Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p. 5

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

WOW!! Can you believe we’re already at part 5 of this series??? I know I can’t! Here’s the thing, though. We’re at part 5. Alex’s race is less than 3 weeks away. The donation deadline is in a week. And with that in mind, I’m imploring you. Please. Leave me a comment, so I can give her a dollar, or 2 dollars from you. So I can do what little bit I can, to show her how proud of her I am for doing this amazing thing to raise money to fight the disease that has hurt her family. Tell your friends, send them links, Tweet this, do whatever you have to do. I’m willing to donate for every single comment I get on one of these posts by November 15th.

Saumon Aux LentilesThere are 2 excellent things about this dish. The first, is that it’s french. The second, is that it involves salmon, lentils, and leeks. Maybe that adds up to 4 good things, but either way….. It’s a great great dish. (And yes, in case you’re scoring at home, Salmon is ok with Alex the Vegetarian. I checked.) The excellent things about this dish expand the more you look into it, but before I go into those, I’ll go into one unnecessary thing.
There is a compound butter made with tarragon, chives, mustard, and lemon juice. I love compound butters, but they’re not exactly great for your health — slapping an extra tablespoon of butter onto a salmon filet that you’ve cooked in butter, seems excessive, even to my butter-loving soul. In that spirit, I would advocate for skipping the additional quantity of Mustard-Herb butter.  2 tablespoons of butter should suffice, and halve the rest of the things in it.

And now, on with the recipe. Saumon aux Lentiles – or, Salmon with Lemtils.

I’m going to suggest that you follow the link to get the ingredients and items, since I got this directly from Gourmet March 2008, and in a shocking turn of events, I followed it to the letter. (more or less) You can also totally halve this and serve it for 2. I had a LOT of lentils left over, although I only cooked 2 portions of salmon, so I ended up eating lentils with fried eggs the next day, and it was delightful. So, for what that’s worth.

Step 1: The Lentils
Put the green lentils, water, and 3/4tsp of salt in a pot, bring to a boil, Simmer until just tender, and let them hang out for 5 minutes. Then, take out half a cup of the cooking water (it will be a funky color. Do not be deterred) and drain.
Zey Are FronchOne CupAvec du SelThe flavor's in the funk.

Step 2: The Leeks
I’m pretty sure that the leek is my favorite vegetable. Unless a chickpea is a vegetable, in which case, it wins. Are legumes vegetables? I know that in French, “legume” means “veggie” but I need a ruling. ALYSSA!!! You’re a Bio teacher – are chickpeas vegetables?
Regardless. Leeks rock. Except for one thing. They’re kind of a pain in the ass to clean, because they grow in sandy soil. So in order to clean them, you lop off the dark leafy bits, and you lop off the white root-looking end. Then, you cut them in half, top to bottom, so you have 2 long halves (ish). Then, you put each half round-side up, cut IT in half the long way, and then rotate your knife and cut them into half-moons the short way. I promise, this is all worth it, and there will be pictures. Once you have all of your leek bits cut up, place them in a big bowl or pot of cold water, and swish. Then, walk away.
Lop the root end off Each long half, cut in halfIt's hard to cut while taking a photoSwish, and walk away

While the sand and grit from the leeks is sinking to the bottom of the pot or bowl, get out a saute pan and put in some butter. Then, when the butter is melted, gently scoop out the leeks, leaving the grit at the bottom of the receptacle. Plop them in the saute pan and cook until softened. Then, add the lentils, their cooking liquid, and 2 tablespoons of the compound butter, and cook until the lentils are warm.
Carefully scoopingSauteing until softThe mustard-herb butterZee lentils!!!

Step 3: The Salmon
The rest of this dish is quite simple. Pat your salmon filets (skin on is fine) VERY dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt some butter in a non-stick pan, and get it pretty darn hot. Once the butter stops foaming, put the filets in, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how well you like salmon cooked. Then, put some lentils and leeks on a plate, and top with the salmon. Easy peasy, one-two-threesy.
Fishy Fishy FISHY!!!!!*cough* Till the foam subsides. Ish. The flip. Zee bed of zee lentils and zee leeks

This dish is delicious. It’s frenchy. It’s got lots and lots of good protein, and fiber, and good fats. If you didn’t want to use the butter-sauteing method for the Salmon, by all means you could broil it. The lentils and leeks will still provide plenty of flavor, and salmon is a flavorful fish, although I really like the crisp that sauteing gave the skin.
Enjoy, and remember:
Alex Runs. I Cook. You Comment. I Donate.
WE ALL FIGHT CANCER.


Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p.4

Posted: November 3rd, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Johanna, Rachael Ray, cheap, delish, vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

We’re back, with another installment of Alex Runs, Joh Cooks. This time around, we’re doing a straight up pasta dish. As always, the rule is that I will donate money for every single comment I get from you guys, up to 2 comments per e-mail address per post. So type away, tell me what you think, say the word “Duck” or “pants” or “filbert”. It all counts. Together we can fight cancer!!! Also – if you want to just throw some money at Alex on your own, DO IT!!!!!

Pasta with Swiss Chard and Lemon-Ricotta Cheese This recipe, I know Alex will enjoy. I hope you all do too. I borrowed it from Rachael Ray, and tweaked it a bit.
It bears strong resemblances to my Lemon-Ricotta Orzo, which Alex enjoyed when she was here back in July, and which I think everybody loves, because how can you not love lemony ricotta cheese, and pasta???

Even better, this version uses whole wheat penne rigate, which is high in fiber and heart-healthy whole grains, and Swiss Chard, which is a member of the leafy green family and can help you get some more fiber, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants into your life. You can’t beat that bargain. :)
Whole Wheat Penne with Swiss Chard and Lemony Ricotta.

1 pound Whole Wheat short-cut pasta (penne, penne rigate, rigatoni, cellantani, cavatappi, campanelle, orechiette, the possibilities are endless)
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 small yellow onion – chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (or to taste).
1 bunch Swiss Chard, cleaned and coarsely chopped (cut off and toss out any super thick stems, but otherwise just run them under some water and chop them up)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk or otherwise, if you must, but I’d recommend the whole diary fats. yum!)
1 lemon
Grated Parm, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta al dente (or a little past if you’re like me. no biggie).
2. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a big skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt, pepper and red pepper flake, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onions are mushy and turning a little brown on the edges.
3. Add the swiss chard, toss, and let the heat make the chard wilt. Once it does, crank the heat to high, and add the veggie stock and a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
4. Bring the liquid in the skillet to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 6-7 minutes. While that’s happening, combine the ricotta with the zest of the lemon, and some salt and pepper. Put 1/4 cup ish in each serving plate, or y’know, however much looks good to you.
5. Drain the pasta. Squeeze the lemon juice over the Swiss Chard, and throw all the pasta in. Toss everything around to get it nice and coated, and get the flavors mingling. Turn off the heat and add about a cup of the parm, and toss again.
6. To serve, plop the pasta/chard mixture on top of the lemony ricotta cheese, and sprinkle with more parm if you’re like me and can’t get enough. Stir, breathe in, and get that hint of lemony goodness and the joy of some dark leafy greens.

This is probably the best pasta dish for you if you’re trying to be good about not eating too much, because if you fail to moderate, you’re eating something PACKED with nutrients, healthy stuff, and yum. Who doesn’t love that?? Plus, the carbs will fuel your next run, and the protein in the greens will help bolster your energy for a longer burn.


Alex Runs, Joh Cooks, pt.3!!!

Posted: November 1st, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Johanna, cheap, vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments »

Just when you thought it was safe….. here comes another awesome and delicious vegetarian recipe, designed to help Alex run better, help her eat better, and help us fight cancer better. Please remember that for every comment with at least a name (that’s right, you can leave me the word “yum” and I’ll take it), I will donate to Alex’s cause. Her Half Marathon is coming up VERY SOON so we’re going to have a small blitz of recipes to keep her full and focused, and try to raise the donation total.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad I get really, really fired up about grains. I love them, and I love when they surprise me. Sometimes you read things about brown rice that surprise you. Sometimes, I order Barilla Plus multigrain pasta and it turns out to be the most delicious thing ever.

And then….. there’s quinoa.

Quinoa is basically a superduper grain. It’s high in fiber, it’s high in protein, it’s gluten-free, and it’s basically remarkable. The only thing you really need to know about it is that in order to get the most out of it, you need to soak it for a few hours in some water before you cook it. Otherwise, it’s easier and quicker to cook than rice, better for you than couscous (which is really just tiny pasta crumbs), more balanced than polenta, and delicious! Plus, it has a very interesting texture, and it’s super versatile.

