Sunday, August 5, 2018

In the French Kitchen with Kids | Mr. Neil's Roast Chicken



It's an honor today to be posting about my friend Mardi Michel's new cookbook, In the French Kitchen with Kids. She and I connected back in 2012 as ambassadors in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Community and we are both hanging in strong today as global Super Ambassadors. 

Mardi Michels of Eat.live.travel.write is a full time French teacher in Canada and also teaches children how to cook twice a week in her school's food lab. 

She is such an inspiration! 

I'm singing her cookbook "to the Mullies" and beyond today. (Pronounced "Muh-lies," this means "Geronimo." My sister and and I coined the phrase back in the early 80's while jumping off high, scary places with unknown landings.) 

Isn't that like cooking (with or without kids)?

I have fallen unabashedly, head over heals, for her delicious French recipes... And so have my kids. Her well thought out cookbook begins with "top tips for cooking with kids" which are spot on for anyone who is interested in welcoming little ones into the craziness of a kitchen. She also outlines the basics (pantry ingredients & equipment) to get your French Kitchen party started. NOTE: This is NOT fancy stuff - Super doable, realistic and time tested by Mardi who is one of the most seasoned, practical chefs and teachers I know! The holidays are coming... time to get those lists started, or a quick trip to TJMax. The "kitchen blowtorch" is on my wish list. Crème brûlée, I'm coming after you.

This is the first post of many from her cookbook - Bon Appetite! 


I decided to cook up Mr. Neil's Roast Chicken for our dear friends who moved away to the Bahamas (Krissy's Gone Coconuts) last week. It was totally impromtu (they were packing and needed to be fed!). I invited the boys into the kitchen with me and it turned out to be the most wonderful going away dinner ever.


Let's rewind the evening and tell the picture story of how Mr. Neil's Roast Chicken came together.
(This cooking instastory can be found under ⚡️FoodEdFun⚡️highlights here.)


Tommy is my youngest and most enthusiastic chef. He tells me he wants to go to culinary school and live at home forever... my heart goes pitter patter.

Tommy says: "I want to stay home because at college you have to sleep there and I don't know if I'm gonna have a creepy cell mate."





A confident rock-chopper.

Tommy says, "Rock-chopping like a T-Rex!"



We had some good laughs stuffing the organic, pasture raised bird with lemons, garlic and thyme from our kitchen garden. Tommy had never stuffed a bird's cavity before. 

Tommy says, "This was disgusting, I didn't want to shove a lemon up the chicken's butt. But it was ok."



When Tommy's friend Wolfi came over, he just watched for a bit. It's rather unnerving watching someone prep a chicken for roasting if you've never done this before (I'll never forget putting pats of butter under a bird's skin for the first time myself!). I invited the boys to help me, made it fun, we laughed and relaxed... and they decided to join me!!

Don't worry if your little cooks decide not to join in... they might next time. I LOVE how Mardi coaches you through the unexpected food education moments in her cookbook:

"Kids might be squeamish about touching raw chicken (especially when it comes to placing the lemons, garlic and herbs in the cavity and butter under and over the skin.) The more they see you doing tasks like this, though, the more normal (and less gruesome) it will appear. In the meantime, get them busy chopping the vegetables and mixing in the oil and seasoning in the roasting pan."  Mardi Michels - In the French Kitchen with Kids 



Tommy says, "It feels super weird to put the the butter under the skin and feel it."









Can you believe I stretched this recipe for our entire dinner party! I made a quick gravy with the drippings from the root vegetables (the vegetables are the VERY BEST PART!!!!). I also froze the chicken carcass in a gallon freezer bag to make stock for a future soup night.

Boom.

Tommy says, "It was really tasty. It was really fun cooking with you again Mom. Can we make the french fries and chocolate croissants (pains au chocolat/chocolatines) next?"

Yes Tommy. Yes we can.

