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spatchcock chicken recipe

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I first had spatchcock chicken a little over a year ago at The Sound Table in Atlanta. The dish was most impressive because of its simplicity – cuts of bone-in chicken, with an herby-citrusy flavor and a nice char on the skin. Determined to recreate the dish at home, I searched the interwebs and discovered that the term ‘spatchcock’ had nothing to do with how the meat was flavored, and everything to do with how the meat was cut.

Put simply, to spatchcock means to remove the spine or backbone of the bird in preparation for oven or grill roasting. Spatchocking is actually the more formal cooking term for butterflying. The whole point of spatchcocking is to allow even cooking of both white and dark meat portions of the bird. As anyone who has roasted a whole bird knows, it can be near impossible to have juicy, fully-cooked thighs and legs without also ending up with dry, overcooked breasts and wings.

Get your head out of the gutter, please.

Since my first taste, I’ve spatchcocked my fair share of birds.  I even spatchcocked last year’s Thanksgiving turkey – it cooked in record time and was the most flavorful roasted turkey I’ve ever had. Dark and white meat were equally juicy. The skin was perfectly crispy, and the under-the-skin seasoning technique I use had infused every bite with serious flavor.

Plus, I get to giggle a bit every time I tell my guests what they’re eating.


Recipe for Spatchcocked Chicken



1 whole chicken

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1 lemon

2-3 cloves of garlic

salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, marjoram (or use whatever blend of herbs/spices you prefer)

1-2 Tbsp butter (optional)


Kitchen Tools

sturdy kitchen shears

latex gloves (optional) – I get kinda squeamish when handling raw chicken, so I always don a pair of latex gloves for the prep.

mini food-processor (optional)


Prepare  the seasoning mixture by combining the oil, butter, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs in the food processor and processing to a thick paste. Alternatively, mince the garlic and stir together in a small bowl with the other ingredients. Half the lemon and squeeze juice of one half into the seasoning mixture. Stir to blend. Cut the whole lemon into thin slices. Set lemons and seasoning mixture aside.

Rinse the bird well, including the inner cavity. Place the bird on a stable surface or inside of a large baking pan, breast side down. Using the shears, cut vertically along either side of the backbone from one end of the cavity to the other. Depending on how good your shears are, this may be easy or it may be pretty hard. Use a bit of elbow grease. Rock the shears back and forth to break the bones on either side of the spine. Channel your inner Hannibal Lecter. Sip a Chianti. You’ll get through it.




At the end of that gruesomeness, you should have a spineless bird in front of you, and a bird spine in your hand. Save the spine for making stock, or toss it out.

The secret to really crispy skin on a roasted bird is really dry skin to begin with. If you have time, let the bird rest in the fridge anywhere from 1-24 hours. I usually stick a few toothpicks into the bird and drape a towel or paper towels over them. I don’t like the idea of uncovered raw chicken in the fridge, and the towel would stick to the skin if I didn’t use the toothpicks. If you don’t have time for all that, just blot as much moisture as you can from the skin and proceed with seasoning the bird.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Run your hand gently under the skin covering the bird’s breast, separating the skin from the flesh. Go all the way down to the thigh area, being careful not puncture the skin. Using a teaspoon or your hands, take small amounts of the seasoning mixture and rub all over the bird, under the skin. You may have extra seasoning mixture left over. Take lemon slices and slide them under the skin. I usually place 1 slice on each thigh, 2 on each breast, and tuck a lemon slice under each wing. Sprinkle more salt and pepper all over the skin. Place the bird in a roasting pan and cook for 40 minutes to 1-hour, until done (3 tests for doneness: juices run clear; leg/thigh moves easily in socket; thermometer inserted at thickest part of breast reads at least 160 degrees).


Grill 6 - Spatchcock chicken with a cracked spice rub. Accompanied by grilled endive with olive oil, lemon, marjoram and roasted potatoes with rosemary, garlic, olive oil. The bird was a bit unevenly done requiring a regrill of the breast. Still digging.


