10.28.2015

Rooster Co., Newington, CT

Rooster Co.

It's Friday afternoon and the sun is shining through the fiery autumn trees. Cozy downtown Newington is quiet but for the chirping of a massive flock of birds, the rustling of leaves on the cobblestone sidewalk and the rumble of a few cars that roll by. Most people are still at work; it's barely 4 p.m. after all. The sun is warm on my face and I sit alone at the table outside, perusing the Rooster Co. menu, waiting for Chris to join me for an early dinner.
Gold Rush

I hear the potato-potato-potato sound of the Harley before I turn my head to see Chris approach. I know which drink he'd choose and point it out to him: the "Gold Rush," made with bourbon, fresh lemon juice and housemade honey syrup. I stick with a glass of Pinot Noir (Unconditional, Willamette Valley, OR), expecting that the medium body, light tannins and juiciness will pair nicely with the chicken dish I plan to order. (I'm right.)

Clams Casino

Chris had Halloween Buffet at his school today, so he's not starving like I am. I eat a teacher's lunch at 10:30 a.m., so by 4 I can start to feel "hangry." And since I've been here longer, I know exactly what I want. I order the clams casino appetizer while Chris gets the cheese plate. My six littlenecks are plated beautifully, resting on bright green rock salt, and the color has my curiosity piqued. While the clams themselves are slightly overcooked, I love the flavors - smoky bacon and crunchy garlicky breadcrumbs, with a pinch of lemon zest adding a citrusy zing that reminds me of summer steamers. The cheese plate, made with three local(ish) cheeses (VT cheddar, NY camembert, MA bleu), comes with thin, crispy breadsticks, and pistachio honey. Each cheese is packed with such pungency, each so different from the others, it's an intriguing selection. 

Cheese Plate

Chris orders some local oysters that are served with a brightly acidic pink peppercorn mignonette. Then my "Chef's Plate" of chicken arrives and I can't wait to dig in. It looks and smells like Sunday dinner, only a bit fancier - 1/2 rotisserie chicken, chicken leg confit (served on bruschetta), chicken pate (that's for Chris), and cracklin' (that's all mine). These are accompanied by a dollop of something akin to ginger-apple marmalade and a warm, crusty roll. The rotisserie is served with a choice of sauces, and the server suggests the walnut herb. Like nearly everyone on the planet, I love herbs with chicken, and this olive-oil based dipping sauce is definitely something I will attempt at home. The chicken itself is moist and juicy and the cracklin' shatters in my mouth. God, I love crispy chicken skin!

Chef's Plate

I'm so focused on my plate that it takes me some time to notice that the sun is barely peeking through the tree branches now, and without it, I'm getting chilly. The traffic will be bad if we wait much longer before we leave, so I ask for a box (they are biodegradable!) to take home what little is left of my platter. I'll heat it up for lunch tomorrow, I think, since Chris won't be home. I hope that the skin on the drumstick and that last cracklin' will crisp up in the broiler. (They do.) We pay the check, thank the server, and promise to return. For comfort food this interesting that's also happens to be made with local ingredients, who wouldn't?


Oysters

Rooster Co. is located at 1076 Main Street, Newington, CT. They serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, along with daily specials and a kids' menu. News, events, menus, and recipes can be found on their website: http://www.roostercompany.net/


Cozy Downtown Newington
(View from Rooster Co.)





10.25.2015

Spooky Cookies



Chris came home with these cute Halloween cookies Friday. They were part of his school's culinary program's Halloween Buffet. What a cute idea! Wouldn't it be great to make these with the kids before they went trick-or-treating?

Here's what they are made of:
Chocolate cookies body, purple frosting guts, white chocolate chip teeth, googly eyes (you can buy these at most grocery stores or put a little chocolate frosting on a white chocolate chip), and a fruit roll tongue.  

Spooky!!!

10.21.2015

Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine's Journey to Revive the American Spirit (Book Giveaway!)