To wit: I made Vegetable Quinoa salad. This isn’t really a hard-and-fast recipe, because you can change this up to fit what’s in season, what looks good, what you want to put in your vinaigrette, etc. Play around with it.

1 cup quinoa, soaked in cold water, and rinsed thoroughy
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted at 375 until soft
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives (or other salty black olives) pitted and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar (I used some lovely blackcurrant balsamic that I spent a fortune on but any type is fine)

Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil (covered). Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Combine olive oil and vinegar in the bottom of a large bowl, season to taste, until you have a vinaigrette. You’re going to need to make a lot, because Quinoa will absorb a TON of dressing. Add in the squash, tomatoes, olives, and golden raisins. Season with salt and pepper.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, let it cool a little, and then toss it with a fork like you would couscous. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the veggies and vinaigrette, and stir to combine. Eat. Enjoy.

This is great with the quinoa still warm and the veggies all cool. It’s great with everything cold. It’s good to add to, because if you realize you need to use up your slivered almonds before they go bad, they’ll taste great in here. Have some steamed or sauteed kale or chard left over?? Toss it in, and enjoy. Like tofu or want some extra protein? Throw it in!

This makes a TON, and you can eat it for several days by fixing things. Plus,it feels light, so if you’re tapering you’re not going to feel guilty because you have a lead weight in your stomach.
The things I do for you…..
Comments = Dollars for Cancer Research!!! Hit it up!


It’s AlIIIIIIIIIIIIVEEEEE

Posted: October 29th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Chicken, Johanna, Silliness, vegetarian | 2 Comments »

Hello friends! As you may have noticed over the past week, PGUK has had some serious troubles. Most of them stemming from server issues.

However!!! We are back, live, and with no lost content! So never fear, your favorite lady bloggers (we ARE your favorites, right?????) can get back to their rigorous cooking-and-eating schedule (like we ever got off it) and fill you in on every bit of it!

For now, I’ll leave you wtih a preview of what’s coming from me on PG:

Alex Runs, Joh Cooks is BACK with 3 protein-packed recipes – spoiler alert: 1 of them is FRENCH!!
Poulet Provencal, another AMAZING recipe from the March 2008 Gourmet Magazine
Apple. Cider. DONUTS
The most outstanding Mushroom Risotto you’ve ever eaten.
An all-new take on Eggplant Parm

And much, MUCH MORE!!!

Get excited, my friends. Very very excited. :)


A giant interweb dinner party

Posted: October 14th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Chicken, Johanna, delish, slow but worth it | 26 Comments »

The following is a very formative recipe for me.
Like many cooking stories that begin this way, this recipe involves leeks. It also, luckily, involves Gourmet Magazine. AND, it has a past.
When I was just starting out with this blog, this was the first recipe I ever cooked from Gourmet. So for A Mingling of Tastes’ Worldwide Gourmet Dinner Party, I had to take it on again.

Gourmet March 2008 — Chicken in Riesling

ChickyChickyBrowning

1 whole chicken’s worth of parts sprinkled with salt and pepper, and browned (in batches) in a combination of butter and olive oil.

4 medium (ok 2 HUGE) leeksEverybody in!

2 HUGE leeks chopped, along with 1 shallot, browned in butter. The browned chicken pieces, as well as any juices accumulated on the plate, added back into the Le Creuset with the leeks.
Before the Braise

4 medium (ok, 2 HUGE) carrots are cut up and added into the casserole, along with a cup of Riesling. And here is where I had the problem a year and a half ago, and where I had the problem again tonight. The next instruction tells you to boil until the liquid is reduced by half …. 3-5 minutes.
I can confirm for you that after boiling the hell out of the dish for at least 10 minutes, the liquid level had INCREASED rather than reduced by half. This is frustrating to me.

Regardless, the chicken, carrots, wine, and leeks went into the oven to braise, and when they came out, they met their old friend “heavy cream”, and became…. Chicken in riesling.
The big reveal

The things that amazed me about this recipe last time around could be summed up in this phrase: “Basically, I was proud that my first foray into nice cooking had produced something so…. nice.”

