Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rules of Improvisation

  1. Always agree and say "YES!"
  2. And not only say "YES!" but say "YES, and ..."
The first rule, always agree. Say yes. Say, “yes, and” to things. For example, if I enter a scene and say, “I have a gun.’ And you say, “No, you don’t. That’s your finger.’ That’s terrible. Now we’re done. Saying “yes” means you’re basically agreeing to honor what the other person is creating. The next part is “yes, AND …” which means to contribute something on your own, like, ‘I have a gun’ and you say, ‘but you’ll never get the gold because I put it in my butt.’ I wouldn’t recommend THAT … but that’s the end, you’re contributing. It’s an exercise in being in the present. To follow your partner, to ask questions.
It means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Whatever is thrown at you, make an effort to agree and add something. In other words, whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.
Learned from the section The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat in Tina Fey's new book Bossypants (2011).

See also Tina Fey's "Bossypants" Lessons for the Workplace, Nell Minow's blog.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Roasted Glazed Beer Can Chicken

This recipe if from Season 10 of American's Test Kitchen (ATK). I used a 24oz can of beer so the 6 pound chicken set all the way up and didn't have to squat on the roasting pan.
Do not brine the bird this time; it will prevent the skin from becoming crisp before the chicken is burned to a crisp. The glaze recipe is not included, there are so many you need to find your own.
Serves 2 to 3. Time 4 hours (20 min prep, <= 1 hour air dry, 2+ hours cook, 20 min rest/serve).
1whole chicken (6 to 7 pounds), giblets removed and discarded
1 1/2teaspoons table salt (I used a "smoked" salt from the farmers market.)
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon ground tellicherry black pepper
  1. Place chicken breast-side down on work surface. Use tip of sharp knife to make four 1-inch incisions along back of chicken. Using fingers carefully separate skin from thighs and breast. Using metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken.
  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine salt, baking powder, and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle all over with salt mixture. Rub in mixture with hands, coating entire surface evenly. Set chicken in the vertical position on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for as much as an hour. If you need to lay the bird down is should be breast-side up, in V-rack (air needs to circulate over all the skin.)
  3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325°F. The 16 or 24 oz beer can needs to be half full of liquid (beer is classic but water is fine as well.) Spay the can with vegetable oil spray for ease of extraction and set the bird down, feet first, over the can in the middle of your roasting pan. Roast chicken 75 to 90 minutes until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 140°F and the skin starts to golden.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Make a glaze while it heats. I like the ginger soy sauce glaze but a nice BBQ sauce from the store would work for a quick meal.
  5. Put 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan to prevent burning (and for the gravy.) Continue to roast until skin is golden brown, crisp, and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160° and 175°F in thickest part of thigh, 24 to 30 minutes.
  6. Take the bird out of the over and paint with the glaze. Put back in 500° oven for 5 minutes to set the glaze. [Yes the meat if fully cooked but five more minutes to adhere the glaze would hurt anything.]
  7. Transfer chicken to cutting board and brush on a second coat of glaze. Let chicken rest on the can, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  8. In sauce pan whisk 1/2 cup of the strained chicken juice (separate the fat from the juice) and 1/4 cup of glaze with the dripping from the cutting board. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Carefully lift the chicken off the can (it takes four hands, the beer is still burning hot) and lay on cutting board. Carve and serve with the pan sauce.
I made the roasted broccoli from the same episode as well. I added a couple of carrots cut in half, pole to pole, sweet. These two go well together because they both use a 500° F oven. Served with a fresh beget. Well have ice cream later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Enough, so far

These slogans came to me today while struggling with the transition from 20th century software development methodologies into an agile mindset.

  • Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.
  • Good Enough, so far. (User stories will change but remember the above slogan.)