Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You're far too delicious, to wash and wipe dishes

Thatboy was having a rough day today. Know how I know? It's not some super wifely power (although I am currently known to his friends as "Superwife"). I knew that boy was having a rough day because around 12:15 I got a phone call.
TB: Do you want to go for a walk?
TG: A walk? Now? In the middle of the work day? Where are we going to walk?
TB: I'll be at your office in 10 minutes, let's go for a walk by the river.

And so the two of us spent our lunch walking along the river as Thatboy vented about his rough day. After work he headed out to surf away his troubles and I came home to find Thatdog waiting for me with an expectant look on his face. Thinking perhaps he needed a bathroom break, I took him for a short walk. At which point he ran up to my neighbor's car and sat himself beside the car, ready to go. I guess he had a rough day too that only a trip to the dog park would cure. And so I did the unthinkable. I didn't want to disappoint Thatdog so I prepared the roast chicken, put it in the oven, and headed out. WHAT???? YOU LEFT THE APARTMENT WITH THE OVEN ON? I know, I'm a terrible person and an arsonist. But, to be fair, I knew Thatboy would be home from surfing shortly and really, it's not like I sit and watch the oven when I'm home.

I came home to a husband who was in a much better mood, and an apartment that smelled wonderful. Really wonderful. "The chicken smells so good!" I exclaimed as I walked in, as if I wasn't responsible for the enticing aroma. And in truth, perhaps I'm not. Reichl points out that everyone makes a big to do about roasting chicken, but she considers it the easiest thing to do. And frankly, she's right. I remember being so scared to cook a whole bird, and now I throw one in the oven and leave the house!

There are three recipes tonight because Reichl combines them to create "a frugal repast" for one of her identities. This chapter, about an invisible woman made me cry a little. This meal is something Reichl imagines her invisible woman would enjoy because it's simple, it's cheap, and there are lots of leftovers. The chicken is basic, but really there is no trick to roasting chicken. It's always basic and it's always fantastic. And it drives Thatdog crazy since chicken is his most favorite food. I did love the crunchy garlicy potatoes that roast along with the chicken. As for the watercress, Thatboy kept insisting it was spinach. When I told him it wasn't he said "why would you substitute something for spinach if it tastes like spinach? Why not just use spinach?" Reichl claims that the watercress has a spicy bite, but we didn't get that. The color is gorgeous though. And the rhubarb? This is the first time I've ever made rhubarb! I liked it a lot. The sugar made it so sweet, and it still hard a tartness to it like my favorite berries. Thatboy said it was his favorite part of the meal.

The only problem with this meal is the insane amount of dishes - pots, pans, roasters, food processors, bowls. Luckily since I have been superwife today I got to sit back and relax while Thatboy took care of clean up. Which to me is definitely the perfect end to a meal.

Roast chicken with garlic, onions, and potatoes
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 3-4 smallish Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large onion, large, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F/200 deg Celsius.
  2. Wash chicken and pat dry. Remove and reserve any extra fat from inside the chicken.
  3. Very gently run your fingers between the breast and skin, from the neck, loosening the skin from the breast on both sides. Don't puncture the skin.
  4. Place the excess fat underneath the skin. This way the chicken will baste itself.
  5. Puncture the lemon all over with a fork, and place inside the chicken.
  6. Pour the olive oil intoa roasting pan to make a thin film over the bottom. Toss the potatoes, onion and garlic into the pan and turn until they are covered in oil.
  7. If you have a rack, put the chicken on it and jiggle things to fit over the potatoes and onion. Otherwise, just put the chicken right into the pan.
  8. Roast for about 1 hour, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 170.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. (I'd put it into a warming oven).
  10. Carve chicken into serving pieces, surround with the potatoes, onion and garlic, and squeeze the lemon over the top.
Serves 4.
Each serving has:

Calories 505
Total Fat 5.7 g
Total Carbohydrate 65 g
Protein 46.0 g

Pureed Watercress
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 12 pieces.
  • 4 bunches of watercress
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • pepper
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and the potato. Cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the watercress to the boiling water, and when it has come back to a boil, cook for 1 minute. Drain in a colander, pressing the vegetables to extract as much water as possible.
  3. Put the watercress and potato into a food processor, and whirl until it forms a smooth puree. Add butter and whirl again until it has been incorporated.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Calories 141.8
Total Fat 11.5 g
Total Carbohydrate 8 g
Protein 2.1g

Roasted Rhubarb
  • 2 lbs rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Mix the rhubarb and sugar together, put into an ovenproof dish, and roast in a hot oven (anywhere from 325-425 will do fine) for about 30 minutes.
  2. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Calories 171
Total Fat .4 g
Total Carbohydrate 42.6 g
Protein 1.8 g


  1. You left the oven on and left home??? [shaking head]

  2. i love the "i cook, you clean" rule.

    too bad it doesn't often work that way.

  3. wait, that doesn't make it a "rule," then. "deal"? that sounds better.

  4. I am gonna try the rhubarb. I haven't ever cooked it before because well, I think I might have been afraid of it. But, since you lived to tell about it maybe I shall too...will let you know how it goes.

  5. I could really go for a roast chicken.

    It's nice that you and Thatboy can meet up for a walk by the river mid-day. Plus, surfing after work (although I've never tried surfing before) sounds like a great stress reliever.

  6. I'm also guilty of leaving while the oven's on. Glad you were able to hold down the fort for husband & dog. :)

  7. I've still never roasted a whole chicken! And I leave home with the oven on too [hangs head in shame]

  8. That chicken LOOKS so good~! haha I have to admit, Im guilty of leaving my oven on when I leave the house (ONLY sometimes though! when I know its safe) hehe

  9. all of it looks so tasty.

    perfect dinner for a rough day.

  10. That watercress IS a great color! It all looks wonderful.

  11. I wish this meal had been waiting for ME tonight!

  12. I can program my convection oven to have dinner waiting for me when I get home. Of course, with my changing schedule I might come home to burnt chicken carcass but the option is there to make a gorgeous meal like this during the work week:D