Hi, my name is Julie and my life is boring. I do the same exact things every week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: gym. Monday, Tuesday: MasterChef. Tuesday, Thursday: run. Wednesday: pick up CSA. Friday: pick up raw milk. Saturday and Sunday: I have no idea. I wish I’ve been backpacking every weekend. It makes me anxious that I haven’t been. Next thing I know it’s going to be winter. Terrifying. I did, however pick probably 10+ pounds of plums from some plum trees on the campus I work at. In total there were probably 60 pounds. There were four of us picking away – one had a homemade soda bottle fruit picker thing, one toted a ladder, one helped the ladder guy, and I climbed the trees. Barefoot, of course. It was perfect. We stripped those trees bare. I made cardamom lavender jam and I’ll be making pickled plums at some point soon. It sure is tricky looking for a pickle recipe online – how am I supposed to know if it’s safe for canning?! I don’t understand how people figured this stuff out. How many people died of botulism or flesh eating bacteria or whatever before they figured out how to preserve food?! I should just give up cooking. Move to the wilderness. Just scavenge with the coyotes. I’d probably die of a horrid bacterial infection doing that too. Or from the coyotes. Crap.
I have become such a caricature. Like I should be on Portlandia. I use my little reel mower. I ride my bike everywhere with my two panniers. I get all of my food from CSAs, farmers markets, and my backyard. GAG ME. At least Joe owns a gas guzzling Jeep. Sometimes we take the Jeep to pick up the raw milk and pastured meat. And then on the way there I make Joe stop at Target so I can look at all of the clothes. I bet all of those clothes are made in sweatshops. I’m not sure I feel so good about that, but I need something to balance my life out.
This chicken is pretty yummy. I kind of f-ed it up on the grill, though. I didn’t put anything heavy on it, so the breasts took too long to cook and then those delicious legs cooked too long. What a rip. I should have just cut the chicken up. Much easier. Though it does seem fancy to have a butterflied chicken on the grill, so I’ll prompt you to do it as well. But the marinade is good and citrus-y and chile-y. I love dried chiles. I think one of the best smells in the world is an ancho chile. I generally stuff my face in the bag of chiles every time I open it and sniff for a while. I tried growing poblanos in my garden. I failed. And I failed trying to find a poblano plant at a garden store, too. Apparently everyone else wanted them. I might try drying my other peppers. Not the bell peppers. That sounds so gross.
The charred vegetables part isn’t so much a recipe as a gentle suggestion for serving alongside the chicken. I love lightly charred veggies. You can use anything you want, really – zucchini, other summer squash, tomatoes, etc. And don’t feel like you need to grill the corn on the cob – you can just cut the kernels off and add to the pan with the other veggies if you don’t have a pressing desire to eat it off the cob. I almost always have that pressing desire. Something about it. Maybe I just really like flossing my teeth.
three chile chicken + charred summer vegetables
serves 4 – 6
3/4 cup olive oil or melted lard
3 kind of dried chiles, I used chipotle, California chile, and ancho, 1 – 2 each, stemmed and seeded
6 limes, peeled
1 large or 2 small onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 – 4 pound chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
1. In a blender, combine all of the marinade ingredients, starting with just one of each chile if you’re worried about heat.
2. Place the chicken in a large baking dish and pour in the marinade. Moosh around to completely coat the chicken even working some in under the skin if you’re feeling crazy, cover, and let marinate for 4 hours to overnight.
3. When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade and save the excess. Place the chicken breast-side down – using tongs to stretch it out to make sure it’s splayed fully. Place a cast iron pan or foil-wrapped brick on top of the chicken. Grill covered, turning a couple times, for about 30 minutes. Flip and grill for about 15 minutes. Depending on the size of your chicken, the timing might change – just do the 165-170 degree thermometer reading to be sure. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
4. In a small saucepan, bring the excess marinade to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for like 10 minutes. Then you can use this to put on top of the chicken.
onion tops, chopped (or scallions or just plain onions)
green beans, trimmed and chopped
sea salt and pepper
1. To grill the corn, remove all but the inner layer of husks. Then peel those back just a bit to be able to remove the silk, then smooth the inner layer back. Soak in water for about 20 minutes.
2. Drain the corn and place on the grill. Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Peel the husks back and grill another 5 minutes or so, turning occasionally, to get extra char on the kernels.
3. Meanwhile, in a heavy pan heated to high, add about a tablespoon of fat and your other vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve got a nice char on them, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carve up that chicken and serve it with the veggies and the extra sauce. Cilantro would be wonderful on top of everything. Forgot it for mine.