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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Fried Chicken

I have a love hate relationship with making fried chicken.  I love it so, but hate how full of fail my past attempts have been.  I am not one to give up!  I recently acquired a brand new cast iron skillet and decided to try again; hopefully not in vane.

I decided to research recipes.  I wanted a recipe that would allow for a juicy inside and a nice crispy outside (without the crust falling off).  I think I have found a winner.

I went with Alton Brown’s fried chicken recipe and it was a success.  Finally!

What I really like about this recipe is he gives you the ingredients to make a fantastic seasoning.  This seasoning is key.  The recipe makes a lot so just put it in an airtight container for later use.

I was always one to season the flour and not the meat.  This recipe has you liberally seasoning the meat and using  a minimal amount of unseasoned (no salt, no pepper, no nothin’)  flour.  What you get is outstanding tasting chicken.

Because most of the flour is shaken off before the chicken is placed in the hot grease, you are left with a super crunchy outside that actually…wait for it….stays on the chicken.  You will also have a nice, juicy inside.  Score!  Seriously, if you only knew my past fried chicken fail you would totally understand my excitement.

Fried chicken isn’t scary anymore. I implore you to try this recipe.

Recipe copied and pasted from the Food Network Website.

Ingredients

  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken , cut into 8 pieces (I bought a fryer already cut up)
  • 2 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable shortening, for frying

Directions

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.  This is important. It will tenderize and give your chicken a nice tang flavor.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/3-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.  This is important.  The more flour you keep on the more it will fall off and burn in the pan.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don’t drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Cabin Fever

I need spring.  I need warmth on my face and buds on the trees.  I need the excitement over the anticipation of the early crops; knowing farmers markets and road side stands will soon be a plenty.

I am so over winter.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

In honor of Valentines Day,  I decided to whip up a little something in Red.  I made a batch of red velvet brownies with a cream cheese swirl.  I was going to attempt red velvet cheesecake, but it’s just me and Jeff this weekend so I went with a small batch of brownies.

These brownies are out of this world.  They are so moist and the cream cheese flavor doesn’t take over.  I love the deep red hue as well.  Needless to say these didn’t last long.

Supplies:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
  • 2/3 C AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese swirl

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 8 inch baking pan making sure you get the corners real good.

In a small microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate. stir until well combined.  Set aside

In  a medium sized bowl sift together flour and salt.

In a large bowl or kitchenaid mixer whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and food coloring.

Add chocolate and mix well.

Slowly add in flour mixture to wet ingredients and beat until just combined.

Spread mixture into greased baking pan and spread evenly.

Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.

Dollop onto brownie batter and swirl with a knife.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before cutting.

ENJOY!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Braciole

I love Italian food oh so much.  In my little corner of Wisconsin it’s hard to get authentic Italian cuisine. You pretty much have to make it yourself; which I did.

About once a month I head down to Milwaukee to make it to one of the best Italian supermarkets in the Midwest…Glorioso’s.  When I’m there I stock up.  I noticed they had thinly cut pieces of flank steak in their frozen section and decided that braciole (pronounced Brah-shool) would be what I would make my family that night.

Braciole is beef that has been pounded flat and stuffed with cheese and bread crumbs.  The braciole is rolled and tied and  simmered in tomato sauce for a few hours (or all day in a slow cooker on low).

Let me start off by staying making  braciole is a labor of love. It’s not hard to make per se, just time consuming.  It is worth every bit of effort.

Supplies:

  • 1 lb flank steak, thinly cut.  If you can get your meat guy to cut it, the ideal width is 1/4 in thick.
  • Kitchen twine
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 C shredded or diced mozzarella
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan (Fresh if you can get it.)
  • 1/2 bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 4 pieces thick cut bacon, diced and browned
  • 3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated with a microplane
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • S & P
  • Tomato sauce (I had some frozen that I had made with tomatoes from my CSA share.  One family sized jar of Ragu would be enough.)

You need to pound your flank steak until it’s as thin as you can get it.  You can leave the steak whole and and have one big roll or you can cut your steak into portions.  I opted to cut my steak into portions.

Put your meat between two pieces of wax paper and pound until thin. You will be rolling this with a filling so you don’t want it real thick.  You want something that looks like this:

Once you get your flank steak pounded thin set aside in the refrigerator and get going on the filling.

In a medium sized bowl mix mozzarella, parmesan, pine nuts, bacon,  bread crumbs and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix together with a fork.  The filling will be thick, yet spreadable.

Take your flank steak out of the refrigerator and lay a piece down on a cutting board.

Take as much filling as desired and spread across meat leaving about 1/4 in around the edges.  You don’t want to over fill or most of the filling will come out at the end when rolling.


Tightly roll up the flank steak and tie up with kitchen twine. You should get something that resembles this:

In a large skillet, heat  oil until you see wiffs of smoke. You want a good hot pan to sear your braciole.

In a dutch oven or slow cooker have your tomato sauce simmering.

Sear on all sides until you get a nice crust all the way around. Don’t worry if you get some darker spots on your meat, they will soften up and cook down while simmering in the tomato sauce.

Gently drop your browned braciole into simmering tomato sauces.  Cover and let simmer.  If you are simmering on a cook top, simmer for at least three hours stirring once or twice every hour.  If you are simmering in a slower cooker (like I did) set it at low and simmer at least 5 hours.  Stir once per hour to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

Once done, your braciole will be fork tender.  Snip off the kitchen twine and serve with your favorite pasta. I like to top mine with more grated Parmesan.

I love this dish so much. I hope you do too.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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