BOOK GIVEAWAY: 
Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine's Journey to Revive the American Spirit

Update 10/28/15: Congratulations to Sheila - you can expect your book delivered directly from Amazon soon!

Connecticut native and New England moonshiner Adam von Gootkin failed out of college after one semester. His entrepreneurial nature drove him to start a business venture with his best friend, Peter Kowalczyk, and in 2011, the two founded Onyx Spirits, successfully introducing the world to the first ultra-premium American moonshine made in East Hartford, Connecticut.


Adam at the Living Proof Book Launch 
October 16, 2015

Now you can read Adam's incredible story in the recently-released book, Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine's Journey to Revive the American Spirit. In it, Adam wittily tells the story of Onyx through his own life's narrative, offering useful business lessons to every would-be entrepreneur along the way. Adam possesses a limitless vision along with an undying belief that everything he imagines is possible. This book is not only an inspiration but also an honest guide to the trial-and-error process of business-building. 



A Couple in the Kitchen has been moved by Adam's spirit (pun intended?) and business acumen since we met him and Pete in early 2012 (read about that meeting here). We've made recipes with Onyx, promoted Onyx to our friends, and have been good friends and supporters of the Onyx Spirits family. We even attended the book launch last week at the Mark Twain House in Hartford (great times!).

For all those reasons, we'd like to offer you a chance to win a copy of Adam's book. Follow this link for a chance to win Living Proof via Amazon Giveaways:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/09b8fb24ba67a3c3

One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants to receive a copy of the book shipped directly from Amazon. No purchase necessary. Giveaway ends the earlier of October 28, 2015 11:59 PM PDT or when prize is claimed. See http://amzn.to/GArules for official rules. 

In the meantime, try one of A Couple in the Kitchen's recipes using Onyx Moonshine:


10.17.2015

Caramelized Onions Hack


We are hopping on board the hack train with a simple technique that will give you caramelized onions in 90 minutes of inactive cooking. 

Use. Your. Grill. 

Start by preparing your gas grill for "indirect cooking." Or, in Amy's terms, turn the front and back burners on medium heat and leave the middle one off. 



Put whole onions, skin and all, in the middle, where the burners are off. This will create a type of convection-style cooking that will slow-roast your onions to deep, roasty, sweetly caramelized perfection in 90 minutes of inactive time. Yep! Just set a timer for 90 minutes and go do something else. No "stirring frequently" necessary.

When the timer goes off, you'll open your grill and find onions that are gorgeously brown and mushy. Unpeel them carefully, like Chris does here, using kitchen shears to snip off the top:


video

Squeeze them out of the skin, cut them to size, and use them in your favorite recipe, like French onion soup or an onion tart. Toss them in a salad. Use them as a pizza topping. Drape them on a burger. Pitch them into a pasta. Fold them into a frittata. We could go on, but we think you get it.


Caramelized onions - hacked!







10.14.2015

Holy Hasselbacks!


For some time now, Amy has been fascinated by Hasselback potatoes. They just look so fancy, so elegant, as if they took several hours, a few expensive gadgets, and a sous chef or two to create, when really all you need is a sharp knife and a steady hand. Careful patience and precise seasoning generates this rather impressive side dish that elevates even the simplest meat with which these potatoes are served.

Hasselback, or "accordion" potatoes, are so named because they were invented, way back in 1700's, at the Hasselbacken restaurant in Sweden. Medium-sized potatoes are sliced only most-of-the-way before being roasted, thus creating the unique look and wonderful texture (crisp on the outside, soft on the inside). 

We've served them drizzled with olive oil or butter and seasoned with only salt and pepper, maybe some garlic. But, this recipe from Serious Eats editor and The Food Lab author J. Kenji Lopez-Alt was recently featured in the New York Times food section, and it really intrigued. He describes it as "sideways potato gratin," and seriously, if those pictures are not food porn, we don't know what is.

Ours was not quite as lovely, and we think it's because we ignored the warning that we might not need all the cheese and cream mixture and threw it all in anyway. 'Cuz that's how we roll. Next time, maybe we'll listen. Maybe not.