It is official: the autumn eating season is here. I told myself I was ordering the Chicken Noodle Soup at Teaism just to fend off the sniffles, but when I couldn't resist a bowl of miso broth & kale at the Modern Times Coffeehouse a few days later...I knew.
This is actually a welcome time, because my favorite all-purpose dinner recipe feels perfectly apropos. All credit goes to Real Simple (including the pictures). Here's the secret...
-->Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-->Use 2-3 lbs bone-in chicken (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings).
-->Pair with apples & leeks OR potatoes, fennel & bell peppers (quarter the fruits and slice the vegetables as appropriate).
-->Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
-->Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking pan.
-->Roast for about 40 minutes, or whenever the chicken is done.
Just that easy. The chicken's fat will soak into the sides, making for an unbelievable richness to the flavor. Serve with wild rice or a crusty whole grain bread.
Browsing through the RS's October issue, this was the recipe I picked out to try next: Spaghetti Squash with Almonds. Here's the rundown...
-->Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-->Halve a 3 lb spaghetti squash and seed it. Rub the exposed squash side with a tablespoon of olive oil and turn cut-side down to a baking pan.
-->Mix together 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
-->When the squash is done roasting (40-50 minutes), tease out the "spaghetti" strands from the hull with a fork. In a bowl, toss the squash with the lime mixture. Top with 1/4 cup of sliced almonds and 4 sliced scallions.
I've always loved to cook squash. When my mother went into the hospital to give birth to my sister, my 10-year old self took on household duties with four consecutive dinners of squash and bacon--the two things I knew how to make in the microwave. (Bless my dad, who complimented every meal.) Now my tastes tend toward the butternut variety simply quartered, brushed with olive oil & maple syrup, and roasted with cherries or cranberries. I'm intrigued to try something lighter, with crunch and cumin's spice.
One thing that gives me a twinge about this see-saw between book tour and living alone in DC is that I hardly ever get to cook for my favorite folks. But it is October, and with October comes a return trip to Mississippi. The heart lifts. The stomach growls.