Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No Recipe recipe: Throw A Chicken in the oven!

Real food shouldn't be that complicated, right?  But sometimes it just is.   Jobs, kids, housework, errands, and life in general can get in the way.  Not to mention our culture's elevated expectations of a home cooked dinner.  (Thanks, restaurants.)

When I read my vintage magazines and cookbooks I always notice how simple the meals sound.  Yes, there are some organ meats on occasion and Jello makes an appearance in both sweet and savory forms, but most recipes are for busy families who want a nutritious meal.  (Isn't that what we want today too?)  Real food was a given.  That's all there was until about the 50's.  I also note how little detail was given in the instructions.  The reader is assumed to have some basic cooking knowledge, even those written for the new bride.  Tracie McMillan elaborates on this point in her book, The American Way  of Eating.  See my review here.  Better yet pick up a copy and read it for yourself!  (I don't personally know Tracie- just really loved her book.)

So what does a quasi-foodie mom make for dinner on soccer/rehearsal night (Both my daughters are into theater.  Two different shows at two different locations with two different schedules.  My car is three years old and has almost 50K miles!) when there's also a Target run on the agenda?  She throws a chicken in the oven!

Check out the video on You Tube!

The details:

1 Whole chicken with the organ sack removed from the body cavity
3-4T Olive oil
A mixture of herbs:  Garlic, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme (Others that are good are Sage, Parsley, Oregano, Basil, or Paprika.  Any combination is good, assuming you like the herb.)
Salt and Pepper
An onion if you have it
A lemon if you have it
1/2C White wine if you have it

Preheat the oven to either 350 or 300.  See note below*.

Mix all of the herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Coat chicken with olive oil.  Rub the entire bird with the herb mixture.  Pour the wine over the chicken.  Squeeze the lemon over the chicken.  Put a few onion and squeezed lemon quarters in the cavity.  Sprinkle the herb mixture in there too.

Add any veggies you want.  (Potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, Brussels spouts are good.  See my Vegetable post for more details.)    Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with the herb mixture if you have any left or just use salt and pepper.

Cover the chicken with tin foil.  Cook for 1 hour at 350.  Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes to brown the top.  You can speed up the browning by raising the temp to 425.

That's it!  YUMMMMMM.

That note* about the oven temp.  If you are making this ahead or aren't going to be home (and feel comfortable leaving the oven on a low temp) set the oven to 300.  You'll need to cook the chicken for at least 90 minutes.  If you are concerned use a meat thermometer to check for doneness when you get home.  If I remember correctly the temp in the thigh should be 165.  (I think my meat thermometer is buried in the backyard of my old house.  Long story.  There were lots of neighborhood kids over one snow day and it's been missing ever since.)  Your meat thermometer will have the correct temps for many kinds of meat marked on the dial.

Total prep time can be five minutes, once you make this a few times.  Tonight I made it while my son got his snack and found his uniform.  (It was all ready for him!)  My oldest daughter came home 10 minutes before me and raised the oven temp and took off the foil so it was really ready to hit the table within minutes of walking in the door.  Nice!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A few pics of a new house on the market. It's SWANK-Y!!

Hi!  Some of you really liked the vintage kitchen post I did a few weeks ago so when I saw this local real estate listing I knew I had to share the pics!  The home was a custom built mid century modern home.  While this isn't my favorite vintage home style I loved this home's spacious rooms and abundance of natural light.  It was built in 1957.  

So let the swankiness begin!

This is the basement kitchen.  Yep these partiers had what appears to be a full kitchen.  And it's even  fuller than with a built in Rat Pack bar.

 A close up of the Rat Pack bar.

Here is the main kitchen.  Looks like it may have been painted white in the 80's.  Notice the sliding cabinet door on the bottom right.  Also the shuttered upper cabinets.  Really nice size kitchen for the age of the home.  I also love the back door.  Kitchens should always have a back door in my opinion.  Good for kids, dogs, and trash.

This home also had pretty cool bathrooms.  Love the toilet paper nook under the window.  (At least that's what I assume it's for.  Maybe feminine supplies in a cute box.  Any ideas?)  I love how there are closed shelves in front of the sinks in addition to the medicine cabinets.  My bathroom, while beautiful, has very little storage.  The family who did the remodel must have been minimalists.

Another bathroom.  The tile was replaced but the cabinet is similar to the other bathroom.  The sink, counter, and tub may be a very light blue.  Maybe the black tile isn't so bad in person…

Here's another picture of the basement.

I love this green sofa.  The peach walls not so much.

I hope you like!  :)


Friday, October 3, 2014

Chesapeake Crabcakes, American Home September 1954

I'm back with a recipe post!  (Finally.)

I found this recipe for Chesapeake Crabcakes in the September 1954 issue of American Home.  It's mostly a decorating magazine but there's always a page or two of recipes formatted in an index card style so they can be cut to fit the reader's recipe box.  Luckily neither Mrs. Katz nor her daughter Mrs. Cohn were scissor happy.

I've always loved crab cakes but I've only eaten them in restaurants.  I've made salmon patties which are sort of similar.  But crab cakes bring to mind elegance and white tablecloths.  Salmon patties are all about a hungry daddy who can't find any leftovers in the fridge after mother has gone to bed.  

Here's the recipe.

Click to enlarge.

The only thing I added was a shake of garlic powder.  The serving size is small.  I made 6 crab cakes using a double recipe.

Here's what they looked like.

I really liked them as did hubby and son.  The girls considered them in the pan and passed, which I expected.  These had a nice homemade quality- not like a gourmet restaurant; like an upgraded version of my daddy's salmon patty recipe.  It was easy to prepare on a busy night and paired with a salad was a nice meal.  I plan on adding fresh garlic when I make them again.  

Let me know if you try it.   :)