ROASTED CHICKEN LEGS

Roasted Chicken Legs | for the love of the south

If you know me well, you know I love chicken legs. If you ever see me eating fried chicken, it will be a leg. I’m not sure why the leg. Maybe I fell in love with dark meat at an early age while most of my friends gorged themselves on chicken tenders. But knowing me, it’s  because I love street food, or food I can eat without a fork. Chicken legs required no muss, no fuss and best of all, no fork!

In fact, my love of the leg is so well known that my grandmother hides a turkey leg in the back of the fridge for me at Thanksgiving. Since most of my family loves white meat, they don’t notice the one-legged turkey. It’s a little secret between Grandma and me. She still giggles while watching me, now full-grown, chow down on a whole turkey leg. There aren’t many times in life when I act so carnivorous as when eating poultry leggies.

Here is a recipe for oven-roasted legs that is superb hot, cold or room temperature. May they make their way to your next picnic or your dinner table. I just have one request, hide a leg in the fridge for you for later. It will be our little secret.

Recipe: Serves 4

Note: If you would like more color on the chicken legs, you can place them under the broiler for a few minutes. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

1 stick of butter, melted and warm

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

6 chicken legs, rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Combine melted butter, red pepper flakes, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss chicken legs in the melted butter mixture, and place the legs on a roasting pan fitted with a wire rack. Roast chicken legs for 45 minutes or until the juices from the center of the chicken leg run clear. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute into the meat. Serve with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

SLICE OF PIZZA PIE

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In the summer, spending stifling days in the South may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but, for me, it had many great rewards. One of the greatest rewards occurred whenever my grandma decided to make homemade pizzas for lunch. It was my special treat for killing banana spiders, devouring honeysuckles, and kicking over crawfish holes. It was a rough job, but someone had to do it.

When my tummy started rumbling, I ran inside to find Grandma meticulously rolling out her bread dough and placing it on a piping hot pizza stone, topping the dough with spicy hamburger, creamy white cheese and fiery red tomato sauce. Grandma popped the pizza in the oven, and when it came out, the only sound was a tiny sigh of delight. The crust was crisp and sweet which complimented the cheesy, spicy toppings. I remember looking out the window at the summer’s day thinking of all the unlucky crawfish out there and kicking my little legs in pure contentment with a slice of my grandma’s pizza in hand. It was a good day.

 Recipe: Makes 8 Individual Pizzas

 Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

1 cup of red sauce, homemade or your brand of choice

¼ pound of country ham, thinly sliced

1 pound of mozzarella

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley, leaves only, for garnish

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pizza stone in oven for 40 minutes.

On a piece of foil, sprinkle lightly with flour and lay dough on top. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce on the dough. Hand tear pieces of ham, a few pieces of cheese and seasonings onto the pizza. Place the pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once the pizza is brown and crispy, take the pizza out of the oven, scatter with fresh parsley. Repeat with the remaining 7 pieces of pizza dough. Enjoy!

UP IN SMOKE

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri

Happy 4th of July!

In the South, summer leads up to a sweltering  4th of July where food, freedom, and family goes hand-in-hand with barbecue, sweet tea and (unfortunately) flocks of mosquitoes.

No matter how hard we tried, a trip to the store for lighter fluid and charcoal always seemed like the first order of business in the morning, that and getting pounds and pounds of both regular and smoked boudin from the local Market Basket. So with Community Coffee in hand, the women started to get to work on the fixins. Deviled eggs, which were slightly addictive from the addition of white vinegar. Slabs of French bread were sliced horizontally and brushed with melted butter and served with Jack Miller’s barbecue sauce for dipping. Pale yellow potato salad came modestly dressed with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne. Smiling half-moon slices of cold, juicy, ripe cantaloupe curiously counted as a vegetable (and not as a dessert.) Plump, meaty slices of homegrown tomatoes and skinny slices of cucumbers both covered with salt and pepper donned our holiday menu.

I can remember the subtle creak of the screen door as I stretched it open to check on the progress going on outside (the creak reminded me of the sound a grasshopper makes while scratching one leg against the other.) The combination of Louisiana humidity and smoke from the barbecue instantly made my eyes sting, but the lovely, familiar waft of meat smoking away on the pit made up for any inconveniences.

As this holiday is approaching this week, I have been reminiscing on this 4th of July memory as I sit in my yard-less, grill-less, loft in Nashville. Destined and determined, I pulled out my sturdy grill pan, cranked the heat to high on my electric stove, and seared a beautiful skirt steak to pure perfection. In my excitement, I failed to realize A) the entire place quickly began filling up with smoke, and B) I live in a loft, which means “opening up all of the doors” is not an option for ventilation. The whole place smelled of grilled meat, smoke and immediately my eyes began to water. I smiled as curiously as a cantaloupe. Success.

