban freeways with palaces styled after castles and forts…”

Read more about self-storage here. Nice photo by flickr user fabbio.



Thanksgiving toast (after two football games and four glasses of wine)
November 22, 2006, 5:12 pm by bottleman. Filed under: fall, holidays, invasive species.

You know what, dog? You are far more than an opportunistic commensalist to me.

You are ALL RIGHT, you know what I mean? You’re like, the ONLY holiday guest who gets JUST HOW FUNNY that story about the stupid squirrel is.

image of local dog laughing heartily

I promise to give you the whole turkey pan and take you camping again, as soon as we wake up from this trypto.. trypto.. STUFF.

Happy Thanksgiving!
(back with something of substance after the holiday)



Your Chance to Eavesdrop
September 19, 2006, 10:54 pm by Jess. Filed under: invasive species, making a difference.

“Can I ask you folks a coupla dumb questions?”

I turned around abruptly, and gasoline overflowed from the weedwhacker tank I was filling. “Shit,” I mumbled automatically, flash-imagining the whole field going up in flames. “Yes, sir,” I said, more loudly, to the man coming up the path.

“Why are you all weedwhacking around these trees? Why don’t you just leave this to Mother Nature?” That day we (a watershed restoration crew) were rigging the competition for our underdogs before they became underneaths. We were cutting the tall invasive grass away from young willow, ash, and ninebark seedlings that we had planted, before it could grow as tall as a basketball player and then fall on top of them like a mattress onto a bottle of wine. (Wink wink)

…more



A delicious bully
July 23, 2006, 10:40 pm by Jess. Filed under: invasive species, love those goofy b*st*rds.

We think of plants as passive. They are alive, but it’s a different kind of alive than animal-alive. But the more you get to know plants, the more you can see how desperately alive they are.

Photo by Flickr member billy verdin---thank you
I know blackberry well enough that it can stir up the same emotions in me as any human enemy. …more