That’s the thing. That’s what I will miss about Gourmet. Their recipes were perfect. And they made me confident. I was brave. Even though I initially was intimidated by all the techniques involved, when I approached this dish last night I was confident. I knew I could do this dish. And I was not disappointed. It was the perfect thing.

Cheers, Gourmet. You always knew the perfect thing. And this week, I’ll be cooking a few more, to send you off in style.


An open letter to Conde Nast

Posted: October 5th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 20 Comments »

If you have been watching Twitter at all today, you have heard the news: Gourmet Magazine is being shut down by Conde Nast. Personally, I think this is a huge mistake.

While there have been many food magazines in my life since I started cooking, I have always loved Gourmet. Everyday with Rachael Ray is flashier, Bon Apetit has quicker recipes, Cooking Light might keep us from all getting heart disease, and Saveur is the fanciest stuff around. But in the end, the one I come back to time and again is Gourmet. I trust Editor-In-Chief Ruth Reichl to draw on her time as a restaurant critic when profiling and selecting the best restaurants of the year. I expect her to infuse every page with her unique culinary sensibilities and education. I have never imagined anything other than that she will provide the best possible issue based on whatever theme the month provides.

In particular, I look forward to Gourmet’s Thanksgiving issues. As a cook and a lover of feeding people, I have many dreams about the day that I cook my own Thanksgiving dinner for my family. In all of those daydreams, I make my Thanksgiving menu from an amalgam of favorite recipes culled from Gourmet’s November issues. Items such as this gorgeous turkey, this inspired take on an apple pie and of course, this answer to butternut squash mashed with brown sugar and maple syrup. I imagined tearing out and including new favorites, making a whole scrapbook of Thanksgiving recipes, all from Gourmet’s amazing wealth of ideas.
And now…. there will be no more. No more reading Francis Lam’s excellent food writing, although luckily, I can still follow him on Twitter. No more beautiful regional profiles and celebrations, like January 2008’s Southern Food Issue.

Gourmet magazine helps me love food. Bon Apetit and Every Day with Rachael Ray help me bring it into my kitchen, show me stuff I can make and things I can whip up with 20 minutes and 5 ingredients, but they’re not special. They’re just not Gourmet. I read Gourmet for the beautiful things, the aspirational recipes. The dinner parties and glamorous events. In a world full of people encouraging you to Semi-Home-Make things, to put together dinner in 30-Minutes, and asking us to replace sugar with applesauce in baked goods…. don’t we deserve a magazine that shows us that it’s ok to use a ton of butter, or spend 3 hours on dinner, or do something absolutely amazing, and marvel in the praise it brings you?

In the end, cooking is always a little amazing, and more than any magazine, Gourmet understood that, while still appreciating the ….. less fancy elements.

In conclusion…. SAVE GOURMET!!!!


Alone in the kitchen

Posted: October 1st, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 18 Comments »

Laurie Colwin has an essay in Home Cooking about cooking for one. It’s titled, “Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant”. In it, she details all the crazy things that she ate when she lived in her studio apartment in the Village. She only had a glorified hot plate, and a mini-fridge, no kitchen sink, so she made a lot of soup, and a crap-ton of eggplant. She muses on cooking for one, and what people actually eat when they’re alone.

It’s been at least 2 years since I’ve been faced with truly cooking for one. I never do it. Suddenly, over this past weekend, I was faced with the prospect of cooking for one, for 3 whole days.

Jesse was called away to Tulsa, on a fambly emergency. He left painfully early Saturday morning, and I was left to my own devices. Faced with the concept at 5am, I quickly decided that rather than cook myself something, I’d settle for a cup of cold coffee, and a bowl of left-over Chickpea-Leek soup. Then, Bakezilla rescued me from having to try and fend for myself for dinner, by inviting me over and plying me with wine and pumpkin desserts. Sunday and Monday were kind of sad, food-wise. I’m out of the habit of making food for one, as evidenced by the fact that the absolutely BITCHIN home fries I made for myself on Monday night were far too much for just me. Expect a recipe soon, although as a teaser, let me mention that it involves 1 baked potato, 1 red bell pepper, 1/3 of an onion, and….. BUTTERNUT SQUASH! It is joy. On a plate. Get excited.

