Garlic, Garlic, Garlic

There are some major changes happening in my life so the blog format will be changing, too. However, the explanation can wait…recipes first, chitter chatter later.

This post may result in an incredulous e-mail from my mother but…I have discovered a new way to roast a chicken. I realize that’s kind of like saying “I discovered a new way to roll a wheel” but, hey, try it.

This chicken is very loosely based on the Judy Rodgers’ version (of Zuni Café fame). Basically, you wash, pat dry and salt a chicken as soon as you know you want to have it for dinner. The original recipe states 24 hours but I usually only figure out dinner the day of.

You salt and pepper the whole chicken (be liberal, it’s ok), put the chicken back on a platter and stick it in the fridge. The cold, dry air of your refrigerator will help yield a crispy chicken skin and extremely juicy meat.

Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before you intend to cook it so that it can come to room temperature. A cold chicken won’t cook evenly. Preheat your oven to 400F (see note below as you may need to heat your oven to 425 or even 450).

Here’s another secret… separate the cloves from a bulb of garlic. Leave them unpeeled. Stick them into the chicken cavity and seal the cavity with a toothpick. Super garlicky chicken + amazing roasted garlic = love.

Roast the chicken breast side up for 20 minutes, flip and roast breast side down for another 20 minutes (for even cooking), and finally turn again and roast breast-side up for the final 20 minutes. That’s it. One hour in a hot oven + resting and you will be amazed at how juicy and delicious your chicken is.

Crispy Garlicky Roasted Chicken

**UPDATE: You may want to roast your chicken for another 10 minutes or so if you cut into it and the thigh is still pink near the bone. Or you can raise the temperature of your oven by 25 or 50 degrees. This depends on your oven and your personal preferences. Just be careful not to over-cook. My oven is very small so it is very hot and 60 minutes  at 400 degrees does the trick. As with many recipes, your mileage may vary! Enjoy.

– One 3-4lb chicken

– 1.5 tsp sea salt

– 1 tsp pepper

– 1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated but left unpeeled

1. Salt and pepper chicken as soon as you think of roasting on – sometime between 2 and 24 hours before. Return salted chicken to the refrigerator.

2. Remove chicken 1 hour before ready to cook and allow to come to room temperature, more or less.

3. Preheat oven to 400F and fill cavity with garlic cloves and seal cavity closed using a toothpick.

4. Using a small* roasting pan or dish, add a little olive oil to the pan and then add the chicken breast side up. Roast 20 minutes.

5. Turn chicken breast side down and continue to roast another 20 minutes.

6. Flip chicken once more and roast breast side up for the final 20 minutes.

7. Allow chicken to rest for 20 minutes so that juices can redistribute. Remove roasted garlic from cavity and serve alongside chicken.

*It is essential to use a roasting pan or dish or even pie plate approximately the same size of your chicken. This will ensure that the juices and fat that come from the chicken don’t burn.

JD and I were actually thinking that roasted chicken should be our new Sunday thing. You can’t beat the smell of a bird in the oven, now can you? Plus when I brought JD a sample of chicken to taste his response was something like “Ohhh yeahh!!!” (think of the Kool-Aid man here, folks).

Another brainwave that I had last night was to use pesto as salad dressing. For reasons I will elaborate on later, I can’t have any vinegar so life is a bit dull where salads are concerned. Anyway I don’t have a name for this salad, it just floated into my mind. Maybe I’ll call it Pesto Salad…

I forgot to buy pine nuts….almonds it is!

The ubiquitous magic bullet

Pesto Salad (serves 2 generously)

– 3-4 cups mixed greens (I love love love pre-washed greens)

– 2 roma tomatoes, sliced (or the best tomatoes you can find in winter)

– 2 oz of soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

For the Pesto

– 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds

– 2 cloves garlic, peeled

– 2 cups basil, loosely packed

– 1/4 cup olive oil (be geneous, this is a salad dressing after all)

– 1-2 tsbp of lemon juice, to taste

1. In a large bowl, arrange the tomatoes and the mixed greens, set aside.

2. For the pesto, toast the nuts in a hot, dry pan until they start to brown, about 3-4 minutes (watch closely).

3. To a food processor, blender or magic bullet, add the basil, garlic, lemon juice, nuts and olive oil. Blend until smooth. If pesto is too thick, add more olive oil.

4. Spoon desired amount of dressing over salad, toss. Top with crumbled goat’s cheese.

I recently had some allergy testing done – 6 vials of blood later, quite a lot of foods and environmental elements are tested in a lab and the results returned to my doctor. It seems I am allergic to eggs and yeast. Who knew?! We were certainly shocked. Not only that, many of the symptoms and weird ailments I have been experiencing can be tied in to a yeast overgrowth. Everyone has both good bacteria and yeast in their gut. However, if yeast grows unchecked, it can release toxins into your body causing all manner of ridiculous symptoms: fatigue, mood swings, inability to lose weight, ear, nose and eye issues, gastrointestinal issues….I could go on.

Having learned all of this, my doctor recommended that I follow what is known as the Candida Diet. It is essentially a way of eating that does not include any foods that feed yeast – think sugary, starchy foods along with fruits, vinegars, mushrooms, alcohol, etc. Sounds hard, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. It is very similar to a diet low in carbohydrates but is at the same time more restrictive and less restrictive than a low-carb diet. By which I mean, no vinegar means no condiments such as mustard, bbq sauce, hot sauce, soya sauce, etc. Vinegar feeds yeast. On the other hand, there is room for whole grains, nuts and legumes in moderation.

So all this to say my blog will take on something of a healthier spin. I will still be baking, I just may not be the one eating my creations. I should also point out that the Candida Diet is challenging even for experienced cooks. By blogging about it, hopefully the recipes and meals I come up with can help others. I know there is a LOT of contradictory information on the internet about the Candida Diet so my approach has been to go by what my doctor recommends and take it slow. I tried some whole wheat noodles at sushi the other day – that was a huge no. I tried some unsweetened coconut milk (now packaged like rice, soy or almond milk) and that was a huge YES.

So stay tuned for a mixture of low-carb, candida-killing, super tasty and healthy posts.