roasted potatoes

37 With Bourbon

How was everyone’s weekend? I don’t know about you, but the sunshine FINALLY visited Portland and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I did my best to spend as much time soaking up the Vitamin D as possible. I hung out with a friend and we gave ourselves pedicures in the sunshine. I dug a big-ass hole in my yard (like 3 feet deep) and planted my very own cherry blossom tree (which is blooming). Boy, that yard work was a good workout. 40 minutes of digging a hole burned 250 calories.

For Michael’s 37th birthday he spent the day watching The Masters and I spent the day with friends in the park (more on that soon). But I did make him dinner. I found a new recipe to try for chicken that I thought he would like. Salt and Vinegar Chicken–sounds weird, right? My thinking was that Michael likes the salt and vinegar potato chips, and the recipe had great reviews, so…why not?

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous that I would just be pickling my chicken but I wanted to try. Pizza was going to be the back-up plan. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also picked up Michael’s favorite dessert from Papa Haydn’s just in case too.



The stats on this recipe are pretty accurate–it barely took 15 minutes to throw this all together to marinade. Super easy. I was skeptical each step of the way–really? That much vegetable oil? Huh. Okay. Really? That much salt? Okay…

I used red wine vinegar and not cider vinegar. The oil and vinegar separated, which looked really cool in the bowl. But once I mixed in the rest of the ingredients it was okay. It looked like a raspberryย vinaigretteย dressing. I put the chicken in the bowl and let it marinade for a few hours.

While dinner was marinading I prepped everything else. I got the broccoli ready to steam and the baby red potatoes for roasting. I kind of made up my own recipe for the potatoes. Here it is:

The food smelled fantastic and my hopes were high. While dinner was cooking, Michael opened his cards and presents and Fat Kitty played with all the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. Dinner all came together nicely and at the same time, added bonus. I poured us glasses of wine, Francis Coppola Chardonnay. It was a different flavor than I’m used to in a chardonnay but it was good.

Dinner was a complete success. Everything was delicious! How was the chicken? Fantastic. There was just a hint of the red wine vinegar and salt flavor and it wasn’t overpowering at all. The only disappointing part was that the chicken skin did not get crispy. I think next time it would be best to cook the chicken in the skillet, at least long enough to crisp it, and then bake it.

The most important part: Michael loved it. I was glad that everything turned out well since it was his birthday dinner and it was a new recipe with potential disaster written all over it. The potatoes were a huge hit as well. He LOVED them! It’s been agesย since either of us ate potatoes with dinner (minus the mashed potatoes we had at his mom’s house) and we just rarely eat potatoes anymore so it was a nice treat.

And for dessert: a Bourbon Ball! It is the most decadent dessert I’ve ever had. It’s a dense chocolate cake in a ball, with a dark chocolate genache exterior. The menu at Papa Haydn’s says the chocolate ball was soaked in Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon but I don’t taste any alcohol in this dessert, I just taste decadent chocolate!

On top of the ball is a little bit of frosting and a chocolate covered espresso bean (which I eat). We shared the Bourbon Ball because it is way too rich for anyone to eat on their own. It was a good night and I was glad that my special guy’s birthday meal was delicious. We both agreed that the chicken recipe is a keeper.

Happyย birthday!

QUESTION: Quick! Name your most favorite decadent dessert that must be shared because it’s too rich to eat all of.

Engagement Chicken (The Chicken with No Name)

Sunday night I made an epic dinner. All by myself. Remember how I said I wasn’t a very good cook? Many of my dishes turn out to be a disaster that I have to toss? Well I was a bit apprehensive about attempting to make an entire chicken all by myself.
First up: some good tunes to listen to while I cooked.
Lately I’ve become obsessed with the Neo-Tango music channel I created on Pandora. I love it. It’s upbeat and cheerful music. Now onto the recipe:
  • 1 whole chicken (approx. 3 lb.)
  • 2 medium lemons
  • Fresh lemon juice (1/2 cup)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Nutrition Facts: One serving= ย Calories: 329 Fat: 23 g Saturated fat: 7 g Cholesterol: 107 mg Sodium: 112 mg Carbohydrate: 4 g Fiber: 0 g Protein: 25 g

1. Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

2. Wash chicken inside and out with cold water, remove the giblets, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes).

3. Pat dry with paper towels.

4. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside). Season with salt and pepper. Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. (Tip: If lemons are hard, roll on countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.)

5. Place the bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up (use wooden spoons!); return it to oven for 35 minutes more. Test for donenessโ€”a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180 degrees, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

7. Continue baking if necessary. Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving. Serve with juices.

I made the Chicken with No Name. It has a name but I won’t post it here just yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s an inside joke between Michael and I.

I had to clean the chicken myself (and take out the giblets–eeeew). That was a moment of panic I had to quickly get over. I was a vegetarian for years and part of the reason was a revulsion to touching raw meat. Yuck! It was so creepy. But I guess I must REALLY love my boyfriend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I followed the directions and let the chicken sit for a few minutes draining. While that was going on, I got all the ingredients I was going to need.

One thing I need to really work on when it comes to cooking is to prep EVERYTHING before I start. And read the instructions all the way through. I was also going to roast some carrots and red potatoes and onions. Did I get the carrots ready? Nope. Then I was scrambling. I also didn’t notice that the potatoes took an HOUR in the oven. Oops! More on that later.

Thank goodness I got extra lemons. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to squeeze out for 1/2 a cup.

Lots of lemons were used. I dried the chicken off and put it in the roasting pan.

I poured the lemon juice all over the chicken and inside the chicken.
I stabbed the lemon with a fork a few times and then stuffed it inside the chicken.

Unfortunately I could not fit both lemons inside the chicken.

I popped it into the oven for the first part of the roasting. During that 15 minutes I worked on the potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes

Red Potatoes


Sweet Onions

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Minced Garlic


I felt rushed to prep everything because I realized the dish had to bake for an hour! I wanted to make sure everything finished cooking at the same time.

I’m usually pretty good at multi-tasking but when it comes to cooking I have a hard time timing everything correctly.

I added a little too much olive oil to the mixture. Oh well. Live and learn.

The 15 minutes were up so I took the chicken out and flipped it over. ย I also put the potatoes in the oven.

The recipe called for roasting it another 35 minutes or so. I checked on the chicken and the potatoes every 10-15 minutes. ย I kept checking the temperature. The thermometer said Poultry should be a minimum of 165 degrees. The recipe called for it to be 180 degrees. I realized about half way through the cooking that I stuck the thermometer in too deep because the temperature wasn’t rising. I think I stuck it all the way through to the cavity. I removed it and put it in again and it read the temp right.

At about 55 minutes I took the chicken out and let it sit a few minutes before carving it. The temperature was over 180 degrees, so that was good.

A little chardonnay to go with dinner:

The potatoes were perfectly cooked. I loved the roasted veggies. The chicken was also perfect! It wasn’t dry or overcooked and the meat was so moist and succulent!

It was so delicious. And I did it all by myself!

I am so proud of myself for doing something so hard (for me). I loved the lemony flavor of the chicken, too.

Thank you Howard Stern for telling us about this fantastic dish also known as Engagement Chicken. ย Despite it’s ridiculous name. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And no I had no ulterior motives for making this dish.

QUESTION: Have you ever attempted something like this? How did it turn out?