I will be making Mr. Neil's Roast Chicken again and again for my family table. Thank you Mardi + Mr Neil for including such a special recipe in your 1st cookbook. 

I'll be first in line for your 2nd someday.

Here is her amazing recipe for you to share with YOUR family table! 
*ps If you would like to share your experience with Mardi and others in the food education world, don't forget to use the hashtag #inthefrenchkitchenwithkids and #tothemullies*

I can't wait to be inspired by your French cooking adventure!

Mr. Neil's Roast Chicken {Poulet Roti}
Serves 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: about 1.5 hours

INGREDIENTS
2-3 c roughly chopped assorted root vegetables (we used rainbow carrots, celeriac, turnips, potatoes)
2 medium yellow onions, thickly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small lemons, grate the zest of one and use both for the chicken
6 sprigs fresh thyme (we also added 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves here)
2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken (ours was organic, antibiotic free and pasture raised from a local Midwest farm)
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 c salted butter, at room temperature
1-2 tsp dried Herbes de Provence or dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

FOR BASTING
1/4 c salted butter melted
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Scatter the chopped vegetables in a roasting pan with olive oil. Add lemon zest, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper to the vegetables and, using your hands, mix until all the vegetables are coated. Make sure the vegetables are sitting evenly on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  3. Pat the cavity of the bird dry using a paper towel.
  4. Cut both of the lemons in quarters and place them in the cavity of the bird with the smashed garlic and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. If all the lemon quarters don't fit, you can pop them in the pan with the vegetables - just don't forget to take them out when you are serving the chicken.
  5. Cut about half of the butter into small pieces and place them under the skin of the bird. To do this, start at the cavity end of the chicken and slide on or two fingers between the meat and the skin. Work slowly, separating the skin from the meat as far as you can reach. Squish the butter pieces slightly and fit them under the skin as best you can.
  6. Spread the remainder of the butter over the outside of the skin. The easiest way to do this is with your hands. Season the bird with the Herbes de Provence or dried thyme and a touch of pepper.
  7. Place the bird directly on the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes, until the skin starts to brown nicely.
  8. Add smashed garlic to the melted butter and place this over very low heat on the stovetop. You will use this to baste the chicken while it's roasting.
  9. Turn down the oven to 400 degrees and roast the chicken for 60 to 70 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the high part of the the thigh registers 165 degrees. Normally, you can count on about 20 minutes' cook time per pound of chicken but to be absolutely sure, a meat thermometer is the way to go!
  10. While the bird is cooking, baste it every 20 minutes or so with the melted butter and smashed garlic. This will season the bird even more.
  11. Once the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven (leave the vegetables in the roasted pan), place it on a cutting board (preferably one that has a drain ridge to catch any juices), cover it loosely with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before you carve it.
  12. Give the vegetables a good stir and place the roasting pan back in the oven until you are ready to serve the meal. If the vegetables are not crispy enough, you can set the boiler to high (around 400 degrees) and broil them for about 5 minutes, but do keep an eye on them as they might burn.
Follow Mardi with me on social media:

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL













Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Set the Table 2018 | Raspberry + Blueberry Coconut Crumble with Wild Orange




Have a Berry Happy 4th of July!! This recipe is Abbie approved which means I just hit a GRAND FREAKIN SLAM in the kitchen today!

Raspberry + Blueberry Coconut Crumble with Wild Orange (gluten free)
Made with Prairie Wind Family Farm CSA Summer fruit share from Mick Klug Farm

2 (1/2 pint containers) organic raspberries
2 (1 pint containers) organic blueberries
1/3 c coconut sugar
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt

GF Streusel Topping
1/2 c gf flour blend (I used Pamela's GF Baking and Pancake Mix)
1/2 c coconut sugar
1/4 c gf rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 stick (1/4 c) cold organic grass fed butter or cold coconut oil
pinch of sea salt

