Basic Roast Chicken

One 3 to 4 pound whole chicken, defrosted if frozen
A mix of onions, celery, carrots, and/or potatoes
Olive oil or butter
Kosher salt
Optional Extras: Lemons, garlic, fresh herbs (like thyme, rosemary, or sage)

Roasting pan, large cast iron skillet, or other chicken-sized oven-safe vessel

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Peel and chop your vegetables into wedges and bite-sized pieces. Arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of the pan to make a bed for the chicken. Have a small bowl of salt and pepper ready, with about a tablespoon of salt mixed with about a teaspoon of pepper.

Over the sink, slit the plastic wrapping around your chicken (if it’s still wrapped up) and drain out any juices or blood trapped in the plastic. Reach inside the chicken’s body cavity and remove the bag of giblets. The giblets can be discarded, saved for stock, or used to make gravy later on.

Pat the chicken dry very thoroughly with paper towels or a kitchen rag. Make sure to absorb any liquid behind the wings or legs. Blot inside the body cavity too, getting the chicken as dry as you can, inside and out.

Rub the chicken with olive oil or butter. Rub the oil or butter all over the chicken, paying special attention to the breast and the drumsticks.

Sprinkle the outside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper, and rub a little salt and pepper inside the cavity as well.

If desired, stuff the inside of the chicken with halved lemons, whole cloves of garlic, or herbs.

Set the chicken breast-side-up on the bed of vegetables. The chicken should be lifted an inch or two above the pan by the vegetables.

Put the chicken in the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400 F.

Set a timer for 1 hour and go about your business.

After an hour, check if the chicken is done by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the meatiest part of its thigh. The internal temperature should be at least 165? for the chicken to be done. If you’re under, put it back in to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes and check it again.

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes. During this time, you can prepare a salad or side dish or whisk some flour into the pan juices to make gravy. You can lift the roasted vegetables underneath the chicken out of the chicken fat left behind in the pan, and serve them as a side dish too.

Carve the chicken and serve.
Additional Notes:

? You can change the flavor of the chicken by adding a spice rub along with the salt and pepper. We like Chinese 5-spice blend, za’atar spices, and ras el hanout.

Nicoise Chickpea Chips

Olive oil for frying
1 clove garlic
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and very well dried
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
Zest 1/2 lemon

Fill a small saucepot half full with olive oil, and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350?F. Drop the garlic clove into the oil when it is cold, and remove it as it comes to temperature?just to infuse the flavor into the oil.

Fry the chickpeas in batches for about 5 minutes, carefully, as they may splatter. They will go from looking like cooked chickpeas to toasted hazelnuts?smaller, and golden, and crunchy. Drain on a paper towel, and toss with the fleur de sel and lemon zest.

Rosemary Lamb Brochettes with Apricot Creme Fraiche

1 pound lamb loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 sticks of rosemary
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Salt and pepper

Preheat a grill pan on high heat.

Prepare the rosemary skewers by stripping off about 1/2 to 3/4 of the leaves off of each twig, so that you have an exposed “skewer” with a beautiful head of rosemary leaves. Chop up the stripped off rosemary leaves to flavor the lamb.

Toss the lamb with the olive oil, some of the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper. Skewer onto the rosemary sticks.

Sear on all four sides, until just golden and crusted?1 to 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the creme fraiche and preserves.

Serve the skewers hot off the grill with the sauce.

Watermelon Salad with Fromage de Chevre Brule

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 large watermelon, cut into 6 1-inch planks
2 cups baby arugula
4 ounces chevre
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
Fleur de sel

Make a balsamic syrup by pouring the vinegar and honey into a small saucepan and simmering over medium heat just long enough for it to reduce and have a thick, running consistency?about 5 minutes. Set aside, as it will thicken further as it cools.

Assemble each salad on its plate. First some arugula, then a slice of watermelon, then some arugula, another slice of watermelon, argula, then watermelon again. Crumble the ch?vre over the watermelon, and season with cracked black pepper and fleur de sel. Drizzle with olive oil.

Using a creme brulee torch, melt and brown the chevre quickly over the watermelon. Drizzle with balsamic syrup, and serve.

Flaky Tart Dough

1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water, very cold
3 cups + 2 tablespoons (1 pound) all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tablespoons (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold

Stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Chop the butter into small pieces (1/2 to 1 inch). I stash the water and butter in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before proceeding.

If you like to mix pie crust by hand, go ahead. If you’re less sure of yourself, you’ll probably prefer the food processor. Put the flour in the bowl of your food processor. Scatter the very cold butter over the flour and quickly toss it around a bit to coat with flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs; some of the butter should still be in pieces the size of peas.

Take the top off the processor, sprinkle the flour-butter mixture with about half of the very cold water, replace the top, and pulse a couple of times. Then add the rest of the water and pulse until the dough begins to come together into a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks. (I think it is more common to pour the water through the feed tube with the top on while the processor is running, but that method usually leads me to over-process and still fails to distribute the water evenly.)

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. I accidentally froze (instead of refrigerating) my dough for 2 hours before rolling out and found it especially easy to work with.

On a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper, roll the chilled dough out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Work as quickly as you can and give the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking. Carefully transfer the dough to a pie dish or tart pan, easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place. Trim or flute exess dough at the rim as you like. Chill until firm to the touch, 30 minutes to 1 hour (or wrap well and chill overnight).

Preheat the oven to 375. Line the chilled shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. For a fully baked shell, bake until the surface looks light brown, about 25 minutes (peek under the paper to check). Remove from the oven and remove parchment and pie weights. Return shell to oven and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Quiche with Creme Fraiche and Thyme

Fully baked and cooled tart shell baked in a 10-inch ceramic quiche dish, deep 10-inch tart pan, or 10-inch pie pan
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

Have the pie shell ready for filling. Preheat the oven to 375.

Put 1 egg and the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and mix at high speed or by hand with a whisk until smooth (I used a handheld mixer in a large bowl). Mix or whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended. In a medium bowl, whisk the creme fraiche until it is perfectly smooth and then whisk in the milk.

Pour the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and thyme. (You can prepare the custard up to 4 days in advance before baking; cover and refrigerate. The flour, thyme, and pepper will settle to the bottom of the storage container and might stick to it, so whisk well before using.)

Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell. Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325? and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 minutes longer (for me it was 40 minutes). When touched, the center of the quiche should feel slightly firm, not liquidy. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat a fully cooled quiche, cover with foil and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes.