So the two ingredients besides salt and pepper I would kill to have with me on a desert island are cumin and garlic. Many people are garlic aficionados but the majority of the western culinary world aren’t really aware of the beauty of cumin.
Cumin isn’t an in your face kind of spice like chilies are or pepper – its a much more subtle flavor – that I fell in love with in Misr (Egypt)- on eggs and now have to restrain myself from putting it on everything else. So one of my little side projects that I have been working on since I finished my year of Ameri Corps service is copying recipes into my recipe book. I figure if I get sent off to a random country for the Peace Corps in 2010 -2011 after getting medical clearance – at least I will have my recipe book to hopefully share a taste of home – and keep home-sickness at bay with. If I end up crying in to a bowl of mac and cheese – dont worry I will blog about it – but inshaAllah that won’t happen.
So my mom was like – make yourself useful – in addition to applying for jobs – so I decided to get cooking. Personally I find living at home a bit of a hardship in the food department – because mom does all the shopping and its never with a specific recipe in mind- plus she doesn’t do Zabihah because she isn’t Muslim – so the best I can hope for is chicken or some beef. So I got dressed and went to the local halal market – well it isn’t “local” its like a 15 -20 minutes drive from my house – but there isn’t any Halal Markets in my town – so I have to drive to get Zabihah. So I got a whole chicken and got some chicken thighs for a different recipe.
I also picked up a lemon, fresh garlic – we had olive oil in the house – some tooth picks, pulled the roasting pan out of one of the cabinets and salt. I didn’t have a distinct plan in mind – except I wanted a roasted chicken. I love the crispy skin – it’s the worst part for you but the tastiest part.
Preheat the oven to 425F
So I got my heap big kill home – 😛 – and proceeded to clean the chicken by soaking it in a warm salt water bath. No bubble bath needed for this cluck cluck. Got it out of the bath patted it dry inside and out. Grabbed a sharp knife and made cuts into it – and stuffed the cuts with crushed garlic. I made sure to use the knife carefully to make a cut at the tail – so I could stuff more crushed garlic under the skin – and did that all over the bird. – But depending on your love for the stinky rose – go heavy or light on the garlic.
I also rubbed the bird down with olive oil and crushed garlic – then sprinkled cumin all over and massaged that in to. As garnish on top – garlic rubbed in cumin and olive oil. I almost forgot I cut three cloves of garlic and put them in side the bird – which I used tooth picks to close up and secure the legs together with.
The put this puppy in the roasting pan and popped into the 425 F oven for 50 minutes to roast and checked on the meat thermometer that the meat – not the bone was at 170F before removing from the oven and getting ready to serve.
I found the wish bone on the chicken and got the larger half when it broke – my mom asked what I wished for – World Peace- 🙂
Finger lickin good. Now for the side – Pesto Green Beans and Potatos.
You can do this with either 3-4 medium sized potatos or 6-7 small potatos . Chop them up into quarter size or smaller pieces and place them in a large sauce pan – cover with water and set to boil – Once the potatos are soft fish them out and throw in your freshly washed and cleaned – meaning strings and ends snapped off – green beans. Let boil and fish out the green beans. Toss the water out. Now for the pesto..
Pesto done right is always made with pine nuts – its what gives the pesto the distinitive nutty flavor – but if your allergic to pine nuts – feel free to use a different kind of nut – example – I made mine with almonds.
So in a food processor – put in a cup of nuts to be chopped up and pulse till its in tiny pieces – but not a powder. Pour out and place fresh washed basil and pulse till finely chopped add in a dash of lemon juice and a half cup of olive oil with the nuts and mix till smooth.
Now mix this into the green beans and potatos. Say Bismillah and Enjoy!