Roast Chicken

I can pretty much say this is the go-to meal at our house. It is perfect for during the week or even for entertaining. I think my family knows that if they come over for dinner on a Saturday night there is a 50/50 chance this will be on the menu (the other option is normally pasta of some sort). They are probably sick of it, but they haven’t complained yet.

Chef Jonathan Waxman really knows what he is doing. My husband and I watched him make this on TV once and thought, that looks so delicious, and really not too difficult. Proving again that if you have really good quality ingredients, making food delicious is pretty easy. The key is committing to basting EVERY 8 minutes. I’m not sure why it is 8 and not 10, but who am I to question Obi Wan Kenobi? He knows things, I tell you.

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The skin is so delicious you will swear it was seared first. It gets so crispy and since the chicken is cut up into pieces, it cooks really quickly.

We have made tons of variations on this. Sometimes we change the citrus from lemon to orange or lime, add different herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc) once I used Tandoori spice and it was awesome.

You can change this up so many ways and it will come out delicious every time. I promise. If  it doesn’t, come over to my house any given Saturday night and I will apologize personally by serving you roast chicken.

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This is the tandoori spiced version.

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Make sure you use a cast iron skillet. They work the best!

  

Roast Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. 1 whole chicken, cut in pieces
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 lemon, cut in half
  4. Salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large cast iron skillet.
  4. Rub the other tablespoon of oil onto all the chicken pieces.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of all pieces with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  6. Cut lemon in half and place cut side down in the pan.
  7. Place chicken in oven and baste every 8 minutes until chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees). This normally takes about 35-40 minutes.
  8. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. There are so many variations on this. Make it your own! You can use any seasonings you like and any high-temperature oil. We actually used duck fat once and it was amazing.
Adapted from Jonathan Waxman's Roast Chicken
Steph in Symmetry http://stephinsymmetry.com/

 

 

Missing The Keys

Some of my favorite family memories involve the Florida Keys. We have been taking trips there annually since I was young. Some of the most important life events have happened in the Keys. My sister and brother-in-law were engaged and later married there, my very best friend was also engaged there. Some of my favorite memories come from time spent in the Keys. The Keys stretch out from just South of Miami to the Southernmost Point in Key West. We tend to spend most of our time in the Upper Keys (Key Largo, Tavernier, Islamorada). We also love Key West and the Lower Keys when we have the opportunity to go further south. It is a whole different world once you cross the Overseas Highway and enter the Keys. Things are more laid back, the water is gorgeous, the fishing is awesome, and most of all the food is amazing. You would expect the seafood to be delicious as the waters surrounding the Keys are filled with sea life and most places do not disappoint.

One of our very favorite places to eat in Key Largo is The Fish House. You must go when you are there as it is one of those places where you will have a great “Keys Experience”. The fish is always fresh and local. You can order your fish of choice several different ways, but I always choose the“Matecumbe” preparation. It is a combination of tomatoes, onions capers, lemon and olive oil, poured on top of your fish of choice. It is magical. The menu says “often copied but never duplicated”. This is so true, but I still try  to capture the flavors myself at home when I can.

While at the coast over the weekend we picked up some fresh Cobia. Cobia is very mild and when it is available we always try to pick some up. Since we had the fish component, I wanted to see if I could try to replicate the flavors of the “Matecumbe” sauce.

The Fish House’s version has capers and basil. Both of which I forgot to get while I was at the store. But I did have some green olives and spinach so I substituted that and it was really delicious. It is true though, although this version was pretty good, it is definitely not as good as the original. I guess that means we will just have to make a trip back down there soon.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of us in the Keys.

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Us way before kids in Key West. What am I doing with my arm?

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Little Man’s first trip to the Keys (approx 6 months)

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This was the first trip for The Princess (approx 7 months)

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Lobster!

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Okay, enough of that here is the recipe.

 

Cobia "Matecumbe"
One of our favorite fish dishes from one of our favorite places.
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Ingredients
  1. 5 tomatoes, diced
  2. 1/2 red onion, diced
  3. 2 shallots, diced
  4. 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  5. 1 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1 to 2 cobia (or any mild fish) fillets
Instructions
  1. Combine tomato, onion, shallots, green olives, and spinach in a bowl.
  2. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stir.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Place oven rack 6 inches from top element.
  5. Preheat broiler to 500 degrees.
  6. Sprinkle each filet with salt and pepper and creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachare's).
  7. Place under the broiler for approximately 4 minutes a side*. *This all depends on the size of the fillets, you will just need to keep an eye on them).
  8. To serve, top each filet with 1/2-1 cup of the topping.
Notes
  1. This topping can be used on just about anything. It is awesome on fish but just as good on chicken, steak, eggs (you get the idea). Enjoy!
Adapted from The Fish House "Fish Matecumbe Recipe"
Steph in Symmetry http://stephinsymmetry.com/

 

 

Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

We like cookies a lot in our little world. My kids tend to like sugar cookies. Sprinkles for the Princess, and plain for Little Man. I seem to veer towards cookies that have that salty/sweet thing going. My favorite chocolate chip cookies are saltier than sweet and always have semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate rather than milk. I also like cookies with “stuff” in them. I made this cookie once and I seriously thought I would die. So good.

I came across my Grandmother’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe and  it has just the right amount of “stuff” in it.  Her recipe calls for oats, and chopped nuts (there is actually a note on the top of her recipe card that says “good with nuts & raisins”).  Where I would normally empty out the pantry/fridge to find things to put in cookies, when it comes to oatmeal cookies, I really only like oats. I know lots of people like raisins as well, but in our family we never really put them in. I really like the flavor of a buttery, sugary oatmeal cookie without the addition of nuts and/or raisins.

I actually found two recipes in her collection for Oatmeal Cookies. One called for butter and shortening and the other just shortening. I decided to use the one without butter as I like to think it is meant for my cousin Jessica who can’t have butter. Plus, I just like to think of Jessica because she is far away and I miss her and she is one of three people that read this. So this is for you. Tee hee.

Here is Grandmother’s recipe card.

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Here is what I changed:

I used 3/4 cup of Coconut Oil instead of shortening, I also used 3/4 cup of maple syrup in place of the white sugar. Lastly, I substituted whole wheat flour for all purpose. Her recipe also called for Quick Oats and I used Old Fashioned.

I creamed the coconut oil and eggs then added the syrup as a liquid ingredient before the dry mix.

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Then I added the oats and mixed by hand.

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I used a parchment-lined baking sheet and my handy ice cream scooper to portion. It yielded just shy of 3 dozen (33 to be exact)

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The verdict:

I really like the cookies. I think the substitutions work well for what I was trying to accomplish. A healthier version of the real thing. They aren’t as buttery as I REALLY like, but I am happy with the healthified version and maybe next time I will add something like applesauce for added moisture.

Here is my recipe. Hope you enjoy.

 

Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 33
A healthy variation on the basic oatmeal cookie
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup coconut oil
  2. 3/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 11/2 cups whole wheat flour
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand-up mixer with paddle attachment, cream the coconut oil and brown sugar. Once combined, add eggs one at a time. Then add maple syrup and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the wet mixture in batches.
  4. Stir in oats by hand.
  5. Using a ice cream scoop, drop dough on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Notes
  1. I recommend flattening the cookies with a fork just before baking.The recipe makes just shy of 3 dozen cookies.
Adapted from from Doris "Grandmother" Hand
Adapted from from Doris "Grandmother" Hand
Steph in Symmetry http://stephinsymmetry.com/
 xo