I worked my way through Caccio e Pepe, pasta with chickpeas, and Spicy Sesame Noodles in Broth, home fries with fried eggs, and the rest of the soup. And finally, Jesse came home on Tuesday to his very late birthday dinner, and his little birthday cake.

For me, it’s nicer to know that there’s a whole pork roast in the oven, and mashed potatoes and full-sized cake layers, and all sorts of things meant for more than just one. Besides, have you ever tried making bolognese for one? I mean, steaming a bit of broccoli rabe, while boiling some noodles (you DO have a combination saucepot-steamer, right?) and mixing up a soy-sriracha-sesame oil dressing is all well and good, but you shouldn’t eat that 3 nights a week, or you’ll have hypertension and bags under your eyes.

So find somebody, and cook for more. Or, get some really, REALLY sturdy, label-friendly tupperware. :)
Tell me, friends…. what do you eat when it’s just you? What’s your eggplant? Can of cannelini beans with Italian dressing? Tons and tons of Toast? Spaghetti with chili sauce? Spill it – if character is what you do when nobody’s watching, culinary character is what you EAT when nobody’s watching.

Mine? Cold leftovers of any type. Mashed potatoes. Polenta. Steamed greens. Fried chicken. Doesn’t matter. Cold left-overs all the way.
Or chickpeas out of the can.
Or Cannelini beans with vinaigrette. I’ll admit, that one’s all me.


Margaret

Posted: September 24th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 16 Comments »

Sometimes, things happen. Things you can’t explain, can’t fix, can’t change. Bad things. Things that bring hurt, loss, pain to people.
Home baseWords are inadequate. Feelings of helplessness, of being lost, of not knowing where to turn abound. But not for me. I know where to go.  Food is one of the few things in whose power, I am absolutely confident. I believe in the power of food.
ComfWhile nothing I can say will bring her back, while I can’t bring everyone who misses her a plate of food and a hug, at least for now, one person is breathing easier. At least I can give him that.

Safety on a Plate

And on Saturday, or whenever he gets on a plane for hometown-ville, I can give him cookies. To have and to share. I can’t be there, but at least my portable version of  a hug can go on the plane, can be passed around, to people I don’t even know, not just the ones I do.


A Cake doesn’t matter if you don’t mix the batter and bake it!

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 16 Comments »
Time well spent

Time well spent

Today, a manager at my job asked about my experience at the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment. As I told her about the dish I made, and the excellent reactions I got from perfect strangers, I’m sure that I was showing more joy than I typically radiate while at work.
Not one to mess around with words, the manager asked me why I didn’t go to cooking college.
The answer of course is simple – when it came time to apply to colleges, I didn’t know how to cook. I had no idea it would be my life’s passion. I thought that I had found my life’s passion, when I started taking psychology classes — before that I wanted to be a writer.

So I applied to college, I studied in Scotland, and there, at 20 years old, I realized that not only did I cook to stay alive, I really truly enjoyed it! A little too late to make a transfer or change my major, but still – I had my goal. I now knew that what I wanted in life was to open a cafe or coffee shop, and feed people daily. It was therapy, as corny as it sounds, just in a different venue. In fact, before I heard Ana Pascal echo my words, I told my roommate at the time that while I’d originally majored in Psychology, I realized that the best way that I could personally be a therapist would be to make people a comforting meal, and help them feel better for a little while.

I didn’t tell the manager at work all of this. I simply told her that I didn’t learn to cook until I was in my 20’s, when I’d already mostly finished college.
She looked at me and shrugged. It’s not too late.
I agreed. No, it’s not too late.

This tiny Russian woman looked at me and shrugged, again, like she’d known me my whole life. If you love something, do it. Why are you wasting your time here? You should be doing something you love. (You’ll have to imagine the accent).

I didn’t really realize I was wasting my time. Am I? Is culinary school really something I want? Do I want to take tests, study, practice brunoise over and over again? Could I ever be a culinary school student? I’m not sure. I’m not sure that it would be beneficial to my style of cooking – slapdash, imperfect, improvisational. I’m not sure that it’s something I’d ever be good at, because I don’t have the patience to brunoise perfectly, to practice trussing a chicken or boning one out or whatever else, over and over again until it’s second nature. I don’t need that in my daily life.

I also don’t want to work in a chef-driven restaurant. I don’t want to be “Chef” Johanna. I just want to cook. But god I hate my job. And I hate to think that I’m wasting my time, that it’s so obvious someone who has only ever spoken to me to get recipes can see it.

