Thursday, March 12, 2009

Psst...

I have a secret.

I'm still in my pajamas.


It's noon.


I know, I know... I'm a lazy, pathetic, wasteful slob who should feel TERRIBLE about what I am doing.

And I do.

Sorta.


Okay, not really.

To be honest, I'm kind of reveling in it. It feels luxurious. Indulgent. Sinful.

It reminds me of one of my favorite parts in
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. The protagonist, Francie Nolan (whom I lovingly named my cat after) is dirt-poor, almost destitute. Often, there is little more than stale bread for supper. But each day, her mom makes her a cup of coffee, and Francie holds it in her small, cold hands, letting the warmth and smell of it fill her. And then, instead of taking a sip, she pours it down the drain. She does this because as poor as she is, it feels wonderful to have the luxury of wasting something.

That's kind of how I feel, but instead of coffee, it's time I'm pouring down the drain. And as someone who usually feels rather time-impoverished, staying in my pajamas and reading and daydreaming about perfect
meals and calling out random thoughts to my husband feels positively glorious.


(Francie Nolan, the cat, who has six extra toes, and likes laps.)

I'm giving myself permission to waste my time, which is not something I've been particularly good at in the last few years. Usually, I'm too full of lists of things I want to do or see or accomplish, so that it's impossible to actually enjoy squandering a full day away.

But now that I've been granted my own permission, I'm liberated!
My taxes will get done, eventually. The front yard can get tended to tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. I even set my TiVo to record the entire season of Real Housewives of New York City. And I intend to watch every single episode, maybe even all in one day, with a bowl of homemade ice cream.

So, yes. I've been a la
zy, pathetic, wasteful slob. Isn't that wonderful?

Soon enough I'll be back at work, searching for nuggets of time to call my own, dividing my day frantically into a hundred different pieces in order to get everything done. But for now, I'm in my pajamas. It's a different kind of carpe diem.


I've also been roasting chickens. It's my new thing. It's easy, it makes the house smell like home, and eating a chicken with your fingers and drinking wine in front of the TV kind of goes with this Lazy Slob persona I've embraced. And, luckily for us Lazy Slobs, the best recipe also happens to be the easiest. It basically goes something like this: salt, pepper, 450 degrees, Don't Touch It. That's it.

It's a recipe that actually encourages laziness. It's as if this recipe and I were meant to be together at this exact time in my life. It's chicken kismet.

The method comes from Thomas Keller (via countless French grandmothers, I'm sure), and it couldn't be easier, or better. The idea is that, instead of basting and adding herbed butter and stuffing the bird silly with aromatics, a dry, high heat and simple seasonings will create a perfectly crisp skin, succulent meat, and the most fantastic, intense chicken flavor.

Go ahead and treat yourself to a free-range bird. You deserve it! It's only an extra coupla bucks, and it makes all the difference in the flavor.

Also, use some butcher's twine to truss the little darling. Arms and legs must stay inside the vehicle at all times for this to work. You can learn how to truss with
this simple video.

I've made this recipe twice recently, and have practically licked the platter I served it on. I may be wasting time, but I wouldn't dare waste a single bite of this chicken. If you want, throw some potatoes under the little guy -- they soak up the amazing drippings and get roasted to perfection.

And don't be
embarrassed when your wine glass becomes smudged with greasy fingerprints. No one's watching. I promise.

So, enjoy. We've worked so hard, all our lives. We deserve a good meal and a marathon of Real Housewives. We earned this, this putting up of our feet. And I guess it's the earning it that feels so good.



Roast Chicken
Adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller

3-4 pound farm-raised chicken

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp. minced thyme (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse chicken, dry very well with paper towels, inside and out. (This step is important, as any moisture will sabotage the dry heat method.)

Salt and pepper the cavity. Then truss the bird.
Salt the chicken liberally. Rain the salt over for a nice uniform coat. Season to taste with pepper.

Place chicken in a roasting pan, and when oven is up to temperature, place in oven.
Now, leave it alone. Roast until done (a meat thermometer should read 165 degrees), about 60-80 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.

Remove from oven, and add the thyme (if using) to the pan. Baste the chicken with juices and thyme and let rest for 15 minutes before devouring with wild abandonment.

3 comments:

  1. I have roasted many a chicken but never tried the high temp! I will do this tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Once you go high-heat, you'll never go back!

    ReplyDelete