Monday, May 10, 2010

A Slow (Food) Soul: Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken, Potato Sunchoke Puree and Beet/Watercress Salad

As is typical with Chicago, Spring has been a bit of a tug-of-war. It was 70-something for a spell in March and now it's May. There were ice chips at my windowsill last night.

Ice aside, there's tall grass in the yard and the flowers are at full tilt. This week marked the first of the big summer farmers markets opening for their regular seasons and there was a rebel yell that went up in my heart at the site of those tents.

The market wasn't the only thing that returned. Jaimeson came home after being on the road, but for a night, since February. What has been a rigorous tour schedule is relenting a bit for May and June and thus, a feast was in order.

Enter Dill Pickle Food Coop. A beautiful, fresh and "happy" chicken. Locally grown parsley and watercress. Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese. An organic lemon. Sunchokes and gold potatoes.

And the beets. Deep garnet and bright gold with sunset orange on the edges. I wrapped each beet in foil and roast them for an hour at 425. Once they were cool enough to handle, the skins rubbed right off and those colors revealed themselves like gems in rock quarry.

They were then diced and scattered among the watercress, dotted with the soft goat cheese. We cut the sweetness with a lemon vinaigrette. Nothing fancy- juice of half a lemon with a quarter cup of olive oil, some salt and some pepper. The salad was simple. And it tasted sublime. Highly recommend.
The chicken was similarly simple in its ingredients but I need to give credit to ad hoc at home for teaching me a few new techniques. Ad hoc is one of the cookbooks I picked up at the IACP Culinary Trust Dinner...the night after Thomas Keller picked up an award for best cookbook in the Chefs and Restaurants category on its behalf. The book lived up to its reputation and delivered not only a gorgeous chicken but a straightforward bread pudding for dessert (not pictured...we gobbled).
As a product of all of the above, J walked into a house that smelled like home. It takes me awhile to get used to being with company again but I'll just keep feeding him. Welcome back, buddy.


Kelly said...

Looks like a great welcome home meal. I too am excited about the return of farmers' markets. I already have plans to hit up the Lincoln Park farmers market tomorrow with a friend. I cannot wait.

You're also reminding me that I have a whole chicken from my farm share in Boston that I should really roast before it gets too warm.

Molls said...

Yum! I would love to come home to that feast!!

We Are Not Martha said...

Awww Jamieson is one lucky man :) And Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc is the kind of book I just want to get in bed and snuggle up with! Dinner looks delish as usual :)


TKTC said...

Kelly- I love that you moved with a whole chicken. That's amazing.

Molls- You can always come visit!

Sues- He knows :) And yes to cookbook cuddling!