Caption me! What the hell am I saying???
(no, your screen isn’t dirty – I had to snag that off my TV by taking a pic of the video. The smudges? I was watching Anthony Bourdain on TV and was either practicing kissing him like a lovestruck teen or trying the new scratch ‘n sniff feature on his show)
The station called me Monday morning as I was rounding the kidlets up to go to school. “We need a chef to come on air this morning! Can you do it?”
Good thing I had my Wonder Woman cape in my purse.
and good thing I had ingredients in my freezer and pantry for Firecracker Shrimp. Otherwise, I might have been forced to cook Spam ‘n leftover fish scramble with a stale Cheetos crust and frozen raspberry puree.
Video here – just click on the “Featured Video” link.
Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids how to eat well, you know, the whole balanced meal and limiting junk thing. Yes, I know my responsibilities well. But seriously, most kids these days register only 3 taste sensations: sweet, salty and gross. As a lover of all things delicious, the concept of “eating well” is just not enough. I want my kids to experience the goofy giddiness that follows a spoonful of the most decadent, smooth, rich chocolate pudding. Twirl with delight as they pop a sugar-snap pea open and discover bright green jewels inside. Oh, but it doesn’t end there….
Ever since Andrew and Nathan passed the smushed food stage, I began teaching them the concept of the “best part” of a dish.
They say that in ancient China when kidnapping children was common, the kidnappers could tell whether a kid was royalty or not just by presenting a steamed whole fish. If the kid went straight for the “best part,” or the cheeks, then bingo! He was the real deal…
Ok, so not that I think my tots are royalty or anything, but if ever we are invited to Oprah’s house and my kids go straight for the fish eyeballs just to see how far they could catapult them, I’d be mortified.
Instead, I’ve taught them to savor the tender, fatty collar of a ribeye steak, the baby heart of a romaine, the crisp-chewy-but-not-burnt edge of a brownie, the crunchy, browned rice at the bottom of the pot, and the pillowy mound of bread right at the center of the loaf.
However, this has all backfired on me. Previously, all 20 glorious square inches of golden, crispy skin of a perfectly roasted chicken was mine, all mine. Now, I have to split it with them. Let’s do the math. 20 square inches divided by 3, minus begging for more of Mommy’s share, equals SO NOT FAIR.
I’m sure you see my dilemma now. Teaching the kids about the love of food means I get less of the good stuff. But pretending to the kids that oh-my-goodness–that-overcooked-liver -is-delicious while I sneak the juicy nugget of chicken meat right above the thigh, is not quite the right thing to do.
I have no answer, my friends, but just to roast the biggest, baddest chicken with maximum surface area and smother it with a sweet, sticky sweet plum sauce so that the entire bird becomes the “best part.”
Sweet plum sauce is found in the Asian section of your supermarket. It’s the same sweet, slightly tart, jam-like sauce that some Chinese restaurants give you to dip your fried egg rolls in. The sauce is wonderful paired with pork chops, seared duck breast or a simple grilled fish. You can roast any size bird, just increase your roasting time for larger birds.
4-lb whole chicken
1/4 cup sweet plum sauce
1 head of garlic, halved
1 lemon, quartered
salt & pepper
3 tbl butter, softened
1/4 cup sweet plum sauce to serve at table
Rinse chicken and cut away extra fat. Pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Place in shallow baking dish and rub softened butter all over chicken, tucking just a bit under the skin of breast. Season generously with salt and pepper outside and inside cavity. Stuff with garlic and lemon. Tie legs of the chicken together, slather sweet plum sauce all over chicken. Set breast side down. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 450F. Roast chicken 20 minutes. Turn breast side up, lower temperature to 375F and return to oven. Continue to roast another 60-70 minutes, brushing with additional sweet plum sauce towards the end. You may have to loosely tent with tin foil if skin is approaching maximum crispiness (i.e. don’t burn the skin.) Chicken is done when juices run clear as knife tip is inserted into chicken thigh. Thickest part of thigh without touching bone should register 170F. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with a side of sweet plum sauce for dipping.