“The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression.” Gary Larson

Stone grilled chicken breastsChicken is the most consumed protein in the world. Our affair started with Mom’s chicken soup probably out of a can, and then progressed to the Colonel.  As we continued or travels we found sweet and sour, Mac somethings, and finally Buffalo wings.

In our house rotisserie, spatchcock, and fire roasted takes the stage, after all smoke and fire makes everything taste better!

Last night was no different. I’ve taken to cooking everything I can on my granite cooking stones. They give a nice even cook across whatever I try. So over hickory wood, rubbed with sage, seasoning and olive oil the breasts hit the stones! I wanted simple yet flavourful and have been craving a white sauce so the plate consisted of Hickory roasted chicken breasts on a bed of penne tossed with olive oil and garlic and covered in a sage cream sauce. Combining the hickory smoke with the pasta and cream is an amazing team.

The weather in Toronto over the past week has been better. Snow is melting, sun beams are breaking through, and I can get away with a T-Shirt for short term exposure. So the night was primed for outdoor cooking. If I can, I move it outside. Actually even if it’s freezing or raining I still try and take it outside.

Think about what you’re doing tonight? Can part of it be moved outside? Don’t you want the memories of summer tastes now instead of 4 weeks from now? Do you have a jacket? What’s stopping you?

Thursday March 20th is only days away. Start now or start planning the rebirth of your outdoor cooking season!

Be well and eat well!Hickory smoked chicken penne and sage sauce

Scott Tait

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“Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference. “ Albert Einstein (probably not!)

Spatchcock?  Really?

Wikipedia defines spatchcock or “spattlecock” as, “poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.  So now that you know, let’s just call it flattened or butterflied.  Do we have to give outlandish names to simple acts? Do I go for a meander? Do I quaff beverages? No I go for walks and I drink beer.  We like to attach big words to simple tasks. Confucius said, “Life is simple but we insist on making it complicated.”

So Butterflied Chicken! This method is wonderfully tasty and keeps the chicken moist with another dimension added.

After cutting out the backbone, flatten the chicken and pull, but don’t break, the skin from the flesh.  Mix together ricotta cheese with sage, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. You want enough ricotta to cover the chicken and enough herbs and garlic to satisfy your taste buds. Loosen up this mixture with a little olive oil and pack it under the skin of the chicken. Massage the whole bird with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

Place the bird offset over your preferred outdoor appliance with a drip tray underneath (water filled), to catch the drippings. I used the #BGE with the extension grill and the water filled drip pan underneath.

The ricotta (#trestelle) kept the chicken moist and added a surprise under the skin that seasoned the chicken. The bird was served on Roasted Tomato Linguini. Tasty!

So as an effectual stratagem to develop an enticing aftermath, the spatchcock technique is a convention that I would advocate!

In other words, try it, it works! Isn’t that easier!

Be well and eat well.

Scott

Spatchcock chicken

When the spatch hits the fan

 

Ricotta stuffed Spatchcock Chicken on Roasted Tomato Linguini

Ricotta stuffed Spatchcock Chicken on Roasted Tomato Linguini

 

“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.” Robert Louis Stevenson

If I was told by a doctor that I could never have another piece of red meat it would hurt, but I could do it. If he told me that I could never have another glass of wine it would hurt, but I could live with it. If he said that I could never have another piece of #cheese, I would say, “How much time do I have left.”

Cheese is wonderful! Cheese is glorious! Cheese is my favourite food! Every kinds, every texture, the stinkier  the better!

Here is what I came up with last night, Roasted Squash rigatoni using #TreStelle mascarpone and Grana Padano with pancetta and kale.

The Butternut squash was roasted over coals with garlic and rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The warm, soft squash was blended with the garlic, mascarpone, Grana Padano, and cream.

I wilted the kale by adding it to the freshly boiled pasta.

Once tossed with the rigatoni, the pan fried pancetta was mixed in with the luxurious sauce and baked for 20 minutes.

Did I say I love cheese! This mixture with the pasta is sweet, sticky, and so tasty that your kids won’t know they’re eating squash and kale.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

“I want to be strapped to a table, while a family of chickens argues over who gets to eat my legs.” ― Jarod Kintz,

“If you’ll be my Dixie Chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee Lamb, And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland”. This is one of my favourite Little Feat songs. I didn’t do southern chicken, I did stuffed chicken legs!

I’ve been working on my butchering skills and have only seen this preparation a few times, so I thought, why not?

I had a house full of trolls and a whack of chicken legs. My usual got to is to wrap in bacon and smoke over hickory. Tonight I wanted to try something different. My attack plan was simple, if I can get the first leg deboned, I can do it! Honestly, it was simpler than I thought. Creating these little poultry packs of heaven is something I will definitely go back to.

The fridge and the pantry had genoa, bocconcini, chèvre, tomatoes, and spaghettini. So let’s go Italian!

I blended the chèvre into a paste with garlic, red onion, and Italian seasoning. I placed a dollop of paste on a slice of genoa with a whole basil leaf and a slice of bocconcini. Rolled into a little cigar and then inserted it into the drumstick sealing the end with a toothpick. The outside was rubbed with olive oil and Italian seasoning. The little morsels of love were grilled on the cast iron until they were browned.

The meal was served with a tomato, red wine sauce tossed into the spaghettini.

Being able to take a bite without the bone there is a great experience. I’m thinking a bacon and cheddar stuffing next time!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Where's the bone!

Where’s the bone!

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” Julia Child

Yesterday the overhanging branches in the backyard were cut down, the grass was cut, the mulch was spread  and the lights that those damn squirrels chewed through were fixed.  The flowers are in, the herbs are planted and we’re done. All I have to do is remember to water everything.  I’m usually good for about 4 weeks before I start to slip and then the garden becomes survival of the fittest!

This morning I woke to a beautiful rainbow in a red sky. The rainbow was gone by the time I took the picture.  I just thought I’d share that.

Sailor take warning...

Sailor take warning…

I try to do all or at least part of our meals outside. Be it on the BGE, Weber, or gas grill. Last night we had sausage stuffed peppers with pesto linguini. The peppers were baked on the BGE with oak smoke. The linguini wasn’t.  Since I now have herbs growing again they are taking a prominent position in everything I create. The packaged stuff is gone till the fall, or till I kill it all off.

This summer the plan is to make our own sausages, the summit being blood sausage.  It’s my death-row meal.

Be well and eat well.

Scott

Red peppers stuffed with tasty sausage love!

Red peppers stuffed with tasty sausage love!

“As long as there’s pasta and Chinese food in the world, I’m okay.” Michael Chang

I really didn’t want to make a trip out to the grocer for any additional stuff so I made do with what was in the pantry and got my creative juices flowing.

So keeping with the theme of using the grill for as much of the meal as possible, the ham was placed lovingly in my cast iron plan and atop of sliced red onion. Water was filled in the bottom and scented with tarragon, oregano, garlic and covered to keep it moist. I heated the gas grill to 375 with the burned directly below the pan turned off. Offset heating all around for and hour and 20 minutes.

After that time I prepped the pasta and just before I took it off I added frozen spinach to the boiling water. Drained I added roasted garlic, cheddar, cream and seasoning to the batch.  Tossed the whole thing with the diced ham.

So only using what I had on hand scored 100. Overall it was a 60. Couch coma food rating…..let’s say I woke up about 2am on my couch.

Tonight? Sirloin roast on the BGE!

Be well.

Scott

When in doubt, add pasta!

When in doubt, add pasta!