Avert Your Eyes

by Cate on May 23, 2006

For foodies and food-snobs alike, avert your eyes. Just come back tomorrow for the ARF/5-A-Day round-up and all will be fine. For those who sometimes seek craving fulfillment in a quickness, stay and make yourself comfortable. You’re going to fit right in.

When my Mom and I were in Brimfield a little over a week ago, we both had MAJOR cravings for mashed potatoes. We ended up ordering some with one of our take-out dinners, but they were very thin, completely unflavorful and seriously did nothing to satisfy our cravings. And I’ve had that empty mashed potato hole ever since. I know, woe is me.

And then … divine intervention. Tonight for dinner, we had the epitome of comfort food. Roast chicken (a deliciously simple recipe from Dave Lieberman) and roasted corn mixed with sauteed onions. As I rooted around in the pantry, I spied it. Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes. I don’t remember what I bought the box for … some recipe I don’t recall. I’m not a big fan of instant, just-add-water products, but The Husband and Nicholas doth protest eating mashed potatoes and … well … there was that craving … and mashed potatoes go SO WELL with roast chicken. I did it. I had them. And I don’t care if the Foodie Police come and revoke my license. I just had to. You know, when a craving strikes, it usually doesn’t matter HOW it’s fulfilled, just that it is. And well, dinner was pretty darn good.

Now back to the chicken. I caught an episode of Dave Lieberman’s show on FoodTV this weekend, where he made this very budget friendly dish for a group of friends. The recipe literally takes just minutes to make and was delicious down to the last juicy morsel. What’s more, a 0.49/cents a pound for chicken quarters, dinner tonight was under $3 for 3 of us, and that includes the vegetables! McDonalds Dollar Menu be darned, who needs it? Three dollars for Roast Chicken and Vegetables for 3 people – It doesn’t get much better than that! And Nicholas blazed through his share, eating a leg, thigh and a helping of corn before coming up for air. He must be in another growth spurt. After dinner, he ran out for a quick errand with The Husband and said he was hungry, so they made a pitstop for chicken nuggets. Polished those off, along with a glass of juice and a yogurt when he got home, before calling it quits.

For Treats to the Office, I made Coconut-Oatmeal Crisps for The Neighbor to bring in this morning, with another plate for Nicholas to bring to school. Now for my office, tonight I made another new recipe, Applesauce Cake. Another very budget-friendly recipe, this one comes out to $3 total for the entire cake. It smelled insanely good while baking in the oven, and I snagged a piece as soon as it cooled off… with just the teensiest bit of spicecake similarity, it is definitely a keeper. Not overly sweet, but just enough. The recipe called for Cream Cheese frosting, but for reasons only the lone-unmatched-sock-from-the-dryer can explain, I managed to lose a half-package of cream cheese in the refrigerator (I swear I don’t remember using it!) and improvised. I had a package of Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Cream Cheese and it really worked well with the other flavors. So much so, I think this is a permanent modification.

OK folks, I’ve rambled enough. Tune in tomorrow to see what your ARF/5-A-Day roundup brings. Until then…

A year ago todayPaula Deen.

Dad’s Roast Chicken — My Way with a Parsley Lemon Juice Oil
Recipe courtesy of Dave Lieberman
My dad’s roast chicken is really simple. He stuffs a whole chicken with fresh herbs and seasons it with salt and pepper, then pops it in the oven. My version, which uses chicken that’s already cut into serving pieces instead of a whole chicken, is less work and cooks a lot faster and more evenly. I’ve also spruced up the flavor with some grated lemon rind and finish it off with a fresh, colorful and tangy oil for drizzling over the finished chicken. Dad ? your chicken’s good, but I may have one up on you on this one!

For the chicken:
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken cut in 8 serving pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Olive oil, for drizzling
The rind of 1/2 lemon, zested

For the parsley drizzle:
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Trim off any excess skin or fat from the chicken. Cut off and discard the wing tips. Place the chicken pieces in an 11 by 13-inch baking pan, or any pan that that they fit in without crowding. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt, pepper, olive oil, the herbs, and the lemon zest. Toss through all the seasonings and then arrange the chicken piece skin side up in the pan. You can season the chicken pieces and set them up in the roaster up to a day before you cook them. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Roast until the skin is nicely browned and there is no pink near the thigh bone and the juices run clear, about 35 to 40 minutes. Check both white meat and dark meat. If the white meat is done before the dark meat, take it out and set it on the serving plate until the dark meat is done.

For the parsley drizzle, wash and dry the parsley. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves finely. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and use immediately to garnish the roast chicken.

Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Frosting
(modified by Sweetnicks)

Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground cloves
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup applesauce

Frosting:
6 ounces brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (more as needed to reach desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt and ground cloves. Add butter and sugars and beat well until fluffy. Add egg and beat until well blended. Add applesauce and blend well. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely in pan. Make frosting: beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla extract and mix until well blended. Spread frosting on cooled cake, cut and serve.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

The Cookbook Junkie May 23, 2006 at 11:43 am

Don’t be apologetic. I use instant potatoes quite often. They’re just dehydrated potatoes – shelf stable and always ready to go. They take under 5 minutes to prepare – ’nuff said. I add a small hunk of cream cheese to mine.

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Stacy May 23, 2006 at 4:15 pm

I’m definitely not a foodie, and we eat mashed potatoes of all kinds here – regular from real potatoes, boxed mixes and occasionally the instant flake kind. Good comfort food :)

That cake looks sooo good! And I think I have a tub of that particular flavor of cream cheese in the fridge, although there may not be 6 oz of it left. That picture is making me soooo hungry!

Have a great day!

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Maddie May 23, 2006 at 6:16 pm

Ah! You’re one of US! ;)
Ok, well at least sometimes.

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Cate May 24, 2006 at 2:44 am

The Cookbook Junkie – they’re especially perfect since I’m the only one that will eat mashed potatoes, homemade or otherwise, so no apologies here. ;) A little bit of butter or sour cream … divine.

Stacy – try the cake, you won’t be disappointed. I only did a thin glaze of the frosting on top and had some leftover, so you just might have enough…

Maddie – of course. I’m a closet Cheez Whiz, Combos and Dunkaroos fanatic too, but shhh, that’s our secret. ;)

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Stacy May 25, 2006 at 10:04 pm

Cate – I made the applesauce cake today and just tasted it – it is so good! I had plenty of cream cheese, and it has a nice thick layer on top (probably as good or better than the cake!).

I’ll definitely make this one again, thank you so much for sharing! :)

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Cate May 26, 2006 at 3:39 am

Hey Stacy – thanks for reporting back. Did you end up using regular cream cheese, or the flavored one? I love, love, love this cake. I think it might be a new favorite for now… until the next new one comes along. ;)

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Stacy May 26, 2006 at 2:47 pm

Cate – I used about 3/4 or more of a tub of maple brown sugar/ cinnamon swirl cream cheese. We had bought some to eat on bagels and it somehow got “lost” in the back of the fridge, and I “found” it the other day. It was getting near it’s expiration date, so I was looking for something to use it with – this recipe was perfect. I really like it too, thanks so much for sharing!

The icing is so yummy, I could just eat it with a spoon! :)

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