Three Things

Leaderboard chicken, a salad PSA, a perfect winter cocktail

Good afternoon! Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I finally finished the 5-part Princess Diana series on the “You’re Wrong About” podcast, which I highly recommend for a) Crown fans who don’t know how they’re going to wait until 2022 (!!!) for Season 5 or b) people who run outside in frigid temperatures, who would decidedly not call this “exhilarating,” and who can only get through it if they are distracted by really good storytelling every excrutiating step of the way.

Some quick housekeeping: I wanted to make sure you knew that every newsletter I send out is also saved permanently in the Archive - so even if you are a new subscriber, you can access all of the old newsletters and posts. (Also, Dinner: A Love Story, the original website is not going anywhere. You can search for old recipes there as well.) Of course, you can, as always, contact me (Jenny AT if you have recipe questions. Which takes me to the first of today’s Three Things…

1. Picnic Chicken for Winter

One of my more favorite texts to receive is something along the lines of “I made your salmon salad, it was so good!” Obviously, it makes me happy to know I had anything to do with a moment of joy in someone else’s day, but more important, forget about them, it gives me ideas for what to make. This is what happened last week when my neighbor Ian texted me “Gillian made your picnic chicken tonight…amazing!” And I instantly earmarked that chicken for the weekend line-up. Picnic chicken, all spicy and glazey and (usually) grilled, is a consistent player on my leaderboard for summer recipes, but I forget that it originated as a baked chicken dish. (It didn’t, in fact, originate with me at all. The recipe was a collab effort from Pedro Cajilima and Adam Kaye, two staffers at the iconic Blue Hill Stone Barns restaurant in Pocantico Hills, NY.) The deep flavor comes from the 24-hour marinating (ugh, sorry!) but once that part is done, it’s ridiculously hands-off. I’m guessing you can halve that marinating time and still have good results, but as Ian, father of two young kids, texted “It’s easy enough to do it at night, toss in the fridge, then you don’t worry about it until the next night. Better than during the morning rush trying to get the kids off to school or before the first zoom call.” Thanks Ian and Gillian! What’s my dinner tomorrow night?

Baked Picnic Chicken
This marinade makes enough for 4 pounds of chicken, which sounds like a lot, but works out to about three or pieces each for four people, with leftovers for lunch, snack, picnics, whatever. The very top photo is next-day chicken, served with a favorite salad: kale, almonds, dried cherries, scallions. The night I baked the chicken, we had it with mac & cheese and garlicky sautéed Broccolini.

½ cup good quality soy sauce
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mild smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 pounds chicken legs, drumsticks, or thighs

Place all ingredients (not chicken) into a blender.  Puree for 30 seconds on high. Season well with salt and pepper.

Pour marinade over chicken (in a glass baking dish or a large zip-top plastic bag) and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (The longer the better.) In a 400°F oven, roast chicken in a foil-lined baking dish or baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through.  Serve hot, room temp, or cold.

2. Season Your Leaf

A Public Service Announcement for cooks like me, who for decades have ignored the advice to season dry lettuce with salt and pepper before tossing it with vinaigrette: Season your dry lettuce! I know, you’re all there’s already salt and pepper in the dressing!” (that’s what I said) but trust me: It’s one of those super tiny things that makes such a big difference. Like each bite is almost sparkly. Report back, you’ll see. (Above: One of my favorite dinner salads in The Weekday Vegetarians, shot by Christine Han. You’ll hear about it soon enough.)

3. Perfect Winter Cocktail: The Brown Derby

I was thrilled to see how many of you made your own drinking vinegars for shrub cocktails (or as reader Missy called them, “Good Girl’s Moonshine”) last week. But by Friday, a cold one in New York, I was craving bourbon in the biggest way. Enter The Brown Derby. I love this drink because it’s made with ingredients I always have (bourbon, grapefruit juice, honey), and somehow tastes simultaneously wintry and refreshing. Look how beautiful it is with the January sun shining through. Is it Friday yet?

Brown Derby
For two cocktails, you can get enough juice from one large juicy grapefruit. That shown up there is squeezed from two grapefruits. We went with Widow Jane bourbon, but Makers, Buffalo Trace, or Hudson would all be good here, too.

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce honey syrup*
grapefruit rind (for garnish, optional)

To make honey syrup: Heat honey and water in a 1 to 1 ratio in a small saucepan, stirring until it’s liquidy and integrated, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Combine bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass (these are mine) and garnish with grapefruit.

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P.P.S. Thanks for reading!