Meat Archive

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

buttermilk roast chicken

buttermilk roasted chicken

Without a doubt, the very best part of fried chicken is the battered, seasoned, gold-tinged and impossibly crisp exterior. But, as far as I’m concerned, the tender chicken within is no distant second. The best fried chicken recipes have you soak the uncooked chicken in a salty/sweet brine of buttermilk and seasonings for at least day, resulting in meat that’s decadent long before it hits the fryer. Wouldn’t it be great if the insides could garner the same gushing their pretty skins do?

the next evening
drizzled lightly with olive oil

This is what I was thinking of when I stumbled on an old Nigella recipe for buttermilk roasted chicken. Of course, that was four weeks ago and for three of them, I sat at a table piled with eraser dust and red pencil overlooking the avenue below, editing away dreaming mostly of the buttermilk chicken I would finally make when I was done. The recipe turned out to be a good place to start, but I wanted more — a longer soak, more salt, less oil, more garlic and, for some reason, I felt the recipe was itching for paprika. So, I went another round with it last night — finishing it with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of more paprika and flaked sea salt before roasting it — and this, at last, was the buttermilk chicken I had dreamed about.

sprinkled with paprika and sea salt

Continued after the jump »

Friday, December 30, 2011

scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

It’s a fairly accurate indication of how charmed my life is these days that I considered the act of having to choose what I would make to bring to a New Years Party tomorrow difficult. If makes you wonder what I’d consider easy — which spa gift certificate I should use first to get a manicure before the party? Whether I should wear the earrings from this year’s or last year’s little blue box to the party? Which jet to take there? It’s all in a day of the glamorous life of a food blogger. Ahem.

scallions, greens, bottles of stuff
meatball ingredients, ready to mix

In the last year, I’ve made a lot of jabs, mostly in my own direction, about how much various projects that I thought I’d handle like a pro have in fact kicked my ass — in order, those would be: a toddler, a cookbook, trying to have evenings and weekends work-free for Fun Family Things (even if they’re, like, “Let’s go buy mama more conditioner and eat warm pretzels along the way!”) and this weird blend of feeling like I have absolutely no time for myself while also spending too much time by myself. We are definitely not going to discuss how many hours I have spent this year wondering how anyone ever gets dinner on the table/keeps an apartment clean/gets any sleep/takes vacations… all while looking cute. Nope, definitely not that either. But if you could read through the self-deprecation and exhaustion, I always hoped you’d figure out that I was, am, totally blissed out by this life I ended up with. This gig — 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, this beast and all — is pretty sweet and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I hope next year involves more of the same, with a little more travel and a lot more hanging out with people like you.

frying and spattering, ow

Continued after the jump »

Friday, November 4, 2011

homesick texan carnitas

homesick texan carnitas

I am embarrassed by how long it took me to discover carnitas, or “little meats” that are usually braised then roasted, and are as far I quickly became concerned, the very best thing to pile on a blistered corn tortilla. I had my first one just a couple years ago. I was pregnant at the time and protein-rich foods were ten times as delicious as they normally were so when I became obsessed with having another, and then another, I chalked it up to baby madness. But that kid is now two, and my carnita fixation has gone nowhere. (And no, people, I’m not pregnant. In fact, I’m pouring whiskey into my coffee as we speak, just like I always do after preschool drop-offs.)

orange and lime juice

The only thing greater than my love for carnitas was my wonderment as to how they were made. I imagined that getting a flavor so complex, and a texture so nuanced — somehow fork tender in the center and caramelized to a crunch at the edges — was best left to the experts, and so I continued to pay a tremendous markup in a city not known for excellence-on-a-taco because I knew I’d never pull it off as well at home. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that one of the most famous recipes for carnitas has but three ingredients: pork, water and salt. Three! I still can’t get over it. I tell people about this all of the time — vegetarians, even, who nod politely; my husband, who thinks it’s cool, but perhaps a little less than I do; this old lady on the crosstown bus who heard me talking about them on the phone… But wait, there’s more: not only do you only need three ingredients to make carnitas, the cooking technique is kind of brilliant. The meat braises in the water and salt (this is the tenderizing part) for a few hours and then, once the water cooks off, it fries itself in its own rendered fat (thus creating those addictive crisp ends). Did you just get hungry too?

pork butt/shoulder

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

skirt steak with bloody mary tomato salad

skirt steak with blood mary tomato salad

Back when I started dreaming up a cookbook I would one day write, all I knew is what I didn’t want: I did not want to work every weekday, weekend and evening on it, I did not want to set an insanely close deadline and then have to hastily throw together a book I wasn’t pleased with and above all else I did not want the time I had to devote to this web space to become squeezed, although I understood that there would probably be a harried point right near the end that all three rules could be suspended for a good cause. And indeed, they have been. I hope to deliver my manuscript in August and it’s pretty all-consuming right now — in a good way, because I’m finally starting to see the whole thing coming together. So, if things are a bit slow between now and then, do understand that I cannot wait until late summer when my attentions can be what they were before my son was 4 months old, and instead of doing normal New Mom things like catching up on sleep or rounding up preschool applications (ha!), I decided that at my earliest convenience, I would write a book instead.

ready to begin
sherry vinegar-ing the onions

Nevertheless, not a day goes by when I do not cook and this past weekend, it was my favorite kind: the lazy kind, mostly whims. On Friday, well, Friday was a crazy day and I’ll tell you about that real soon. It involved a cake I’m auditioning for the cookbook and a late summer dish I’ll tell you about even sooner. Also: photographers. It was a little scary, but it ended with some Vermontucky Lemonades, so I didn’t mind. On Sunday, I caved to the blueberries and peaches and decided to make two pies, but left one with my in-laws and delivered another to friends at their new house and can’t tell you how they came out because I wasn’t there when anyone cut into them. But warm pie fresh from the oven? I’m going to assume nobody complained. On Monday, I made a slaw and baked America one of those goofy berry-topped birthday cakes before heading out to watch the sun set behind Manhattan and catch the faintest glimpse of the New York Fireworks West Side of Manhattan and New Jersey Fireworks with friends.

so many tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Friday, February 4, 2011

meatball subs with caramelized onions

meatball sub, all melted up

Last September, surprising nobody more than my husband, decided I’d be a Good Football Wife this year and start using Sunday afternoons to make a hearty meal, one that stuck to our ribs and balanced out all those salads we enforce on ourselves during the week. I made beef chili with sour cream and cheddar biscuits and then I made… Right. It about stopped there. In my defense, my husband’s team of choice, The Giants, were hardly Good Football Material this year, so perhaps both of our enthusiasms waned simultaneously. Also, the baby decided he had to start running around dismantling the apartment most weekends, so somebody had to, you know, make sure he didn’t injure himself and blame us. Toddlers, man.

yeah, these are raw
browning them, trying to dodge splatters

And so I’m going to make up for four lost months in one recipe today. I hardly know where the itch for a meatball sub came from; I can’t say I’ve ever ordered one from a sandwich shop (where you’d find them where I grew up in New Jersey, at least) or have any great nostalgia for a specific one, but I always had a hunch that if I made them my way, I’d make a convert out of me and a happy guest of anyone who stopped by to watch a game who was into that whole meat/sandwich/melting cheese thing. You know, people with pulses.

cooking the onions

Continued after the jump »


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