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Monday, June 25, 2012

Cider Can Chicken

Best. Chicken. Ever.
No, seriously. At least it's the best chicken I've ever had. Not sure about your chicken eating habits and moments of poultry elation, but this is my favorite preparation. I've made this a few times now and never had an issue with how it's turned out, this leads me to believe that it's foolproof. Which is awesome. I beg you to try this at least once this grilling season, I promise chickeny joy, busting bellies & rave reviews from the lucky people who get to eat it with you. 
Honey Crisp Cider Can Chicken: (could feed 4 normal people, but if you're like me, 2-3)

One 4-5 lb. whole chicken, giblets and such removed if not already
One empty 12 oz. can 
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground pink pepper 
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 bay leaves 

1) Wash your chicken inside and out with cold water and pat dry. In a small bowl, rub together
    the salt, peppers, thyme, and lemon zest. Coat the chicken with oil and rub the mixture 
    onto the chicken, making sure to get under the legs and wings. Allow to sit at room
    temperature for about 30 minutes. 
2) Preheat the grill part way through the chicken hanging out on the counter. See note below. 
3) Fill the empty can with 6 oz. cider, I'd recommend not using a larger can with this size 
    chicken because it will sit too high and become wobbly. A turkey however...well, that's a 
    thing to try out next fall :) Shove the can with approximately the amount of things pictured
    directly below. 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, tsp. each whole peppercorns, some lemon 
    zest, and I even threw in a couple allspice berries. 
4) Now gracefully plop your chicken down on top of the can, moving it around until it's nice and
    snug. She's all ready for the grill! (or oven).  Do the best you can to carefully position the 
    bird soundly on the rack. Close the grill and walk away for the first hour. No peeking! 
    I promise it will be ok. Same goes for oven prep. 
5) After the first hour, check the bird every 15 minutes until it reaches and internal temperature
    of 160/165 in the breast and 180ish in the thigh. *If you don't have a thermometer, buy one. 
    It is really the best way to get an accurate idea of whether or not your meat is done.* Once
    it's reached the temp, carefully pull the bird off (keep in mind there is molten hot liquid that 
    might be seeping out its rear), allow to rest 10 minutes and then eat until you can't eat any 
    longer. 

    ** If you're working with coals: the chicken will need to cook over indirect, med-high heat, 
      so arrange the coals accordingly. If you have a gas grill: make sure to only ignite the burners
      so the chicken won't be directly over them, med-high heat/350. You can also do this in the 
      oven, in a roasting pan, lower rack, uncovered at 350. **

    


Drooolll. 

Mrs. Chicken after the first hour 





Served the chicken alongside some oven roasted fingerlings & arugula, green bean, fennel salad with shallot vinaigrette, they went together beautifully! 
Demolished! Poor bird never stood a chance against our hungry bellies and eyes. Try it, it really is easy and you will not be disappointed. It comes out with crispy, amazingly tasty skin and the meat is so moist and flavorful; it is chicken heaven in its simplest form, uncomplicated and delicious. 
Go, now, away with you! You're off to the store to buy chicken and cider! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cupcakes! For my Peach on her day of birth...

My oldest and dearest friend grew another year older just recently. Always a lover of showers of affection, I could not resist the temptation to lay it on thick for her. The manifestation of my love? Grapefruit and Cider cupcakes; light as air, full of flavor, and decked out with some delicious, creamy  frosting to match (her favorite part). 

 Robyn's Cupcakes: (makes 18 cupcakes)
*This was my first adaptation attempt of these, not sure if it works as a cake, I would guess it
  could make 3-6" rounds or 2-8" rounds (flour and parchment), let me know if you try*

Cake:
1 1/2 c. cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. grapefruit zest
3 egg whites (about 100ml)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
2 tsp. grapefruit juice

Frosting:
2 sticks butter, softened
2 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. grapefruit juice 

1) Start with the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and
    salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. 
    Add in the egg whites. Combine the cider with the extracts, grapefruit juice & zest. Alternating, 
    add the dry and wet to the mixer, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
   (dry/wet/dry/wet/dry) Mix until just combined. Batter will seem a little loose. 
2) Line muffin tins and scoop batter by 1/4 c. into the liners. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a 
    toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (mine never browned really...just barely) 
    Allow the cupcakes to cool 5 min. in the pan before cooling completely on a wire rack. 
3) To make the frosting; in a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
    Add in the cider and extracts and continue to beat until smooth and well combined. If the 
    frosting seems too loose, add a little more powdered sugar until desired thickness, just
    be careful it doesn't get overly sweet.

    Decorate however your little heart desires. I piped my frosting using a large closed star tip. If 
    you don't have tips or a bag you can frost them with a spatula or using a baggie with the end 
    snipped off. Get creative, have fun. You can practice on a piece of parchment or a cutting
    board, there should be some extra frosting to play around. 
   



 Spoiler alert: My cupcakes came out just lovely, but simply hating their paper cups that I forced them into. They just wanted to peel right out, so I let them. Not sure if they would work out well just baked in the muffin tins without wrappers...you can try if you want, just spray and flour well. It does lead me to believe that they would make great layers for cakes though, sturdy with a tight moist crumb. Something for the future perhaps! Anyone want a Crispin wedding cake?!? Robyn?!?
Let the record state that promptly after her birthday festivities she was officially asked to be betrothed to her one and only. She said yes. Woooo! Excitement abounds!
Congrats you two!



So, it appears that if you want love to blossom all around you, you should make these cupcakes. It does seem to make a bit of sense; sweet, lovely things that they are, they just can't help but inspire some love in everyone who tries them. So let the baking and love-festing begin!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stone Fruit Sangria

Bring on the sunshine! I am in the market for some less than flattering tan lines, garden hands, and the occasional sneezing fit brought on by my bouts of random allergies. I know, I know, it's a hard life that I live :) But don't waste your time wallowing over my misfortunes, I'm a bright girl and I know how to pull through in tough times. Come, let me show you...



 Stone Fruit Cider Sangria: (makes one large pitcher for 2-4)

3 bottles of Crispin Brut Cider 
8 oz. San Pellegrino Limonata (or lemonade)
8 oz. White Cranberry Juice
6 oz. Grand Marnier (or similar)
1 large Nectarine, cut into thin slices
1 large Plum, cut into 1/2" chunks
A big handful of cherries, pits removed and cut into quarters
Mint for garnish if you think you're fancy, I do.

 If reading off that list of ingredients doesn't make you swoon, you'd better check your pulse. 

1) Cut up all of your fruit and toss into pitcher. Add in the Grand Marnier and Crispin Brut and let 
    sit in the fridge for at least one hour but no more than three. You want the fruit to release its fruity 
    goodness without it getting all mushy. 
2) When you're ready to serve, add in the Limonata and Cranberry juice. Give it a good stir and serve 
     over ice. You could also just add ice to a larger pitcher if you're planning on serving right away. 
   



Poolside, lakeside, beachside, in your backyard, doing a handstand...ok, well maybe not that, but there's just about nowhere I wouldn't like to enjoy this drink. It's fun for parties and very summer appropriate, it's light and refreshing and not too sweet. A great alternative to your traditional boring wine sangrias. Sorry wine, but move over, you give me a headache and your snobbery bothers me. 
Always more to come, so follow up and share with friends, next week I'll be rolling out my mega-delicious Cider Can Chicken. You'd be a fool to miss it, so don't be silly and follow me here or on Twitter @CrispinKatie. 
Sip, Smile, and Enjoy!