Honey-Mint Roast Chicken

We had both The Young One and The G Man last weekend, which meant lots of fun – lots of exhausting, non-stop fun.

My coup of the weekend was getting The G Man, whose idea of breakfast runs the gamut from oatmeal to pancakes (and little else), to eat bacon.  I can’t really take credit for that, though; it seems the boy has decided his uncle is the epitome of cool, and if The Young One was eating bacon, G was going to have some as well.

Scrambled eggs and liver are so on the menu the next time I’ve got both of them in my clutches.

At any rate, most of what I made over the weekend was pretty kid-friendly, including this delicious and easy chicken dish which was nommed with much enthusiasm (by my Big Boys, at least, since The G Man had already gone home).  The leftovers reheat well, too, but not in the microwave, or the skin will turn rubbery.

In the summer, this would be good on the grill.  You could also make it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes.

Honey-Mint Roast Chicken. Juicy chicken with crispy, mint-and-honey flavored skin, this is a wonderful week-night family main course.

Click the image to enlarge

Honey-Mint Roast Chicken
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces (legs, wings, thighs)
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper; lay on the foil-lined pan and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, water, mint and zest. Brush the mixture on the chicken, coating the pieces completely.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, basting the chicken with the drippings in the pan every 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pricked with the tines of a fork.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 368 calories, 14.9g total fat, 127.6mg cholesterol, 162.9mg sodium, 399mg potassium, 17.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 17.3g sugar, 39.7g protein

There’s No Place Like Gnome

When we bought our house in 2005, we needed a large place – we had three kids at home and two who came to visit as frequently as I could manage. The living arrangements have changed (several times) over the last 9 years, what with adult children yo-yos, but the house has been a good one.  Especially since our bedroom is on the first floor and we rarely have to venture upstairs, something I avoid if at all possible.

I don’t even want to know what the bathroom up there looks like.

By the time it was just The Young One left at home, Beloved began to grouse that we should have bought a much smaller place, despite the fact that I frequently reminded him that at least two of the kids would have killed each other had they been forced into closer quarters, and that all that empty space upstairs, to say nothing of the basement, gave us plenty of room for them all to spread out when they do come to visit, such as when TYO graduated from high school.

These days, however, My Better Half has begun to change his tune and has decided that we should keep the house until we’re ready to retire, which is at least 15 years away.  It’s too convenient to our office, too close to Jolly and The G Man, only 40 minutes away from The Young One’s college campus and within reasonable driving distance to all of our farmers.

Of course, the fact that there are 9 vegetable gardens, and more coming this year, in the back yard might have something to do with his about-face.

Beloved has always been an avid gardener.  Our back yard in Texas was beautifully landscaped, and the first thing we did when we moved to Ohio was plant flowers.  It didn’t take us long to begin an herb garden and dig a couple of 8′ x 4′ plots in the back for a few tomato and pepper plants (those plots are now dedicated to our annual crops: rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries).  When we went local/sustainable and joined a CSA, he decided to see what we  could grow ourselves and before I knew it we had not one, but two, compost bins in the back yard, seeds sprouting in our living room, buckets of manure in our trunk, 5 raised beds (he built two more before the weather became bitterly cold this year) and complicated diagrams about what to plant, when to plant, and where to plant.

My husband is nothing if not thorough.

At any rate, at one point during this awful winter – what we now call a Cold, Gray Bucket of Suck – Beloved sighed over the fact there’s so much he wants to do but can’t, and idly mentioned, “We need a gnome.”

“A gnome?”

“Yeah, a garden gnome.  It’d be cute.”

Well, you don’t have to ask me twice – for his birthday in January, he received these from ThinkGeek.com:

Zombie Garden Gnomes

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Garden Statuary

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Apparently I’m nothing if not thorough, myself.

And a little twisted, too.

Pomegranate-Glazed Meatballs

Well, hello there.   I know I haven’t posted in a month, and I apologize, but I’ve needed this break in the worst possible way.  Part of the problem is that I stare at a computer screen all day and most days the last thing I want to do is go home and stare at it some more.  Another part of the problem is all of my “photography stuff” got consigned to the basement over the holidays and I have so not been motivated to run up and down those stairs looking for appropriate place settings for pictures.  And it’s also the dead of winter, which in northeast Ohio means NO sunlight, which means using artificial lighting for photos and I’ve gotten to the point where I hate that.

Yeah, I know – excuses, excuses.  At any rate, I’m not going to make any promises about the frequency of posting in the near future, but I think I’m ready to get back into the saddle again, at least on a provisional basis.

Even with all of the above-mentioned excuses, I’ve managed to photograph a thing or three I’ve cooked over the last month (when the stars were aligned just so); this is one of them.  And it is very, very good – Beloved keeps asking me when I’m going to make it again, and we argued over what little leftovers there were the next day.  It’s also incredibly simple, and these days, that’s a huge plus.

If you look at the photo, you’ll see this is served over something you might think is lentils, and you’d be 100% correct – it’s a sprouted lentil pilaf, and it was really delicious.  In the wake of all the brouhaha about resistant starch, we’ve been incorporating a moderate amount of properly prepared legumes (soaked, sprouted or fermented, which deactivates much, albeit not all, of the lectins and phytates) back into our diet.  Which makes me happy, because I’ve always liked them.

If you wish to avoid legumes for whatever reason, these would be very nice served over just about any vegetable puree or steamed white rice.  Make those itty bitty, cocktail-sized meatballs, and they’d make a great appetizer, too.

The meatballs would also work well made with ground pork or turkey if you can’t find or don’t care for lamb.

Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Meatballs.  These little gems are delicious - bright and exotic.

Click the image to enlarge

Pomegranate-Glazed Meatballs
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/pomegranate-molasses/” target=”_blank”]pomegranate molasses[/url]
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix together the lamb, garlic, salt, coriander, cardamom and pepper until combined; form into meatballs. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake the meatballs until golden and just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Brush with pomegranate molasses, making sure to coat the meatballs completely, and return to the oven until glazed, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mint and pistachios and serve.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 384 calories, 21.5g total fat, 101.3mg cholesterol, 581.8mg sodium, 1104.5mg potassium, 17.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 28.8g protein