Tag Archives: thyme

Starting Veggie Seeds Indoors

there’s something magical about going from seed to plant to plate…

…start out by grabbing some seed starter equipment. i like seed cells with the compacted soil pellets that expand when water is added…

Seed Cells

Seed Cell w. Soil Pod

…drop a few seeds in each cell…

…i use mostly heirloom and rare varieties to keep things interesting…

Seed Cells; Soil Pod Expansion

…label everything so nothing gets mixed up…

San Marzano

…pop on the dome – this will simulate a greenhouse…place out of direct sunlight…

…the seeds should sprout within a week…

Green House Dome

…here’s what i’m starting indoors for ’12…

  1. tomatoes
  2. swiss chard
  3. beets
  4. spinach
  5. basil
  6. thyme
  7. dill
  8. parsley
  9. scallions
  10. hot peppers
  11. sweet peppers
…after about a week when majority of seeds have sprouted, take the dome off…
…tomatoes…
  1. cherokee purple
  2. san marzano
  3. amish paste
  4. roman striped
  5. roma VFN
  6. riesentraube (cherry)
Tomato Seedlings

…swiss chard & beets…

Swiss Chard & Beets

…scallions – spinach – thyme…

Scallions

…lots of basil for pesto sauce…

Basil

Parsley

Tomato Grid

…after ~2 weeks, when majority of seedlings have sprouted, place by a window for some sunlight…

…the tomatoes are standing strong…

Tomato Seedlings; Two Weeks

…the basil is growing towards the sun…

Basil; Two weeks

Seedlings; Two Weeks

…normally pepper seeds won’t sprout as quickly as the rest since they prefer warmer temperatures, so we have to hack the system…

…plant seeds, except this time you’re going to place the seed tray on a heating mat…set mat on high every morning until sprouts begin to appear. once majority of seeds have sprouted, take off the dome. keep tray on mat and continue to heat every day to keep the soil warm and until all of the seeds have sprouted…

Hot & Sweet Peppers

…hot peppers…

  1. scotch bonnet
  2. tam jalepeno
…sweet peppers…
  1. quadrato di asti rosso
  2. friarello di napoli
  3. red mini bell

Pepper Grid

…once it’s consistently in the 50’s outside and the nights don’t get too cold you can transplant into the ground…about the second week in april…

…the rest of the veggies will be sown directly in the ground…

  1. romaine paris cos
  2. cucumber
    1. beit alpha
    2. delikatasse
  3. rotonda bianca sfumata (sicilian eggplant)
  4. ping tung eggplant (thai eggplant)
  5. melon charentais
  6. arugula
  7. zucchini lungo bianco
  8. swiss chard
  9. beets
good luck!

Mad Easy DIY Chicken Stock

I cut up some whole chickens and saved the backs and necks. I had about 2 lbs worth sitting in the freezer so I decided why not give this stock thing a shot. I checked out a few recipes around the web to get some ideas and then I delved into my stock adventure. I felt that making chicken stock should be uncomplicated and an easy way to reuse scrap parts. So, with that in mind, I set out to make my own…I grabbed my scraps, some veggies, fresh herbs, and spices and tossed everything in a pot with water and let it simmer for a long ass time. A couple of additional steps were needed to refine the stock, but nothing crazy…strain it, fridge it overnight, then bottle, bag, store, and freeze the next day. Dunzo.

Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~8hrs + overnight chill in fridge

Get yourself:

  • ~2-3lb Chicken parts (backs, necks, leftover carcass, etc.)
  • ~1C White wine
  • ~6 Stalks celery
  • ~2C baby carrots or 4 whole carrots halved
  • ~6-8 Parsley bunches with stems attached
  • ~10 Sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic smashed and skin removed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Onion, top and bottom cut off and peeled
  • 1.5T Peppercorns
  • 1.5T Kosher salt
  • ~2Gallons water
  • Big sauce pot
  • Mason jar
  • Ziploc sandwich bags
  • Patience
  • A day when you can leave a pot on simmer for ~8hrs

Thawed chicken goes in pot

If you don’t have scrap chicken you can buy chicken backs at the supermarket…

…dirt cheap

Toss all of your veggies and herbs into the pot

Don’t kill yourself just rough chop, tear, throw in whole, who cares?

Toss in your peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves

Add in your wine and water

Water amount will vary depending on the size of your pot…

Don’t sweat it, just make sure it’s enough to cover all of the ingredients by at least 2″

Simmer for ~8hrs

Don’t boil (something about fat emulsification and cloudy stock)

When it’s finally done, strain all of it through a sieve

You can save the chicken and carrots, let cool, remove bones, and feed to dogs

My little guys loved it…

…nothing goes to waste!

