I've said it before and I'll say it again.....I get really anxious whenever I try a new recipe or culinary technique. I have taught myself to make yogurt, sushi, and I finally got into the swing of cooking meat after having been a vegetarian for eleven years. Even though most of my attempts turned out successfully, there are occasional few that do not; which totally ruin my confidence. Taking risks makes for an interesting life, and not letting your nerves sabotage your decisions is the key to confidence.
I've been avoiding cooking a whole chicken for about a year now, just because I am scared of failing and disappointing whoever will be joining me for dinner. My curiosity has gotten the better of me, however, and I finally took the leap. I now present to you my first ever attempt...
1 whole chicken (I used a free-range, vegetarian fed, antibiotic free 3.5 lb-er)
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp salt & pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp poultry seasoning (this mix included thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, pepper & nutmeg)
1. If your chicken is frozen, let it thaw in the fridge for two days
2. Preheat oven to 450*
3. Rinse chicken in cool water then pat down with a paper towel (this is supposed to remove most bacteria) & remove the bag of "stuff" from inside the chicken
4. Mix spices in a small bowl then get your hands dirty by massaging the outside of the chicken with butter and then again with the spice mixture
5. Place a small amount of butter inside the chicken along with the whole cloves of garlic
6. Put chicken on a lightly oiled baking or roasting pan
7. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 350* and continue to cook for 20 minutes per pound of your bird
And the results after all of worried buildup...
This was probably the best chicken that I've ever eaten in my life. The trick of cooking the bird on high and then lowering the temp worked like a charm; the skin was crisped to perfection. My boyfriend was completely overjoyed and could not stop 'mmmm'-ing through the entire meal.
To round out the feast, I sauteed some fresh kale leaves and tomatoes together with garlic and leeks.
Small culinary victories like this do wonders for my spirit. It encourages me to try new things and keeps me excited about teaching myself new tricks. Maybe someday I'll be able to pick up the spatula with the confidence and not worry about failure.
Question for the readers: What culinary technique intimidates you the most??