Snowy Weekends are Made for Cooking

The chicken, fresh off the rotisserie. Roasted perfection!

It is clear to me that there are 2 types of Canadians during the winter: those that see snow as a wonderful vehicle for skiiing and other outdoor fun, and those that use snow days as time to imagine their future retirement in Florida. I am part of the latter group. When the snow falls, I take my running inside to a treadmill, and my recreation inside to the kitchen.  I’ve just never been a snow bunny. As a kid, I did enjoy skating at the neighbourhood rink, and making snow men and snow angels, but I never learned to ski. My favourite thing about snow was that it occasionally meant school was cancelled. Maybe some day I’ll live near the mountains again and take some ski lessons, but for now, all snow feels like is a nuisance.

And so, this weekend, with the cold temperatures and the snowbanks, I hibernated. Yesterday, Kevin bribed me into baking him some blueberry muffins, which is never much of a chore. I also made a new cherry tomato and basil spaghetti dish that I will have to blog about another time- the camera batteries were dead at the pivotal moment!

This afternoon was a usual Sunday- spent as a teaching widow- which is a perfect opportunity to make something great for dinner. And also to lament a little about being a kitchen slave (sigh), and think about the collective housewife consciousness out there. We really do make the world go round, or at least keep the world fed.

We recently bought a GE toaster oven with rotisserie function (surprisingly affordable at Wal-Mart), and I was dying to try it out. The joy I feel about this appliance is on the same level as what I once felt about my Easy-Bake oven.  The new toaster oven baked perfect muffins for me yesterday, but a rotisserie chicken seemed a bit more complicated. I am happy to report that it was ridiculously easy. I stuffed a chicken full of lemon wedges, slathered it with some minced garlic, olive oil and S & P, and speared it with the rotisserie rod. It gets held onto the rod by 2 adjustable forks, and then slides into the toater oven.  I cooked it at 350F for 30 min/lb, which was 1.5 hours for my 3 lb little friend. I basically ignored it the whole time (other than to sometimes stare raptly at its golden beauty rotating inside the oven), and it came out better than I could have hoped. The skin was perfectly crisp, the lemon came through nicely and the meat was juicy and tender. It was so tender, in fact, that I barely had to carve it, the legs and wings came off like magic.

The carved chicken with mushroom risotto.

To go with the chicken, I cooked up some mushroom risotto. I used the recipe found here, which was simple, although a bit labour intensive, as risotto tends to be. If I make it again, I think I would eliminate the milk in the recipe and just use all vegetable stock, and perhaps add some fresh peas at the end, as it was a bit too rich. Which is saying a lot when one is in a hibernating mood.

All in all, it was a successful weekend of carb loading, staying warm, and enjoying junk television while waiting for things to cook. So much more fun than digging your car out of a snow bank or putting on 6 layers just to go outside.

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