My current Facebook status: desk. bills. laundry. voicemail. dog poop. errands. dishes. reality. darn. That pretty much sums up my post-vacation blues, and I didn’t even mention the weather: grey. cold. minnesota. february.
In an effort to shake off my stale mood, I plopped a dollop of spicy salsa on the egg I had for lunch. I peeled both a clementine and a grapefruit for dessert, inhaling the refreshing zest before biting into the tart, juicy fruit. Both endeavors did cheer me up a bit – I’m typically energized by good, fresh smells and flavors. But they bothered me too… Couldn’t quite put my finger on why… And then it hit me – I felt a little mocked by the fresh chilies and citrus, gently reminding me that I’m far from warm sunshine and am going to be for a long, damn time.
After I figured out why the flavors made me a bit sad, I concluded that I’m better off just embracing my cold reality and sticking with comforting favorites, like the chicken I’m going to roast (on the grill, with my Weber poultry roaster, not quite ideally pictured above) for dinner tonight. There are few things cozier (or more fabulous) than a roasted chicken, skin crisped, flesh moist and flavorful (with garlic and rosemary for tonight’s version, I think). Ooh, perhaps John and I will eat in front of a roaring fire. (Although is it worth his grumbling about sitting on the floor? Meh, probably not.) Fire or no, sauteed Swiss chard tossed with garlicky-warm croutons, a bread salad of sorts, will be the perfect side – and in addition to being delicious, won’t mock me one bit. I think a slice of cheese will make the perfect dessert.
There! I’m already cheered up.
(For an approximately 4 lb. chicken – we have a gas grill, I preheat it until nice and hot. I pour wine into the poultry roaster’s receptacle, add a few cloves of smashed garlic, and fresh or dried herbs. I remove and discard the giblets from the chicken, then rinse and dry it, rub it with some olive oil, sprinkle it lightly inside and out with coarse salt, and set it up on the roaster (the key, I theorize, is the roaster’s “plug” that you press into the top, to hold in the steaming herby-garlic-wine, oh yes). When the chicken is actually on the grill, I monitor the grill temp to keep it between 450-500 degrees. Try that in your oven and you’ll understand why I do this on the grill. I might give the chicken a shift to the right or left to keep it browning evenly. I might baste it a bit with pan juices for the same reason. In about an hour, the chicken will be very crispy-browned, and very, very tender (move a leg around – it might even just pull right off). I carefully – it’s splattering, sizzling hot – bring it in the house, let it calm down for a few minutes, then remove the bird from the roaster (with tongs) and set it on a cutting board, letting it set up for 10 minutes or so while I put the finishing touches on a vegetable or salad. I carve the chicken and try very hard to not steal bits of crispy, salty skin. Quite simple, really. And most definitely heavenly.)