Unlike pretty much everyone else in my family I’m not a big fan of fish. Even my grandchildren love fish of just about any type and made in nearly every way. The one type of fish I will happily eat is beer battered fish. And, although I’m sure the British would disagree, we Irish folk can make the ultimate fish and chips dinner! I made this for our family dinner and it was the first time I made this fish for Andi and the girls. We also had a special little guest; Andi’s nephew Zayden came to dinner, too! Everyone absolutely raved about the fish and the only complaint is that there wasn’t enough! Next time I will have to make a lot more fish! If you try it I’m sure you’re going to absolutely love Mama’s Beer Battered Fish.
There’s nothing normal about my family. From my parents to my siblings, right down to me and my kids, there’s a deep river of weird running through us all. And when people feel obligated to bring my eccentricities to my attention all I can say is, “It runs in the family.”
I mentioned some of the slightly odd things my family and I have done over the years in In an Irish Family – Games and Teasing. The old Time Bomb game we played differently than the box suggested and “nudie magazine day” at the checkout counter of the grocery store. But those things are just part of what make my family so unique.
Since some people have expressed curiosity about just how deep the well of weird goes I thought I’d share a couple of new stories. I wrote about how I was totally embarrassed by my son chanting “nudie magazine day” in a local grocery store but that’s just a small part of that incident.
It started when my youngest son and his best friend decided to act as though they were mentally challenged in the middle of the store. Mr. Comfortable and our oldest boy suddenly turned into magicians and disappeared from the aisle. That left me with the two horrible amusing teenagers who got louder and louder as they carried on their charade.
It wasn’t long before I was getting sympathetic looks from other shoppers. Their thoughts were so clear. “Just look at that poor woman with two disabled boys!” But, as the volume of the two increased the looks started to change from pity to annoyance. It only fueled the actors.
Finally in frustration I told them to find their father. That was a mistake. “Dad!” they shouted. “Daaaaad!” “Shut up!” I hissed which only garnered angry looks from the shoppers who were beginning to look like villagers surrounding Frankenstein’s castle.
I decided a quick exit would benefit everyone so I rushed my cart to the checkout line. “May I have gum, please?” asked my youngest. I thought this was something that might distract them so I told him he could. Then I turned to see that he’d lifted the entire rack of chewing gum and put it on top of our cart. It runs in the family, remember?
As I ordered him, through clenched teeth, to return the rack the other suddenly asked if he could have a nudie magazine. Before I could even respond they started chanting “Nudie magazine day! Nudie magazine day!” They were not quiet about it. I admit I didn’t think my response through as I said sternly, “It is not nudie magazine day!” The chanting stopped and my son looked at me quizzically and gave the response that caused me to avoid that store to this day. “Tomorrow?” he asked.
That same son and that same friend were involved in another incident which, even I admit, was funny. We have opossums in the yard every night. They’re not bothering any of us but Pete’s dog felt it was his duty to move them on to the next life. We were always careful to check the yard before letting him outside but one night we opened the door without realizing there was a ‘possum only a few yards from the porch. Tai made a high speed beeline for it but Pete called him back. The ‘possum, of course, fell over playing ‘possum. And this is where I went terribly wrong.
I thought Tai had gotten to the little animal so I sent Pete out to check on it. He tried to tell me Tai hadn’t even come close but I insisted. And when Pete got too close the terrified ‘possum hissed at him. I lost my mind. I suddenly turned into someone born and raised in a high rise building in NYC. I behaved as if I’d never even seen an opossum before. And I made the boys beat this poor little creature to death with a shovel.
Then, as guilty people usually do, I panicked. We had to get rid of the body! There would be an investigation! And I knew just the place to dump it. After all, other bodies, two of them human, had been dumped there in the past! I made the boys stuff the now battered ‘possum into garbage bag and handed them the keys to the car. “Don’t let anyone see you!” And with their marching orders clear they drove off into the night.
About 15 minutes later I heard them enter through the side door and go into Pete’s bedroom. I just had to know how it went. Had they been seen? Had they been followed? Did anyone suspect we’d murdered ‘possum?
Now I have to urge you to watch this video so you’ll understand the rest of the story.
I crept into Pete’s room and whispered, “Did you get rid of the body?” “What body?” Pete inquired. Then he slipped his grandfather’s watch from his wrist and said, “This is ‘possum’s watch. And I want you to have it.”
My very dear friend, Peg is coming for dinner and I’m going to serve chicken. That may seem like a kind of cheap and commonplace dinner to serve to a close friend but I’m making this chicken in a way I know Peg will love. I usually call Peg my Guinea Peg because I like to try recipes on that poor woman but I’ve already tested this recipe and all I can say is I have no problem serving it to people I care about! It’s simple but very tasty and since it’s the recipe of a world-famous chef I call it Keller Whole Roasted Chicken.
When I made a whole roast chicken in the slow cooker I was disappointed. We’re a crispy skin kind of family and that skin was definitely not crispy. I vowed to go back to roasting my whole chickens in the oven. I’ve always made a darned good roast chicken but this chicken takes only 3 ingredients! And that includes the chicken!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Thomas Keller let me give you a tiny bit of background. He is a world-famous chef who has run extremely successful restaurants for more than 20 years. In fact one of his restaurants has more than a four month waiting list for a reservation! I’d say the man knows what he’s doing.
To make this juicy roast chicken you must, I repeat, must follow the directions exactly. I know you’re going to worry about the temperature you’ll roast it on and the amount of salt. Don’t worry your pretty little head. I’m here to tell you that this roast chicken is going to be perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned!
First, you must allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Give it 45 – 60 minutes out of the refrigerator before you begin to cook.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, you read that correctly. Just do it. We won’t argue later because you’ll be too busy gobbling up the chicken!
Next grab a bunch of paper towels and dry the heck out of the bird inside and out. Don’t let any moisture remain in or on the chicken. This will cause steam while it’s roasting and you do not want steam!
Get out your kosher salt and pepper. Season the inside of the chicken liberally with the salt. I’m talking about 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons. Then season the inside with pepper. 1/2 teaspoon is fine.
This is the only “hard part” in the recipe. You’re going to truss the chicken. I could try to explain it in a series of pictures but I think you’ll find Thomas Keller’s instructional video easier to follow.
Now for the part you’re going to want to “adjust.” Get about a tablespoon of kosher salt ready and steel yourself. You’re going to sprinkle that salt from at least 18 inches above on to the bird. Start by sprinkling salt on the back of the chicken. Then flip the chicken and sprinkle the salt (from on high) on the sides and all over the top of the bird. If you’re not worried you used too much salt you haven’t used enough!
Put the chicken on a rack (it must be on a rack) in a roasting pan and put it in the oven. Then leave it alone! Do not peek. Don’t succumb to your need to check on it. Do not open the oven unless you see black smoke pouring from around the door (it won’t). Leave the darned chicken alone!
After 50 – 60 minutes (depending on how big your bird is) check the temperature. It should be 165 degrees.
Put the chicken on a cutting board to rest for 5 – 10 minutes. You want the juices to have settled nicely.
See the salt in that gorgeous, golden, crispy skin? It looks like too much but in this case “too much” is really “just perfect”!
Your chicken will be tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned and will give you bragging rights with family and friends. Peg was amazed that the bird didn’t burn at that temperature and that it was so juicy with wonderfully crispy skin! That’s the beauty of Keller Whole Roast Chicken!
There’s an old saying “A son is a son ‘til he takes a wife but a daughter’s a daughter all of her life.” This may be true of a lot of families but in all the Irish families I’ve known (and I’ve known a lot) sons and mothers are very, very close. It’s not that they’re not manly. Irish guys all seem to be tough guys. But in an Irish family, Mama’s boys are more the rule than the exception.
Wow! Time flies when you’re blogging! This is the anniversary of the day I started The Comfortable Coop. And what a year it’s been. I’ve learned some things and still have a tremendous amount to learn. I’ve really gotten back into the things I love because of The Comfortable Coop and I’m grateful for that! But most of all, I’m grateful for the people who have become friends because of this blog! Thank you so much for sharing yourselves with me! I can hardly believe it but it’s The Comfortable Coop’s One Year Anniversary!
Do you have one of those friends or family members with a home that never seems messy? How can they do it? With children, work, and life in general it can be really hard to keep your home neat and tidy. It’s really just a matter of habit. Most of us have heard it takes 21 (or 28) days to form a habit. While this may not be quite accurate it is possible to start forming habits for a cleaner home.
