Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fried Chicken!

Fried Chicken! It's one of Tawny's FAVORITE meals. In the colder months, I like to make Sunday dinner in the middle of the afternoon and this is often requested.

It's just pure comfort food!


I don't have any specific measurements for this.

So sorry if this is a little vague.

Fried Chicken
Chicken ~ I use boneless, skinless breasts
Seasoned Salt
Hot Sauce
Oil for frying

Whisk together buttermilk & hot sauce. I add enough to make the buttermilk kinda pink.

Put the chicken into the buttermilk mixture and refrigerate an hour or two to overnight.

I like to put it in a FoodSaver container and vacuum seal it.

Now season the flour with seasoned salt and pepper.

I just scoop some flour into a pie plate and sprinkle the salt and pepper over it and combine it with a fork.

Then it's time to dip the chicken into the flour mixture.

Let the excess buttermilk drip off, then dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour.

Repeat until you have coated all of the chicken.

Now, beginning with the first piece, re-dip it in the buttermilk.

And then the flour again.

Now that they've all been double dipped....
(This is a double dipping approved zone)

It's time to get your frying area ready.

I like to lay brown paper bags over a wire rack to drain the chicken after frying.

In a heavy pan, heat the oil to 350F degrees.

If the oil isn't hot enough when you start, you'll end up with greasy soggy chicken and you don't want that!

I like to use my big cast iron skillet.

And really, what keeps up the seasoning on your cast iron better than frying stuff?

When the oil reaches 350F, you can start carefully adding chicken.


Not too much... don't crowd the pan...

And watch your oil temperature...

It will drop when you add the chicken. You want it to come back up to 350F, but not much hotter, or the outside will burn before the inside is cooked.

I turn the chicken pieces over when the bottom side is golden brown.

After 10 or 15 minutes, they should be done. You can check the internal temp with a thermometer. It should reach 165F... but I pull them at 160F, because they'll keep cooking when you pull them out of the oil. Also if you use this method for testing for doneness, be very careful, because the juices from the chicken could run into the oil and make it spatter... and it's NO fun to be spattered with hot oil!

Drain on a rack.

And keep frying.

This one looks like Africa!

If you're worried about the chicken staying hot, you can loosely put a foil tent on it, or pop it into a 200F oven while you finish frying the rest of the chicken.



I usually serve this with mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, creamy macaroni and cheese, corn, collard greens and buttermilk biscuits!

Wow! Even though I'm feeling pretty under the weather today, now I want some fried chicken wicked bad!!

And Auntie Evelyn (that's pronounced "Ahntee"... not "antee" for all of you non-New England people), you could totally make this for just you! Just make a couple of pieces. I know cold fried chicken the next day is very popular in my house! So make an extra one!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cathy's Cream Filled Cupcakes

The BakeSpace Challenge for September was to cook something from someone else's kitchen.

Everyone who wanted to participate signed up and Shane picked names for everyone.

I ended up with Cathy (The Dutch Baker's Daughter).

On my first browse through Cathy's recipes, I thought I wanted to make her Worstebroodjes. Dutch food. Definitely a challenge for me.

But time got away from me and I didn't think I'd have a good chance to do it. I didn't want to try working with dough on a week night and didn't have much weekend time left.

So after another browse through, I decided to go with her Cream Filled Cupcakes.

These are Cathy's.

They look like Hostess Cupcakes!

Yeah... mine don't look anything like that!

Cathy's Cream Filled Cupcakes
Filling Ingredients:
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla

Cupcake Ingredients:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line (2) 12 cup cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In large bowl, combine all of the cupcake ingredients and mix until well-blended. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back to touch. Remove cupcakes from pans and allow to cool on wire racks.

In small pan, whisk 3 tablespoons flour with 3/4 cup milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar in large mixing bowl. Fit mixer with paddle and beat butter and sugar several minutes until fluffy. Add cooled flour/milk mixture and continue to beat until mixture is creamy. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.

Fit a pastry bag with a #5 tip and fill with buttercream filling. Insert tip about 1/2 inch deep into the top of each cupcake and fill cupcake with buttercream. Set aside any unused filling.

In small saucepan, combine chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter. Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, mixing together until melted and smooth.

Swirl the top of each cupcake into chocolate glaze, coating the top of each cake. Then, using leftover filling, pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cupcake.


Ok, so cake from scratch... I don't have much experience with it.

This is the only cake I can remember making from scratch.

It turned out fine (if you like chocolate), but I didn't have to 'fill' it! Just a layer of frosting in the middle, which I can totally do.

So anyway....

I followed Cathy's directions and mixed the cupcake ingredients well.
(those are bubbles, not lumps)

The thing I'm noticing about cake from scratch, well, chocolate cake from scratch anyway, is that the batter is wicked thin.

I made a huge mess!

