Cookbook Interview

Posted by Robert on May 5th, 2008


My newest cookbook, New South Grilling (Hyperion, $29.95), had its national release last week. Since I am the newspaper’s food writer, the duty falls to me cover the book’s release. Therefore I will interview myself.

Columnist Robert: Good morning, Robert. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with me.

Author Robert: It’s my pleasure, Robert. Actually, I was getting a little bored sitting here watching you do all of the typing.

Columnist Robert: Don’t you think it’s tacky, tasteless, narcissistic, and egotistical to promote your own personal projects in your column.

Author Robert: Yes. But it’s your column. You’re the one asking the questions.

Columnist Robert: Tell me about your new cookbook.

Author Robert: I’d love to. The book is entitled New South Grilling (Hyperion, $29.95). It’s my seventh book in six years. I believe it’s my best pure cookbook, so far. It has over 130 recipes and 82 color photographs.

Columnist Robert: Is this your first book with food photography?

Author Robert: Yes. My publisher sent a professional from New York. His name is Joey DeLeo, and we spent two weeks shooting all of the photographs for the book. He did a great job.

Columnist Robert: The photographs are great.

Author Robert: I know. The recipes are even better.

Columnist Robert: I don’t want to feed your already overinflated ego, but didn’t you act as the food stylist for the food photographs?

Author Robert: Yes, and thanks for slyly slipping that one in. My publisher asked me to be the food stylist. It was tedious at first. After the third day, I started to get the hang of it, and eventually had a blast. I look forward to doing it again.

Columnist Robert: What makes this book different than other grilling books?

Author Robert: That’s a leading question.

Columnist Robert: I know. I was throwing you a bone.

Author Robert: Thanks. The reason New South Grilling (Hyperion $29.95) differs from other grilling books is that it’s NOT filled with six chapters of instructions. I already assume that everyone knows how to light a grill, keep food away from the heat, and make cross-hatch marks. The book is short on teaching, but long on flavor and photography. Also, I teach you the secret of not having your food stick to the grill.

Columnist Robert: What’s the secret?

Author Robert: Buy the book.

Columnist Robert: All of your other books have been released in November. Why May?

Author Robert: Grilling is a summertime activity, and Father’s Day is just around the corner.

Columnist Robert: Is there anything you would like to add?

Author Robert: Yes. I would want everyone to know that the meager and measly profits the publisher will eventually send me from the sales of this book will go to clothe, feed, and educate the two most wonderful children you have ever met. And trust me, they eat a lot.

Columnist Robert: Don’t you think it’s in bad taste to use your children as a sales tool.

Author Robert: Absolutely.

Columnist Robert: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Author Robert: Did I mention that Father’s Day is just around the corner?

Columnist Robert: Yes.

Author Robert: Then, no. Wait… did I mention that the book is available at a store near you, and that I’ll probably be in your area, soon, for a book signing or cooking demo. The schedule is on my website http://www.robertstjohn.com/ .

Columnist Robert: You can’t say that, here.

Author Robert: Never mind, then.

Columnist Robert: Thank you.

Author Robert: No, thank you.

Whole Roasted Citrus Chicken

Brine

1 quart water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 Tbl black pepper, freshly ground
2 oranges
2 lemons
2 limes

1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds

1 orange, cut into quarters
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1 lime, cut into quarters
1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
1 tsp fresh garlic minced
1 Tbl fresh thyme, chopped
2-3 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbl fresh ground black pepper

Place the water, sugar, salt and black pepper in a saucepot and bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Using a vegetable peeler, remove only the outer skin from the first 2 oranges, lemons and limes, be careful not to get any of the pith (white part of the peel). Add the peelings to the brine. Squeeze all of the juice from the peeled citrus and add the juice to the brine. Place the brine in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely.

Remove giblets and neck from the chicken and submerge the chicken in the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove chicken from the brine and, using a paper towel, dry all surfaces of the chicken, including the cavity area.

Combine the orange, lemon and lime with the diced onions, minced garlic and fresh thyme. Stuff the citrus-onion mixture into the cavity of the chicken.

Brush the skin of the chicken with olive
oil and sprinkle the skin with poultry seasoning and black pepper. Tie the legs together, and bend the wings back to secure them.

Prepare the grill. Cook with the breast side up over indirect medium heat until the juices run clear, or until an internal temperature of 170 degrees is reached, approximately 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours.

Place the chicken on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10-12 minutes before carving.
Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings


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