Starting the New Year off Right!

Mike and I weighed ourselves yesterday for funsies and we have both gained weight since our wedding. We laugh about it because we aren’t super concerned about our weight, but with the new year, we thought we might as well start adjusting our diet to be a little more belly-friendly. I checked our Cooking Up A Storm (Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans) cookbook for a healthy dish – not an easy feat, since it’s a New Orleans cookbook and they tend to work really hard to make sure things aren’t healthy – and found a dish called Poulet aux Fines Herbes. It’s basically a baked chicken, but you put the herbed butter in between the skin and the meat.

So Mike got all of the ingredients while I was at work, and after I did a few things around the house I hunkered down in the kitchen to do this. First you have to get the giblets out of the chicken….bleh! and COLD!

Ordinarily the prep would be a pretty easy process but I am a sloth when it comes to mincing and stuff so it took about 30 minutes. I chopped the parsley, garlic and basil, then tried to make a paste with the butter using a fork. It was taking too long so I threw it in the microwave for 8 seconds on defrost.

Fail. I needed paste, not sauce. So I tried again (my mincing got a lot better on round 2!) and used my hands this time. Much better outcome.

Then the directions say to “push the herb-butter mixture on each side of the breastbone and, with your fingertips, press on the skin to spread the stuffing evenly all over the meat, including the tops of the drumsticks and thighs.” Ugh. Gross, and hard to do.

Mike was there giving me some good tips though and I got through it all, salted and peppered the chicken and stuck it in the oven.

Then…I opened up the oven, looked at the chicken and asked Mike to come take a look to see if it’s done. He strolls in, looks down and starts cracking up. He is literally doubled over with laughter. I look at the chicken and am like…WHAT?

Err…apparently I put the chicken in upside down. It just looked happier that way, what can I say. So after Mike composes himself, he tells me he has done this before and it’s a typical n00b mistake. Fine. How do we fix it? He knocked up the oven temp from 375 to about 420, turned it over, and let it crisp for 15 minutes. In the wake of my epic failure to put the chicken the right direction (see why I need the Tools & Techniques book??), I waved the white flag and just steamed some ready-made broccoli in the microwave. It actually tasted really good and wasn’t all soft and mushy like microwaved broccoli usually is.

We rounded out the meal with some rice Mike made for a roast the week prior, and some gravy from the chicken. The cookbook said to use just water or cream to make the gravy but Mike’s partial to mixing the water with corn starch. It turned out to be a pretty good dinner – Mike even said that the chicken was moister (more moist?) because of my faux pas. So maybe I didn’t make everything 100% from scratch…but I learned a valuable lesson and that’s really what counts…right?

Kitten is pleased.

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4 thoughts on “Starting the New Year off Right!

  1. Kitten is pleased… It’s an unusual and somewhat creepy catch phrase you seem to have been using on this blog!!! I picture you rubbing your buttery hands together and saying it creepy… Anywho, I laughed and spit out my drink at the before and after pictures of your “paste”!!! Keep the posts coming!!!

  2. You should not wear such a nice sweater while cooking. Believe me, I have knowledge in this area. Also, I basically taught myself how to cook so count yourself lucky that you have an in-house tutor.

  3. Basically from scratch, it’s cheaper. Buying processed foods was not in the budget. We did have our fair share of hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, and the like. I have to confess that the first time I baked potatoes they exploded in the oven. Live and learn!

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