A Dinnery Dinner

In taking the advice of the Delphic Oracle, I have come to a comfortable recognition of my limitations as a cook. Perhaps the most severe of those limitations is that I am incredibly lazy. I am a one-pot kind of gal, and it would be fair to say that 99.9% of the meals I make can be eaten out of a bowl. I like pastas, soups, stews, and those kinds of dishes Rachael Ray calls “stoups”. But once every blue moon, I go crazy and make something that could be traditionally identified as a dinner, and this was one of those nights. Being generally uninspired, I’ve been forcing a lot of raw-tomato pastas on Boomer and Pookie lately, thanks to the ridiculous overabundance of heirlooms coming from the farm; with the recent spate of autumnal weather, though, I decided it was time to roast us some meat for a change.
Orange-Sherry Roast Chicken
So I pulled the orange-sherry glazed roast chicken recipe from my Cooks Illustrated poultry book, figuring the citrus would keep us rooted a bit in reality (in that Fall weather in August doesn’t mean it’s not still August). Then I went hog-wild and made up my own brown rice pilaf to go with it. I made it with some homemade chicken stock from the freezer, a bit of orange juice, some toasted pine nuts and fino verde basil from our garden. Then, to finish the notion of “meat + side dishes”, I wilted some rainbow chard from the farm with a bit of garlic from our own garden. Now, this dinner was both hearty and ridiculously delicious, but I think what made me happiest about it was that I felt like I’d accomplished something for having coordinated a bunch of elements to all hit the table at the same time. For me, that’s as difficult as a moon launch, so, while reflecting on the crispy, sticky glaze and the fresh-tasting, nutty pilaf, I’m also going to bask in the reflection of a job well done.

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14 Comments

Filed under Hearty Meals, Meats Meats Meats

14 responses to “A Dinnery Dinner

  1. Sarah

    Kudos to you Schnookie! That chicken looks fantastic. I made my family eat a white meal tonight since I frittered away the dinner prep time. We ended up with pierogies, corn on the cob, and applesauce. That’s a whole lotta starch.

  2. There’s a lot to be said for starch! In fact, I fed my family spaghetti with chopped-up tomatoes in it tonight. :P (Actually, I went the raw tomato sauce with heirlooms route again, but tonight I went all crazy and put a hot pepper in with it. Very daring.) We ate at 9 because I, too, frittered away my prep time. Yeah, that’s right: I cooked noodles and chopped up a tomato, and it still wasn’t ready until 9!

  3. Yum! That right there is pretty much my favorite kind of meal. Was that brown rice pilaf a shout-out? “Damn you, brown rice pilaf! (shaking fists at the sky) Daaamn you!”

  4. It was totally a shout-out, Katebits! I’m glad you could recognize it as such. I almost wrote “I [Heart] Katebits” in pine nuts in it, but at the last minute decided it would just get mixed up into illegibility.

  5. That chicken looks so unbelievably juicy. Not sure if you get Cooking Light, but the most recent issue has 4 chili recipes. 4!!! One of them is very similar to your (halved) recipe but it useds beef stew meat instead of ground meat (I’d rather have ground meat) and red wine instead of beer. I’m very skeptical about using red wine but I’m intrigued enough to try it. I just ate my last chili portion =( so I’m going to make another batch this weekend.

  6. The chicken was from a local Amish farm; we got it from Whole Foods, and really, it would have been fine without any fancy glazing or anything. It was a phenomenally good bird!

    Chili with stew meat and red wine? Isn’t that just stew? :P That actually sounds creative and fun — maybe I should try it with a Boston butt or something less beef-y. I’m glad your halved pot of chili lasted so long. And I can whole-heartedly vouch for getting into a regular chili rotation; it’s made me the person I am today!

  7. andrew

    Schnookie, I know the raw tomato pasta topping game. It does tend to get old after a while. If you want some fresh ideas and repices that use up a TON of tomatos, I got ’em! I’ll be glad to share.

  8. Please do share, andrew! We’re staring down the barrel of an all-BLT-all-the-time week, and I’m hosting a BBQ this weekend. I need help! What can I do with my tomatoes that will wow my guests?

  9. Honestly, I wish I had too many tomatoes. I could seriously eat tomatoes all day long with pepper, salt, garlic salt, olive oil, cheese, and fresh basil. It’s always a good day when they’re on sale for $1 per pound.

    Chili with stew meat and red wine? Isn’t that just stew?
    Hmmm….good point. I guess I don’t really know what technically makes something a stew.

  10. I have no idea either, kms2. I figure when you get down to the nitty-gritty, there’s not a lot differentiating my chili from stew, unless the meat being ground is the key point…

  11. andrew

    “What can I do with my tomatoes that will wow my guests?”

    Here’s my favorite tomato salad recipe:

    Dressing (these amounts are guesses on my part, as I usually eyeball everything. So, you don’t have to follow it to the letter):

    3-4 Tbspn Olive Oil
    1 Tbspn Balsalmic vinegar
    1 tspn dijon mustard
    1 pinch of salt
    1 pinch of black pepper
    1 pinch of red pepper flakes (add more if you want to punch it up a little)
    Garlic powder or dried minced garlic to taste. (a shake or two)

    -combine in a large bowl and stir it up!

    Salad:

    4 or 5 heirlooms, cut into wedges (size of the wedges is up to you, I like ’em fat) (you can use more if you want/need to)

    1 8 oz.”ball” of fresh mozzarella halved then sliced into 1/8″ or 1/4″ pieces. Add this at the end. (has to be fresh mozz. no subs!)

    1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion, sliced.

    1/2 of a cucumber, sliced.

    About 2-3 oz. sliced salami (i like to buy the stick and hand cut it, it’s a little thicker that way!)

    Fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly (The amount is up to you, I do about 12-14 leaves)

    -Put everything in the bowl with the dressing and stir well. (Give everything a good stir, then put the Mozzarella in and toss lightly, it breaks apart too easily when stirred.)

    Feel free to tinker with this. You can leave the salami out to make it a little bit healthier, and the amounts are certainly adjustable depending on your tastes. I think you’ll find it’s a great salad that lets the tomatos stand out, but allows for a bunch of other great flavors. Hope you like it! Enjoy!

  12. andrew, I am SO making that! It sounds delicious, and will be SURE to wow everyone. Thanks a million!!

  13. andrew

    Sweet! Let me know how it turns out. With all the tomatoes you got, you could probably even make a few practice runs before unvieling it at the BBQ!

  14. xztheericzx

    i’m eric. joining a couple boards and looking
    forward to participating. hehe unless i get
    too distracted!

    eric

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