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The Best BBQ Chicken…EVER!

I have fallen in love….with a BBQ sauce.  Yes I have.  While strolling the Appleton market I came upon the Jimmy J’s sauce stand and he had samples (admit it you are a sucker for samples too!).  At first I was like whatever…then he waved a meatball on a stick under my nose.  I caved in.  I went with the XXX it was tasty but the after burn kind of took over and I figured it would be too much for company if indeed I bought a bottle.  So I went a step down and tried the Hot.  Perfect!  Seriously good flavor, good heat (but not too much) and for $4 a bottle, why not.  So I thanked the kind man for the samples and went on my way.

Here is what my $4 got me…

When they say you will lick your fingers, they aren’t joking.  You want to lick the plate too, but I digress… hehe.

I had some drumsticks in the refrigerator that I wanted to put on the grill and figured it would be the perfect vehicle to try this sauce out.  Making BBQ chicken isn’t rocket science, but a lot of people seem to struggle with it. Either it’s burned on the outside and raw on the inside or just overcooked period.  I found the key ingredients to perfect chicken on the grill are low heat and patience.  No par boiling necessary.

I put my gas grill on the lowest setting possible and kept turning the chicken every five minutes.  When the skin started to get brown, I started to baste the chicken with Jimmy J’s sauce.  It took me about 35 minutes to cook the drummies fully.  The chicken was perfectly cooked  (the juices ran clear. If the juices are pinkish…keep cooking) and the sauce was finger-licking sticky. MmmMMmm!

I paid $4 for a 21 oz bottle at the market.    For my Milwaukee (and non-Wisconsin) readers, they do have a website http://jimmyjsauces.com.  They do charge a little bit more on their website, but it’s sooooo worth it.  Shipping is at a fair price as well.  I implore you to order a bottle and defy you to tell me this isn’t some good sauce!

Happy grilling!

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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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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Chicken and Dumplings

Happy New Year!  2010 was one of my best years yet.  So many good changes happened in 2010.  I cannot wait to see what 2011 has in store for me.

One of the many changes that took place in 2010 was I *finally* got a house.  I had held off thinking someday I might make it back to Syracuse, NY.  I’ve come to accept that while I may visit my family in Syracuse, I will probably never live there again. I am OK with that. I have a lot of reasons to go visit.

This house has a fan-flippin’-tastic kitchen.  I love to cook in it. I love my house.  I love the people in my house.

On bitter cold January days I get to make dishes that wrap around me like a warm blanket.  Chicken and dumplings is one of those dishes.  I love the huge flavor that comes from such a simple dish.  The dumplings make this incredible gravy. Oooooh the gravy!  To me it’s the best part.  Then you bite into a soft dumpling. Heaven.   It leaves my family full, fat and happy. That’s alright by me.

Supplies:

  • 1 chicken (either a whole fryer or cut up)
  • 8 C water
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 C flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of shortening
  • 3/4 C buttermilk

Place chicken in a deep kettle.  Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer on low for 1 hour.  The meat should be pretty close to falling off the bone.

Turn off burner and remove chicken to cool.  Get as much of the meat off the bone and cut into bite sized pieces.  (While your chicken cools make your dumpling dough)

Dumplings:  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Cut in shortening.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and add buttermilk.  Stir with a fork until moistened. You will have a wet, sticky dough. Place dough on floured work surface and knead 4-5 times.  You can either pat it out and cut out dumpling pieces or you can just break off for a more rustic look. It all tastes the same.

Add chicken pieces to broth and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium and drop dumplings into liquid.  Cook for 8 mins (give or take a few) stirring occasionally.  I like to turn the burner off and let it sit for a bit. This makes sure you get a nice, thick gravy.

Try as I might, words cannot describe how awesome this dish is.  This makes quite a bit…darn!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Chicken in a Thai Basil Coconut Curry Sauce

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This is my take on Thai Chicken.  I know it is not authentic Thai, but it was a good version nonetheless.

I used what I had in my pantry and to be quite honest, it came out pretty darn good.  Nice and coconut-y with a kick from the chilis.  I served it over brown rice since I try to refrain from using white grains (I make an exception  when I bake).

The chicken fell off the bone, the sauce was thick and spicy and the basil really came through.  I am very pleased with the results and will definately be making this again.

Chicken w/ Thai Basil Coconut Curry Sauce

  • What ever chicken pieces you would like (bone in), I used thighs from a HighCross Farm raised Chicken…lucky me.
  • 1 can of low-fat coconut milk
  • 3 red chilis (I used dry)
  • 4 tblsp canola oil
  • 1 c of sweet thai basil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • S & P to taste
  • Soy sauce to taste (if you use this, go easy on the salt)

In a large skillet, brown your chicken in the canola oil (season with S & P first). You dont need to cook it all the way, it will cook in the sauce for quite some time.  Once your chicken is browned, transfer to a paper towel lined place.

If there is a lot of oil left in the pan you can take some out.  Be sure to leave enough to sautee the garlic and ginger. Once you have the garlic and ginger soft, deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and add the onions.

When the onions get translucent, add the coconut milk, chilis, curry powder, soy sauce and basil.  Put the chicken back in pan and let simmer for at least 30-45 minutes.