Note: When I tried this recipe with turkey, I did not de-spine my own turkey. I bought the bird from the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and had the butcher there make a cut on each side of the spine while the bird was still in its wrapper. I suggest you seek similar assistance for a larger bird.




Photo 1: via Leon Dale Photography

Photo 2: via Another Pint Please…, on Flickr

Photo 3: via that.turtle, on Flickr


food porn: lunch in atlanta

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I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve been holding out on you. I assure you however, there was no malicious intent. I’m just… lazy. You see, I’ve been having some pretty fabulous (and some just alright) dining experiences around Atlanta lately, and I’ve just been too lazy to write about them.

But the good news is, I haven’t slacked off on taking some pretty fabulous (and some just alright) pictures of these dining experiences. So here’s what I figured. Instead of stockpiling all these tasty little visual tidbits and pretending like I’m actually going to do each one justice with a proper review, I’ll just show you the goods.

Since when has porn been about dialogue, anwyay?


This week’s food porn features pics from some of  my favorite atlanta lunch spots.


stir fry @ urban pl8

stir fry @ urban pl8

Look at the separation on that brown rice. Yeah, you like that, dontcha?

beet salad @ urban pl8

beet salad @ urban pl8

lunch @ the orginal el taco

red chili steak & fried chicken tacos @ the orginal el taco

el burger @ the orginal el taco

el burger @ the orginal el taco

Only thing sad about this lunch is that El Taco only serves lunch on the weekends. Que lastima.

alligator egg rolls @ 5 seasons brewery, westside

alligator egg rolls @ 5 seasons brewery, westside

salt and pepper fish @ new paradise (buford highway)

salt and pepper fish @ new paradise (buford highway)

garlic green beans @ new paradise (buford highway)

garlic green beans @ new paradise (buford highway)

chicken koobideh wrap and salad @ sufi's

chicken koobideh wrap and salad @ sufi's

sabzi @ sufi's

sabzi @ sufi's

The sabzi is an assortment of greens, herbs, and other accompaniments to be enjoyed with flatbread. Sufi’s sabzi: mint leaves, basil leaves, cucumber slices, butter, feta, olives, and walnuts.

yogurt and beets @ sufi's

yogurt and beets @ sufi's

fried chicken sandwich @ bocado

fried chicken sandwich & fries @ bocado

burger stack @ bocado

burger stack & garlic herbed fries @ bocado

Bocado’s burger stack is what the Big Mac dreams about being when it grows up.

fish tacos & fried okra @ marlow's tavern

fish tacos & fried okra @ marlow's tavern, midtown

Seriously, is there ever a bad time for fried okra? Methinks not.



7 things to do the day after getting fired

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Canned. Sacked. Let go. Forcibly retired. Getting fired, no matter what sweet-sounding name you try to pin on it, is still a pretty bitter experience. Even if you’re expecting it to happen (or you’ve been secretly praying for it to happen), nothing ever quite prepares you for the day you get fired.

Yet, in our continually uncertain economy, getting fired is an experience that more and more people are having to deal with. Naturally, most people react to a firing in an emotional way – with tears, anger, idle threats, feelings of isolation or low self-worth. But the 24 hours after you’ve been fired is not the time to be paralyzed by emotion, it’s the time for some very simple actions that can pay off big in the long run. You can always come back to the 5 stages of grief later.


the 5 Stages of Grief, by Jack Donaghy


Here are 7 suggestions for what to do the day after your last day on the job.

Tell Everyone

Though shame and embarrassment at losing your job might make you want to keep the whole mess a secret, don’t. Think of it this way: if nobody knows you’ve been fired, nobody will know you’re available for new opportunities. A quick email message (or tweet or Facebook post) to your network of friends and associates saying something like, “Guess what guys, I’m looking for employment again,” followed by a very brief, very clear description of what kind of employment you’d prefer, could work wonders. Many of those people that you tell will likely reach out to ask for more details. Resist the temptation to go into a long diatribe about what an evil cad your now ex-boss was, or how you never liked that filth-flarn company anyway. There will be much time for ranting in the days to come. When pressed for more deets, simply say, “I’m not in a space where I can talk about it right now, we’ll have to get together soon so I can tell you all the gory details. But if you can keep an eye out for (fabulous next job I’m looking for), I’d really appreciate it.”


