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Geauga Family Farms Winter CSA – Week Three

17 Nov

Geauga Family Farms Winter CSA – Week Three

On the way over to the CSA today, Zak and I saw two young pit bull puppies running around together.  It was dark and snowing they had absolutely no street sense – darting across the road willy-nilly, including when cars were coming and going.  We were on side streets, so we pulled over.  We both got out and called to the puppies but they continued to scamper away.  We followed them as long as we could before they went into some backyards and we lost sight of them, when I called police department.  The very nice lady who answered the phone stated they would send out a unit and call animal control.  It didn’t look like the poor things had collars on.  I hate seeing stray dogs – particularly stray pits, because of the terrible prejudice against the breed.  It makes me angry and sad that someone might have simply let them go on the streets.  These dogs were fairly young – maybe five or six months – and it’s so cold out tonight.  I wish I could have coaxed them into the car.

I apologize for my dog-related tangent.  But I hope this serves as a reminder that when you see stray or lost dogs, you should call someone.  It might not always be the wisest move to approach them.  Use your best judgment.  But at the least, note their location and call information for local animal control.

Anyway … this week’s basket included seven golden beets, a head of cauliflower, bok choy, a pie pumpkin, two heads of lettuce (one red and one green), half a dozen potatoes, and a pumpkin roll.  I’m very excited about the beets, which always get used due to their excellent freeze-ability, the cauliflower, because we haven’t seen any since last year’s winter share to my recollection, and the pumpkin, because, well, ’tis the season.

Leftovers from last week include loads of lettuce, some butternut squash, a bit of the red Russian kale, and the daikon radish (which I am planning on pickling for a crudites platter for Thanksgiving).

For this week, I plan to roast some of the cauliflower in one form or another and pickle some of the rest of it.  I’m not sure what to do with the beets, but I’m thinking about roasting them and then making some sort of beet vinaigrette as a salad dressing – especially since I so desperately in need of using up lettuce.  The pumpkin roll is going into the freezer to bring to a Thanksgiving celebration.  Other than that, I’m not sure!

Spicy Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

17 Nov

I am well aware that I have a bit of a problem with roast chicken.  I love it.  I love the smell of it, the taste of it, the texture of it, the copious leftovers, and the bones to throw in a large pot with some vegetables for beautiful, flavorful, gelatinous, stock.  This is a particularly satisfying version, with a really pronounced but pleasant spice.  The array of root vegetables picked up a hint of the spice while slowly being basted in the juices of the chicken.  Yum!

Spicy Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

Spicy Brine:

1 4 lb. whole fryer

2-3 cups water per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup white sugar per lb. of chicken

1 small red onion halved

1 tangerine, quartered

1 apple, quartered

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tbs. whole black pepper corns

1 tbs. chili powder

1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning

1 tbs. garlic hot sauce

2 tsp. paprika

2 bay leaves

Spicy Rub:

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

Freshly cracked black pepper

To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water.  A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved.  It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar.  Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken.  This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.

Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding more water or ice if necessary.  Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).

Remove chicken from brining solution by straining through a colander.  Make sure you save all brining ingredients.  Dress the chicken with as much onion, apple, and tangerine as possible.

Mix together ingredients for the spicy rub.  Rub all over the chicken, including underneath the skin and inside the cavity.

Allow the chicken to rest overnight, at least 18 hours.  This allows most of the moisture to evaporate from the skin of the chicken, which will result in a crispier skin (my favorite part!).

Spicy Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables:

Brined and dry-rubbed spicy chicken, from above

3-4 small potatoes, halved

5-6 small turnips, ends trimmed and peeled

1 large radish, ends trimmed, halved

2 small onions, halved and peeled

Preheat oven to 475°.

In a deep roasting pan with fitted lid, place potatoes, onion, tomato, and zucchini.  Toss with 1 tbs. of the olive oil.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and place top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.  Rub remaining tbs. olive oil over the chicken and season with garlic powder, dried parsley, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Feel free to season the vegetables with some of the seasonings as well.

Place chicken in preheated oven on center rack.  Roast at 475° for 15 minutes or until skin is light golden brown.  After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°.  Roast chicken roughly 20 minutes per pound (rounding up to nearest pound), or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 165º.   Baste both the chicken and vegetables occasionally.  For last 30 minutes of cooking, place lid on the roasting pan.

When fully cooked, remove chicken from oven keep covered.  Rest 15-20 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and result in a tender, juicy bird.

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