Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recipe: Bundt Cake Pan Chicken

The other day I wanted to make Beer Can Chicken. One of my favorite grocery stores, Ballard Market, had two-for-one organic chickens so they were almost the price of, um, un-organic chickens. Score!

By now you've heard of Beer Can Chicken. It's a popular and easy way to smoke chicken on the grill: Open a tall boy beer, take a few gulps and poke a few holes in the can, then stick the can up the chicken cavity and place on grill. The steam from the beer keeps the chicken nice and juicy, while the chicken, in an upright stance, smokes evenly.

Only I didn't have a beer. No problem, I said to myself, rummaging in my messy bottom kitchen cupboard. I know I have one of those beer can chicken stands around here. Clanking around and throwing various kitchen and baking equipment around, my hand landed on part of Grandma Helen's bundt cake pan. Grandma Helen was Eric's grandma, and we have hordes of cast iron pans and ancient but useful baking pans from her.

I held it up and realized it would be a perfect "beer can chicken" stand. Not only would it hold up the chicken and be sturdier than a beer can, the bottom part would catch the drippings so I could baste the chicken along the way.

And it's downright girly, I thought, me being the kind of feminist who finds no offense in the idea of being a girl.

So here it is, my recipe for Bundt Cake Pan Chicken. Incidentally, if you don't have a bundt pan, you may substitute a tall boy can of beer.

Spice rub of your choice
kosher salt (if rub has no salt in it)
1 whole chicken
Olive oil

1) Prep your chicken: Remove giblets. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub generously with olive oil, followed by kosher salt. Pat rub all over chicken.

2) Place chicken upright on bundt pan.

3) While chicken is sittin' pretty and getting her rub on, go get your smoke on: Make fire in grill for indirect, medium heat. Shoot for 300 degrees. You can smoke it slow and low, but I like my chicken skin crispy, and the higher temperature will do that. Once pre-heated (charcoal or gas), add wood to fire.

4) Cook chicken for one hour without peeking. Use your vents to control and stabilize the heat. After one hour, baste chicken with juices collecting at base of bundt pan. Continue to baste every 30 minutes for about 2 to 2 1/2hours until chicken reads 165 degrees in the meaty part of the thigh.

5) The trickiest part is taking the bundt pan with chicken off the grill without spilling all the juices on the fire. I removed some of the drippings first, then picked it up carefully with a hot pad and tongs on to a plate. Let the bird sit about 5 minutes before pulling off the bundt pan. Remember that the pan will be hot! Let sit for another 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

You may notice that the rub is light, and a little uneven. What can I say? The baby woke up from her nap right as I was applying the rub, and I needed to hurry up and get and get the bird on so I could pick up son from pre-school. You know what? It was delicious! This method of cooking chicken makes it so tender and juice, that it requires very little fuss.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ballard Author Event

You are invited to a one-of-a-kind event on October 19: Ballard Authors & Neighbors. For the locals reading this post, you know that Ballardites stick together. It has the feel of a small town inside a big city. What has changed since I was a child is that Ballard has become a diverse quilt of art, music, hip shops and restaurants.

Mixed in, quietly among the stitches, are those of us that work with words. We wallflowers will come out of the Norwegian wood, so to speak, for an evening roundtable with 30 authors talking about writing, playing bingo, and signing books. Ballard's own Secret Garden Bookstore will sell books.

Come on out to Sunset Hill Community Club, 7-9pm, and join in the fun. Read the Ballard News Tribune article for more information and a peek at some of the authors that will be there.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food Poetry Friday: October Berries

I haven't participated in Poetry Friday for awhile, but today, looking out at the grey, this poem I wrote a few years ago seems right. This week Poetry Friday is hosted by Carol's Corner.

If you are a berry picker, as I am, you know about October berries. Most left on the vines are shrivelled, bug-eaten, or moldy. But some look plump and ripe like August berries. You pick one, peer at it closely to make sure you didn't miss a nasty bit, and if it checks out, you pop it in your mouth.

How sour it is! October berries were green in August, and never really ripened properly. Still. This will be the last berry you pick until next summer.

October Berries
by Julie Reinhardt

August is the time to find
Juicy berries on the vine
Until your mouth is purple and
You’ve red stained fingers on each hand

But now it is October, yet
I hunt for berries, cold and wet
I pick as if they were like gold
These left behind, fruit not sold

For though they are not plump and sweet
As August berries that I eat
October berries are the last
Until next August comes to pass