But first, a dinner picture.
The grocery order came tonight, and silly me, I rather overestimated the amount of room in my empty looking refrigerator. I managed to forget that two of the dishes I plan to make need to marinate in there - for two days, each. Sigh.
It came down to a choice tonight of either splitting a whole chicken down the backbone and making a marinade I'm unfamiliar with, or trimming a rather large pork shoulder and using up the rub mix left over from last week's contribution to the work pot luck. The pork won. It's all covered in spicy goodness, wrapped in cling wrap and awaiting its turn in the crock pot, which I think may end up being overnight the 25th to the 26th.
Meanwhile, the whole chicken...the recipe is by Sandy d'Amato, a local chef who's won a James Beard award, run several highly successful and award winning restaurants in the area and is now retired, writing a regular food column for our paper. It's not difficult, except for the fact the split chicken also needs room to marinate in the refrigerator, again for two days. That is a miscalculation on my part - I'd intended to cook it on Christmas. If I get it in the marinade by noon tomorrow, I think I can cook it for a late dinner on Christmas Day and not lose too much flavor.
I will, however, only be cooking half of the chicken, freezing the other half. The chicken they gave me is about the size of a party balloon, fat and sassy. I can only get one half of it in my largest cast iron pan, I think. Chef D'Amato must think we all have restaurant-sized pans at home, or that we buy only the tiny, expensive organic-free-range-grassfed chickens.
It should be noted that I don't generally cook like this, and certainly not this much at a time. The nice thing about vacation is the chance to do some of these things, and restock the freezer for work lunches as well as have some decent home cooked meals while I'm off.
Cooking wasn't the only thing on today's agenda. First thing this morning I had a hair appointment, including a rather substantial cut. It's gone a bit wild since my last cut about three months ago, reaching almost to the middle of my back. It just hits my shoulders now. Much healthier, quicker to dry.
Came home and picked up a bit, watched some television and took an unintentional nap. That's getting to be rather a habit.
Tomorrow morning I'm counting on people being too busy with last minute Christmas stuff to do something so mundane as pay their taxes. The bank is open until two. I'll start the morning very early at Panera, having coffee and a bagel until the bank opens. Then back home to make the marinade.
And wash more dishes.