I hope you and your loved ones are blessed this holiday with feasts, family, and fireworks!

Recipe: Serves 2

Note: This steak is particularly amazing served with this side and this sauce! Also, this recipe has only 2 ingredients, which means the quality of the ingredients really matters. Make sure you get the best skirt steak you can find and use great quality salt as well! It makes all the difference in the world.

1, 1-1 ½ pound skirt steak, trimmed

Course sea salt

Sprinkle coarse sea salt onto both sides of the steak and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, crank up a grill pan or cast-iron skillet to high. You want the pan to be smoking hot (literally.)

After 30 minutes, dab the steak with paper towels making sure the steak is as dry as can be. Season both sides of the steak with sea salt.

Once the pan is ready, place the steak in the pan/skillet and let cook for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes. This step allows all of the lovely juices to evenly distribute back into the meat. Thinly slice the steak at an angle, against the grain (not straight down into the meat.) This will ensure tender, juicy pieces instead of tough, dry pieces. Enjoy!

Dear Old Faithful: Paw-paw's barbecue pit in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Dear Old Faithful: Paw-paw’s barbecue pit in Lake Charles, Louisiana

HUNGER PAINS

Mustard Green Pizza

First, I want to share some great news! This blog is a finalist for Saveur’s 2013 Food Blog Awards as the Best New Food Blog. What an honor! Voting has already begun and ends this Friday, April 19th. Click here to vote! I am in company with so many talented people and blessed to be here. Thank you for all of your support!

For me, cracking the fridge open at exactly noon means I need something in my tummy and QUICK. In pure desperation, I pull leftover dough, mustard greens and Parmesan cheese out of the fridge. Because of my passion for combining Italian and Southern influences, my mind automatically wheels in the direction of creating a pizza with Southern flair. So with pangs in my stomach, I swiftly roll out the dough and slather it with marinara. While the pizza is baking, I quickly, quickly, sauté mustard greens with red pepper flakes, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. Once the pizza is golden and crispy, I pile the greens onto the baked pie and shave Parmesan cheese on top, and the result is unexpected perfection. Buon appetito, ya’ll.

Cast of Characters

Serves 1 Hungry Soul:

For the Mustard Green Topping:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

½ bunch of mustard greens, triple washed and dried

Juice of 1 lemon wedge

Salt and pepper to taste

Pull the leafy greens off the tough stalks of the mustard greens. Discard of the stalks and set greens aside.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Once the garlic beings to shimmer and shake in the pan, add the greens and juice from lemon. Quickly toss all of the ingredients together and sauté for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the Pizza:

1 portion of Basic Pizza Dough

2 tablespoons of favorite homemade or jarred marinara

Mustard green topping (see recipe above)

Parmesan cheese shavings, to taste

Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees

On a sheet of foil dusted with flour, place pizza dough in the middle and gently roll the pizza dough into a circle until thin (you can also pick up the dough and gently stretch the dough with your hands.) Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara over the dough and spread close to the edges.

Place in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Transfer the pizza to a plate and scatter with prepared mustard greens and a healthy scattering of Parmesan cheese shavings. Enjoy!

 

Thank Heaven for Pork Chops

Pan Roasted Pork Chop

Please do not let this recipe discourage your spirit if you have never brined, pan roasted or cooked a chop in your life. Before this post, I was in the same boat as you. I find that this recipe relies on your kitchen instincts when drying out the chop, browning it and butter basting. When drying proteins, take a paper towel and really press the meat (or blotting it may be a better term) until there is no moisture on the protein. When browning the meat, make sure its golden. It should look beautiful at this point. If it’s not lovely and brown, it’s not done.

Being a curious person, I constantly flip meat to take a peek if it’s browning, and in this recipe it is encouraged! There should be no hesitation when flipping the chop, just flip, flip, flip until it’s stunning. You can flip a pork chop and beef because there is no skin on these proteins, but you wouldn’t want to flip chicken breast with skin or fish, those you must flip only once. Now about butter basting, if you have ever watched a cooking show where the chef tilts the pan toward themselves and spoons melted butter from the bottom of the pan over the protein at a lightning-fast pace, that is butter basting. Fancy terminology, easy execution.

Once you have this technique down, then you will find yourself using the same technique with different proteins like chicken, fish, beef, even vegetables. Have fun with it and make it your own!