Ask for Recommendations

Even if you were fired for less than stellar performance, there’s probably at least one person you worked with who actually liked you and the work you did. Instead of avoiding them like the plague, reach out and ask for a quick letter of recommendation. Or better yet, send them a LinkedIn request, so they can put their glowing recommendation of you on the interwebs for the whole world to see. Wait. You do have a LinkedIn account, right?


Get LinkedIn

If you don’t already have a profile on LinkedIn, shame on you. I’m sure it’s because you were so busy with work before that you didn’t have time to get it done. Well, now that that’s no longer a problem, it’s the perfect time for you to create or update your LinkedIn profile. Search for and make connections with your now-former coworkers. Consider this the part of the job loss chapter that you get to write yourself. You decide which characters you want to continue in the story, and how you express what your experience was like.


Update your resume

Even if you don’t intend to start looking for a new job right away, it’s best to update your resume while the details of your last position and accomplishments are still fresh in your mind. You may even consider putting up a free or inexpensive website to post your skills, your resume and examples of your work.


File for unemployment

Labor and employment laws differ for every state. And if you were fired for misconduct or negligence, you may not qualify to receive unemployment benefits. But it never hurts to try. Even if you and your former employer disagree about the reason for your termination, you may be able to appeal an initial denial of unemployment benefits.


Schedule some coffee dates

The unexpected change of routine that comes with a job loss can be a bit jarring. You’re probably used to getting up, getting dressed and going somewhere at the same time every day. The day after you get canned, reach out to a few friends and schedule at least 2-3 coffee or lunch dates for the following week. That way, your daily routine won’t be totally obliterated, and you won’t be tempted to hide in your house like it’s a dark cave of emotion. Plus, when you meet with your friend, you’ll get to vent, rant, ask for advice and suggestions, or receive a much needed dose of cheer.


Write your own training plan

Take some time to envision what sort of job or position you want next. Spend an hour or so searching on Careerbuilder, Monster and other job hunting sites for job descriptions that are similar the position you want. This will allow you to see what sort of skills or certifications are preferred for those roles, and which ones you may need to brush up on. Make a list of 2-3 classes you want to take, certifications you want to pursue, or professional skills that you want to improve upon. In the coming days (or weeks or months), your new job will be to find and complete training classes, self-directed projects, or pro-bono gigs that will prepare you for your next job.


Let’s be honest, it is statistically probable that you’re going to get fired at some point in your life. Your reason for being terminated may not even be your fault. And even if it is your fault, it isn’t the end of the world. Life goes on. You learn from the experience, pick yourself up, and move on to the next chapter. You aren’t the only one this has happened to, and you certainly won’t be the last. By taking small, immediate actions you’ll go a long way in dispelling the feelings of powerlessness that may come with a job loss. And by taking those actions you’ll remind yourself that, in the end, you are the only one responsible for your career destiny.



photo 1: You’re Fired! by bjornmeansbear, on Flickr

photo 2: via jericapng, on Tumblr

photo 3: Unemployed Dad 488 by Bearman2007, on Flickr

Eat St. Filming Atlanta Food Trucks Nov. 11-15

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Hey Atlanta –

Want to come out and sample some of Atlanta’s best food truck fare AND get a chance to be on TV? 

Eat St. – the Food Network Canada show that profiles food trucks in North America – will be filming in Atlanta from Friday, November 11 through Tuesday, November 15. Five of Atlanta’s most loved food trucks will be profiled on the show, with a different food truck being filmed at a different Atlanta location each day.

