Profile: Costume Designer Angela Aaron
Angela Aaron is a very good cook. One recent afternoon, between client and production meetings—she’s a busy wardrobe stylist and costume designer—she was talking about her unconventional culinary education.
“Robert was a hippie, punk anarchist, and computer genius with alternative, progressive political views and lifestyle,” she said, describing her then boyfriend, whom she met in Denver. “He was 28, and I was 16 years old.” She skipped school—“I was very independent and adventurous”—and followed him to California.
In San Francisco, they bought Anna Pump’s iconic The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook and marked pages of recipes they liked. Angela practiced and cooked while Robert worked. “It was so rewarding,” she remembers. “I bought all the ingredients, went to a health food store for the first time, and really learned to eat and cook.”
In Prague, where she moved alone in her early 20s, she found her calling and started her styling career. She became the fashion editor for Esquire magazine and contributing editor to Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan.
“There wasn’t much time for cooking,” she said about living in the Czech capital. “Besides, back then, you could eat great pub food and drink all the beer for like, $2.” Her favorite were fried Hermelin—a hockey puck-size imitation of Camembert cheese—with French fries and tartar sauce, and chicken breast stuffed with ham, cheese and peach. “How crazy and good is that?”
These days, Angela lives, works and cooks in Los Angeles. “I’m really excited about the variety of ethnic ingredients we have here,” she said. “I like to scout in Artesia for Indian spices, Thai Town for the best curry paste, and shop for lavash bread and olives at Super King.” But she adds, laughing, “I’m still a girl from Kansas, and I love my chicken-fried steak.”
Hometown Wichita, Kansas — Where do you live? Los Angeles — Occupation Costume Designer — Signature dish Yvonne's Chicken — Who taught you how to cook? Cookbooks — Favorite kitchen tool Microplane grater — Always in your pantry Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes — Go-to snack Almonds & olives — Favorite cuisine All Asian cuisines are wonderful — Do you diet? No — Food addictions Manuka honey — Food allergies None — Food fad pet peeve Snobbery — Who’s your sous chef? My sweetheart Ben — Drinking while cooking? Certainly — What’s for dinner tonight? T-Bone steaks on the grill. I have family in town. — Do you ever cry over spilled milk? It has happened. — Best meal you ever had Everything I ate in Thailand on a trip with my mom. — Contact angelaaaron.com
In this mouth-watering dish, succulent chicken is surrounded by an array of flavor-packed vegetables, bathed in a fresh ginger-tomato–orange-juice sauce, and redolent of fresh thyme and rosemary.
“Yvonne was my roommate when I lived in San Francisco,” Angela said. “She was from Jamaica and cooked every day. One of the dishes she made was this delicious roast, which she always shared with me.”
Angela lost touch with Yvonne, but the chicken dish became her signature recipe—one that she makes for her family back in Kansas or when she has a dinner party at her house in Los Angeles. You can easily double the recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd. Like Yvonne, Angela serves it with steamed jasmine rice.
- Serves 4–6
- 1 chicken (3–4 pounds)
- 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
- 1½ cups carrots, sliced into 2-inch rounds
- 2 cups potatoes, skin on, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
- 3 scallions, green parts included, chopped
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 whole sprig fresh rosemary + 2 tablespoons chopped
- 1 orange, halved
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 cups zucchini, skin on, cut into 1-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rinse the chicken under cold running water (inside and out) and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a rimmed 9x13-inch baking pan, and tie the legs with kitchen twine.
- Take a small handful of the tomatoes and the rosemary sprig, and place them inside the chicken cavity. Scatter the tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, garlic and scallions around the chicken.
- Rub the ginger all over the chicken skin. Sprinkle the chicken and the vegetables with the thyme and chopped rosemary. Squeeze the orange halves and pour the soy sauce all over the chicken and the vegetables. Season with black pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil, scatter the zucchini around the chicken, and pour the olive oil all over the chicken. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue roasting until the chicken skin is crisp and golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers at 165 degrees—about 30–40 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken, and serve it with the vegetables, the pan sauce, and steamed basmati rice.
you may also like
Writer Ben Skerker & Walnut Coffee Cake
Design Consultant Jeremy Morrelli & Cauliflower-Leek-Celeriac Curry