A Hint of Hedonism

October 11th, 2011 · 68 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Quick, Sides, Salads, Soup

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog as long as I have, and never told you about one of my greatest talents. (No, not my proclivity for cocktails.) Last night as I made dinner, it occurred to me that I have a remarkable ability to convince myself that whatever I’m making for my family is healthy — even on nights when I am forced to go upstairs to change my T-shirt that has been splattered with the canola oil I used to fry the deliciously crispy skillet potatoes you see above.

Because the potatoes are from my favorite organic vendor at the farmer’s market. And they are technically vegetables. And they are sitting next to a pile of kale. (Remember the Kale Effect? Which is related to Andy’s Broccoli Rule?) And plus, we were having a college friend over for dinner, and when a guest is at the table, the decision to fry the potatoes (instead of roast them) and the decision to use an extra pat or two of butter in the pan-sauce for the chicken (chicken = not red meat) is a no-brainer. Extra fat doesn’t officially register in the arteries when you are cooking for someone else. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.

Last night was a little more buttery than I’m used to, but I will say that as a general rule, I am a firm believer that there needs to be at least a hint of hedonism on the dinner plate — whether it’s crumbled feta in the salad, sour cream on the baked potatoes, or bacon in the brussels sprouts. Because if every meal is boiled kale with quinoa and flax, I have to ask: Where is the joy in life? (more…)

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Easier than Any Freezer Dinner

June 2nd, 2011 · 13 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Quick, Sides, Salads, Soup

Every time I make this roasted chicken with barbecue sauce I say to myself: Why don’t I do this meal on those nights I reach for the box mac & cheese or frozen pizza? It’s fresher and healthier than most things you’ll pull out of a box (Don’t worry, I still love you Trader Joe), but more to the point, it’s just as easy. In fact, I kind of can’t believe I didn’t include it in the six-week Dinner Doula plan I wrote up for parents who are paralyzed by the idea of cooking homemade food for their kids. If I had a do-over, this recipe would be Dinner Number One. Look how simple it is:

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove drumsticks (or thighs) from package and place in a foil-lined roasting pan.
2)  Add a little salt and pepper and brush a thin layer of barbecue sauce on each. (If you are a beginner, I realize the likelihood of having a stash of homemade sauce lying around is slim; don’t worry, just use your favorite bottled kind.)
3) Every 10 minutes or so, flip and brush on another thin layer of sauce. After 30 minutes, they are done. That’s it.

I haven’t tuned in to the 2011 season of Food Revolution, but last year I remember Jamie Oliver served a chicken like this along with a shredded salad to tempt the West Virginia school kids away from the nuggets and fries. Sadly, hardly any of the kids were convinced, but I sure was. For a year I’ve wanted to make a salad that looked like that one. I guess technically you might call it a slaw. Whatever you call it, it rocked. (more…)

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Pretzel Chicken: Weeknight Keeper

May 16th, 2011 · 45 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Picky Eating, Quick

I’m guessing most of you out there don’t regularly get emails from friends with the subject line: “Pretzel Chicken.” And I’m also guessing that if you did, your heart wouldn’t jump when it showed up in your inbox. But that was the somewhat sad state of affairs last week when my friend Jodi sent me the email, saying she was going to debut the dish for Shabbat dinner, a ritual with her husband and six-year-old daughter that she is trying to make more regular. The launch of the ritual, of course, warmed my heart, but what really grabbed me was the recipe. It was the famous City Bakery pretzel chicken that I have been lunching on for the past five years. It’s all mustardy and zesty and dredged in crushed sourdough pretzels — I don’t think I’ve ever taken a bite of it without announcing to whatever poor soul is sitting across from me I must replicate this at home. The kids will freak! (more…)

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