a local meal

Last Saturday when Dan and I were at the farmer's market picking up the our CSA we randomly decided to buy a chicken.  We figured we could cook it and then eat it for the rest of the week.  We got it from Cheryl the Pig Lady who, despite the name, also offers steak and chicken.  We weren't able to get meat in our CSA this year, which was fine since I'm trying to cut back on meat anyway.  But we still do enjoy the occasional meat dish, and this was my first time getting meat from the farmer's market! It was also my first time roasting a whole chicken!  I've made chicken breasts before and some other things, but never a whole chicken.  It turned out pretty well, I think!

Since we had picked up the CSA, and we'd also grabbed some cheese at the market, we decided to make an entirely locally sourced meal.  The meat was from Cheryl, the veggies and basil from Little Eorthe (our CSA farm), the bread from Macrina Bakery, the butter from Smith Brothers, the feta from Twin Oaks Creamery.  The only non local part of the meal was the Sofia Riesling, which is from California.  I'm not sure I've ever had a riesling before, but it went great with our dinner and appetizer!  I've been drinking more light wines this summer, rather than the dark reds I usually go for.  Whites and rosés are so perfect for hot summer days, especially because they are typically served chilled.  I've always felt like more of a beer girl than a wine girl, but I've slowly been enjoying wines more.  After going on a winery tour when I was in Sonoma on my Brave trip, I was enthralled with the rich history and craftsmanship that wine making involves!  I still have a bottle from that trip that I've been meaning to drink on a special occasion. I bought two bottles and we drank the first when we got engaged... or married... I can't remember.  

While the chicken was roasting, I made a little bruschetta to go on crostinis with the feta.  I love making bruschetta because it only takes a couple minutes and it tastes so good.  We've got a cherry tomato plant in our garden that is about to start giving us ripe tomatoes, so I predict lots of bruschetta in the future!  One semester in college I pretty much lived off of bruschetta on crostini.  For a few summers back when I was living in Anchorage with my family, my parents let some friends who are missionaries in Italy stay in our house for the summer while they were on furlough, and they taught some cooking classes while they were at the house.  They've lived in Italy for many years now, so they've learned so many amazing recipes, and this is one that stuck with me.

Basic Bruschetta

Grape Tomatoes
Olive Oil
French Bread Baguette or Artisinal Italian bread loaf

1.Take the grape tomatoes and dice them up into little pieces, I halve them, then quarter each half. How much you make really depends on how hungry you are or how many people you're making it for. I usually just eyeball it, and I don't make that much since I'm just feeding myself. But this is a perfect recipe for an hors d'œuvr, so you can also make a lot if you're feeding a bunch of people.  If I'm feeding a bunch of people I'll usually use a whole container of tomatoes, about 20.

2. Next, take your Basil leaves and chop them into small pieces.  Again, how much you use depends on how much you like basil and how much Bruschetta you're making. I love basil, so the more the merrier, in my opinion! Then, put your basil and diced tomatoes in a little bowl and set them aside.

3. Now, take your bread and slice it up! When I'm just eating alone, I'll just pop the little slices in my toaster, but if you're doing a lot of slices, I'd put them on a cookie sheet and toast them in your oven.

4. Once you've toasted your bread, grab your garlic and pull off a clove. Slice the clove in half and rub it lightly across the toasted bread. This will give it a great taste. You don't even have to rub it very hard on the bread, just a light swipe on each piece will be fine!

5. Then take your olive oil and give the tomatoes and basil a little splash. You don't want too much, just enough to kind of give everything something to stick together. After that, give it some salt. A lot of people are bashful with salt, but one thing our italian missionary friends taught us was that more salt=better. It adds a lot of flavor and find I rarely, if ever, over-salt my bruschetta.

Now you're ready! Just spoon a portion onto each of your pieces of toasted bread and proceed to consume deliciousness! You can also add some cheese to your toast if you like. I started putting thin slices of parmesan cheese on the bread before toasting it in the oven, so it was melted on there. Also delicious.  There are tons of ways to do bruschetta, but I love this simple, quick and easy method.  Plus, it's cheap!


Roasted Chicken with Veggies

(recipe adapted slightly from Real Simple and Prevention)

2 tablespoons softened butter
1 ½ pounds small potatoes (appx 15)
1 pound medium carrots (appx 6)
1 pound radishes (appx 6)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 3.5 to 4 lb chicken
1 lemon
8 sprigs fresh thyme
kitchen twine

1. Heat oven to 425° F and prepare the vegetables. Scrub the potatoes. Peel the carrots and halve them lengthwise, then chop in half. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan or baking dish and toss with the olive oil, plus ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

2. Prick your lemon several times with a  knife and place it in the chicken cavity with the thyme. Rub the outside of the chicken with softened butter and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Tie the chicken's legs together with kitchen twine and place on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.

3. Put the chicken in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, 65-75 minutes, or if you use an instant-read thermometer, it should register 165° F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

I've been obsessed with roasting veggies this summer, so this meal was perfect.  After we had dinner I took the rest of the meat off the chicken and then with what was leftover after that we made a chicken stock!  Dan's been really into making stocks lately.  We've made a couple veggie stocks and this was our first time making a chicken stock.  It's nice because you can freeze it and save it for whenever you need it!  Making stock is also a great way to use some of your kitchen scraps!

photos of me by Dan. wine provided by Francis Ford Coppola winery