Friday, September 24, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup Renamed!!! Veggies for Trick or Treaters!! Best Roast Chicken Recipe!

Goodies from the Farms!!

So many fascinating things in the news this past week concerning food and food issues!  For me, the most disturbing tidbit - kept relatively under wraps, in my opinion - is that the makers of that all pervasive poison, High Fructose Corn Syrup, have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ask that they be allowed to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to "Corn Sugar".  How infuriating is it to think of the low regard in which these manufacturers hold consumers! 

Yes, it is pretty clear what they think - you can almost hear the planning meeting:   "Look let's just change the name to corn sugar - they won't realize it's the same stuff we have been packing everything with for years now - it'll be a snap, their not very bright, they see sugar, they'll go for it".  Yeah - unfortunately, we have taught them what's important to us as consumers.  If we were smarter and more educated we would be making lots of noise about the connection between this garbage and the growing rates of diabetes in our population.  

The best we can do - given the impotence of the FDA with past issues - is to inform everyone we know who eats - and especially those who do the food shopping - that High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Sugar are one and the same thing and both are to be avoided - even if it means a bit of inconvenience.

Another interesting piece of news involved Carrots (Rick Nichols, "On the Side" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/10).  Apparently baby carrots are being touted as "junk food" to appeal to children and snackers in general.   Baby carrots - and sliced apples as well -  are being packaged in 3 oz bags for Halloween.  I agree with Rick in hoping that, while this certainly isn't bad food news, we can only hope that kids do also get to once in awhile see full grown carrots and whole apples.  Americans have less and less knowledge of where their food comes from, what it looks like in its original state, etc.  Propagating this ignorance further would be going in the wrong direction!

You have to wonder how Trick or Treaters are going to respond this year to bags of fruit and veggies!!

So, what are you cooking in this very un-Fall like weather?  It is a challenge given the arrival of squash, apples, pears, other root vegetables - not to mention all of the food magazines arriving at your door with wonderful Fall dishes on the cover!  What's a foodie to do?  For that matter, what's a gardener to do?

Our peppers are going crazy - I guess they like this up and down weather; I am hesitant to begin the chopping and mulching of the garden as the garden doesn't seem to know it's late September.  I am also putting off the planting of garlic and late salad greens and spinach - too hot!  I am worried that the cold will arrive quickly and with a vengenance and we'll all be caught behind schedule!

Worrying - such a part of the gardening and urban farming experience!!!

Friday's Recipe:  "The Simplest and Best Roast Whole Chicken"

The French believe that the test of a great cook is the ability to make a really delicious roast chicken; I have to say I agree and I also am worried it is an art that we are losing.  So many recipes tell us now to "pick up a roasted chicken " from the stupermarket or chain places.  The problem for me with that is that I don't know how the chicken was raised - and if it is shot up with chemicals and hormones.   I need to be able to procure whole chickens that are free range and chemical free.  So, I need to roast my own chicken!  This recipe, from the classic little cookbook, Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson, has some steps that may not be familiar - but I promise you - you will make the best roast chicken you have ever tasted.  The recipe is also open to creative additions - it's the techniqe that is important; learn that and then get creative!

Roast Chicken

1/2 cup of good butter at room temperature; a 4 lb free range, organic chicken; salt and pepper; 1 lemon; sprigs of thyme and tarragon; 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed (or a bit more if you enjoy garlic flavor).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Smear the butter all over the chicken - inside and out - don't miss any parts!
Put the chicken into a roasting pan and season it liberally with salt and pepper and squeeze the lemon all over the chicken
Put the herbs, the crushed garlic cloves and the squeezed out lemon halves into the chicken cavity

Roast the chicken for 10 - 15 minutes at 450 degrees; Baste the chicken with the pan juices and turn the oven down to 375 degrees and roast the chicken for 30 - 45 minutes more (it really does depend on your oven); baste occasionally.  The chicken should be golden brown all over; the skin should be crisp and buttery, lemony juices - nut brown in color - should be in the bottom of the roasting pan.

Turn the oven off; leave the door ajar; leave the chicken in there to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Carve the chicken;  the author calls for carving it in the roasting pan (we have come to love doing this, you get to retain all of the juices and it makes clean up much easier).

Take a whisk and whip the juices in the roasting pan together - you don't really need anything else - it makes a wonderful "gravy".


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