Here’s the skinny:



Ibiza Bites – @Ibizabites

Where? 733 Lambert Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

12pm – 2pm



Tex’s Tacos – @Texstacos

Where? Howell Mill Food Park, 1927 Emery Street, Atlanta, GA 30318




Mobile Marlay – @Themobilemarlay

Where? Virginia Highlands

12 – 2pm



Wow! Food Truck – @wowfoodtruck

Where? Tower Place in Buckhead 3365 Piedmont Rd NE Atlanta, GA

12 – 2pm



Buen Provecho – @Buenprovechotrk

Where? King Plow: 887 West Marietta St. Atlanta GA 30318

12:30 – 2pm


For full details on the food trucks and filming dates, visit the Eat St. blog.

pre-holiday detox: 5-day cleanse before you binge

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If this holiday season is anything like last year’s, it will be indulgent. Very, very indulgent. Already, my weekend calendar for the next month is jam-packed with events where hearty food and heavy drink will be the central focus. And that doesn’t even include Thanksgiving.

The chances of me abstaining from this once-a-year feeding frenzy are about as slim as the chances that some portly, older gentleman will slide down my chimney and deliver gifts in late December. Translation: It ain’t happening. But if I’m going to make it to the end of the year looking less like Santa Claus and more like Jesus, I’ve got to do something to counteract the bingeing.

I decided to reach out to my good friend Maria Bee for her advice. Maria and I know each other from our road warrior consulting days when frequent travel, frequent stress and frequent dining out was a part of our daily lives. Since then, Maria has “taken back her life” by teaching everyday slackers like me how to eat and exercise better. And believe me, this lady knows her stuff. As a former fitness competitor (Ms. Figure America Winner, 2009), a personal trainer, and a naturopathic practitioner, Maria is an expert on maintaining overall body health through proper nutrition and exercise. She dishes out tough-love-style diet and exercise advice on her Facebook page and through her blog.

Last week, I mentioned to Maria that I wanted to do a 5-day cleanse each month of the holiday season, and was looking for alternatives to the all-too-strict Master Cleanse that I’ve done a few times before. As luck would have it, Maria was just starting a 5-day pre-holiday cleanse herself and was kind enough to share her daily regimen with me, so I thought I’d pass it along to you, Dear Reader.


Maria Bee’s Pre-Holiday 5-Day Cleanse

Upon Waking: First thing in the morning, drink  1 cup of water


For Breakfast – Fruit smoothie with vegetable-based protein

Ingredients: 5 strawberries, 10 blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1 slice pineapple, 2 tablespoons flax seed oil, 1 teaspoon spurilina, 1 teaspoon macca powder, 25-40 grams Protein powder, Ice (optional), 1 tablespoon local honey (optional)
To Make: Pour all ingredients into a blender, blend well and serve.


For Lunch – Large Salad

Ingredients: Kale, purple onions, cucumber, mushroom, spinach, raisins (optional), broccoli, 1 slice of avocado, Any type of vinaigrette dressing

Drink 16 ounces of water with lunch


For Mid-day Snack (after lunch and before dinner)

Mix 16 ounces of water with a pinch of cayenne pepper and 3 teaspoons of lemon.

Drink water mixture along with a handful of almonds


For Dinner, Option #1 – Vegetable Juice (requires a juicer)
If you don’t have a juicer, use the veggie wrap recipe below.

Drink 16 ounces of water at dinner

Ingredients: 1 broccoli bunch (with stem), 1 handful of spinach, 2 celery sticks, 1/2 Chayote squash, 1 Chard, 2 stems of mustard greens, 2 pinches of cayenne pepper, 1 stalk of ginger, 2 lemons


For Dinner, Option #2 – Veggie Wrap (no juicer required)
Drink 16 ounces of water at dinner

Ingredients: 1 Collard Green leaf, 1 tablespoon hummus, 1 chopped yellow onion, 5 mushrooms cut, 1 green pepper sliced, 1 red pepper sliced, 1/3 cucumber sliced, 3 green olives, 1 broccoli flower cut, 2 slices avocado, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing, *any additional vegetables can be added

To Make: Take the collard green wrap and rinse thoroughly, lat flat and spread hummus. Add green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, cucumber, olives, mushroom, and onion. Pour olive oil over vegetables, add avocado and vinaigrette dressing. Roll collard green into a wrap, use additional hummus or vinaigrette as a dipping sauce.


