Thursday, April 10, 2014

Home Cookin' - LDF Chicken

Have you tried Liberty Delight Farms chicken?
If not, it's coming into season and Farmer Shane should have a bunch in his coolers for this weekend's Farmer's Markets.
Farmer Shane's chickens are free range, antibiotic and hormone free. Best of all, they're allowed to be chickens. They're not raised in pens barely big enough to turn around in. They run around the farm acting like chickens. You can taste the difference. These are not packed with any solutions. The chicken is firm and juicy and it tastes like it's supposed to taste.
Below I've posted a recipe for crispy-skinned oven-baked chicken. It doesn't take long to cook and it's good.
I chose to do this in the oven because it was raining. There's nothing like smokey chicken on the grill, but you actually have better temp control doing it in the oven and will generally end up with a better end result. 
Take the frozen package, un-perforated/unopened, and put it in a pot of cold water. It will take 30-60 minutes to thaw. Pre-heat your oven to 325 while this is going on.
Lay the chicken out on some wrap or waxed paper so you don't get your rub all over the kitchen.
Season liberally with your favorite rub, then put it on a rack in a foil-lined pan. You do this so the bottom of the chicken doesn't get scorched or boil in the juices. Once again, consistency is king.
Cook it for about an hour, or until an instant-read thermometer tells you it's 165 degrees, then pull it out of the oven and crank the broiler to low and put the chicken back in about 4 inches from the element. This will crisp the skin up in no time. Keep your eye on it though as you don't want to burn it.
 After a few minutes under the broiler element you'll be serving perfectly cooked, crispy-skinned chicken. Who doesn't like that?  Besides vegetarians...
Thanks for reading and give the recipe a shot or post your own!
Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Iron Gate Inn - Hidden In The City, But Worth Finding

The Iron Gate Inn
1734 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036
http://irongaterestaurantdc.com/
202-524-5202
Street Parking, Reservations for Main Dining Room Only
 I've been trying to get this place on my calender for a long time. Chef Anthony Chittum has opened this restaurant to critical acclaim under the umbrella of Michael Babin's Neighborhood Restaurant Group.
I won't go into the history of the Iron Gate, save to say it's been around a long, long time and there are a lot of stories that go with the building. It's unique, to say the least, and will be one of the great outdoor seating places to see and be seen this spring/summer/fall.
You have several ways to enjoy what they're serving at The Iron Gate Inn. There is the small carriage-way that houses the bar and has several tables. This is a non-reservation area and is first come-first served. There is a courtyard just past this, and then there is a formal dining room where the kitchen is located. It's dark and cozy in the formal DR. In the courtyard and carriage-way you can order a la carte or get one of the several tasting menus.

Cheryl and I opted for the Chef's Favorites menu which seemed to include a little bit of everything. I started out with a Manhattanesque beverage called, "Off To Sea Once More". Jeff Faile, formerly of Fiola, is heading the beverage program for Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns this restaurant, and is doing a fine job.
Our first course consisted of greens with fresh anchovies. The salty fish was a nice accompaniment to the bitter greens.
House-pickled veggies and fruits.
This was a pureed beet dish.
Focaccia with potato, olives, and sharp provolone was perfect. Nicely done bread with a very flavorful crust.
Parmesan Panna Cotta with trout roe. As you can tell, the light began to fail at this point but the dish was very pretty. Tasty as well. 



This tuna was off-the-charts good. The best we'd had since Maui. It was accompanied by fried fava beans and a spread. Fresh, fatty, and fabulous.
This was my favorite as far as the beginning courses went: Fois Gras Mousse with pickled vegetables, candied hazelnuts and beets. The mousse was lighter than you'd expect, and was very salty, but pleasantly so, not overpoweringly. Lucky for me Cheryl isn't a fan of FG or beets, so I got a little extra.

Our server noticed that Cheryl wasn't a fan of the previous dish and she took it upon herself to have the chef whip up some carrot and ginger risotto. Completely unnecessary, but very welcome. We never mention that she doesn't like FG when we go for tasting menus because I like it so much that it doesn't go to waste.
Best pork chop I've ever had in a restaurant? The honor lies right here at Iron Gate Inn. Perfectly seasoned, cut and served as a shared entree. The fat cap was creamy white and the chop was served just above medium rare. I can get pork chops like this from farmer's markets or good butchers, but it's rare to see one in a restaurant.
The pork chop came with an assortment of pickled vegetables, spreads, and olives.
The cheese course was small, but excellent. It was a very piquant bleu called Chapel's Country Bay Blue served with walnuts and flat bread. 

The coupe de grace was the Gianduja Terrine. A layered dessert with chocolate and hazelnut flavors. It was a stunningly cooperative dessert when you got a little bit of everything on your fork. Perfect execution. Cheryl said it was the best dessert she'd ever had. That's saying something as we've eaten at some of the best restaurants in the country. Well done Chef Anthony Chittum.
Overall, a very nice experience in a unique setting. When the weather is nice the open areas in this restaurant are going to be hard to get a table in, without a doubt.
Can't wait for good weather!
Thanks for reading folks. If you go, don't skip dessert.
Until next time...
Iron Gate on Urbanspoon