Optional: While still warm, garnish with dark chocolate mini chips and Leider's local pee pollen (found at the Libertyville Farmer's Market) + Full Fat Organic Vanilla Bean Ice cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, gently mix up berries, sugar, arrowroot, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and wild orange essential oil until well combined. Pour into square baking pan or pie plate. Use a rubber spatula to get all juices into the berry mixture. In another mixing bowl, add the dry streusel ingredients. With a pastry cutter or fork (precut the butter into small chunks), cut in the cold butter or coconut oil into the dry mix until you get a uniform, small bread crumb-like consistency. Pour the streusel topping onto the berries and bake for 30 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling up on the sides. Garnish with chocolate chips and bee pollen for a festive presentation and extra flavor pop! Abbie says, "The more vanilla ice cream, the better!"

********************************************************************************

  • Each #SettheTable2018 post features a delicious family table recipe(s) to inspire your meal planning for the week.  
  • #CatchmyGrit on Instagram to follow the fun, the food and the family table reactions (good and bad) leading up to each weekend post. C'est la vie, I selfy-ishly light it UP in pics, videos and Instastories to keep truckin! 
  • New to this series? Revisit my favorite #SettheTable2017 recipe links here. Cheers to another year of sharing my crazy food adventures with Pure Barre Kildeer
Enjoy my recipe play by play!















Keep practicing in the kitchen - It all starts at hOMe plate!

To the Mullies we go... 
xoxoL



ps

My Top 11 #SettheTable2018 Topics:
  1. A Scientist Explores the Mysteries of the Gut Brain Connection
  2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
  3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
  4. Stay on top of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Campaign.
  5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
  6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
  7. What is Organic Pasture Raised Chicken Good for?
  8. Shop with EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen" produce guidelines. Why? New research suggests pesticides/herbicides are linked to antibiotic resistance. Protect your gut microbiome + mycobiome.
  9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your "second brain" happy + healthy.
  10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
  11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Set the Table 2018 | A Crab Salad Birthday




Last night was my Mom's birthday! And I made something very simple and special - One of her very favorites! Every year gets better with you in it Mom - I love you to the moon and back!!

A Crab and Shrimp Meat Salad 

3 heaping Tbsp plain full fat greek yogurt
3 heaping Tbsp vegenaise (any favorite mayo will do)
1 lemon's juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbsp fresh chives from our garden
2 Tbsp fresh parsley from our garden
1-2 tsp worcestershire (It was somewhere in between 1-2 tsp "to taste". lol)

16 oz claw crab meat
6 oz lump crab meat
3/4 lb shrimp meat (aka "little baby shrimps")

Mix up the sauce first. Dump in the crab and shrimp meat. Mix. Season more with salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with your favorite greens. I used watercress, kale sprouts and green lettuce. Make it into a sandwich or salad and celebrate this wonderful life!!!

********************************************************************************
  • Each #SettheTable2018 post features a delicious family table recipe(s) to inspire your meal planning for the week.  
  • #CatchmyGrit on Instagram to follow the fun, the food and the family table reactions (good and bad) leading up to each weekend post. C'est la vie, I selfy-ishly light it UP in pics, videos and Instastories to keep truckin! 
  • New to this series? Revisit my favorite #SettheTable2017 recipe links here. Cheers to another year of sharing my crazy food adventures with Pure Barre Kildeer

Enjoy my play-by-play!


















We still have pickles from our garden last year!




It's time for new candles at the family table:)

Keep practicing - It all starts at hOMe plate!

To the Mullies we go... 
xoxoL



ps

My Top 11 #SettheTable2018 Topics:
  1. A Scientist Explores the Mysteries of the Gut Brain Connection
  2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
  3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
  4. Stay on top of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Campaign.
  5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
  6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
  7. What is Organic Pasture Raised Chicken Good for?
  8. Shop with EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen" produce guidelines. Why? New research suggests pesticides/herbicides are linked to antibiotic resistance. Protect your gut microbiome + mycobiome.
  9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your "second brain" happy + healthy.
  10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
  11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).