how to cook

Monday, September 14, 2009

who's happy for the start of another work week? certainly not me, but at least it allows me to get back to posting after a leisurely weekend vacation. the mtv vma's were this weekend, but considering that it's a third tier awards show, there isn't much to note other than a) wale got a lot of face time in preparation for his debut album, attention deficit b) the camera panned to asher roth once every 15 minutes c) kanye west got drunk and got everybody riled up and d) jay-z's sense of self-importance was on full display. while the kanye west/taylor swift/beyonce debacle seemed poorly staged and managed, i'm sure the mtv talking heads are smiling as all the major news outlets, blogs, and what not were busy dispatching venom towards kanye. seriously, facebook and twitter blew up with overly emotional younglings as mtv executives mimed "dance, puppets, dance". luckily for kanye, he's one of the few celebrities who can eat negative publicity easily. i would say this tidbit tells the story well.

"MTV wasn't complaining on Monday. Televised on MTV, MTV2 and VH1 simultaneously on Sunday, the awards show was seen by 11 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up 21 percent over last year and was the most-watched Video Music Awards since 2002."

well, that's enough with the tmz-ing.

it seems like there's some people out there who appreciated the last post so i'll try to keep it going with the advice/gimmicky commentary. i might as well make this official and call it "the most interesting man in the world guide to living" or some nonsense. without further ado, here is the next set of principles for you to live by.

+ cook dinner, roast a chicken
reason men should know how to create at least one (impressive) dinner and a proper roast chicken is the simplest and most satisfying meal you can learn. sure thing, a woman that can cook is sexy, but she'd probably be sexy with or without that skill. on the other hand, a man can significantly up his chances and relative worth by doing something unexpected of him like properly roasting a chicken. ironically, this is extremely easy and even the retard from the hangover or rain man could do it.

+ simple roast chicken recipe
what you need
paper towels, 2-3 lbs. whole chicken, kosher salt, black pepper, 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (opt), roasting pan, functional ears
what to do
1) preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2) pat dry the chicken. seriously, make the chicken as dry as possible.
3) generously season the chicken with salt. make it rain on the bird. my salt is in a ramekin/bowl and i get two or three good four finger pinches of salt. this isn't an exact science so you'll have to experiment. just don't be stupid and over salt.
4) with your hands, place the chicken in a roasting pan and place in the oven. do not cover it with foil or whatever nonsense.
5) set your timer for 50 minutes and listen for it to ring.
6) after 50 minutes, check on your bird. if the skin is golden and crispy, it's good to take out.
7) this is optional, but i would definitely do it. cut 2 tbsp. of butter into little strips and evenly disperse it on top of the chicken skin.
8) pull the leaves off the fresh tyme and sprinkle it down on the buttered chicken. season to taste with black pepper. no more than a few grinds.
9) now, you can either butcher the chicken or just serve it straight up. personally, i would butcher it and cut out the two leg/thigh combos.
10) realize that you can't just serve chicken. you'll need to dummy up some side dishes. here are some ideas: corn, green peas, green beans, or mashed potatoes. if you need recipes for that, send me an e-mail. don't be afraid to use canned vegetables, you've already impressed with your roasting skills.

+ "oh shit, you don't know how to make proper mashed potatoes" recipe
what you need
2 lbs yukon gold or red bliss potatoes, 1.25 cups heavy cream, kosher salt, black pepper, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 2-4 tbsp. unsalted butter (depends how buttery you like things), cold water, pot w/ cover, potato masher
what to do
1) take your unpeeled potatoes and place in a large pot filled with cold water on the stove.
2) cover the pot, set the burner to the highest setting, and get your water rapidly boiling.
3) once the water is rapidly boiling, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4) after 15 minutes, check your potatoes. if you can easily run a paring knife or fork through them, then they can be mashed. if not, they need more cooking, son.
5) after the potatoes are sufficiently tender, drain the water off, but keep the potatoes in the pot. cut the heat from the stove, by the way. you have a little choice. you can either keep the potatoes peeled, which i prefer, or you can peel them using your fingers not a peeler.
6) now, throw everything else in the pot (cream, butter, thyme leaves-removed from stems, and season to taste with salt and pepper). be extra nice with the salt and somewhat with the pepper. you are trying to boost the flavors. season, mix. then taste. season, mix, then taste.
7) take your masher and mash out. feel free to add more cream if you like it creamier...
8) serve with your incredible roast chicken. these potatoes should taste so good that you won't need gravy.

+ other posts in this series
part one: martial arts, drinks, cigarettes, etc.

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