Farmers’ Market Sunday Dinner

There is nothing like having a full and satisfying Sunday, filled with something fun and something outdoors, but not so busy that there isn’t a moment to breathe and rest for a little bit too. And then following up the fun-fulled day with a hearty and wholesome meal. Yesterday we had such a day. We started the day with a run – the longest run we had done in a while so it was both daunting, exhilarating, and tiring – and then came home to make homemade pizza. Then there were various activities, including a trip to the driving range, a nap, and some writing. And before we knew it, it was time for dinner!

Dinner was an especially festive occasion because my mom was here. That coupled with the sense of satisfaction we all had from a day well lived (and the wine we opened), gave the meal a merry mood. Halfway through the meal I realized it was almost entirely a Farmer’s Market meal: everything except one or two small ingredients had come from the Farmers’ Market the day before.

Menu:

  • Whole pasture-raised chicken from Fogline Farm
  • Potatoes from Windmill Farm
  • Salad with lettuce, golden nuggets, avocado, and sunflower seeds from various other farm vendors
  • Wildhorse Pinot Noir wine

Needless to say it satisfied our hearts and our hunger.

For the chicken

  • one 2-4 lb whole chicken
  • salt
  • optional herb such as thyme or rosemary
  • butcher twine to truss

My favorite roast chicken recipe comes from Thomas Keller and it is amazingly simple and so delicious. The hardest part is trussing the chicken, but some chickens come already trussed so you practically just put it in the oven.

To prepare, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. To get the best, crispiest skin you’ll want the chicken to be dry so pat it down with a paper towel. I don’t rinse my chickens anymore as that just spreads germs around your sink and kitchen, and rinsing won’t do anything cooking the chicken won’t. Then you’ll want to truss your chicken if it didn’t already come that way. I have made this recipe without trussing and it will still be delicious. But it will cook more evenly and be less likely to dry out if you truss. If you need to truss and haven’t before your best bet is to watch a youtube video to learn.

Once the chicken is trussed (or not), it’s time to salt your chicken.┬áThis is the key to this delicious chicken. If you are usually reserved in your salting approach, don’t be shy and step it up for this recipe. You’ll want to shower salt over it so a nice coating develops. If you’re more into precise measurements you’ll want to use about 1 tablespoon of salt. Once it cooks, you’ll be left with the tastiest, crispiest skin ever and the meat will have just the right amount of seasoning too.

Then just put it in your oven. I like to cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil to make for easier cleanup. In our oven the chicken is done after about 45 minutes, but it could take as long as 50 or 60 minutes so check yours with a meat thermometer. At 165 degrees your bird is done.

When it’s done, you can add your optional herb and baste it with any of the delicious chicken juice that has collected at the bottom of your pan. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes then carve it up!

For the potatoes

  • 1-2 lbs farm fresh potatoes
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

To prepare, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then rinse and scrub your potatoes to get any lingering dirt off them. Slice them into 1/2 inch rounds and toss them in a bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt. Then you’re ready to put them on your baking sheet and put them in the oven. They will take 30-40 minutes to cook depending on how big your rounds are. I like to check them halfway through and toss them so they cook evenly and don’t stick to my baking sheet. When you can pierce them easily with a fork they are done. Add some of the leftover thyme or rosemary from your chicken.

For the salad

  • one bunch red leaf lettuce
  • one large golden nugget (or other mandarin orange)
  • one medium avocado
  • optional: sunflower seeds and/or dried cranberries
  • olive oil, one lemon, and Bragg liquid aminos for the dressing
  • salt to taste

To prepare, wash and dry your lettuce and put in salad bowl. Open, cut, and add your golden nugget and avocado, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds and/or dried cranberries if desired. I am pretty loose with my dressings and rarely make them to any specific measurement. I also love the acid flavor in vinegar and lemon and will put way more than any traditional recipe will call for. For this dressing I used about 1/4 cup of olive oil, juice from one whole lemon, and 5-6 sprays from Bragg liquid aminos, put all those ingredients into a small jar with a lid and shook them up. If you’re not so bold with your acid ratios, you might prefer 2 tbs of lemon juice instead as a start and add a little more until you find the taste that suits you well. Pour your dressing over your salad, add some salt, toss, and you’re good to go.

What is this Bragg liquid aminos you may be asking? It is a soy alternative seasoning and it is delicious (if you like soy-like flavors). I get it at my local health food store but honestly don’t know how common it is. If you don’t have it, can’t find it, or don’t really care to get some random ingredient, no problem! Lemon and olive oil and a little salt will be a perfectly delicious, simple, and satisfying dressing to this citrus oriented salad.

So that was our Sunday dinner. The meal comes together pretty easily since most of the prep time is spent waiting for the chicken and potatoes to cook, the perfect time to make your salad, open some wine, and enjoy your company. Then you can sit back and bask in the pleasure that comes from living a great day.

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