Thank God Manhattan is only 13 miles long because it takes forever to get anywhere. Sure, some argue otherwise, but they, like myself, have been sucked into the vortex of blocks and neighborhoods rather than miles.
I live say 85 blocks, about 4 miles, from the Union Square Farmers' Market. In suburban time, only a 5 minute drive, but in Manhattan time, it's a 30 minute train ride and then a 15 minute walk. With a baby stroller, add a back-straining 10 minutes for hauling the stroller up and down subway stairs while smiling adoringly at any person who looks like they can walk and therefore help with the stroller.
Don't get me wrong, I love New York and I love that I actually experience the weather and walk on streets and in parks rather than overheated malls, but occasionally, when it’s cold and rainy and I just don’t have time, I am eager for a driveway outside my house containing an awaiting car where I plop baby-girl into her carseat and drive off into the sunset.
This weekend, after the above journey, my husband, baby girl and I arrived at the farmers’ market to find a stand filled with pheasant sausages, chickens, ducks, eggs, smoked chickens and on and on. I was in love. After chatting with the farmer about how he treats his animals, he found the biggest chicky for me, which weighed in at 4.5 lbs and then he said, "$21." While the chickens at Whole Food are generally $8 or so cheaper, look at the title, I am emulating Alice right? Sure, I am, but my hubby, not so much.
“No thanks,” he said and rolled our daughter away. Since he had the cash and the baby, I had to follow. However, after about five minutes of heartfelt sulking and explaining it's less money than one entree at a nice restaurant, he gave in and I got my beauty-full chicky with her little neck and organs tucked inside.
Usually, when I roast a chicken, I stuff it with herbs and lemon or roast loads of root veggies alongside it. But this time, chicky was too stunning to mess with so I left her all alone covered in soft butter, salt and pepper. Alice does say, with the freshest ingredients, do very little. I cooked it at 400 degrees for an hour and a half, basting whenever I remembered and what came out was the most beautiful golden bird I'd ever seen.
After I put the chicken in the oven I decided the gizzards and neck couldn’t be wasted so I simmered them uncovered in a little pot of half water, half white wine, a clove of garlic, some peppercorns and a bay leaf. Mixed with the drippings from the chicken and a little white whole wheat flour and salt, it was the best gravy ever. Some buttered peas, organic, but frozen and brown rice cooked in chicken broth and my husband and baby girl were thrilled. Did I mentioned the local Finger Lakes Pinot Gris? Delish!
Approximate Dinner Cost
• W/Wine - $38.50
• W/o Wine - $23.50
• Leftovers - 4 nights at $9.63 per meal including vino - not bad!
• Breakdown - Chicken $21, Peas $1, Rice $.50, Butter $1 and Wine $15
*Writer's Apology - Of course, I was so into my cooking and racing against time before my husband and baby girl returned from the playground that I didn't take a picture. Sorry! New to this blogging thing. I myself can't stand pictureless cookbooks unless it's a book by Alice of course.