This edition of “In the Kitchen” is going to take a bit of a turn. Why, you ask? Well, because one of our own is in the middle of her own personal hell – an extremely (and we can’t emphasize extremely enough) limited diet to identify food allergies and sensitivities. We won’t give you all the details, because, well, they’re kinda gross. But here’s a little peek at what happens when you take someone who loves food (and writes about it daily) and take away dairy, grains, gluten, soy, sugar, tomatoes, eggplant, spices, tropical fruit, eggs, shellfish, beans, alcohol (and some other stuff she can’t even remember right now because she’s carb-deprived) for 6 weeks. Spoiler alert: it’s not pretty. (My dog/kitchen helper is awfully cute, though.)
You may notice from that list above that my food choices mostly include meat and green vegetables. So, that’s I’ve been cooking…a lot of. My local Farmer’s Market has become my new best friend. I can get pretty much all my produce there and save the major investment for meat from Whole Foods (and I do mean ‘major investment’). Working long-ish days means I usually have to do all my cooking on the weekend and then reheat leftovers throughout the week. Here’s one such weekend.
So I start by soaking all the green stuff in a vinegar mixture to kill any yucky stuff like E. Coli and agitate everything around to get off the dirt/bugs/other things I don’t want to think about. We’ve got kale, brussels sprouts and some broccoli in there. Fiber, much? Not pictured is all the bacon I cooked while my veggies were in the bath. Now, I don’t normally condone cooking things in bacon fat (despite my solidly Southern roots), but desperate times call for desperate measures. Spoiler alert: that kale is getting cooked in all the bacon pan drippings. Believe it.
Here it is, freshly washed and dried and piled in the dutch oven. With the added bacon-y deliciousness in there, all I add is a little garlic and a sprinkle of pepper. Stir it all together and then let it wilt down to a texture you don’t have to chew for about 3 days (you know what I’m talking about). I keep the kale leaves moving so they all get a nice even coating and don’t burn. Try this. You can thank me later.
While that’s working, I gather and prep all the fixin’s for my chicken. The stuff in the bowl (sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil) go on top of the bird. Everything else goes inside. Yes, I feel a little strange taking advantage of a chicken with aromatics. After you taste the finished product, it’ll feel less wrong. A couple garlic cloves, about 1/4 – 1/2 of a sweet onion (depending on the size), some citrus (lemon or lime), and a little bonus basil gets tucked inside, and the oil and herbs get rubbed into the skin. Like so.
(Note: I hate fussing with twine nonsense, so I just cut a small slit through the skin to tuck the legs in and keep them from getting too dry.) Pop that bird in a 425 oven for around an hour ’til it’s lovely, golden and ready to be devoured.
While the oven is occupied, I’ll put the crock pot to use, too. Chop up some onion, more herbs, pour in some chicken stock (for moisture) and top with pork chops, salt, pepper, dry mustard and anything else that would go well. (If I was allowed, there would also be some cumin and maybe a little chipotle in there.) Set that sucker on low for about 8 hours.
Not pictured: the broccoli and Brussels sprouts I roasted with garlic, rosemary-infused olive oil and onion. Also not pictured: the parmesan cheese I would’ve really liked to sprinkle on top of both those vegetables….if I could.
So there you have it, friends. If you’re free to eat whatever your heart desires, have some cheese for me. I’ll be eating my bazillionth salad and sweating meat until this madness ends.