Roast Chicken 

 
Some (especially Ina Garten’s husband Jeffrey) would argue that there is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken with vegetables. After smelling my house while this was in the oven, I’d have to agree with them. Sure, you can buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store but it’s just not the same, and not nearly as delicious.

So I implore you to try this simple recipe and you won’t be sorry. Feel free to make it your own, increase the quantity of ingredients to feed a larger crowd or add different veggies, slices, herbs, etc. Let’s get started!  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds small red potatoes (about 15)
  • 1 pound medium carrots (about 6)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 3 ½- to 4-pound chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Place the butter on a plate and set it aside to soften. 
  • Heat oven to 425° F (I used the convection setting and it worked beautifully) and begin preparing the vegetables. Scrub the potatoes. Peel the carrots, halve them lengthwise, and cut them crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
  • Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan or baking dish and toss with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. 
  • Remove the neck and the bag of giblets from inside the cavity of the chicken and discard them. (Thankfully, my chicken didn’t come with any of these but just in case…)
  • Pat the bird dry with paper towels.
  •  Prick the lemon several times with a sharp knife and place it in the chicken along with the thyme.
  •  Rub the outside of the chicken with the softened butter and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. 
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine or a handy reusable silicone kitchen tie like I have, found here. Place on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. It should look like this!Like my roasting pan? It’s Rachel Ray stoneware, get your own here!
  • Put the chicken in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, 65 to 75 minutes. (If you use an instant-read thermometer, it should register 165° F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.) 
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.  
  • Serve & enjoy!  
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Tangy Tomato Tart

I love alliteration, have you noticed? But I couldn’t resist adding “tangy” to this blog post title because what better word could describe the creamy tangy goodness that is goat cheese?!  

 Who knew that something so simple could taste so good? Goat cheese, with its pristine white color and distinct flavor is one of the most amazing foods in the world — a humble basic for some, a gourmet delight for others.

Notice what wholefoods.com has to say about this dairy delight…

Who knew that something so simple could taste so good? Goat cheese, with its pristine white color and distinct flavor is one of the most amazing foods in the world — a humble basic for some, a gourmet delight for others.

Our selection of goat cheeses ranges from creamy, mild spreads to pungent, crumbly discs to reinterpretations of favorite cow’s milk cheeses. It’s an essential part of any cheese plate, a course in itself or the secret behind the subtle tang in favorite recipes. Have a taste and enjoy the modest yet noble virtues of goat cheese.

Why we Love Goat Cheese

Variety! Goat cheeses can range in taste from strong and pungent, to delicate and mild. They come in many shapes: cone, disc, wheel, “button,” the log-like bûche (say: boosh) and the puck-like crottin (say: cro-TAN). They delight with textures from creamy to crumbly to semi-firm. They are sold fresh, aged or marinated in olive oil or red wine. They may get coated in herbs (lavender is fantastic), black pepper, edible flowers and yes, even chocolate.

An Ancient Tradition Lives On

Goats were some of the first domesticated animals, thus the art of making goat cheese has a very long history. It began in the Eastern Mediterranean thousands of years ago, spreading through both mountains and deserts into Spain and France where it was heavily adopted.

Today goat cheese remains a staple of the Mediterranean diet, while North America furthers the tradition by producing an abundance of fabulous goat cheeses of its own. Many come from cherished, small, local producers with unique regional flavors. Others are from renowned cheese makers who have won international awards for their creations.

Nutrition and Goat Cheese

Compared to cow’s milk products such as cream cheese, goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. It also provides more calcium than cream cheese. Even though goat cheese has fewer calories, it has a full, rich and creamy flavor. Goat cheeses at Whole Foods Market® are all natural with no artificial additives or preservatives.

Now let’s get to the matter at hand, that gorgeous tart at the top of the page you’re drooling over! Have an abundance of end of summer tomatoes but no idea what to do with them? Try this delicious and easy tomato goat cheese tart. Make it as an appetizer or a main dish with salad. Or hey, even breakfast, why not?! All you need is 4 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:

Beauty & The Butcher’s Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

1 small log goat cheese room temp

1 store bought pie crust

2 oz. Cream Cheese room temp

6 plum tomatoes or 3 large of whatever variety you like

Preheat oven to 350. Line tart pan with pie crust and trim edges if necessary. If you don’t have a tart pan (a round shallow pan with fluted edges and a removable bottom) then I highly suggest getting one, they’re very affordable and can be found in most stores. A pie plate will do in a pinch though. Mix the cream cheese and goat cheese in a bowl with a little kosher salt (I used a goat cheese with herbs already infused into it but if you can’t find it then use plain and add whatever herbs you like such as thyme, rosemary, and basil.) Spread cheese (it must be room temperature or spreading it will be very difficult and you will risk tearing the crust) mixture on top of crust in a thin even layer. Slice tomatoes in thin rounds, squeeze out extra juices, and layer them, covering the cheese until you can’t see it anymore. Sprinkle with kosher salt and more herbs if you’d like. Bake for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool for about an hour to firm up any remaining tomato juice. Reheat briefly before serving or serve at room temp. Enjoy!

