smell me something good

October 11th, 2011

There’s an area about two-thirds up the staircase that seems to accumulate various oven essences from the kitchen.  Among our favorites are bread (naturally), baking beans, roast beef and roast chicken.  It could also be something agitating on the stove, like marinara sauce, bacon, curries or gumbos.

We call this area of the stairs, “the smelling station” which is about eight steps above “the petting station” where the cat likes to stop and pause and get petted through the stair railing.  My office is also the kitchen and the man who came to dinner and never left’s office is directly above.  I often holler, “Go check out the smelling station!” which he’s quick to do, and then barks several times or gallops all the way down for a closer sniff.

Chicken 'n Fixin's

Related Recipes

Fool-proof Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce

There are more wacky ways to roast a chicken than I care to count and most of them contribute nothing special to the end result.  The best roast chicken comes from the least amount of fussing, trussing and mussing.

For four servings:

  • 1 6-8 pound chicken, giblets removed
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Pan Sauce:

  • chicken drippings
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Rinse chicken inside and out and place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan.  Blot chicken dry with paper towels.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees an continue to cook until an instant read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in the meatiest part of the thigh.

Remove chicken to a carving board and tent loosely with tin foil.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Make the pan sauce: place roasting pan on the stove over medium heat.  If preferred, remove some of the fat from the roasting pan.  Add the shallot and sauté briefly.  Add the wine and use a wire whisk to pick up any browned bits from the pan.  Whisk in the water and bring to a boil, whisking continuously until a smooth and slightly reduced sauce is achieved.  Swirl in the butter until melted.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and pour into a small saucepan to hold or directly into a warm gravy boat.

Slice or section the chicken and serve with the pan sauce.

Panini Zucchini

Fabulous use of a panini grill that renders up perfectly grilled tender-crisp zucchini slices.

For four servings:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/3 inch thick slices
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out the zucchini slices.  Use a pastry brush to brush each slice with olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper and turn slices over and repeat process.

Cook zucchini on the panini grill until nicely marked and tender and remove to a rack on a cookie sheet.  Keep warm in the oven while finishing the rest of the zucchini.

When ready to serve, top with grated parmesan, if desired.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.