Porches and roasted chicken

Matt’s girlfriend Laura visited last weekend, bringing with her a declaration that we must spend time outside since it was so nice out. And so, what did we do? We bought fold-up chairs for our porch, so that we could sit. Outside. Although our red and blue, ten dollar meshy chairs look slightly pitiful next to our neighbors posh wicker chairs with outdoor pillows, this is nice. It also happens to be a perfect place to sip a glass of wine. Since I admitted something to you last time, I suppose I must admit something more this time:

I, on occasion, drink boxed wine. Blasphemous words coming from a person who works at a winery, I know, but, well, when you like wine as much as I do and make as much money as I do…top shelf boxed is the way to go. Before you wander your little cursor up to exit out of our blog, hear me out: No matter how trashy it sounds*, this is some good wine. Besides, with four bottles worth of wine packaged in a handy dandy box, I am reducing packaging waste by at least 85% and carbon emissions by 55%. (No, I was not hired by boxed-wine sellers to push their product. Yes, I am sometimes a hippie.) I am simply embracing one of many mottos from my alma mater: “sustainability is a way of life.” And, saving a bit of money in the process. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Back to the porch. Porches are, I think, one of the best spots to sit and think (and, on occasion, drink.) I don’t mean porch sitting like those frat boys who adore sitting on their front porches, red solo cup in hand, flaunting their fratiness to all the world (I’m talking to you, Gettysburg College). No no. It’s more than that. Porches are a place to relax, to think, to dream. (Who knew one could speak so loftily about porches? I must be turning into a snob.) Our front porch is quaint and charming, conveniently located across the street from a gravestone maker.  I thankfully don’t often spot people there, but when I do it’s quite interesting, in a definite morbid way, to gaze at the people looking through the many headstones outside.

While relaxing on the porch I decided that for once in my life I look forward to having one of those 9-5 jobs. This thought terrified me just 5 months ago, but now I work odd hours and usually have not more than one day per weekend off, so the thought of a steady 9-5 is very appealing. Plus then I can come home and make dinner, instead of getting home around 8:30 and reheating food like it’s no one’s business. But for now, on the days I have off or miraculously leave work early, I am content making mounds upon mounds of food. For example, Sunday’s dinner!

I roasted my first chicken, and it was only a little traumatizing. I’ve cooked parts of chicken with great success, but the whole thing? At once? Daunting. However, since a whole chicken cost me a grand total of $7(ish) while four chicken legs cost around $6, it seemed the only logical thing to do for a person trying to save a little money. I’ve been eyeing this yogurt-rubbed roast chicken for a while, but was always hesitant to make it as I do not own a roasting pan. I had had enough eyeing, though, and took matters into my own hands: a simple google search revealed that it’s actually quite easy to roast a chicken using just a large enough baking dish and creating a faux-roasting rack with either whole celery and carrot sticks or rolled up tubes of foil. Boom.

Things went a bit awry, though: Because I’ve never cooked a chicken before, I greatly feared the chicken roasting for too long and becoming dry. What’s a little threat of salmonella compared to a dry chicken? Right? … the recipe says the chicken should take 1 1/2 – 2 hours, and I was at almost 2 hours already. Throwing caution to the wind, I took the chicken out, and Braeden and I ate the legs. Delicious though they were, the next day I carved up the rest of the chicken to find a little pink tinge covering all of the breasts. Eek. Luckily we didn’t get sick and all was well. I then cooked the rest of the chicken in lots of water, made chicken broth for tonight’s homemade chicken noodle soup – with homemade noodles, too! – and cubed the rest of the chicken up for a chicken salad.

The moral of the story, kids, is to use a meat thermometer when cooking meat. So intuitive, no?

In sum, this post does not really contain a recipe. Fooled you! But I thought maybe my musings on chicken and porches could be somewhat…inspirational. Next post I’ll write about a beet-feta tart that I’m making tonight, and give you a recipe for the homemade chicken noodle soup. Promise.


*Speaking of trashy and wine, the other week a man came into the winery and boldly said: “I’m looking for Mad Dog 20/20. Do you make it here?” I let out a little laugh before I realized he was serious, and then squeamishly got out “No….we don’t make that here…..Sorry……..” Wine-selling tales. I have them.

One thought on “Porches and roasted chicken

  1. joanne reynolds says:

    kara, i’m laura’s mother, and you can ask her if i roasted a few chickens in my time. (why do you think she’s a vegetarian?) the answer is yes, right, laura? so i know from experience that chickens take about 8 hours to roast, no matter what size or what method. never believe what they tell you. cook them slowly at fairly low heat and all will be well.

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