Thursday, January 20, 2011

Turning Up the Heat

Because I stubbornly refuse to turn the heat up, I bake. I suppose when it’s chicken it’s called roasting, though at least in my home oven there’s no difference. And because I’m in search of internal as well as external heat, I keep thinking of spicy things to add in to Renée’s general rule of “more garlic, more cilantro, and more black pepper.”

Mexican Roast Chicken

Serves 4

1 whole chicken
1 lime
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 T coarse salt
1 T peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried Asian hot red pepper
2 onions
4 medium potatoes

Crack the peppercorns. If you have a mortar and pestle, do it in that, then add the cilantro and garlic and salt and pepper and grind together for about 30 seconds. Otherwise, crack the peppercorns by wrapping them in a dish cloth and rolling over it with a rolling pin, then mix together with other ingredients. Cut lime in half and place both halves in the cavity of the chicken. Rub with the cilantro mixture. Place in a baking pan. Quarter the onions and lay them along with the potatoes around the chicken. Bake at 400 1 ½ -2 hours.

The memory of warmth at least remains in the green beans I blanched and froze at the end of the summer. And this dish has all the colors of those long gone days.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Capers
serves 4

1 bag frozen green beans
1 T olive oil
1 onion
¼ cup sundried or roasted tomatoes in olive oil, cut into strips
2 T capers

Cut the onion into quarters, toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Heat the olive oil. Toss the green beans in the pan until warmed through. Add the other ingredients and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Another way to get warm, of course, is to drink heavily. The invention of Renée’s has the added benefit of organ-warming ginger and ginseng.

Gin Ger

Serves 2

3 oz gin
2 oz cointreau
Dash lime juice
1 oz canton (a French liqueur made from cognac, ginger, and ginseng)
Dash cranberry juice concentrate

Shake with ice and serve with cherries.