Roast chicken

My family gets a chicken delivered to our doorstep every week along with fresh raw milk when Karen stops off on her central Kitsap run. Local chicken is fantastically good, and it’s wonderful roasted with just a little salt on the skin. We’re experimenting with spices too! Preparing the chicken Karen mentioned that she’s been leaving her freshly slaughtered chickens in the refrigerator for a couple of days to let them relax. When I get a chance I follow Alice Walters’ advice and take the chicken out of the refrigerator for an hour or so before I bake it to bring it closer to room temperature. Seasoning the chicken Here are some ideas. Herbs de Poulet from Two Snooty Chefs . This bright mix rubs right on the skin (or on top of olive oil if you want), smells fantastic while cooking, and tastes wonderful while eating. The self-described snooty … Continue reading

Potatoes

We’ve been getting new potatoes for some weeks, and now full size bakers are showing up in the markets. Here are four ways to fix them. Boil: scrub them with a vegetable brush. New potatoes can be cut in half, larger ones into chunks. Drop into a pot of water and boil until fork-tender. Drain in colander and place in bowl. Add your choice of: butter, olive oil, chopped oregano, chopped rosemary, or your favorite herb. Toss and serve. Roast: this works best with rinsed and scrubbed fingerling potatoes. Scrub with a vegetable brush. Place on a half-sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil or balsamic vinegar and salt. Roast at 400′ until fork-tender. Bake: for larger spuds. Scrub with a vegetable brush. Prick all over with a fork. Place on oven rack at 400′ and back until roast tender. Serve with condiment tray: butter or olive oil, sour cream, chives, chopped … Continue reading

A Fancy Local Holiday Meal

For the end-of-year holiday I managed to put together a meal straight from my southern childhood: ham and scalloped potatoes, salad and a green vegetable, and pie. Ham I had a 5 lb. honey-smoked ham from Mt. Walker Meadows Meats in the freezer. I thawed it in the refrigerator for several days. The day of the meal I roasted it at 350′ in a shallow Le Crueset pan for about two hours. Opinons differ – Emeril and other chefs like to bring ham just to 135, but I decided to err on the side of caution and take it to the widely recommended temp of 160. It was perfectly wonderful. Scalloped potatoes Slice 3 lbs. of potatoes thinly. Boil until fork tender. Layer in baking pan (I used a square Pyrex pan) and sprinkle each layer with flour, salt and pepper. Add milk to cover. Bake at 400′ until potatoes … Continue reading

Potato harvest

I planted three varieties of potatoes this year, Red Finns, Yukon Gold and Russets. Some seed potatoes I had from last winter, some I bought from Valley Nursery. I have two five-gallon buckets with stones in the bottom for drainage that I used last year. This year I also tried a purpose-built bucket designed to be opened from below to get at the newest spring potatoes. Sunday afternoon we harvested the potatoes. Since the five-gallon buckets had stones we had to screen the compost to get at the potatoes. The soft bucket hadn’t had any stones so we could skip the screening step and move straight to pulling out the potatoes. Those buckets had the seed potatoes I bought new and definitely gave bigger and better potatoes. The total yield was five pounds, or one pound per bucket. At the rate of one pound per meal, that’s five meals. I … Continue reading