Recipe: Adapted From Bon Appétit, January 2013

Serves 2

Note: Make sure when choosing the chop, that it is at least 2-inches thick. Anything thinner, you will risk the chop being too salty. That being said, please do not be tempted to salt the meat whenever you are cooking it. Trust me, you will ruin it.

½ cup kosher salt

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns

1 head of garlic, halved along its “equator”, plus 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic for basting

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 2”-thick bone-in pork chop

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 tablespoons of butter

Fresh black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add salt and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add the peppercorns, garlic and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme to the water mixture. Add 4 cups of ice to the mixture and stir until the ice cubes melt and the water has cooled. Place the pork chop into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour brining mixture over the pork chop. Seal bag and chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Set a wire cooling rack onto a roasting tray and set aside.

Remove the chop from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure that you get the chop as dry as you can, this will help the chop brown nicely. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chop into the hot pan and begin browning on each side, flipping about every 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Place the skillet into the oven and continue flipping every 2 minutes (for a total of about 12-14 minutes.) Allow the pork to reach 135 degrees in the center and take out of the oven.

Drain the fat from the pan and place on a medium heat. Add the butter, remaining 2 garlic cloves and 2 sprigs of thyme. Once the butter has melted and becomes foamy, tilt the pan to one side and spoon the melted butter over the chop repeatedly until the butter starts to brown and turns nutty in aroma, 2-3 minutes. Immediately take the skillet off of the flame so that the butter does not burn.

Transfer the chop to the prepared wire rack and let rest for 15 minutes to allow all of the wonderful juices to redistribute evenly. Sprinkle the pork with cracked black pepper. Cut the pork from the bone, slice and serve!

Sunday Suppers

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower Mash

There is a feeling of reassurance when one has a bird in the oven, the table set with thoughtful trimmings and family round to celebrate life, and these weekly celebrations come in the form of a Sunday supper. Sunday, in my family, is a day of repose and relaxation. A day where nothing particularly important happens, but, oh, how we luxuriate in it. One frill that must be exalted is the butter-anointed chicken that slowly renders all of its lovely juices to my roasting pan and crisps up in the oven so its skin becomes stunningly bronze. Best of all, in going with the languid theme of the day, all I have to do to the bird is bathe it in butter and stash it away in the oven. Within no time, aromatics fill the house and family feel comforted as you greet them at the threshold.

Roasting leaves time for the cook to patter around the kitchen, making sides or a dessert for the supper, or in my case, squeezing in a nap.

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower Mash Table

Finally, the time will come for the family to gather at the table, which is the hearth of the home. Conversation will linger and candles will slowly begin to burn. The moment the dinner arrives at the table, silence will quickly overcome all but the slow flicker of a tiny flame, as we give thanks for those around us, the meal that we are about to receive, and, then, we feast. And always, on Sundays, we shall feast with family, as it should be forever and ever, amen.

Roasted Chicken: Serves 4

Note: For every 1-pound of chicken, cook for 20 minutes, so make sure you pay attention to the poundage of the bird before you start a timer. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

1 3-4 pound whole organic chicken, rinsed and patted dry

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Combine butter, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Tie the two legs of the chicken together with twine, or, flip the bird over and cut out the backbone (and stash it in the freezer for later use in homemade chicken stock.) I prefer to cut the backbone out of the bird and break the breastbone. I like the chicken to lay flat while roasting, ensuring the bird is cooking evenly, but if you prefer to cook the whole bird as is, just tie those legs together, darling!

Boldly and confidently dig into the butter mixture and tuck it underneath the skin of the bird. Gently massage the butter all over the outside of the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

After 1 hour of resting, Place the chicken into a roasting pan and allow the chicken to roast for 1 hour, basting with the drippings halfway through the cooking process. If you notice that the skin is getting too brown, tent with foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes after it roasts to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat. Serve with cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower Mash: Adapted from Roost

Serves 4

2 heads of cauliflower, rinsed and cut into florets

1 onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, skin removed

½ cup of olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley, leaves only

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place all of the ingredients onto a roasting tray and roast the vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes (or until the vegetables begin to caramelize.) Place the roasted vegetables in a large bowl and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and parsley. With a potato masher, mash all of the ingredients until desired consistency. Season to taste.

A Love Letter to Winter

Winter Vegetable Pizza

Dear Winter,

Thank you for your many gifts. Thank you for allowing me to slow down, to think more clearly and to become healthier for the year to come. Thank you for covering the earth with a blanket of white, protecting the ground below for the spring to come. Thank you for allowing me to don thick, deer-printed scarves and bear hats without shame against your artic breeze. Thank you for never telling anyone about the time I ate a whole roll of cookie dough to keep warm one lonely winter night…ahem. Thank you for bringing loved ones together, huddled closely next to a warm fire.  Thank you for the bright vegetables and citrus that you provide to nourish my body and give me strength. And most of all, thank you for change.