I know it doesn’t have any fish sauce or lemon grass or other ingredients you would use in authentic Thai cooking, but believe me when I tell you….This is GOOD!

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Place a piece of chicken over the rice and spoon the sauce over it all.  Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2009 in chicken, coconut, curry, thai

 

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Baked Chicken with Sage Pesto & Balsamic and Honey Baby Beets/Greens

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Why, yes I am on a pesto kick.  Thanks for asking :).  I have a small herb garden growing on my balcony.  I love it.  HighCross Farm has spoiled me when it comes to fresh produce.  Herbs are no exception.  My potted sage is getting away from me so, I figured I better use some up.

Since I had some garlic and slivered almonds left over, I decided to make a pesto with the sage.  I took the pesto and slathered it all over some chicken breasts. 

I also had some beautiful baby beet greens that were in my CSA box.  I decided to cook them on the stove top in some honey and balsamic vinegar.  I used the onions and garlic I had gotten at HighCross Farm on Sunday evening as well.  Fabulous!

I started cooking at 6 pm.  I was finished eating by 7:30, that’s how quick and simple this dish is to make.

Sage Pesto

  • A good handful of fresh sage
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • a handful of slivered almonds
  • Olive oil
  • S & P to taste
  • 2 – 3 bone in chicken breasts

In a blender combine the sage, almonds and garlic until finely ground.  As the blender is going, slowly drizzle in enough olive oil to make the sage mixture a paste-like consistancy.  You dont want it too greasy or too try.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slather the pesto over the the chicken breasts and underneath the skin.

Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.  You know it’s done when the juices run clear.

Balsamic and Honey Baby Beet Greens

  • 4 c chopped baby beet greens
  • peeled and sliced baby beets from greens (optional)
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh tyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2.5 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • S & P to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter until butter has melted.  Add onion and garlic and sautee until onions are translucent. 

Add the honey and balsamic vinegar.

Add sliced baby beets and let cook for about 5 mins.  Add the chopped beet greens and thyme and let cook until greens have wilted.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

That’s it.  I love the balsamic vinegar/honey combination.  It pairs so nicely with the beets and greens.  The chicken is to die for.  If you still have almond or garlic chunks in your pesto that’s ok.  They crisp up while baking.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in Beets, chicken, greens

 

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Lemon Chicken with Roasted Potato Rounds

I have been going through CSA withdrawals.  I miss getting my weekly farm box.  I am fortunate enough to keep in contact with my wonderful CSA farmer Steve Vogelmann.  My daughter and I were lucky enough to stop out at HighCross Farm and pay the Vogelmanns a visit.  While there we discussed the approaching CSA season and my plans for this blog amongst other things.  My daughter and I took the trip out to the farm not only to visit with the Vogelmanns, but to get one of their roasting chickens.  They have the BEST tasting chickesn ever.

I decided to forgo the usual honey-butter chicken I normally make.  I was in the mood for something that would remind me of warmer weather.  I opted for a Lemon chicken and paired it with some roasted potato rounds.  Needless to say, it was fantastic.

The supplies for the chicken:

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  • A good sized roasting chicken.  Mine was aprox. 5 lb.
  • Two lemons.  You will use the juice and the rind.
  • Fresh herbs.  I used rosemary, thyme, sage and marjoram.
  • Two gloves of garlic, grated.
  • Olive oil
  • S & P to taste.

By the way, how awesome is that chicken?? Nothing beats farm raised…nothing.

Rinse off and pat dry your chicken.  You can freeze the giblets for later if you so desire.

Zest the rind of one of the lemons.  I have a zester which is great, but if you do not have a zester you can grate the rind on the fine part of your box grater or use a micorplane.

Chop your herbs up nice and fine.

In a mixing bowl combine the juice of the lemon you took the rind from, the chopped herbs, lemon zest and grated garlic.  Drizzle in olive oil and whisk.  Note:  I really don’t measure the olive oil.  I drizzle, whisk and taste.  I put in enough oil to balance out the tartness of the lemon without the oil taking over.  It usually comes out to be close to a 1/2 cup.  It’s all preference. Salt and Pepper to taste.

You will get something that looks like this:

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Slice some lemon rounds from the other lemon and set aside.

Brush some of the marinade onto the chicken and cover with lemon slices.

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Put the chicken into a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.  This lets the skin get nice and gold and crispy.  After the initial 45 mins, baste the chicken with the lemon marinade every 15 minutes until the juices of the chicken run clear.  I take off the lemon slices when they start to become too dark.

The chicken after roasting:

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During the inital 45 mins, prep your potatoes.  I used Yukon Gold potatoes.  I find they hold their shape well.  The skin of a Yukon Gold is thin so I don’t even bother peeling them.

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Slice your potatoes into rounds.  I prefer to steam them rather than boil them.  This saves time with the roasting process and they do not get water logged.

Steam your potato rounds until fork tender.

Place in a roasting dish and drizzle some of the marinade over them. ( I set aside some of the marinade in a separate bowl to avoid cross contamination).

Put potatoes into the oven after the chicken’s first 45 minutes of cooking.  They will come out golden brown and crispy on top…nice and soft in the center.

You can cut your potatoes to any desired thickness.

I like to spoon some of the left over marinade onto the potatoes while they are still hot.

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Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2009 in chicken, herbs, lemon, potatoes

 

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