Monday, June 12, 2006

The Festival Of Chicken

I am not a person who really likes group exercise classes (despite my unholy devotion to spinning classes). I feel that I should make this declaration immediately before proceeding with the rest of this entry. I always screw up the steps and look like a total idiot at some point during the proceedings (okay usually several times during the proceedings). It is the combination of a total lack of coordination with no musical ability and an occasional problem remembering which side is left and which is right, and trust me that is a problem which usually crops up during moments of high stress. I say all this as if it will somehow explain how I ended up in the middle of a step aerobics class at 5:30 this morning hopping around like the aforementioned idiot that I am in such classes. Actually, to be fair, it was 30 minutes of step aerobics and 30 minutes of spinning in combination with about 10 additional minutes of ab work at the end. I had no intention of taking this class when I went to the gym this morning, nope, I was going to have an easy day on the eliptical machine because my sunburn is still bothering me and then go on my merry way. However, not one or two, but three separate people told me about the class and insisted that I attend. Then to top it all off I ended up in the front row of the step aerobics class sweating like a maniac and trying to figure out how I had ended up there in the first place. I swear the morning classes in my gym are like a little cult, they are almost entirely made up of married women (I am one of the youngest people there) who come faithfully five days a week and take every single class and once they suck you in, well there you are in step aerobics at 5:30 in the morning. Now, it was an excellent workout, I enjoyed it and I will probably go back next week, not that I will have a choice, however I don’t have any clue how I ended up being one of the people who takes all the classes in the morning. If I am being honest, I have no idea how I ended up in any group exercise classes because I do not really like them. However, I have learned a few valuable lessons as a result, first the workouts will push you which is especially good when you feel like slacking off, and second, no one cares if you look like an idiot because they are probably worrying about the same thing or dying from the pain of exercising. Also, the classes are a reminder that my fitness level is really pretty good, because I could walk into the class without ever having taken it before and keep up with all the cardio with no problem (although I need to do more ab work). Last night’s workout was not very good but at least I did a few stretches and a few minutes of yoga which I needed to stretch my back which was tense. I did however manage to roast enough chicken for the rest of the week which was very exciting. Also, it tasted really good although I think you could experiment with more complicated rubs and have excellent results. So, courtesy of my father here is my roast chicken recipe and I swear that tonight I am make my chicken curry so I will report on that tomorrow. First, brine the chicken legs/thighs/breasts that you are using for thirty minutes to two hours. (I did for thirty minutes and I was using chicken legs and thighs). The brine I used was as follows: 1 cup Kosher Salt (you can substitute ½ cup table salt) 2 quarts water That is all you have to put in the brine, no really. Second, turn on the broiler in your oven and separate the oven racks, one should be high up under the broiler but not so close you can’t slide the roasting pan with the chicken on it under the broiler (minor technical glitch I had last night). The other should be lower and closer to the bottom of the oven, mine was pretty close to the bottom of the oven but I have an absolutely tiny oven. Now, on your roasting pan put all of your chicken, skin side down (unless you are being ridiculously healthy and roasting chicken with no skin). Season your chicken to taste. I just put pepper on both sides since the brine had salt in it already. Put the pan in the oven, on the lower rack and let it cook for 15-20 minutes, in a good oven it would probably only take 15 minutes to begin to brown, in my oven it takes 20. When the chicken has been cooking for 15-20 minutes and is turning a lovely golden color and smells really good, pull it out and flip it over. The skin side is now up if you are keeping track. Cook for an additional 10-15 minute until it reaches an internal temperature of around 160-170 degrees. If (like me) you are without a meat thermometer, this would be a good point to check and see if the meat is cooked and the juices run clear. Now, take the pan and move it to the top rack, directly under the broiler. Cook for a minute or two until the skin is crispy and slightly browned. Pull out the chicken and let it rest under a foil tent for at least 10 minutes. There you go, perfectly roasted chicken which if stored in an airtight container should last for between 1 week and 10 days. Plus, it tasted fabulous even though all it was seasoned with was salt and black pepper. As I say, you could go fancy with rubs but it is not necessary, I chose not to because I know I am going to use the chicken in my curry and also in some chicken salads that I am going to make this week, so I wanted to keep it very simple. So, there you go, the festival of chicken recipes have begun.

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