Scared you, didn’t I? Well I didn’t mean to. It’s funny how many people read my last post and assumed I was ending my blog. That’s not what I said! I just said that my blog was no longer my primary source of income; in many ways, it’s a liberating state of affairs. It means that if I post on here (as I’m doing now) it’s because I have something I’m really eager to share with the world, not just something to fill up space on the internet (like that time I told you that my cake stand is really a punch bowl; though, weirdly, that post really caught on). In any case: chicken under a brick. Have you tried it? If not, why not? I bet I can guess: you’re afraid. I was afraid too. Then, this past Tuesday, I tried it and–I mean this seriously–I don’t think I’ll ever make chicken any other way again.
Here’s the thing about turkey. If I were making it for my family, this year, I’d go the Gina DePalma route (click that link for her excellent essay on how to keep it simple): a whole roasted bird, some butter, some stuffing, the end. But, as it happens, I’m not cooking for my family this year (we’re going out! “It’s just easier”) so last week I made a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for some friends and threw tradition out the window. The first thing to go? The white meat. Sure, you can monitor the temperature and hope that it doesn’t taste like sandpaper when you roast it in the oven, but why bother when the dark meat–legs and thighs–are so much better? (Note: if you must have white meat, slow-roasting the breast is best.) Best of all, if you braise them, you can do everything the day before and it will only taste better. Let me repeat that. You can have all the turkey cooked the day before and don’t have to stress on Thanksgiving Day. That’s worthy of a parade right there.
America’s obsession with breasts goes far beyond the pages of Maxim magazine; it’s readily apparent in the poultry section. A large chicken breast for two now costs as much as a whole chicken. And a turkey breast can run as much as $15. America: stop your obsession with cleavage and lower your head a little. See those legs down there? They’re just as meaty, ten times more flavorful and very, very cheap. How cheap? Look how much I paid for these two enormous turkey legs.
British food culture intrigues me. It’s a center-of-the-universe kind of thing; Americans think our food celebrities (everyone from Anne Burrell to Guy Fieri) are universally famous, whereas, across the pond, there exists a whole other universe of equally prominent food figures that most Americans have never heard of. We have Mark Bittman, they have Nigel Slater. We have Rachael Ray, they have Nigella Lawson (though we had her here for a bit with “The Taste”). We have Paula Deen, they have Two Fat Ladies. You get the idea.
I am so proud of my friend Deb Perelman and her Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which is taking the world by storm. She’s proving, with her New York Times bestseller status and Amazon-clobbering sales rank, that food bloggers are here to be taken seriously. It’s especially exciting because Deb and I have the same cookbook agent and we sold our books around the same time, toasting our endeavors with a toasted marshmallow milkshake at Stand. And on December 17th, we’ll be sharing the stage at the New York Public Library for a discussion all about our books and food blogging in general. (Details below.)
There are certain dinners we make for ourselves that maybe shouldn’t be shared in public.
It’s one thing to share a recipe for a roast chicken, for example; everyone gets that, everyone wants that. But the next day, when that chicken’s cold and wrapped in aluminum foil in your refrigerator and you have a few stray carrots and some yogurt and some raisins and some eggs, and you make a dinner with those things? People may not want to hear about that. So if you’re one of those people, look away! Everyone else, here’s a dinner I made for myself last week.
This is it, kids. This has to be the last recipe I share from April Bloomfield’s new book, A Girl and Her Pig, or pretty soon I’ll look like that pig slung over her shoulder on the book’s cover (slaughtered for divulging too many cookbook recipes).
If you’ve tried any of the recipes I’ve posted (the porridge, the curry) you know that this book is a keeper. And this particular recipe isn’t just a keeper, it may become a new weeknight staple. Not only is it explosively flavorful, it’s really easy to make.
What you see above is one of my favorite meals I’ve ever made at home. It came about rather organically: after raving about Rancho Gordo beans in this post from last week, I went back to Cookbook (the store where I bought that first bag) and stocked up on more.