This is How to Make a Cozy Dinner: Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Shallots, and Asparagus

Roast Chicken with Asparagus

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Parboil small red potatoes in water or chicken broth for 10 minutes. Set a rack in the roasting pan and line with parboiled potatoes and 6 whole shallots (tips cut off). Make slits in the skin of a roasting chicken, rub slivers of salted butter under the skin. Cut a lemon into wedges and stuff half of them into the cavity of the bird, scatter the remaining half in with the potatoes and shallots. Drizzle olive oil over the whole shebang and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Put the whole thing into the oven and roast for 50 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove the woody parts of a bunch of asparagus and steam for 5 minutes, give or take, depending on the size. Toss with potatoes and shallots, check for seasoning. Eat on the couch, preferably in your pajamas while reading an Adam Dalgleish police procedural as written by the late, great P.D. James.

Kale and Haloumi Salad

kale haloumi salad

How do you make something tasty for a picnic without actually having gone shopping for the necessary ingredients? The answer is faith in your food pairing instincts and some vague creative idea as to what the finished result will look like. This Kale and Haloumi Salad is just such a happy accident, the kale was saved from the drudges of the crisper drawer and revitalized in a bath of ice water and the haloumi, blessedly cryovaced, had been languishing in the back of my fridge for ages. When serving raw kale I find that it’s best to be careful about removing the rough stems and slicing the vegetable into very fine ribbons before adding to the salad. There’s something rather tough about raw kale and this attention to detail tends to soften the texture of the overall salad. The roasted shallots can easily be replaced by equal amounts of roasted red onions, leeks, scallions, and white onions that have been quartered in their skins and liberally doused with olive oil before cooking. For simplicity’s sake I have baked the haloumi in this recipe, but you may choose to grill, broil, or sear it in a hot pan. Since this was a picnic meal I had this salad alongside my mom’s potato salad and Stoli blueberry vodka mixed with lemonade.

kale and haloumi salad:

1 medium head of kale, tough stems removed and thinly sliced

3 celery ribs, thinly and diagonally sliced into half moons

1 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 raw beet, peeled and grated

3 large shallots, papers left intact

1 250 g block of haloumi

1 lemon, juiced

Generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper

Olive oil, for drizzling

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the haloumi into 1 cm thick slices and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes before removing from heat and drizzling with olive oil  and pepper. When cool enough to handle tear into bite-sized pieces and toss with the juice of 1 lemon.

2. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Lay the shallots in their papers in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with olive and bake for 30-40 minutes until the shallots can be squeezed from their husks without difficulty. When cool enough to handle chop roughly into small pieces.

3. Arrange the kale, celery, parsley, grated carrots and beets, and roasted shallots on a large salad platter. Toss with as much of the salad dressing dressing as you’d like below before scattering the torn pieces of haloumi on top. Serve immediately or within the next couple of hours.

2 lemons, juiced

1/4 cup of fruity olive oil

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 tsp. white sugar

1 chili pepper, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in an empty jar and shake until completely emulsified.

 

The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson dazzles on this Röyksopp track; her voice is blinding and gigantic, grandiose and beautiful. This is a song to instantly draw you back into reality on days when your head feels fuggy and not quite present.

Röyksopp – This Must Be It

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

I bought the green beans for this salad earlier today and I have been extremely tempted all day to make this salad and eat the entire bowl by myself. I think that I probably could because I have a particular affinity for any food item that is pickled, in fact my absolute favourite thing to do is read a John Bellairs book in bed while eating a bowl of pickled pepperoncini peppers. I believe that this is one of the most visually attractive salads you can make; the green and red reminds me of poppies and peonies. By soaking the shallots in red wine vinegar for a few hours prior to assembly you are allowing them to pickle, the longer they are able to sit in the vinegar the pinker the will become . Tonight I made this salad alongside baked trout for myself while Ian paired it with leftover pizza; this recipe’s versatility knows no bounds (I can almost guarantee you I’ll be eating this for breakfast tomorrow morning.) If you can think of other complimentary fresh herbs to add in feel to experiment; basil and mint are my recommendations. You can cook the green beans ahead of time as long as you have a big bowl of ice water to shock them with as soon as they’re out of the pot, this will help them from cooking further and will slow down the inevitable dulling of green.

red and green salad:

1 lb. of green beans

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

4 shallots, thinly sliced into half moons

1 bunch of dill

1 bunch of flatleaf parsley

1/3 cup of red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup of light olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the shallots, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least one hour.

2. Top and tail the green beans and then snip in half with scissors, I find that scissors make a somewhat tedious task pass much faster but then I’ve never claimed to have good knife skills. Fill a large bowl with as much ice as you have and compensate for the rest with water. Steam the beans in a steamer or a regular pot for about 3-4 minutes, you don’t want them to be fully cooked. As soon as they are ready drain them and then immerse completely in the ice bath. They can stay in this water while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

3. Put the cherry tomato halves in a large salad bowl. Once again with the scissors, snip the dill and parsley in with the tomatoes and add the green beans. Combine the vinegar and shallots with the olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper; apply generously to the vegetables. This salad tastes best when it’s been allowed to marinate for at least half an hour and it’s amazing either cold or at room temperature.

Trembling Blue Stars – This Once was an Island

Melancholy pop is one of my favourite types of music so as a huge fan of The Field Mice I see Trembling Blue Stars as an even boppier extension of  Robert Wratten’s songwriting abilities. I think that this band has had a huge influence on bands like The Postal Service and Au Revoir Simone but I much prefer the intricacy of these lyrics to anything derivative I’ve heard so far. I listen to Trembling Blue Stars when I’m walking a lot, sometimes certain music can make absorption of new surroundings intuitive and effortless, I feel this effect immediately when I hear this song.