As you can see, the focus of the cleanse is raw foods, and it’s a great way to boost nutrition and energy before the holidays or any time that your eating habits have gotten out of wack. The supplements and special ingredients listed in Maria’s recipes can be found at most health food stores.

For additional foods that will help you with your pre-holiday clearance, check out Maria’s post: Top 10 Cleansing Foods.

to your health,



photo:Diet Police fridge magnet by lydiashiningbrightly, on Flickr

amuse bouche: stay flexible

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Cat stretch Nov 2005

Learning how to deal with tough times and uncertainty can be difficult. But adaptability and flexibility certainly help. That’s the reason why cats always land on their feets – they have flexible spines. People who always land on their feet do so because they have flexible mindsets and attitudes. Instead of getting stuck on one way to do something, one way to learn, one way to be, flexible people arrange the pieces they’ve been given in each situation to create an optimal result.



life recipe: recipe for a good woman

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life recipe: recipe for a good woman

“A woman is an important somebody and sometimes you win the triple crown: good food, good sex, and good talk. Most men settle for any one, happy as a clam if they get two. But listen, let me tell you something. A good man is a good thing, but there is nothing in the world better than a good good woman. She can be your mother, your wife, your girlfriend, your sister, or somebody you work next to. Don’t matter. You find one, stay there.”  ~from Toni Morrison’s “Love

After reading this passage from Toni Morrison’s novel, “Love”, I knew I’d found a morsel that would become a permanent part of my personal collection of life recipes.

The quote comes from the character, Sandler – a concerned father who is schooling his teenage son on what to look for in a woman. Fortunately, it’s an easy-to-remember recipe that includes 3 very simple ingredients.

Good Food

I don’t care how old-fashioned or outmoded I sound saying it, I’m going to say it anyway. If you’re a woman, you should know how to cook something. I’m not suggesting that you channel Betty Crocker and prance around the kitchen all day in frilly aprons and heels making biscuits and pies from scratch (but, if that’s your thing, by all means, go for it!). But every woman should have at least 3 solid dishes that she can whip up at a moment’s notice. That means not having to consult a cookbook or a recipe, but being able to prepare a simple, elegant meal from memory – preferably with easy-to-find ingredients. As they say, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Even in non-romantic situations, being able to cook something tasty for someone you care about (whether it be your man, your mom, your kids, or your friends) is not only a useful talent, but also a satisfying and rewarding experience.


Good Sex

I suppose this one should go without saying, since we’re all sexual creatures. But since everyone has different tastes and preferences, what exactly qualifies as good sex? Whether you’re the swing-from-the-rafters type or more of a missionary girl, I think that at the root of it all, a woman with ‘good sex’ is a woman who is equally skilled at giving and receiving pleasure.


Good Talk

I’ve heard numerous tales from my guy friends about dates or relationships with drop-dead gorgeous girls that they found extremely attractive… until they opened their mouths. A good woman cultivates interests in things that are worth talking about. A good woman stays abreast of current events (no, not just celebrity gossip), a good woman has a bit of ‘game’. A good woman knows how to give a compliment.


Recipe Notes:

Noticeably missing from this recipe for a good woman are inessential ingredients like: big boobs, long hair, thick legs, fat booty, expensive clothes, killer makeup, and similar decorative toppings.

Admittedly, a good woman who comes with one or more of these inessential ingredients will be just as fulfilling and even sweeter than the original recipe. However, a woman that possesses inessential ingredients yet lacks all of the good woman ingredients may be sweet, but won’t be nearly as filling. And really… who needs empty calories?