  

how much wood would a woodchuck chuck…

Chuck roast. I asked the butcher for a good definition and this is what he sent me…

“This particular cut of meat comes from the sub primal cut known as the chuck, an area located near the neck and shoulder area of the steer. It’s very popular as a ground meat due to its high fat content but is also delicious left whole and served as a roast. The fatty tissue, collagen, (no Botox necessary) melts for the most part during long cooking methods and makes for a delicious meal.”

Smart and funny! I picked a good one, that’s for sure! That may be the technical definition but I, however, define it as the ultimate air freshener and perfect meal on a cold rainy day like today. I decided to combine a few of my favorite recipes and flavors to make the perfect pot roast. Give it a try, I dare you. 

Beauty & The Butcher’s Pot Roast  

Ingredients

  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • Chuck Roast apx. 4 lbs.
  • 1 good sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (don’t you just love Dijon mustard? I feel it’s an under utilized condiment that adds a tangy distinguished flavor to many dishes. Not to mention the grey poupon jokes.)
  •  a handful of thyme. obviously fresh sprigs would be prefered but I only had dry on hand and it’ll do pig, it’ll do.
  •  2 cups beef broth
  • several carrots (honestly whatever you have on hand and yay! no peeling! just chop off the ends)
  • kosher salt & black pepper

* side note: you may have noticed the lack of potatoes in the list of ingredients. this was done purposely. although most traditional roast recipes call for them, I find that after cooking for such a long period of time the potatoes become mealy and mushy. that combined with the fact that I make a pretty mean mashed potato, i prefer to prepare them separately, mash them, and serve the roast atop the delicious spuds.) All that being said, add potatoes if you want, it will still be yummy.

Instructions

  •  Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven (i love my blessed discounted le crueset dutch oven! If you don’t have one then a crock pot should work too) over high heat.
  • Season chuck roast well with salt and pepper, add to pan and brown well on all sides (a few minutes a side.)
  • Remove roast and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion to drippings in pot and reduce heat to medium.
  • Sauté onions until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, increase heat to medium-high and boil until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 4-5 more minutes. 
  • Stir in Dijon. Man I wish you could smell this right now!
  • Set roast on top of onions in pot.
  • Pour in 2 cups beef broth and add thyme. 
  • Cover and place in oven for 2 1/2 hours or until very tender.
    Add carrots and to pot and return to oven. Continue cooking until they are tender, about 30 minutes or more depending on how you like your carrots.
  • Season again with s&p, serve over a bed of mashed taters, and enjoy!

Me Gusto Carnitas

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Carnitas, literally “little meats,” is a dish of Mexican cuisine. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork meat in liquid until tender. The process takes several hours (of which you can be in the pool if you want, all hail the crock pot!) and the result is very tender and juicy pork meat, which is then typically served with cilantro, diced onion, salsa (and corn salsa in my case), guacamole, tortillas, and beans. And that, my friends, is exactly what we did. If you haven’t had carnitas, you are missing out. But you don’t have to go to a restaurant to get it, the recipe is actually quite simple and your friends and family will love you forever. I mean they already should love you unconditionally, but incase you’re on the outs with some of them, this will definitely help.😉

Beauty & The Butcher Carnitas

2 1/2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder (or a Boston Butt as the butcher calls it)
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together (you can use twine but I love using reusable silicone rubberbands you can find them at any kitchen supply)
2 bay leaves
12 oz. bottle Mexican beer
1/4 C. orange juice
2 – 3 T. chipotle peppers in adobo (these are in a can in your Latin foods aisle, remove them from can and purée in blender, freeze what you don’t use and be careful, these things will knock your socks off!)
generous amounts of kosher salt & fresh black pepper

Put everything into your crock pot. Cover and set it to cook for 6 hours. After the first few hours you can stir everything around a bit if you’d like, but it’s not totally necessary.

After six hours (or when the pork reaches 190 degrees with a meat thermometer) remove the tenderloin pieces onto a cutting board. They will be so tender, they’ll be falling apart you can shred them with a fork. Remove and throw away the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Shred the pork and return to the slow cooker with its sauce. Keep it on the warm setting until ready to use. You can also easily double this recipe in fact, I recently double quadrupled it to feed 60 people and it was still easy and delicious!