This recipe was one of the first of the Barefoot Contessa’s that I made.  It’s also what got me completely hooked on her.  She managed to hurdle two impossible feats in my eyes: making chicken skin taste good and retaining moist white meat.  As and FYI, I also add a sprig of fresh rosemary into the cavity of the bird with the thyme, garlic, etc.  I really cannot stress enough how wonderfully simple and flavorful it is.  I hope you enjoy.

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

    Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

    Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.



    Sometimes you just need a little comfort food.  Before this last heat wave hit, I made this with the feeling that Fall was in the air…. sadly, it didn’t last.  Hopefully we’ll see cool weather from here on out so we can start enjoying all this upcoming season’s harvest.  Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for another easy meal and the reminder that warm, rich food is just a few weeks away.

    For the recipe, click here.

    There are very few days left this season when you’re going to find the humble, but beautiful garden tomato.  Enjoy it while it lasts by taking every opportunity to eat all you can.

    A variety of tomatoes, chopped (enough to top however many toasts you’re serving up)
    Basil, fresh and chopped (probably about a 1/4 of a cup)
    Garlic, a few cloves, chopped
    Olive Oil
    Balsamic Vinegar
    Focaccia Bread

    Marinate the tomatoes for a few hours by drizzling with olive oil and vinegar.  Just before serving slice the bread and in a skillet, drizzle olive oil, and add the garlic and heat over medium-high heat.  Throw the slices of bread in and cook for a minute or so on each side until golden brown.  Top with the tomatoes and basil, sprinkle a little salt and pepper, and you have yourself your last veggie indulgence of the season.

    Making life (or at least dinner) super easy…

    1 Jar Pesto
    1 Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes
    1 Chicken Breast (cooked, e.g. on a skillet for say 20 min)
    1/2 cup Feta Cheese
    1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella
    1 recipe Pizza Dough (or just get some from Trader Joe’s)

    Preheat oven to 350F.  Roll out your pizza dough, spread with the pesto, sprinkle with the remaining ingredients and throw it in the oven (preferably on a pizza stone if you have one) until brown and bubbly (about 20 min).   Oh, and try to serve it with a salad to appease your conscience.

    With a little one, I’ve been making a lot of easy and quick meals.  You know—–your same old staples with a twist.  Here’s one: take feta, fresh tomatoes from the garden, a tortilla or two and throw it on the skillet over med-high.  Magically delicious.

    Last night Trevor was out for a fantasy football draft and I wanted something quick and easy for dinner.  With tomatoes overflowing on my bush outside, courtesy of the extremely hot weather we’ve had these past few days, I decided to put them to good use.  A quick bath in olive oil and balsamic gives the tomatoes and amazing flavor with minimal effort.

    Enough tomatoes to fill the number of rolls you will be serving
    Rolls, split in half
    Balsamic Vinegar
    Olive Oil
    Fresh Basil, chopped
    Mozzarella (fresh)

    Chop the tomatoes and drizzle with the olive oil, vinegar, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and the basil.  Allow to marinate for a few minutes.  In a skillet over med-high heat coat the bottom with olive oil and throw in 1-2 cloves of minced garlic.  Toast the bread (cut side down) until crisp.  Add a slice or two of the cheese to the bread and the marinated tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

    The walking cast is off!!!!!!!!  My foot is healing well and I am back in commission.  I can’t tell you how liberated I feel!  Needless to say, having the cast on seemed to slow down my ability to be in the kitchen as much as I’d like.  Now that I’m back, I hope to have many more recipes and tidbits to share with you.  Here’s one to start:

    4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 extra-large eggs
    1 tablespoon water
    1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
    Unsalted butter
    Good olive oil

    Olive Oil
    Balsamic Vinegar

    Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

    Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.

    For the Tomatoes: Chop the tomatoes, basil, and garlic and combine.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic until well coated.  Top the chicken with this mixture and serve immediately.  Deliiiiiiiiiiicous.

    (Parmesan Chicken recipe courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa)