Dec 9, 2008

Guest Blogger: Shirley - Plum Bush Cottage

Today's Guest blogger is from the cozy corner of the internet known as Plum Bush Cottage. The ever so warm musings mixed with the amazing recipes of homemade love by Shirley always bring a smile to my face. Be sure to visit Plum Bush Cottage and see for yourself just how inviting it truly is. Shirley has been so kind to provide us with a little more insight into her life and even added a holiday recipe as a bonus!!

My name is Shirley and I'm an online shopper. I love it. I only go to stores now if I have to...or if there is an outstanding sale. One of the best things about online shopping is being able to track my packages. I can see every stop on their trip to my door. I picture them in the back of an 18-wheeler, traveling the Interstate on their first leg of the journey, rumbling across the country on their way to my door. Which states will they travel through? Where will they overnight? When I finally see they have arrived at the UPS center nearby and read those magical words, Out For Delivery, I know it will be only a matter of hours before I hear the chime of the doorbell. There really must be a support group for people like me.

My most recent excitement was awaiting the delivery of my Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro Stainless Steel 12 piece cookware set. I couldn't wait to get it so I could finally get rid of the jumble of old pots and pans left over from various cookware sets collected over the years.

If you knew me a few years ago, you wouldn't believe I could get this excited over some pots and pans. I hated to cook and honestly, I wasn't very good at it. I would commute back and forth to hour each way, work at a stressful job in a prison, shop for food on the way home, run errands, cart the kids around...then try to come up with something edible for dinner. The first words I would hear when I came dragging into the house was, "What's for dinner?" I would throw something together, knowing it was nothing different and probably not that great. I'd set it on the table and what would I hear? "Eeeww I don't like that!" or "Not that again!"

I vowed that once the children were out of the house for good I would never cook again. I kept that vow. There wasn't a pizza joint or Chinese restaurant within a 5 mile radius that didn't know me by my first name. Then I retired and entered into a serious relationship. I had time to plan menus and shop. Since the kids were on their own, I no longer had to budget so I could purchase the best quality ingredients. Even more fun, we often cook together…romance and food, a great combination. Suddenly cooking was fun. No one was more surprised than me!

Then I took it a step further and began writing about food and cooking. This I am rather new at. I started blogging on a couple of years ago and eventually began posting some of my recipes. I saw that they were of interest to some people, so I recently set up shop at Blogspot and have devoted that blog to my Domestic Goddess side, but focusing mainly on cooking. My long term goal is to develop a family cookbook…not for publishing…just to give to my children and grandchildren with the hope that they pass it down through the generations.
There is one down side to this cooking thing…I cook what I like, eat what I cook, and as a result, my jeans have shrunk considerably.

So on most days you can find me at home, barefoot in the kitchen (or in fuzzy slippers in the winter) putting together something like this……

Citrus Marinated Roasted Chicken
Citrus Marinade:
¼ cup orange zest
2 cups fresh orange juice
8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (5 lb.) roasting chicken
¾ tsp. kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl, large enough to hold the chicken and to allow the marinade to rise high enough to coat at least half the chicken. Rinse chicken well and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight, turning chicken several times to evenly marinate.
Preheat oven to 425F.

Remove chicken from marinade and place in a roasting pan. Strain marinade, reserving solids and liquid. Stuff solids into the cavity of chicken. Pour liquid around chicken in pan. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue roasting, basting chicken every 30 minutes with pan juices, for 1¼-1½ hours. Tent with aluminum foil if the skin browns too quickly.

Let chicken stand 10 minutes before carving.

Citrus Gravy:
1 cup reserved pan drippings from turkey
¼ cup 2% milk
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

Place pan drippings in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Combine milk and flour, whisking until smooth. Whisk milk mixture into drippings, stirring until thickened. Add salt and pepper. Makes 1¼ cups gravy.

Bon Appetit!

That simply sounds amazing!! Thank you Shirley for sharing more about yourself, your blog and your amazing cooking!!


Bridget said...

Hi Shirley! I'm so happy to be introduced to you and your blog! That chicken sounds delicious...and I would be really excited about a new set of pots & pans, too! :)

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