No matter how harsh a season may be, there is hope in knowing that whatever the time may bring, it will come to a close, and spring will reveal its lovely blooms. No season lasts forever, for good or bad, but there is comfort in knowing that change will always come, whether wanted or unwanted. In a world of uncertainty, that is a comfort. Winter, dear winter, will be a distant memory, but like a loved one, it always comes back, begging for our attention and wooly socks. So for this one moment, this one flake in time, I will thank you because there is a beauty, a stillness and silence in you that is unlike any other season.

You make the spring that much sweeter, you are the perfect foil to a summer’s breeze and you gently, patiently step in after the autumn leaves have finally found their place of peace.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”- Ecclesiastes 3:1

This recipe highlights just a few winter vegetables. Feel free to use any of your favorite vegetables for this dish!

Recipe: Serves 6

6 pieces of Basic Pizza Dough

2 cups of tomato sauce (see recipe below), or a good jarred marinara sauce

2 beets, boiled, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

4 carrots, scrubbed, peeled and sliced into thin coins

3 radishes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

1 cup of crumbled feta

4 tablespoons of gremolata (see recipe below)

Sherry vinegar or lemon juice to finish (optional)

Crushed black pepper

Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 500 degrees.

On a sheet of foil dusted with flour, place 1 piece of pizza dough in the middle and gently roll the pizza dough into a circle until thin (you can also pick up the dough and gently stretch the dough with your hands.) Spoon 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the dough and spread close to the edges.

Place prepared beets, carrots and radishes onto the top. Put the dough in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown in color. Sprinkle feta and gremolata over the top of the hot pizza. Finish with pepper and vinegar or lemon juice if you want to add extra acidity to the pizza!

Pizza Sauce:

2 Tbs. of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

1 28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed

1 pinch of sugar

1 sprig of basil, leaves only

Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan on medium temperature, heat olive oil. Add sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds or just until golden. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add sugar. Bring to slight boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and add basil leaves. Set aside.

Gremolata:

Combine 1 small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves, 1 minced garlic clove and the juice and zest of ¼ of a lemon and stir to combine. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Those Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Autumn

As the fog clings to the ridge of autumnal foliage, so do I cling to the plaid wool covers that rest on my lap. These are the days when reading a book by the fireplace is about all I can muster. I want to enjoy the soggy, foggiest of days of fall as much as the past summer days spent in the sun. I want to soak in, dig deep and fall asleep surrounded by a clouded mountain. And it’s also on these days when I want something warm and comforting that requires the slightest amount of effort. Braised pork simmering and shimmering slowly in the oven, marrying with apples, sweet onions and garlic is what I want. It’s blanketed in its own cloud of steaming pressed apple cider as it tenderly breaks down the meat for hours and hours on end while I doddle the day away. All the flavors of fall without the fuss, that’s what I prescribe on a blustery, foggy, lazy, lovely day.

Recipe: Adapted from Bon Appétit/October 2012

Serves 6-8

1 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder

1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered

1 head of garlic

2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered

3 cups of chicken stock

2 cups of apple cider

12 ounces of ginger ale

3 sprigs of rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Tie pork together with kitchen twine to create a cylinder, tying ½ inch interval knots. Place the pork in a heavy-bottomed pot, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300o

Place onion, garlic, chicken stock, apple cider and ginger ale in the pot with the pork. On a high flame, bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture has come to a boil, place a lid on the pot and leave in oven to cook for 4-5 hours. Allow pork to cool and place in the fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 350o

Place the pork on a cutting board and cut the strings from the meat and discard. Slice the pork into ½ -1-inch medallions and place in a shallow roasting tray. Strain the sauce and add half of the liquid to the pork (discard remaining liquid.) Place sprigs of rosemary around the pork. Cover tightly with foil. Place in oven for 20 minutes, just to heat the pork through. Discard the rosemary springs. Serve with roasted vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!

When Life Leaves You Without Grits

All this happened before, and it will all happen again.

Poised with a list in hand and as focused as a camera, I whipped through the automatic doors to my neighborhood grocery store. Starting with the produce, I found myself gapping like a guppy at the pears and hoarded all of the shallots I could fit into my basket. An angel that must have fallen from heaven generously offered me a cup full of freeze-dried strawberries. Who knew?? They were lovely, tangy and I felt like an astronaut eating them.  I strolled through the deli section, sampled a little Virginia ham, and bought a pound! Oh, my shopping was going like gangbusters. But you don’t want to hear about a perfect shopping trip, do you?

