In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

How to Make the Best Roasted Potatoes You Ever Ate

First you have to make a roasted chicken. it's all very simple. Do the following:

1. First obtain a proper chicken. Said chicken should be from an actual farm. It will cost a little more but will not taste like cotton and it will not have been debeaked and declawed and lived in terrible conditions in a fetid chicken house. No, buying a so-called free-range chicken doesn't do it. All industrial chicken houses have to do to qualify for the free range label is to give "access" to the outdoors to chickens. So, 10,000 chickens, jammed in a methane filled hot horrible hut, pecking each other in misery, just need access to a door to the outside, and a tiny patch of grass. None of them ever go out. they are too depressed and many of them just give up and die. is this the kind of chicken you want? It is not. Get a farm chicken. Lived like a king, pecked at insects in cow poop in green fields, died an honorable death. I apologize for this next photo, but really, you should know about this. Once I became aware, I couldn't 't buy chicken in the grocery store anymore.

This is why your grocery store chicken is so cheep. (ha! sad, sad chicken pun).

Compare that with these happy chickens. They have gathered around Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm (who writes for Flavor!) for a discussion group on how to be proper chickens.

2. Next obtain Yukon gold potatoes. If you beg I will tell you a potato joke about Yukon Gold potatoes and Ted Koppel. Wash the potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices. Don't peel them. Spread them in the bottom of the pan in which you are roasting the chicken. If you want you can add other stuff, like whole peeled garlic cloves or chopped carrots or mushrooms or chopped celery. But really all you need is potatoes. Now drizzle the potatoes with good cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt FROM UP HIGH ( I refer you back to How to Run Your Life's treatise on proper salting) and pepper.

3. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil, squeeze a lemon over the top, and liberally salt and pepper it. Should be coarse sea salt and fresh pepper. Stick the lemon in the cavity. You can sprinkle the chicken with smoked paprika, if you like, or stuff it with rosemary or other herbs, but honestly, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper is good enough. Plop the chicken on top of the potatoes.

This one has rosemary on it.

4. Throw the whole mess in the oven. I like a high heat -- usually around 400. It could be lower or higher -- if any higher watch your chicken closely so it doesn't burn. If the skin starts to get really dark, cover it with tin foil.

5. By the time the chicken is done -- depends on size, usually an hour for me until the legs wiggle easily -- your potatoes will be outrageously delicious and very bad for you, as they will have been basted in olive oil, salt, and rendered chicken fat. Sounds terrible, is insanely delicious. Boyfriend said to me: what did you put on these potatoes that made them so good? I said: chicken fat. He smacked his lips and had more. Sometimes I just make this chicken so I can have the potatoes, and then I make enchiladas with the chicken the next day. I will tell you how to make enchilada sauce in a future post! Easy and delicious. I stole it from Rick Bayliss.

You're welcome.


  1. That sounds incredibly delicious! And you're right - I thought I was virtuous by buying "free range" chicken - I had no idea!

    (Of course, the rules in Canada are different for labelling, so I may in fact, be getting what one thinks of when one thinks of free range chicken. I shall research!)

    In the meantime, I'm making those potatoes with my (likely) sad chicken tommorrow!

  2. Joel Salatin, whom is my guru on all things farm, said that Quebec has actually outlawed outdoor chickens... so. That info might be out of date, but. There you go.