I can’t think of many dinners that are as easy to make as this one! Because it needs only three ingredients and very little prep work, this is one of my favorite “fancy” meals for days when I’m dreaming of having my very own personal chef. Gerard Butler (shirtless, of course) feeding me bonbons while I wait for dinner would be cool, too. If you like Caesar salad I guarantee you’ll love Caesar Pork Steaks!
Before I begin I want to make something very clear. I am now and have always been female. This, you might think, would preclude me from the whole Viagra line of medications. But, no! I wasn’t ever going to disclose this story but Mr. Comfortable, no doubt out of revenge for the “If the police should ask..” story, insisted I share why I thought I needed Viagra.
I admit that at times I can be a wee bit naïve. Okay, okay. I can be incredibly naïve. I think I proved that with my encounter with the drug dealer in Virginia. Keep in mind that I was born and raised in a small town and I now live a few miles outside a village with one traffic light. Seeing the gritty side of life isn’t part of my usual experience.
When I first had my spinal cord injury I had to go to the Pain Clinic at least every two weeks. The doctor would insert insanely large needles into my spine in order to ease the pain of his not having a larger summer home. In trade the doctor would prescribe huge doses of really dangerous drugs which he expected me to take quite frequently. I didn’t as they didn’t end the pain, although they did make me care less about it.
Over the years this doctor and I formed a relationship. I knew his middle name so I could holler at him in true mom fashion when he hit a nerve with the needle of the day. I knew about his family. He knew about my family. I called him Kiddo and he called me Old Lady. He was actually a year older than I. I felt I could talk to him about my pain even if it wasn’t in my back.
And that’s how I ended up thinking I needed Viagra. You see, when the first commercials for that product came out they never actually stated what the medication was supposed to treat. The original commercial showed a man throwing a football at a tire and missing. Then he takes Viagra and the next time he throws the football it goes right through the tire! Good for him!
I thought about this new wonder drug and the very next time I saw the Pain Clinic doc I told him I thought I needed Viagra. I have to give him credit. He didn’t laugh. He didn’t ask me to drop my drawers so he could determine if I really needed it. He calmly asked me why I thought I needed Viagra. So I told him.
“I’ve been having a lot of pain in my shoulder.” The doctor nodded. “And you think Viagra will help with that.” It wasn’t a question. I told him I did. Then I told him about the poor man with the football and the tire and how Viagra clearly helped his shoulder since, after taking it, he could get the ball right through the center of the tire!
It was at this point the doctor put his hand over his mouth and tried to look as though he were pondering my request. I believe it was just to hide his grin. “Well,” he said, “Viagra isn’t really for sore shoulders. You see, when a mommy and daddy love each other the daddy can’t always make the mommy…you know…happy.” I was completely puzzled. Did the mommy really care how well the daddy could throw a ball? “Dear Lord” moaned the doctor. “It’s for when a man can’t get an ere…” My startled look must have tipped him off that I’d finally understood.
I could feel my face growing incredibly hot. In the reflection from the towel dispenser I could see how red I was. Mr. Comfortable, no darned help at all, finally gave in to his overwhelming need to laugh out loud. And he didn’t just laugh. He nearly fell out of his chair. This only prompted the doctor to give in and he ended up leaning on the counter laughing so hard he was snorting. “Viagra! She needs Viagra!” I was obviously the funniest patient he’d had all day. Maybe in his entire career.
And to this day when a commercial is aired for that particular line of male medications I can hear the raucous laughter of my doctor and Mr. C. But I really did have a good reason why I thought I needed Viagra!
This week I decided to take it easy making our weekly dinner with Pete’s family. And there’s not much easier than putting everything into the slow cooker and walking away! I love my slow cooker! I’m making the meal here and I can carry the slow cooker to Pete’s. The lid on my slow cooker locks so I don’t even have to worry about spills in the car! This week’s family dinner is Slow Cooker Pot Roast!
If you’ve read some of my early posts you’ve read about my friend Jean. She was Nanny Jean to my kids and not only a beloved friend but my mentor in so many ways. Jean was patient in her teaching as I was a very young wife and mom. I was really nervous when she told me she was going to have me make bread for the first time! But she taught me a really simple, really delicious way to make Jean’s No Knead Herb Bread and I still make it to this day!