Boomerang Generation

I flew the coop over 20 years ago. At the time my parents lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My new apartment was a walk-up in a tenement across the park on the Upper East. It was far from fancy but it was all mine. I was finally independent, but if I ever needed anything they were just a crosstown bus away. Close but not too close. Fast forward to marriage and three children, and the coop is now coming back to me. Mom and Dad are moving to the burbs!

My kids could not be more thrilled to have Grandma and Grandpa as their new neighbors. For me, it will be an adjustment running into my parents at the local Starbucks, but it’s great to have a babysitter moving practically next door. Don’t worry Mom, we only need you to watch the boys every other weekend – 🙂

To celebrate their “return to the nest” we’re roasting a chicken this week. I’ve never roasted a whole bird before and it was surprisingly easy. This method was suggested by my local butcher. She said once I’ve got this mastered she’ll give me the secret to the perfect pork roast…

Citrus Roast Chicken

Ingredients

1 3/12-4 lb. whole roasting chicken, organic if possible

1-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Coarse sea salt

Black pepper

½ orange, cut into wedges

1 lemon, cut into wedges

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3-4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1” chunks

3 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks

1 Tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Before cooking the chicken rinse in cold water. Then scrub the chicken inside and out with coarse salt. Then rinse again and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is completely dry, this will result in a crispy skin.

Rub the butter all over the chicken. And if you are feeling brave, gently loosen the skin on the breast side and add some butter underneath. It’s a little messy but I was told not to skip this step.

Once the butter is rubbed all over, liberally season with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the orange, lemon and garlic. Place in roasting pan.

Toss the carrots and potatoes with the olive oil and some salt. Scatter around the chicken. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Then add about ½ cup of water to the pan and roast for another 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size of chicken, basting once or twice. Add more liquid to pan if needed.

Chicken is ready when the juices run clear. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (Insert into thickest part of thigh)

Let rest for 5-10 minutes and serve.

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House of Bedlam Citrus Chicken

House of Bedlam Citrus Chicken

And the VERDICT is:             

Matthew (age 7): “Good chicken”

Liam (age 5): “Can I eat that lemon?”

Dylan (age 5): “Why is that lemon in there?”

Although not nearly as convenient, this was even better tasting than a rotisserie.

Mom & Dad, welcome to the neighborhood!

 

For my local readers:

Fairway Market presents Funny Food Art Workshop!

When: Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 1pm – 3pm

Where: Fairway Market in Pelham Manor, 847 Pelham Parkway, 914 633 6550

Fairway invites friends and families to come and have fun with their food as Bill Wurtzel, author of “Funny Food 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfast” teaches families how to create funny food art. Fairway will supply all healthy ingredients, including waffles, strawberries, raisins, pita, bananas and much more, as well as entertainment from the author, who is a jazz musician. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase. Cost per participant is $1. Register at customer service or online at www.fairwaymarket.com.

This promises to be a fun event – hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrots Are Cool, Beets Not So Much

Those little “baby” carrots you see at the supermarket weren’t always so cool. Not until a farmer named Mike Yurosek realized that he could bring his farm’s carrot waste to an end by peeling and cutting misshaped or broken carrots down to bite size pieces. I’m sure that most kids think the same as mine, carrots grow in this tiny size and are rounded on the edges. With a little help from Jim Dunn, former Coca-cola executive, and a 25 million dollar ad campaign, “baby” carrots are now one of the most popular snack foods for kids.

Other fruits/vegetables that seem to have reached cool status among kids are grape tomatoes, sliced apples (I grudgingly give McDonald’s credit for this one) and edamame (my kids ate a ton when I bought them in little Kung Fu Panda packs). Seems like a fairly easy formula. Process vegetable into a fun shape and/or put them in cool packaging.

How about beets?

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They don’t look so good before you peel them but after they’re roasted and cut into bite size chunks, it seems like the type of food that could potentially have kid appeal. The fact that they’re not green is a great selling point! I don’t have a 25 million dollar budget nor the endorsement of some cool cartoon character so I’m hoping with the help of cheese and one of their favorite nuts, I can sell my kids on beets this week.

Three C’s Roasted Beets (Cheese & Cashews & Currants)

Ingredients

2-3 large red beets

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp honey mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt & pepper

3 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp cashews, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp currants, or raisins

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a shallow dish with aluminum foil.

Wash and scrub beets to remove dirt. Cut off top and bottoms.

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Cut beets in quarters and place in shallow dish. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss lightly.

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Place another sheet of foil on top and seal edges all around. Bake in oven for 1 to ½ hours depending on the size of the beets, until fork tender.