(optional) Line sieve with mad layers of cheese cloth and strain again

Depends how fanatical you are…

Throw the stock pot in the fridge to cool overnight

Fat will harden on the top

Using a big spoon, skim all the fat off the top and trash it

You can strain again to get all the little fat pieces that get away from you…

…kinda like the last cheerio in the milk that you swear is intentionally swimming away from your spoon

Big bowl of stock

Time to store it…

Ahhhh…ladle some of that liquid gold into a glass jar

Freeze the rest

Here’s how…

Stuff a Ziploc sandwich bag into a 16oz cup and drape over

Grab your ladle

Fill with ~2 ladle’s worth of stock

Seal and set aside

Do this until all stock is used up

Store the Ziploc bags in a big Ziploc freezer bag

When you’re ready to use just take out to defrost

I ended up getting ~10 sandwich bags of stock…

Come on, how freakin’ easy is that?!

Stop wasting money on that garbage loaded with MSG and make your own!

…you’re welcome…

🙂

Roasted Chicken with Veggies

Spring is right around the corner so I decided to make  a last-ditch effort to create a winter-ish dish. Not like anyone wants to be reminded of winter, but I figured it was the least I could to politely say bon voyage. So, as usual, I hit up the cookbooks and flipped through some of Ina Garten’s recipes (she rocks FYI), then I hit up the google to find some recipes and came across the Amateur Gourmet’s rendition of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc @ home roasted chicken. This looked really good and I was sold. Time to roast me a chicken and root vegetables…

“Hey, I’m looking for a rutabaga”

“Sure, over there in the barrel”

“The thing that says turnips?!”

“Yea”

“But I’m looking for a rutabaga…”

“Yea, same thing”

“Uh, OK, thanks…”

Good thing for produce guy and his thorough explanation right?! I mean, I would never know the difference if it weren’t for his extensive produce knowledge. Thanks vague produce man, thanks.

Anyway, who cares about turnips and rutabagas, let’s the roast the damn things and eat ’em. According to the Amateur Gourmet guy it’s worth it…

Serves: ~4
Prep time: ~25mins
Cook time: ~2hrs
Total time: Freakin’ long but worth it

Get yourself:

  • 1 4-4.5lb Chicken
  • 2 Rutabagas
  • 2 Turnips
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 8-10 Small red potatoes
  • 8 Long carrots
  • 1 Small head of garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 4T Butter
  • 1t Rendered duck fat (optional)
  • .5C Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • Butchers twine or something to truss the chicken
  • Big ass roasting pan or cast iron skillet
  • Digital thermo because when the temp hits 160F that chicken is done!

First things first, if you want crispy skin then you should let your chicken air dry on the counter for 2 hours before cooking. Then you should take some paper towels and dab the skin to absorb any residual moisture.

Dry skin = Crispy skin

Now we can move on…

Preheat oven to 425

Prep your veggies

I know it looks like a daunting mountain of veggies to peel

Put some music on and get to preppin’

Let’s start with the leeks

Cut the dark green off

I feel like I’m wasting money when I buy these I mean you end up cutting and tossing half of it away

Now, stand it up and slice almost in half

Turn, slice almost in half again

Got it?!

The veg, the myth, the legend…the rutabaga

It’s waxed

Peel off the outer skin and then cut into wedges

Rutabaga, done

Turnip time

Same thing

Peel and then wedges

For the onion just cut the tip off lay flat

Then cut through the root end into quarters

Pull three cloves of garlic off the head, peel and smash with knife

Quarter your carrots

Gather 4 stalks of thyme

Rinse potatoes, but leave whole and unpeeled

Add all of these plus the veggies from above into a big bowl

Toss in the olive oil and 1tsp each of salt and pepper

Mix it all up real good and throw ’em into whatever your baking them in

I used a nice big cast iron pan

Veggie’s, done

Chicken time…

Separate the skin from the flesh with your fingers

Inconspicuously slip 4T of butter under the skin

I rubbed duck fat all over the skin, but you can use butter or a light oil like canola

Sprinkle 1tsp salt and cracked black pepper over the chicken skin

oh yea, don’t forget to remove the giblets from the cavity

Add 1 tsp of salt and pepper to cavity

Quarter your lemon and stuff it in

Stick the remainder of the thyme stalks in

Get the remaining head of garlic and slice the top off, stuff it in there

Truss the chicken legs and tuck the wing tips under the body

Push the veggies to the side and nestle the chicken right in the middle of the whole thing

Put in the 425F oven feet first

Roast for 25mins

Drop oven temp to 400F

Rotate so the feet are facing you

Roast for 45mins or until a meat thermo reads 160F

In due time, a gorgeous, fragrant, crispy chicken will grace you with its presence

Put the chicken aside and let rest so the juices can redistribute

You can throw a foil tent over it

I like my roasted veggies really caramelized so at this point I threw ’em back in for another 25mins

That’s all folks…

A classic roast chicken

If you’re into roast chicken and veggies then this is right up your alley

The chicken was SO juicy and had great flavor

Skin was crispy and buttery

The veggies were packed with flavor

Definitely a go-to comfort dish

Enjoy!!