Perhaps you have a strategy for this evening. Perhaps you thought about it weeks ago and made reservations for the late seating at the best restaurant in town. Perhaps you're going dancing at a nightclub or country club, or gathering with friends at a good dive bar, or having still others over for a dinner you worked out last weekend in the wake of Christmas: tournedos Rossini for six! Maybe you're going to eat caviar at home and drink Champagne cocktails, and keep drinking them until the ball falls in New York and everyone cheers and blows horns as 2015 begins to gather steam. You have a tradition. You have plans.
This is not the newsletter for you, then, on this final day of 2014. (Though those filets mignons are remarkable and it's not too late to take them on.)
No, today's sentences are meant for those who haven't planned, who are staying in, who don't like New Year's Eve much, who won't chortle at Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN, who look forward to tomorrow's day off, who want only to cook on the fly, listen to a little Tinashe and cook.
It is no-recipe recipe Wednesday! So we'll roast a chicken, eat it with a green salad, a buttered baguette and some chilled red wine. Shopping list: Chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), greens (and some lemon for the dressing), baguette, butter. You can have Champagne for dessert. We're not monsters.
Take the chicken out of its plastic situation as soon as you get home, rinse it, blot it dry with paper towels and let it sit on a platter for as long as you can manage – an hour or two, say, while you putter around enjoying that you're not due anywhere soon in heels or a tuxedo.
Then heat the oven to 450. Put an empty cast-iron skillet in there. Season the chicken aggressively with salt and pepper – enough that you think to yourself, wow, that's a lot of salt and pepper. You can tuck the wings behind the back of the bird then, and if you're fancy, use cotton twine to tie the legs together. Either way, when the oven and that pan are good and hot, pull the pan out, put the chicken in it and slide it back into the oven.
At which point you may wish to unplug your fire alarm, or open a window against the chill or warmth of the outside air. Roasting chicken at this temperature can create some smoke. It'll be done in 45 minutes to an hour, though, the skin taut and the drumsticks loose within the meat. Let the bird sit for 10 minutes or so, then cut apart and serve with the dressed greens (lemon juice, a splash of red-wine vinegar, some mustard, salt and pepper), the baguette and butter. Happy New Year!
You can look to Cooking for other ideas. Save the recipes you find there to your recipe boxes, and then cook them. If you have any problems with the site, the app or the recipes, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me: @samsifton on Twitter or samsifton on Instagram, or on Facebook. Thanks for a great year. See you in 2015!