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Meanwhile, in a small bowl prepare the dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey mustard, and maple syrup. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Extra dressing can be refrigerated for up to three weeks)

Allow beets to cool and peel off the skin. Cut into bite size chunks and add to medium mixing bowl. Toss with about two tablespoons of dressing. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, chopped cashews, and currants.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Goat cheese?!”

Liam (age 5): “This cheese is too goatey!”

Dylan (age 5): “Goat cheese is for goats”

I didn’t anticipate how amusing goat cheese would be to my kids. Needless to say, they never even tried the beets!

 

 

Hand Me Down Recipes

What recipes are you handing down to your children?

IMG_7781See our March post at Kidville: Voice from the Ville – Old Family Recipes

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Carrot Touchdown

We didn’t have a Super Bowl party this year; it was more of a tailgating picnic on our living room floor. And even though we did make chicken wings for the “party” I figured nobody wanted to read about yet another chicken wing recipe the week leading up to game day. But I will definitely post the recipe in the next few months as the wings came out so good my only problem was not having enough. How did I know that 2lbs of chicken would not be a sufficient amount for three children under the age of seven? Lesson learned…

This might sound hard to believe but the carrots I made to go with the wings also got inhaled. Maybe it was because we went skiing that day and the boys were starving? Maybe they were just so excited to be eating in front of the TV? Maybe they wanted to make me happy so I would let them stay up to watch the whole game? Who knows? I don’t care, but I am definitely going to be trying these again.  Even though the Super Bowl was not very memorable this year, these carrots certainly were. Sorry Bronco fans…

Honey Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

8-10 carrots, peeled and cut into 3” pieces

3 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

 

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until they are fork tender. Drain the carrots and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, soy sauce and orange juice. Toss in the carrots and coat well.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the carrots in a single layer. Roast in the oven until caramelized, about 15-18 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots. At midpoint of roasting give the baking sheet a shake to rotate the carrots.

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Serve hot or cold.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “A little too mushy…”

Liam (age 4): “More carrot fries!”

Dylan (age 4)” “Why does Liam get more than me?”

What did you eat while watching the big game?

Fresh Herbs

Our local farmers market was bustling with people last week. Everyone seemed to be out enjoying the first days of cool Fall weather. All the vendors had long lines but I didn’t want to leave empty handed so we stopped at a vegetable stand that was offering some fruits to sample. Just the thing I needed to occupy the boys while I picked up a few things and waited in line to pay.

You know how at the supermarket register there are displays of impulse items designed to prompt a last minute purchase? Well, this particular vendor had a similar set-up, although instead of packs of gum, there were little bundles of fresh herbs. While waiting we played a game of smelling the herbs to see who could guess what the different kinds were. Of course the boys didn’t get any right but it occupied them long enough to reach the end of the line.

When our turn came, I had them choose their favorite smelling herb and it was unanimous, they all loved the rosemary. Liam said it smelled like a holiday, which immediately sold me, so I added a few sprigs to our order.

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Here is a dish that I think would be perfect for any holiday – it was fast, easy, and the perfect accompaniment to the fish appetizer I cooked last week. All I had to do was put it in the oven and let it do its thing. This left me plenty of time to gut the fish we had caught that day. See my post from last week on the How To’s of gutting a fish.

Rosemary Chicken w/Roasted Veggies 

Ingredients:

2 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2” cubes

1 cup carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped, divided

1 Tbsp garlic salt, divided

1/2 Tbsp salt, divided

1/2 Tbsp black pepper, divided

6 Tbsp olive oil, divided

8-12 pieces of chicken, legs & thighs, bone-in, skin-on

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking with parchment paper and set aside.

Peel and dice the potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water. Dice the carrots and the onion and place in a large mixing bowl. Drain and rinse the potatoes and then pat dry. Add the potatoes to the onion and carrots. Add half of the rosemary, thyme, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and olive oil to the chopped vegetables and mix well. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet in a single layer.

IMG_6183 In the same large mixing bowl, add the chicken and combine with remaining half of the spices and olive oil. Mix well to coat. Nestle the chicken among the vegetables and place in the oven.

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Roast for approximately 60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the skin crispy, and vegetables are caramelized.

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Note 1: Soaking the potatoes in cold water will draw out the starch and help them crisp while roasting.

Note 2: I would recommend only using dark meat for this recipe so the meat doesn’t dry out while the vegetables caramelize.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Chicken bones, my favorite!”

Liam (age 4): “Is this too healthy?”

Dylan (age 4): “I got the foot!”

The only change I would make to this recipe is to add more carrots. Otherwise, a very successful dish.