I don't think it had anything to do with the margarita. I'm pretty experienced with those! Just not thin cake batter from scratch!

I won't show what a mess I made on the floor! But somehow there were lots of little drips there too!

Ok... so baked those for about 18 minutes.

So far so good!

Now on to the filling.

Perhaps I didn't get it thick enough.

Combined the butter and sugar.

Added the thickened (not thick enough??) milk and flour.

Hmmm... I guess it's not looking very thick, is it?

So that seemed way too thin.

It was a gazillion degrees in my kitchen, so that didn't help matters I'm sure!

I kept adding powdered sugar to try to thicken up.

Still didn't seem thick enough, but I had already added a ton of powdered sugar, so I decided to just go with what I had.

Melted the chocolate chips with butter in my double boiler.

Then dug out my cake decorating kit.

Pretty cool kit for someone who doesn't decorate cakes huh?

When my Uncle Joe passed away, my mom was cleaning out his apartment and gave me a lot of his kitchen stuff.

I have to say, even though I don't use it often, I really love this!

Now to find the #5 tip.

Hmmm... there doesn't seem to be one. There's a #4 and a #6, but no #5.

Maybe it ended up in here.

I dunno. But I used the #6.

And I made a HUGE mess.

My filling was too thin. I don't know if it was the heat in my kitchen or just an error on my part (probably the latter!), but it was thin.

Then I filled the bag too full and ended up like this.

That pic compliments of my little sous chef, Bob. He was a huge help!

Stuff was oozing everywhere... Bob kept running for bowls and towels to try to contain my mess. He can be such a great help when he wants to be!

Anyway... no 'action' filling shots.

But I pushed the tip into the top of the cupcakes and squeezed.

How long? How much? So soupy! So messy!

But I got it done.


Then to dip them in the chocolate.

I can totally do that!

A coating of chocolate hides a mess nicely!

But my filling was WAY too thin for the cute decorative design.




Look! I actually got some filling in there!

Anyway... everyone really liked these!

And they weren't hard to make, at least I don't think they would have been if I hadn't messed up the frosting!



I totally forgot!!!

Cathy this is for you!!

I know this recipe isn't on your blog. And even though I had a hard time filling these... everyone really loved them!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fried Potatoes ~ Why do you mock me?

Ok... so I can't seem to make fried potatoes to save my life.

My mom makes awesome fried potatoes.

She cubes raw potatoes. Shakes them in flour. Fries them up.

They end up being golden brown crispy cubes of deliciousness.

My friend Whitney (who you've met at my Wine Tasting Parties) also makes awesome fried potatoes.

She boils the potatoes, then slices them, then fries them up with butter or bacon fat.

Again, golden brown crispy deliciousness.

On very rare occasions, I have slight success with Whitney's version.

So tonight I wanted to make them. I was making one of my mom's standard dinners. Her friend used to joke with her that you could tell the day of the week by what my mom was cooking for dinner.

Ok... not a lot of variety growing up. But it never occurred to me to care. (although if I did complain about it and I probably did, I just don't remember... but I'm sure my mom will let me know when she reads this)

So, tonight's dinner, one of Mum's standards.

Ham Steak, Fried Potatoes and Peas.

I loved that!

And it was peas from a CAN. Yup. I love canned peas.

I never make them, because Jon says they're gross.

He said they aren't even green. But they are green. They're pea green. At least that's the color I think of when I think of pea green. Canned Peas.


I decided to make Ham, Fried Potatoes, Peas and Balsamic Bacon Brussel Sprouts. (I added brussel sprouts because really no one else likes canned peas)


I boiled the potatoes last night and just popped them into the fridge.

Tonight, I just had to slice them and fry them.

Boiled baby potatoes.

Cut into slices and sliced an onion too.
(Obviously working in a different part of the kitchen as you can tell by the big shadow!)

Whitney often has some bacon fat left over from breakfast that she uses to fry her potatoes. So I fried up some bacon. I figure bacon would good in there in addition to cooking them in bacon fat. Sounds good right?


Fried up some bacon and set aside.

Put the potatoes & onions into the bacon fat... just like Whitney does.

Now I want golden brown crispiness. So I try really really hard not to touch them.

They cooked for a little while.

Then I shook them.

Like my new oven mitt?

I picked that up at Sur La Table on my last trip there with Ericka (you've also met her at Wine Tasting!)

I LOVE it!!

But the potatoes... they mock me.

Look at them... starting to stick in my well seasoned cast iron skillet.

Oh well... just add bacon... that should help right?

Mmmmm.... bacon...

Not crispy... not golden brown...

Ya know why?

The golden brown crispies are here...

Yup... on the bottom of my pan.

They tasted fine... but not crispy.

mock mock mock... damn you non-crispy fried potatoes!!!

Sigh... at least the leftovers are PERFECT for breakfast burritos!!

What's the secret?!!!