Perfect Roast Chicken

September 25th, 2019 · 24 Comments

Perfect Roast Chicken from Sugarlaws

Why, oh why, does anyone ever remove the skin from a chicken?

Ah, ok, calories, fat.  But there is a time and a place for boneless, skinless chicken breasts (which I find, frankly, completely unappealing) and there is a time for perfect, crispy, golden roasted chicken.

When we made roast chicken in a cooking class I took a few years ago, we did it using a traditional french technique — compound butter, and a lot of it, stuffed inside the chicken’s skin, to melt and tenderize the meat.  But when I am cooking at home, butter is for baking, and that’s that.  For just about anything involving cooking, I use olive oil.

But butter is solid at room temperature, and obviously olive oil is not — and therefore, inherently, much harder to stuff into pockets of chicken skin.  But with a little garlic powder and salt, I think I managed to get more than enough of it in — the meat was seasoned, moist and had tons of flavor, no butter necessary.  And the best part, of course, the crispy, browned skin, was even better.

And this is a simple, easy, no-fuss recipe.  No rotating the chicken every ten minutes, no basting.  Just put it in, turn on the oven, and broil a bit at the end if its skin isn’t golden enough for you.  Perfect for a summer dinner party, no planning ahead necessary.

Perfect Roast Chicken from Sugarlaws

 Perfect Roast Chicken

1/2 roast chicken (or use a whole chicken and double the recipe)
1/2 cup olive oil (use good quality, but not extra virgin)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together the olive oil and spices until evenly combined.  Gently rub the olive oil mixture beneath the skin of the chicken, pulling the skin away very carefully, with your fingers, so you don’t break it.  For any places where the skin won’t pull away easily, rub the olive oil mixture on the outside of the bird.  Rub any remaining olive oil all over the outside of the chicken’s skin.

Roast at 450 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees.  Broil for 1-2 minutes if the chicken isn’t sufficiently browned but the temperature has reached 165.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes, and serve.

Perfect Roast Chicken from Sugarlaws

Tags: food · main dishes

Salmon with Fennel, Olives and Dill

September 4th, 2019 · 17 Comments

Salmon with Fennel, Olives and Dill

Do you know how I got this picture?

I waited until my mother had bought a gorgeous salmon fillet, chopped the fennel and dill, assembled the entire pan, and then I hijacked it.

No joke.  I actually grabbed the salmon and ran (ok, walked, very carefully) over to some natural light and, of course, brought along my camera.  And ten minutes later, when I’d snapped 30 or 40 pictures, my conscience got to me, and I sheepishly returned the salmon to its rightful place on the kitchen counter.

And, having confessed that story, I should also note that this beautiful, elegant recipe is not even mine — it’s my mother’s.  And it shows that you don’t have to spend all day or bother with complicated, fussy techniques to make something stunning to serve for a dinner party.  In fact, maybe even a Valentine’s day dinner?  You could scale down the recipe easily for an intimate party for two.

This recipe looks great, it tastes even better, and it’s fresh, healthy and good for you.  Can you ask for anything more?

Salmon with Fennel, Olives and Dill

Salmon with Fennel, Olives and Dill

3 pound salmon fillet
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1/3 cup mixed olives
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp capers
Ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with tin foil.  Place the salmon fillet, skin-side down, on the foil.  Spread the chopped fennel and olives over the fillet, and top with capers, chopped dill, salt and pepper.  Pour olive oil and lemon juice over the entire fish generously.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 6.

Salmon with Fennel, Olives and Dill

Tags: food · main dishes

baby bella risotto

August 12th, 2019 · 12 Comments

Almost two years ago, I posted a recipe for mushroom risotto.  It was absolutely delicious, except for one small problem: it was impossible to photograph.  (Check out the post — the only good photo I could get was of the grated parmesan cheese).

But with fall right around the corner, I couldn’t resist trying again — especially with my beautiful Noritake dishes!  And sure enough, throw risotto in a gorgeous bowl and under some great natural light, and the photos don’t turn out half bad.

I used Noritake’s ColorWave place setting in green for this dish, and I love the square pattern.  Lately I’ve been partial to more modern-feeling designs, and I love that this one is timeless but still so contemporary and chic.  For my scallop dish, I mixed two patterns (the brown and white), and I did the same thing here — the bowl is from the Kealia collection, and it pairs perfectly with the ColorWave plates. 

And remember, if this (or any other!) pattern catches your eye, use the coupon code SUGARLAWS for 10% off the merchandise in your cart on the Noritake website!

Baby Bella Risotto

4 cups vegetable stock (substitute chicken stock if desired)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups short-grain brown rice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 leek, white portion only, sliced
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan

Over medium heat, toast rice in olive oil, stirring constantly until all the rice is coated.  Toast for 1 minute, or until grains are aromatic.  Add 1 cup of vegetable stock, the leek and shallot, and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Over the next thirty minutes, stir the risotto frequently and add more stock every time the liquid doesn’t cover the rice.  Add the mushrooms after about 20 minutes.  Taste the rice for doneness — they’re done when they’re soft and fully cooked, but not mushy.  When the rice is done cooking, remove from heat, stir in the butter and parmesan, and serve.

Serves 4.

Tags: food · main dishes · sponsored