Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Cherry on Top!


Welcome to the FINAL appliance reveal for the new kitchen!  I know, I know, you are all thinking...they have put every appliance known to MAN in that kitchen, what could be left?

And I'm here to say that  1) no, shockingly we did avoid some of the appliance options available to us, including a built in deep fryer, indoor grill, and teppanyaki griddle, to name but a few.  And B) the one thing left was the one thing your Polymath wanted like it was her job.

I won't bang the travel gong too much more, but I will say that one of our favorite things about visiting other places is visiting markets.  Open air markets, enclosed marketplaces, watching the locals buy ingredients, haggle over prices, kibitz and joke and share the news of the day with the vendors is always a treat for us.  Exploring the delicacies, usually wishing we had access to a kitchen, and always picking up some of the prepared foods to eat on the go.

And pretty much everywhere we go? We are instinctively drawn to the rotisseries.  Usually large versions on trucks, laden with chickens, rolled sausages, pork roasts.  The good ones?  Have small new potatoes cooking in the meat drippings in a trough on the bottom.  You order your protein of choice and you get a hefty portion of the crispy fatty potatoes with your selection on top.  All you need is a stack of napkins, your handy pocketknife slash wine opener, and a park bench and you will feast like a king.

There is something about meat on a spit that just hits us where we live in a primal way.  And while we love pretty much any hunk of animal that has been spinning in its own juices for a period of time, the thing we dream of?


Yep, the perfect roasted bird is like our holy grail.  A good one is great, and a great one is transcendent.  Even a mediocre one from the grocery store still makes for a satisfying weeknight dinner.  Sure, an oven does a fine roasting job, but roasted chicken is different than rotisserie chicken.  Rotisserie chicken gets a skin that is both extra crisp and slightly sticky, naturally glazed in its own juices.  The meat is beyond moist, the seasoning manages to make it all the way through even without brining or marinating.  The fat renders out (making those amazing potatoes) but keeps the chicken constantly basted, so even the breast meat is succulent and perfect, and won't even dry out on a quick reheat for lunch the next day.  It is better cold than some chickens are hot.  We have at least one a week.

Since we both love it so much, and it actually is healthy for us, we have the rotisserie attachment for the Weber grill for outdoor cookery, and Charming Suitor supported my acquisition of not one, but TWO ancient Roto-Broil 400 machines from the mid 1950s for inside jobs.  If you really want to know why in a meaningful way, read THIS ARTICLE by Mark Bittman.  The short of it is, these machines quite simply make amazing rotisserie chicken.  And provided you don't get third degree burns from how hot the outside of the unit gets (likely why they were discontinued), you can get some terrific meals out of them.

But there is a small problem with the Roto-Broils.  Chickens were different in the 1950s, smaller.  So while these things will rotisserie the heck out of one small 2-3 lb chicken, or two cornish hens, you cannot fit two chickens in it, nor a larger roaster.  So perfect for just me and CS, but not so great for dinner parties.  And while you can par cook potatoes and put them under the chicken, they just sort of get greasy, and not crispy, because the heat element is on the top.

When we did our original list of the must haves, nice to haves, and splurges for the kitchen, the last thing I put on the bottom of the list?  A La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.  I know I don't have to explain La Cornue to any of you, the brand has been the dream of cooks for over 100 years.  If we had an unlimited budget, we'd have gotten one of their amazing stoves, however, they cost more than a fully loaded BMW, although the mileage is much better.  But they make the only home rotisserie on the market, and boy are they amazing. These built-in units are the size of a small oven, and are gas controlled.  A wall of wicks on the back of the unit flames to life, and the generous capacity can accommodate up to four chickens at once!  It can also do a leg of lamb, or a porchetta roast or a turkey or prime rib or several fish...it is glorious.

Are you starting to feel me?  Think about a whole pork belly, cooking low and slow all day to juicy perfection.  Or even a couple of whole pineapples, getting caramelized on the outside, to be sliced and served with thick vanilla Greek yogurt and some toasted almonds for a healthy but still decadent feeling dessert?

Yeah.  From the moment I saw this baby it was deep down in my heart in a serious way.

This is when it is a really nice thing to turn 45 in the middle of a kitchen renovation, because when your amazing hubby asks you if you would like to add in the rotisserie as your birthday present?  You say yes really fast!

I cannot tell you how excited we are to start using this baby!  From a design perspective, we are giving it it's own tower of glory, next to one of the ovens, clad in the same Dekton material as the countertops.  Many of the installations we saw while researching, showed a slide-in butcher block of some sort below the unit.

We loved the potential functionality of a setup like this, and especially loved that it would give us a use for the vintage butcher block we have in our current kitchen.  The rotisserie tower will have a nook like the one above, and we are adding casters and a handle to our butcher block, and it will slide in and out of the way, but be right there when it is time for carving!

Some things to note if you are thinking about one of these for yourself:

They will tell you that they take 14 weeks to build, since they are all custom.  And by 14 weeks they mean 26 weeks because, you know, France, and also, math is hard.

They put out some serious heat, since there are no doors on the front of the unit, so you need a 5 foot clearance in front of it with nothing flammable.  I would say definitively that if you have small children?  Wait till they leave for college before installing, there are no child locks on the controls, and when you turn it on you create a wall of open flame that could spell disaster without adult supervision. You will also want to be sure there is plenty of good ventilation in the room, or you will need an extra venting system.  Ours is in a location that is pretty open, and is right next to the door to the back porch, and on the same wall as our massive powerful hood, so we didn't need to do special venting for it, but you will want to err on the side of caution.

Stay tuned for some upcoming installation posts on all of the appliances, things are really heating up, pun intended, and we may be getting close to some glamor shots in the next couple of weeks!

What would be the one thing that would be your fantasy splurge item in your dream kitchen?

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. Wow. WOW. How about for your annual contest, instead of you and Jen flying to a city to take the winner to lunch, you bring the winner to see your new kitchen?? :-D

  2. I was just about to post something similar to Jen, above. I LOVE rotisserie chicken. There was a restaurant in Ensenada that had an entire window of birds revolving. We'd get a chicken, a bag of fries, and some fresh tortillas - make a pico and bam, dinner!

  3. My fantasy splurge item would be a personal chef that looks like Tom Hiddleston (or maybe Nathan F!) and cooks like Marcus Samuelsson.

  4. Damnit! Another thing to put on the list!
    I want a standup freezer.
    I'd take Nathan as a chef!