Culinary school isn’t my dream. But a cafe is. Maybe I need to take a look at a program where I can learn how to open my own place, what it’ll take, how to write a business plan, etc. Maybe one where I could still work, so I wouldn’t have to panic. The idea of quitting my job, picking up a full-time nanny or barista job, and THEN going to culinary school seems….. not so good. So, we’ll see. I’ll dig. Lord knows I hate to waste time. And maybe I can get even take a few one-day seminars, while I’m studying for my pseudo-business degree.

Or maybe I’ll just keep slogging it out, hoping I don’t waste too much more time.


You can lead a boy to a stove…

Posted: September 18th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna, Roast chicken | 34 Comments »

…and sometimes you can even make him cook!!!

Tuesday was what we’ll call a royally shite day. Something at my job blew up, and it has been ugly, and has the potential to get uglier. Of course, if my coworkers would think for a second about the repercussions of their actions, maybe we wouldn’t all be IN THIS MESS.

Yet I digress.
Tuesday was shite, as I’ve mentioned. So shite, that at my lunch hour I IM’d Jesse, begging him to ask to be let off work an hour early, so he could be home for our grocery delivery (sometime between 6 and 8pm) since I knew it was going to be a late one for me at the office.  He complied, because he loves me and loves being able to eat dinner.
Dinner that night was scheduled to be roast chicken. I love roast chicken. I could eat it 3 times a week. In fact, I think that when I finally have the money to start buying groceries OTHER than that which we need for the immediate meals we’re planning, I’ll start buying a chicken every week and roasting it, just so we always have basis for stock, always have something to pick and turn into salad, or the filling for a pot pie, or just to gnaw on. Yum.

Anyways, Roast Chicken. It’s one of those basic, comforting meals that some allege you can use to judge the measure of a cook. It is one of those things that provides the distinction between “simple” and “easy” (although in my mind, it’s both). It’s a heck of an undertaking, since it takes the better part of an hour, and since I was leaving work at or after 9pm, it was not a reasonable meal for me to prepare when I arrived home.
Which is where Jesse comes in.

Cheekon!!

I tasked Jesse with preparing dinner during my commute home. Roast chicken was by far the easiest thing I could have assigned him, since it required no dicing, no mincing, no sauteeing and no real complications. I gave him solid instructions, and you can read his version of the prep at your leisure.  Basically, I asked him to salt the bird, season the outside with olive oil, poultry seasoning, and pepper, and put half a lemon and a halved onion in the cavity, squeezing the juice from the other half of the lemon over the bird.
He roasted it using Alice Waters’ preferred method of 20 minute rotations — 20 minutes breast side up, 20 minutes breast side down, final cooking breast side up, 400 degrees throughout. (I love this method, although I prefer Jamie Oliver’s method of  roasting in a preheated pan for 5-10 minutes breast side down, then the rest breast side up). When I arrived home, the house smelled wonderful, and roast chicken and mashed potatoes was EXACTLY what I needed after a 12-solid-hour work day.

If you’d like to try roast chicken a la Jesse, follow these steps:

1. Take your 3-4 pound chicken out of hte fridge, and let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle thoroughly inside and out with salt.
2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
3. Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon each of poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Smear this all over the outside of the chicken. If you have extra, smear it around the inside. Wiggle your finger or the handle of a spoon between the skin and the breast meat, and dribble some oil into that crevice.
4. Cut 1 onion and 1 lemon in half. Smash 2 garlic cloves. Put everything except 1/2 of the lemon into the cavity.
5. Put the chicken in a roasting dish and squeeze the juice from the extra lemon half over the chicken.
6. Roast for 20 minutes breast up. Flip the chicken and roast for 20 minutes breasts down. Flip again and roast until 165 degrees internal temperature is reached (or 20-25 more minutes) with the breast up.

If you want to, I highly recommend turning the leftover meat into chicken salad the next day, by cutting up a rib of celery and a quarter of an onion into tiny pieces, and combining that, the picked and chopped chicken, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, and 1/4 cup of Miracle Whip. But whatever you do, be careful using your knife along the breastbone, or you might end up with a gash on your finger. Like this one:
OuchieDon’t say I didn’t warn you.
Fingers sure do bleed a lot.