Vacation day 2: more arrivals, cooking…

My parents came in right on schedule this morning, and I brought them straight to the house (where they oohed and aahed appropriately). The day was mostly catching up, as my parents toured the house for the first time and we did some shopping.

The main event so far, appropriately enough, has been dinner. I took two chickens and, with the Lucadamos’ help, got them soaking in a brine solution (half cup each of sugar and kosher salt or sea salt, some black peppercorns, then enough water to cover the chicken) where they waited, refrigerated, all day.

At dinnertime, after I made Lisa and my mom some Blood Orange Cosmopolitans (a Mario Batali recipe), I pressed my dad into service slicing potatoes in thin slices, which I then laid down in a single layer in the bottom of two roasting pans. I then took the chickens out of the brine, cut the backbone out of each (reserving it for stock), flattened the ribcage with the heel of my hand, and laid each on top of the roasting pan. I then threw them into a 500° oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. I filled a pot with water and added a little sea salt, then turned the heat on. When the timer rang, I moved the chicken around, pulled out some of the crispier potato slices, and set the timer for another 15 minutes. At that point I threw broccoli into the pot, covered the chicken on top with foil since the skin was starting to go a little mahogany brown in some places and kept watching the temperature until it hit 155°, then pulled them out and served everything. The chicken was good, though I could have brined it longer, and the wine Lisa picked saved everything.

Hurry up and get here, Esta. We need someone else to cook and wash dishes… 🙂

After dinner reading: Garry Wills, Mr. Jefferson’s University (thanks to Greg for the recommendation).

Vacation day 1

It’s nice not to have a ton of stuff to worry about today. I’ll be running to the store to get a chicken for roasting for dinner, then to the airport to pick up my folks. The sun is actually shining today for them in welcome. Should be fun.