Tuesday, December 11, 2012

oven roasted chicken

It's that time of the year where the apartment is filled with the smell of roasting fowl, maybe some seeping through the door onto the hallway, making the neighbours very hungry. Roasting a bird is not an easy task but it doesn't have to be so difficult either. I roasted my very first chicken for Thanksgiving this year and it was, according to my beloved food critic, fantastic. I will share with you the very simple method to oven roast your first chicken.

Prep: 2 hours
Cooking: 1.5 - 2 hours

1. Clean your chicken in running water. First, let's brine the chicken for tender and juicy meat. Fill a large bowl with cold water, add 1-2 large tablespoon of seasalt (according to your taste or size of the chicken) and soak the bird for about an hour.

2. Take the brined chicken out, clean it with running water and pat dry with paper towel. Place it in empty bowl and air chill in the fridge for an hour.

3. Take the chicken out of the fridge, now embrace it with pepper, herbs, butter and/or any seasoning you'd like. I used black pepper, garlic and Italian herb mix with butter.
IMPORTANT! Make sure you season it well. I mean even under the skin. That lump in the picture above is not fat, it is butter (well, butter is fat..) under the skin. This will make the skin crispier and the chicken breast moist. This process is little bit gross, but necessary for yummy, flavourful, moist chicken.

4. Chop any vegetables you like (onions, carrots, potatoes, etc) or repare a stuffig mix (which I have done along with veges). Place it in a large cooking pan and put the seasoned chicken on top.

5. Set the oven to 175 degrees (350F) . Now begin roasting your chicken. mmmmm can you smell that?
Make sure to regularly check your oven to see how your birdie is doing.

Here is my method:
  • my chicken was about 1kg (2.2lbs)
  • 1 hour 20 minutes, uncovered
  • 10-15 minutes, raise the oven temp to 200 degrees (400F) (until skin is crisp/brown)
  • 15-20 minutes, take it out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and cool.

Tip: Cook your chicken for 30 minutes per 500 grams of weight. Every 20 minutes or so take your chicken out of the oven and baste it with the juices that have collected in the tray or with butter if you have veges soaking up the chicken juice.
My recipe is based on multipl recipe searches online, but this one and this one have very easy to follow steps with pictures. Enjoy!

posted by rin

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Futures Bakery & Cafe

Are you a hungry student? Futures has all day breakfast for $5.99 when you show your student ID. Futures used to be my to go place for breakfast while I was in school (where was this discount when I was in school?). Very close to UofT, affordable and tastes great! Also the wide selection of pastries and cakes kept bringing me back here.

My sister had the three eggs with bacon while I had the smoked salmon eggs benedict. Thanks to Karen, we paid student price for both meals. I was contemplating whether I should get the omelette or the salmon benedict and I wish I had gotten the omelette. The smoked salmon didn't really work for me; it was really salty and I didn't like it with the hollandaise sauce. The traditional egg breakfast was executed well, simple, plain, nothing to complain about. We liked the homefries that came with the dishes. Again, it was bit salty for my liking but Karen enjoyed it very much.

Pleasant vibe, busy cafeteria scene, a great place to hang out, morning or late at night. It is always packed and I can see why. The food is not over the top but definitely has some heart into it. Need some comfort food? This is the place.

Futures Bakery & Cafe

483 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON   M5S 1Y2

posted by rin

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Butler's Pantry @Roncesvalles

Butler's Pantry is a small sized restaurant that offers unique set of menus for Asian-fusion dishes. There are two locations, Roncesvalles and Markham Street. Both locations are decorated with vintage furniture and have cozy atmosphere.

This is the best salad dressing I have ever tasted. Yes, they are very secretive about the ingredients or how it is made. I asked the waitress one time for the recipe and she said only the owners know the recipe. This made me itch so bad to find what is in this dressing! It is sweet, fruity, rich, little savoury, citrusy... it has a little bit of everything! I wish I had the super palate to figure out what ingredients were used. Unfortunately, my tongue is as plain as it gets, so all I can do is to just come back and enjoy this salad dressing with fresh greens at butler's pantry.

The Cricket Club ($9)
Traditional Club sandwich, with charcoal grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato with a mango chutney flavored mayonnaise spread

You can't go wrong with a club sandwich. Period. The whole wheat bread was lightly toasted (no it will not hurt your upper mouth as some crispy breads do) and cut into four pieces. The sandwich contains an extra slice of bread in the middle, so it requires you to open wide to bite down the entire sandwich. The mango chutney flavoured mayo is a very nice touch, it adds more flavour compared to plain mayo. It comes with potato chips which I am not sure if it is home made or store bought. It just tasted like lays to me.

Jambalaya ($12)
Our version of the classic Cajun dish. Spicy tomato rice with chicken, zucchini, carrots, leaks, mushrooms and onions

This was my first jambalaya ever and I don't have anything to compared to but I liked it. I am not a tomato fan, but I liked how the tomato didn't overpower everything else. It is not really spicy. The portion was generous and the green salad was a perfect side dish for this savoury dish. I will have to try the real classic jambalaya soon to compare.

Khowsway ($11)
Our version of the famous Burmese dish. Chicken pieces cooked in a coconut milk sauce, mildly spiced served on a bed of egg noodles and garnished with chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumber and coriander

This dish was a surprise. We read the description but didn't know what to expect. The noodles were little hard and didn't have much flavour. The chicken was tender and well soaked in coconut milk sauce which was good.

The staff here are very friendly and down to earth. I like Butler's Pantry because of the amazing, mouth watering salad dressing, but also because the menu is quite unique. Some people might find it strange or all over the place to have so many different dishes but I like it that you can go to one place and try various dishes. Since the menu is Asian-fusion, you won't find any traditional ethnic dishes here but Butler's is a great place for your creative appetite.

Butler's Pantry
371 Roncesvalles Ave
Toronto, ON

posted by rin