 

It was in my moment of pure enthusiasm when I realized I was missing an essential ingredient for my supper, grits for the grits soufflé. I circled around the cereal, floundered around the flour, and ended up ogling inanely at almond butter for no reason whatsoever. Grits rained on my parade, or the lack of grits really. My head began to spin. I stared hopelessly at the lucky people passing me by, racing to the checkout line. In a desperate panic, I looked down at my basket. Life handed me ham, shallots and pears. Roasted pears could be for dessert, check. And for dinner, PIZZA. When in doubt, pizza. If ever there was an answer to question that’s questionable, pizza. Sautéed shallots drowning in hot butter seemed a lovely choice for a topping and paired well with the ham. A sprinkling of thyme for good measure should do the trick.

The results were better than I ever imagined. Thyme, ham and shallots are best friends in my book. And I am confident to say that no one even missed the grits.

Recipe: Makes 4 Individual Pizzas

4 pieces of thawed Basic Pizza Dough 

1 cup of favorite homemade or jarred red sauce

Sautéed Shallots (recipe below)

¼ pound of thinly sliced ham

½ cup of shredded mozzarella

Olive oil and cracked black pepper (to dress)

Fresh thyme leaves (garnish)

Preheat oven to 500o with a baking sheet or pizza stone preheating in the oven as well.

Roll out rounds of dough thinly onto a piece of foil lightly dusted with flour. Pour a few tablespoons of red sauce onto the dough. Scatter ¼ of the shallot mixture onto the sauce. Hand-tear ham and scatter on top and finish with mozzarella. Place the prepared pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Dress each baked pizza with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper and thyme leaves. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough. Enjoy!

For the sautéed shallots:

2 tablespoons of butter

2 shallots, sliced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (or a dash of dried thyme)

¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add shallots, thyme and seasonings to the pan. Sauté shallots until softened but not browned. Set aside.

Gristmill & The Guadalupe

While living in Texas, tubing trips down the Guadalupe River quickly became an end of the summer tradition. Long, hot days melted away with a lazy ride down the lengthy, winding river. There was nowhere else I wanted to be, except whenever I would smell the glorious vittles coming from Gristmill Restaurant in the historic district of Gruene. Sitting under towering oak trees while watching the meandering river created a relaxing atmosphere for a glorious meal. One of my favorite dishes was a classic meat and potatoes dish. The chicken was cooked to perfection and then covered in the most beautiful, fresh green sauce. Their potatoes were mashed with the skins on and seasoned perfectly. When I’m craving the mill, this is the dish that I crank out while dreaming about the Guadalupe River on a crazy, hazy, lazy, summer day.

Recipe: Serves 4-5

Roasted Chicken:

1 stick of butter, room temperature

1 pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

1 whole chicken, backbone discarded and flattened

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 4000

In a sauté pan, crank the heat to high with oil in the pan. Combine the butter, red pepper, black pepper and salt together with a fork. Going on top and under the skin of the chicken, slather on all of the butter mixture. Once the oil comes to a smoking point, lay the chicken skin side down onto the pan. Be careful, there is moisture in the butter that will make the oil sizzle so try to lay the chicken away from your body. Place a foil-lined skillet on top of the chicken. Let the skin crisp in the pan for 5-10 minutes.

Once the chicken is crisp, place the whole pan/skillet/chicken combo in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Let the chicken rest after taking it out of the oven to reserve all of the juices. Slather skin with the pesto.

Pesto:

2 garlic cloves

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

2 sprigs of basil, leaves only

2 sprigs of parsley

¼  cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of olive oil, add more for desired consistency if needed

In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, salt and pepper flakes together. Pulverize the garlic into very small pieces. Add the herbs. Crush the herbs until the basil and parsley are in very small pieces. Add half of the cheese. Keep pulverizing the mixture together. Add the rest of the cheese and the olive oil. If you want a smoother pesto, add a little more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Roasted Potatoes: Adapted from Barefoot in Paris

½ stick of butter

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of red pepper

1 pound of baby Yukon Gold potatoes or baby new potatoes

2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley

In a large pan with a lid, melt the butter on low heat. Once melted, add potatoes, red pepper and salt. Place the lid on the pot and cook, covered on low heat for 30-40 minutes. Check the doneness of the potatoes once the largest potato can be poked with a fork with ease. Turn off the heat and let steam for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.