Tips & Tricks

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

If you’re ready for some adulting in the kitchen*, you have got to learn how to spatchcock (a.k.a. butterfly) a chicken.

This simple technique consists in opening the bird like a book, so that it lies flat in a roasting pan or on the grill.

In this configuration, the chicken cooks faster and more evenly — a double win — and it is much easier then to achieve the amazingly flavorful, perfectly roasted or grilled meat you are longing for.

A really fun recipe to put the technique in practice is this chicken “under a brick”, which I make often, but you can also simply marinate the chicken and roast it straight in the oven (see picture of the finished product below!).

But before you get to that, here’s a video I made with Anne to show you how to spatchcock a chicken — much simpler than it sounds:

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Juices and Smoothies: My Best Tips

Green Juice

I have been the proud owner of both a juicer and a blender for a while now. I’ve had a bit of a learning curve with both and I imagine I’m not alone, so let me pass along some of my best tips for juicing and smoothie-making.

If you want to report back on your own experience and share tips of your own, I would love for you to do so in the comments! I’ll be interested to compare notes with you, and other readers will benefit as well.

When is a good time to drink juices and smoothies?

My initial resistance in adopting juices and smoothies was this: I couldn’t quite see how they would fit into my daily eating habits. I wasn’t really looking to consume more food than I already was, and wasn’t too keen on trading any of my favorite eats (vegan lunch bowl, anyone?) for a tall glass of anything.

But! Those tall glasses quickly won me over and they are now most welcome, on three occasions in particular:

  • Smoothies as a standalone breakfast, which I can sip on while getting ready for work, or sitting on the couch watching my kids punch each other — mostly in good fun — with my boxing gloves. (I took up boxing, people! It’s so fun! Have you tried it?) Because I add filling elements (see below), a 7am smoothie holds me over until lunchtime, even through pretty active mornings.
  • Cold-pressed juices as a complement to my lunches. I love my weekday lunch bowls and they are typically vegetable-heavy, but some days it’s faster to make myself a quick sandwich, and round it out with a green juice.
  • A smoothie or a juice is an amazing afternoon pick-me-up. It’s energizing and refreshing, and serves the double purpose of feeding and hydrating me.

I don’t, however, make it an obligatory or daily thing. Some weeks I crave them every single morning, other times I feel like eating other things instead. Or my schedule gets busier and I can’t get my act together to prepare them. It’s all good.

Pink Smoothie

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DIY Cake Stand (Genius Trick!)

DIY Cake Stand

Today, I have the neatest idea ever to share with you: how to turn any dinner plate into a DIY cake stand.

I was at the coffee shop the other day, waiting at the counter to pay for my Ethiopian filter coffee (so good), and I noticed the barista rearranging the baked goods in the display case. He picked up a plate of small cakes, slipped an upturned bowl underneath it, and all of a sudden, before my very eyes, a cake stand appeared!

I stared at him, speechless with wonder. What a genius trick! (He shrugged one shoulder, all “doesn’t everybody do this?”)

I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell you about it; I even did a video and animated gifs to show you.

DIY Cake Stand

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The Best Cooking Advice You’ll Ever Get

My life-changing extra-large cutting board from Earlywood.

My life-changing extra-large cutting board from Earlywood.

Inspired by a recent episode of the Happier podcast on the most valuable advice listeners had ever been given, I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook for Chocolate & Zucchini readers to share the best cooking advice they have ever received.

Here are the 40 nuggets of wisdom that resonated with me the most. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, and please add your own best advice in the comments!

On Cooking

Your hands are the most important tool in the kitchen. (Mark)

Buy the best ingredients and utensils you can afford.

Always use a bigger bowl/pot/cutting board than you think you need. (Susannah)

Always be tasting.

Clean up as you go.

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Cooking with Young Children: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned


Oh, hi! A quick heads-up: today, we’re going to be talking about kids in the kitchen! If this is of zero interest to you, I totally get it, and invite you to take a look at this springtime pot-au-feu, this fresh ginger cake, and these really fun food expressions in various languages. How does that sound? Okay then.

On to today’s topic! My eldest son is about to turn four, and for a little while now I’ve been wanting to post a few thoughts on what it’s like to share kitchen space with him. In short? It’s not easy. The good news? It can be done, but it’s good to keep a few guiding principles in mind. Here’s what I’ve learnt.

Photo credit: No Milk Today.

Photo credit: No Milk Today.

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