Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Autumn!

They say roasted chicken is one of the safest roasts you can pull off, but they also say it's one way to differentiate the noobs from the pros.

I'd say Monday night's results were somewhere in the middle and steadily climbing up.  I was thrilled with the glistening, crispy surface and the lemon, rosemary, and onions infused nicely into the meat.

The left leg is a little torn.  My brother and I got a little too excited about eating the chicken before I remembered that I haven't posted my own food here in a while and need picture proof!

 It was also the first time I learned a little trick (it got me squirming with horror and glee), of which I will not share yet because it might just be the crucial KO move to not only kick Mike's ass in the kitchen (that's a given), but completely blow his turkey out of the water when we have a roast-off on Thanksgiving.  I must post a video of this delightfully horrible trick after the event.  However, this Monday, I was more focused on trying out a new butternut squash mash recipe that I forgot the most important ingredients on my whole chicken: salt & pepper.  Doh.

I adore Autumn.  It's by far my favorite season in New York.  It is the orange leafy romantic brother of Spring and without the rain and the allergies.  My favorite part?   The apples and the squash.  The simple apple is hands down my favorite fruit in the world.  I love mangoes, I love dragonfruit, I love mangosteens, I love guava, I love strawberries.. but my adoration for apples is unparalleled.  And squash?  Few dishes make me tingle with anticipation as this seasonal lumpy fruit when crafted into soups, pies or when roasted or grilled raw.

Yet, butternut squash has got to be one of the biggest pains to work with.  I feel sorry for any poor soul who attempts to peel or cut the thing before softening it first by boiling or even microwaving it a bit first.   The third option in softening the squash takes quite a bit longer:  Roasting.  The roasting process caramelizes the naturally-occurring sugars in the fruit and adds much flavor to the end result.  And so, I roasted them.  I also had two spare pears sitting in my fruit basket.

Peeled and cut into fours, I tossed them in the roasting pan too.  A butter, brown sugar, and vanilla bean concoction topped the fruits before going into the oven.  Adapted from another recipe, I combined the pears and squash into a chunky mash, adding my own touches with heavy cream and nutmeg.  (I really need to stop being lazy about posting recipes... I'll get around to this particular dinner once I try it a few more times.)

I was pretty content with dinner, especially for a Monday night.  This dinner will definitely be repeated until perfection for future guests.

Photo source for mash from  I didn't bother taking photos of the mash that night.  The chicken is my own, as you can guess from the usual green plate and terrible photo quality.


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